The Linux Experience – Part 2 – Joy and Sorrow with Mint

Posted on October 13, 2012

With Hackintosh and Ubuntu out of the way, the next distro I landed upon was Debian. Not knowing a whole lot about Linux at that point, I dived right in… to rather disastrous consequences. As most of you may know, Debian is not for beginners. I spent more than a couple of days in order to get Debian functioning properly, and even after all that time, I still didn’t like the general feel of the desktop. Debian installed Gnome by default and, needless to say, I rather disliked it completely. It was here, in searching for an alternative, that I got my first taste of KDE, and although Debian Squeeze had one of the older KDE releases, it was still a very fine taste indeed. Despite my general disillusionment at the difficulties of getting Linux working properly, I came away from my Debian experience with a much better understanding of the nuts and bolts of the Linux experience.

By this time, I had become completely engrossed in finding the “perfect” Linux distro. If you’re one of those who’ve gone through the same process, you’ll know how addictive this can be. At each step, you are told that you just have to keep going, you just have to install “one more distro” till you find one that perfectly suits your needs. And that the moment you find “the one” you won’t think of turning back. After my Debian experience, top priority for me was finding a distro was that came with KDE. I just fell in love with KDE as a pure desktop platform and you know what they say about first impressions being the best ones.

Next stop on my linux journey was Linux Mint, the most popular distro in the world right now. Linux Mint 12 was the latest stable release and I popped the KDE version right in. From the first moment I booted into the Live CD, I knew Mint was a great platform, and what made it so was how it reduced my workload completely; in a way, it was the Windows 7 of Linux distros. All I had to do was go through the installation process to end up with a fully functioning KDE environment, which is so much better than having to know the ins and outs of Linux configuration. As a result, I decided to stick with Linux Mint 12 just for the ease of use it offered.

When Linux Mint 13 (Maya) came about, I gave the release-candidate, and then the LTS, a solid run. Maya is where I hit a snag with Mint and realized that, although it was a wonderful platform in its own right, it was not the most stable distro in the market. The freezes people have been having with anything built using the Ubuntu 12.04 code-base are well-documented. At first, it began with the odd freeze here and there, but before you knew it I was having multiple freezes everyday and it genuinely began to affect my productivity. And what made matters even worse was that the root-cause for this problem hadn’t yet been identified by the Mint/Ubuntu teams. Different users were having different symptoms and I certainly did not have the patience to read through hundreds of pages of user posts to identify the specific solution to my problem. And so, despite my love for Mint, I had to ditch it as my primary linux platform.

Mint had been a great platform for me. It was Linux for dumb people; not to mention being a real time-saver as well. After I gave up on Mint, I tried a number of KDE platforms with little success. Each of them had some issue or the other that kept them from becoming my go-to Linux distro. For a while, it was Chakra Linux, purported to be the best KDE platform of 2012. It was a fork of Arch linux (more on that later) and had the same benefits like the rolling distribution model. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the drivers for my sound card to function properly; I got sound but my microphone refused to function at all. I tried a variety of settings, all to no avail. I had the same issue with OpenSuse 12.2 as well. Having been completely disgruntled by all the major distros and looking for a stable and secure one, I finally arrived upon Arch Linux.