Last couple of weekends I played with Linux distributions – again and again. First I downloaded Mandriva One (update: it is no longer active), installed it and deleted it, as I found it to be without video and audio codecs. MandrivaOne is a free version of Mandriva distribution, so I guess you have to buy the full version before you can listen to music and watch video. I didn’t want to use a lot of time on it, so I removed it from my laptop. Actually, it is really too bad, since it looks very polished and user-friendly. Although I have used Linux (not continuously, though) since 2003, I really do not have time nor interest in fiddling with terminal and back-end files. Really. So, my quest for an user-friendly Linux distribution continued.
I downloaded OpenSuse and installed it on my Inspiron 6400 laptop. The installation went well, the overall feel was great. OpenSuse felt as a most complete distribution I ever saw. Navigation was easy, making changes too. Everything was perfect. Well, almost. I had only one regular problem – I couldn’t get my wireless card to work, which is crucial for me.
So, I decided to try the new Linux Mint, an Ubuntu-derived distribution with many codecs included. Although I installed a beta version of Mint Bianca 2.2., I was surprised to see how stable and complete the distribution was. Watching DVD’s – check. Listening to mp3’s and wma’s – yessir. Flash – yep, Java – aha. I have to mention the great mintWiFi, which found my wireless card. I just had to write in my password and SSID name and it worked.
After a couple of weeks, I am still having Linux Mint on my laptop. I hope my quest will stop here with Mint (and Ubuntu). I am not sure if I will keep Linux on my laptop, but I am more and more sure that Linux will be in a nearer future a fine alternative to Windows. It’s already for many users.