What is Ubuntu with a better usable desktop? One answer to this heretic question is Linux Mint! And here we have the Swiss knife distro as a Mint 13 VMware image with Xfce and Tools. Mint aims to be the complete out of the box experience with all tools, addons, codecs, and plugins already installed. On top of that our image has also the VM Tools integrated.
Why did we chose Xfce? Linux Mint comes today with:
Mate, a fork or successor of Gnome 2 that preserves the qualities of this era. Simple desktop and classic start menu.
Cinnamon, a fork of Gnome 3 – the Gnome Shell – but with additions that make it actually usable. A shell alone seems not to be enough and the Mint team is not alone with this opinion.
LXDE, the lightweight desktop that is also remarkable swift.
Xfce, which is also lightweight and swift, but perhaps a bit more mature than LXDE.
And that is also the reason why we chose Xfce for the Linux Mint image. A swift and stable desktop that adheres to classic principles.
Here is a list of all current top distros canned into a VMware image from Traffic Tool that have an ergonomic desktop:
- Lubuntu 12.04 LTS with VMware Tools has the fine LXDE integrated. This one is an image of the original Ubuntu distro, officially supported by them for five years and using the same repositories as the main distro. There is just one difference, and that is the replacement of the dreaded Unity desktop with LXDE.
- Mint 13 with Tools convinces with its completeness and mature Xfce desktop. Linux Mint is built on top of Ubuntu and shares roughly the same contents of the repos. This one has also the five years of Ubuntu support.
- Mageia 2 comes with KDE and a strictly hierarchical start menu. It is a descendant from Mandriva Linux and a completely free open source project. Instead of the Debian/Ubuntu repos it uses its own RPM-based package repos. Essentially that means it inherits the ease of use from Mandriva, but shakes of its commercial drawbacks.
- openSUSE 12.2 has also KDE and is one of the grand old distros that is still around and the favorite of many.
- Debian 6 with VMware Tools is a few month older and uses the Gnome 2 desktop. Stability and security are combined with a desktop that can actually be used in this VMware appliance.
On Distrowatch Mageia takes currently the second spot while Ubuntu comes in third. Remarkable, but there is a reason. Try it yourself and compare the Ubuntu 12.04 image with our magic Mageia 2 VMware appliance and you will most likely understand why Ubuntu had lost ground.