Linux Mint 18.1: Mostly smooth, but some sharp edges

The latest version of Ubuntu-based operating system offers long-term support.

Linux Mint
Luis Fernando Pienda Mahecha (CC BY-SA 2.0)
At a Glance
  • Linux Mint 18.1 - NEW RELEASE - Cinnamon Live Desktop (64-Bit) on DVD.

We’ve been fond of Linux Mint for its ability to present a friendly interface to the average end user, while having a stable foundation of Debian and Ubuntu underneath. In this review, we looked at LinuxMint 18.1, dubbed Serena. We found a solid operating system that can run into problems in edge case scenarios.

Mint offers a number of user interface options, keeping each variant in sync with a release.

Part of Linux Mint’s appeal is as an alternative to Canonical’s Ubuntu, which features the unpopular Unity interface. Last week, Canonical announced it was killing Unity and returning to Gnome, which Mint offers as well, which should make things interesting going forward.

Mint 18.1 offers Ubuntu Long Term Service and an updated Linux 4.4 kernel, so updates and support come largely from Ubuntu repositories, which are fast to react to issues, all guaranteed to be supported until 2021. Although we had nearly daily updates to our test installations, the problems we found were unrelated to patches and fixes. Rather, our problems were partially user interface, and partially the ongoing problems of XWindows, drivers, and how combinations adapt to differing kinds of hardware.

Generic hardware works great in terms of finding the right choices at installation of various features. When we added interesting USB drivers, we were usually rewarded with instant functionality within each flavor of LinuxMint, right down to the recently released KDE version, always the last one to be adapted to a new version of LinuxMint.

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