Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Distribution: Linux Mint Xfce

A short while ago, The Linux Mint Blog announced the release of Linux Mint Xfce. "But wait," you might say, "there's already a Linux Mint Xfce. And wasn't the next version supposed to be Version 10?" It turns out that this new Mint Xfce is a rolling release based on Debian Testing, like Linux Mint Debian Edition. Thus it gets a six-digit version number based on the year and month of its release. The Linux Mint devs explain the nuances of the version numbers in an FAQ:

1. Which editions are based on Ubuntu and which editions are based on Debian?
Frozen releases are based on Ubuntu. They carry a version number. For instance, Linux Mint 10 is based on Ubuntu 10.10. The next frozen release will be Linux Mint 11, based on Ubuntu 11.04.
Rolling editions do not carry version numbers. They follow the Debian Testing branch. Because of their rolling nature, they’re receiving continuous updates and their version number never changes (technically it’s always “1″ though we do not mention it since it’s not relevant). Note the absence of version number in “Linux Mint Xfce” for instance, indicating its rolling nature.
An important thing to notice is the fact that rolling editions are in constant evolution but that a particular ISO image is a snapshot of this edition at a particular time. So, though rolling editions do not get outdated, ISO images do. For this reason we use a timestamp for our ISO images, such as “Linux Mint Xfce (201104)”.

I'm downloading the 64-bit .iso now for my laptop. The biggest obstacle on this machine will be the stubborn Realtek wireless chip that refuses to work with any non-Ubuntu-based distro. I may end up having to download a Windows driver and try to use ndiswrapper. I'll also download the 32-bit version for my distro-hopping, dual-Linux-booting desktop. My experience with Crunchbang has shown me that Xfce is much faster and more responsive in Debian-based distros than in Ubuntu (though Xubuntu runs pretty well on my high-spec laptop).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Couple of Links

Reading over the current DistroWatch Weekly, I came across a couple of interesting on-topic articles:

First up is an interview with Jeff Hoogland, the lead developer of Bodhi Linux, at Bodhi, despite a few little kinks, is neck and neck with CrunchBang as my favorite lightweight distro of the moment. That's pretty impressive for an OS that just saw its first stable release within the last couple of weeks. The interview is a nice intro to the idea of Bodhi Linux for people who aren't familiar with it.

Second, Jos Poortvliet writes a review of the new Xfce 4.8 desktop for the official OpenSuse website. It looks like not much is new in 4.8 (except possibly the visual appearance of panels). The most noteworthy thing about the article was Poortvliet's observation about Xfce's performance, which matches up with my assessment:

XFCE saves you a little bit, although it won’t really save you in the face of modern, memory hungry applications like Chromium and LibreOffice. More noticeable are start up time and responsiveness of applications. XFCE apps start up instantaneously and feel very fast while you are using them.