Reviewing every aspect of the Linux Mint Katya!

Linux Mint 11 “Katya” , the newest flavor of Linux Mint was released shortly. Katya in Russian ( Катя) is a feminine given name. It is a Russian diminutive form of Yekaterina, which is a Russian form of Katherine. The word (Katya) has Greek origins meaning “Pure”. Linux Mint 11 features upstream components like Ubuntu 11.04 (the Natty Narwhal), Xorg 7.6. and  Linux 2.6.38. It will use Gnome 2.32 as its default desktop and won’t use Unity. This spanking new version is loaded with many new features. In this post we will review all the brand-new things you will find in Katya!

The Katya version of Linux Mint brings fine enhancements and additional features to make your computing at ease. Let’s review the major upgrades!

The Software Manager

The first thing you will notice are the improvements in software manager!

  • A splash screen, a nice, clean animation will appear when you launch it.
  • The software manager has a new interface!
  • The icons are larger.
  • A new category “Font” is introduced!
  • Let’s say you want to install an application. Then the Software manager will exhibit a simulation or a preview about the application. Besides that, the software manager will display information about the package helping you to decide whether to install it or not. Information includes what package will be installed or uninstall; and related information like size of data that will be downloaded, space that the package will occupy on drive and impact on other packages. // A feature that was available on ubuntu but was not available on Mint.
  • You can also leave comments about the package.
  • You will see icons from mintinstall-icons packages and also from icon theme and generated at the runtime if required. Therefore now you will see more icons in the panel than before irrespective of mintinstall-icon is installed or not.Finally the search is made better and much more accurate. This is because the software manager not only searches package names but also in their summary. Though this might make your search bit slow but it indeed produces much more accurate results. (You can change the preferences as suits you)

The Update Manager

Substantial improvements are made to the update manager! Let’s look closely:

  • Faster Update manager with Rules embedded: At a glance you will notice that the update manager is much faster now. Originally when you used open the update manager it searched for latest rules telling you how to safely update packages. Now, however the rules are embedded in the update manager, whenever a new rule appears, a newer version of update manager is released. In such a case, the update manager will ignore any other updates and update itself. Once updates the manager will restart, thus you will always have updated manager with all the new rules embedded. So now when you will open the update manager in Linux mint, the manager will only look for updates and will not search for rules, making it faster than before.
  • Removeal of details about package dependencies: Also the annoying details about the dependencies that get updated are omitted. The manager will now only show the packages that get updates and not their dependencies. In case the upgrade of any package needs additional changes to your system a dialog pops up. The dialog with give you a summary to show you which packages will be installed or removed.
  • Update Window will close automatically: After updating a package, now there is no need to press the Ok or CLOSE button to close the window, the manager will do it automatically for you!
  • You will not be bothered by any Warnings and info tabs that used to appear for updates without warning or additional information.
  • Changelogs are downloaded in the background and hence their retrieval is more reliable and they look much more clean.
  • Besides that you will also notice some nice enhancements to GUI of the upgrade manager.

The Desktop’s Setting Tools!

Another things worth mentioning is the “The desktop’s settings tool” Let’s have a deeper look!

  • The Desktop Settings tool is now “desktop-agnostic” that is it now detect which desktop is running and will show settings specific to that desktop. It is expected to be used in all the future versions of Linux Mint and offer additional settings to KDE, Xfce, LXDE and Fluxbox users.
  • Control what you want to show on desktop what not. Small tweaks like “show icon on menu” “show icon on buttons”, button labels, icon size etc  in the interface tab.
  • You can disable/enable the fortune cookies that for some people were lame jokes

The Artwork improvements

The major changes are:

  • Linux Mint 11 uses the same GTK and icon themes as the previous release
  • Additional quality background (“Spring”, “Bubbles” and “Bring me to life” , and photographs) are available!

System improvements

Adobe Flash: Now with Linux Mint Katya, on 32-bit systems, you can now install the stable Flash 10.2 and Beta Flash 10.3 plugin separately and easily switch between them while on 64-bit systems, the Adobe Flash “Square” plugin runs in native 64-bit.

Interesting Software Changes!

You will find some Software changes. The software selection is based on scores inputted by the community in the Software Manager. Prominent software changes include:

  • LibreOffice replaces as the default office suite, gThumb replaces F-Spot as the default photo application, while Banshee replaces Rhythmbox as the default music player.
  • You won’t find adevchooser, paman, paprefs, pavumeter and pavucontrol by default.

Besides the above stated changes prominent enhancement include improvement in the graphical user interface

  • Application screens visually improved in appearance.
  • Application screens also have an improved layout
  • Linux Mint 11 inherits the upstream overlay scrollbars and enables them by default that will pop-up at the outside as you scroll.
  • Brand new radio buttons in the Mint-X theme! Also you will see better integration with Deluge, Synaptic, Gimp and Banshee.
  • The desktop is cleaner with no unnecessary items making the overall user experience much better!
  • Mint add-on plug-in is integrated in Firefox 4, Opera and Chromium; the plug-in is refined, bugs are fixed and one can use them to search other popular websites like you tube , Wikipedia, flicker, eBay, Yahoo, Amazon etc.

Still not enough? You can have a look at this video! This will give you a more deeper look at the 64-bit dvd version of Mint 11!