Better know an OS: Linux Mint 17.1 "Qiana"

Elegant, high-performance, easy-to-use, highly functional, stable, and maintainable ... Mint 17 could well be the perfect desktop Linux

If you’d like to move from Windows to something that is faster, sleeker, and more flexible (and free) look no further than Linux Mint, one of the most popular desktop Linux distros. The reason for Linux Mint's popularity is two-fold; first, it is one of the most stable distros available (perhaps even the most stable) and, second, its “out of the box” experience is excellent.

First released in 2006 and currently based on the 3.13.0-24 Linux kernel and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (“LTS” stands for “Long Term Support”), the latest release, Mint 17.1 “Qiana”, which is available in both 32- and 64-bit x86 editions, was designed to be stable. In the next two years Ubuntu is planned to undergo some major architectural changes that will most likely be destabilizing so Mint will remain based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS until 2019.

Linux Mint with the MATE desktop Linux Mint

Linux Mint with the MATE desktop (yep, it looks a lot like Cinnamon but "under the hood" there's lots of differences)

Mint 17 offers a choice of desktops that includes KDE 4.13, Xfce 4.10, MATE 1.8, and Cinnamon 2.2. Of all of the desktop options, the most impressive is Cinnamon (see the main image above) with a big list of fixes and improvements that make it one of the leading choices.  

Linux Mint Update Manager Linux Mint

Linux Mint Update Manager

One the greatest strengths of Mint 17 lies in its revised Update Manager which provides a lot more information than Ubuntu’s package management choices (Synaptic, Aptitude, dpkg, and Apt-Get) do about each update type (regular updates, security updates, backports, and romeo updates) which makes it much easier to maintain systems.

So, if you’re looking for an elegant, high-performance, easy-to-use, highly functional, stable, and maintainable desktop Linux that is a real alternative to Windows and perhaps the most user-friendly distribution available, Linux Mint 17 is probably what you want.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.