Every six months, my world gets thrown into a state of pure, blissful chaos.
New, major versions of the big Linux distributions tend to hit every half year - one batch in the spring, another in the fall. As a person for whom the "Linux Enthusiast" moniker certainly applies, I have grown accustomed to this bi-annual state of unrest.
Case in point: Over the next six weeks, we will see big new releases of Ubuntu (13.10), openSUSE (13.1) and Fedora (20).
Do I absolutely need to install each of them? No. Of course not.
Will I? You bet your bottom I will. As well as the Beta versions, and some of the more intriguing re-spins and child distros.
All of which means that my testing box will be wiped clean and re-loaded with a different base system every three to four days. That’s barely enough time to install all the software I want to test, configure things just how I like them and update from the repository a few times... before it becomes time to completely erase my masterpiece and repartition the drive for the next adventure.
And, you know what? I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love seeing what each project has up its sleeve - what the team, for any given Linux Distro, has been working on for the past six months (or longer). This even applies to projects that I typically haven't been terribly thrilled with.
Do I like and use Linux Mint in my daily work? Nope. Have I enjoyed using past versions of Cinnamon? Not terribly. And, truth be told, I don't have terribly high expectations that this new release will fare any better for me.
But that doesn't really matter. I am still excited to try it out and see what a group of dedicated, talented people have dreamed up and built in the last half year. I find it interesting to see how different groups have come up with their own take on the desktop.
It's like browsing around an art museum. Sure, most of the paintings seem to be of people sitting in a chair, or fruit sitting in a bowl... but it's the details of how those things are painted that make the difference.
Because of that, I will be installing Linux Mint 16. And I will be glad I did, even if it ends up being an ugly bowl of fruit.