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Looking at the release candidate of Mint 6 to see how well it works as an enterprise desktop.

I recently wrote up a post on my personal blog about installing Mint 6 RC1 on my Acer Aspire One. This is a followup to that one, with the focus shifted from personal to professional use.

Evolution

I noted in a previous post that I had very good success with Ubuntu 8.10 and Evolution 2.24. Since Mint 6 is based off Ubuntu 8.10, I would expect that the results would be similar. There is room for doubt though, because as I noted in my personal blog, Mint 6 does act differently about a few things than Ubuntu 8.10. For sanity, I did a comparison between the packages I have installed on the Ubuntu 8.10 system and the new Mint 6 system. Here is Ubuntu 8.10:

 

ii  evolution                                   2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii evolution-common                            2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii evolution-data-server                       2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii evolution-data-server-common                2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii evolution-dbg                               2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii evolution-exchange                          2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii evolution-exchange-dbg                      2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii evolution-plugins                           2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii evolution-rss                               0.1.0-1ubuntu2
ii evolution-webcal                            2.24.0-0ubuntu1
rc libcamel1.2-13                              2.24.0-0ubuntu3
ii libcamel1.2-14                              2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii libebackend1.2-0                            2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii libebook1.2-9                               2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii libecal1.2-7                                2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii libedata-book1.2-2                          2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii libedata-cal1.2-6                           2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii libedataserver1.2-11                        2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii libedataserverui1.2-8                       2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii mail-notification-evolution                 5.4.dfsg.1-1build1
ii nautilus-sendto                             1.1.0-0ubuntu1

 

Here are the ones from Mint 6 RC1

 

ii  evolution                                 2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii  evolution-common                          2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii  evolution-data-server                     2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  evolution-data-server-common              2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  evolution-data-server-dbg                 2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  evolution-dbg                             2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii  evolution-exchange                        2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  evolution-plugins                         2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii  evolution-plugins-experimental            2.24.1-0ubuntu2
ii  evolution-webcal                          2.24.0-0ubuntu1
ii  libcamel1.2-14                            2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libebackend1.2-0                          2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libebook1.2-9                             2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libecal1.2-7                              2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libedata-book1.2-2                        2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libedata-cal1.2-6                         2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libedataserver1.2-11                      2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libedataserverui1.2-8                     2.24.1-0ubuntu1
ii  libevolution3.0-cil                       0.17.5-0ubuntu1
ii  mail-notification-evolution               5.4.dfsg.1-1build1
ii  nautilus-sendto                           1.1.0-0ubuntu1
ii  openoffice.org-evolution                   1:2.4.1-11ubuntu2

 

Not that this makes a difference, but Ubuntu is installed on a Dell 745 desktop, and Mint 6 is on a Dell D620 laptop. Evolution is not an application that should care about such things though. The Mint and Ubuntu packages match in all their core parts: Mint does not change anything from Ubuntu so I expected that Mint will work just as well as Ubuntu in the office.

 

Mint does change one thing about Evolution, and that is that they do not install it by default. Thunderbird is the email client of choice for Mint. Hard to argue with, except I need Evolution and the exchange connector. Ubuntu 8.10 installs Evo, but not the "evolution-exchange" package. Either way, I have to tweak out the install with Synaptic or apt-get in order to have my MS Exchange 2003 resources available on my Linux desktop.

 

Evolution works exactly the same in both places. It has the same problems too, such as having trouble figuring out what the mail folder index should look like if I do a mass delete in one place. The other instance of Evolution often never sees the delete correctly, and loses track of what is in the INBOX folder. I wrote about this back in February, and nothing has changed. It is very annoying but not life threatening. I just delete the mail folder index, and everything re-syncs from MS Exchange. It would be nice if there was a resync button, or even better if it would detect that it lost sync and do it itself. Probably all of this is moot though, since focus appears to be on MAPI Exchange server access for 2.26 of Evolution.

 

I should note that in the comments section of my post about Ubuntu 8.10 there is a comment titled "Non-crashing evolution?  I don't believe it"                  

                  

Posted by hyrcan, the post says that they have not been able to get Evolution to work for them against MS Exchange 2003.
I have no explanation. I have done nothing special, installed nothing special, nor am I aware of our MS Exchange admins doing anything special to make it work better. There is a clear difference in success, but I have no idea why. I would be more than happy to try and work through a triage effort to see if we can figure that out though.


OpenOffice.org

 

Both Ubuntu 8.10 and Mint 6 RC1 ship OOo 2.4.1 with the the addition that they have the ability to read and write to Office 2007 formatted documents. This is because they reached ahead and grabbed the Go-oo patch set, so 2.4.1 from Ubuntu 8.10 and Mint 6 has one of the big new features of 3.0 included. I have not seen many office 2007 documents yet, but I am glad I can already deal with them

I was disappointed enough about 3.0 on Ubuntu that I went ahead and added a repository and added it. I did not do this on Mint though. 2.4.1 is more stable nad I am thinking about backing 3.0 off Ubuntu. The whole reason why they did not put 3.0 on Ubuntu is here:

 

http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/14433/

Developer comments
Unfortunately, since the final release of OpenOffice 3 was delayed, there was not enough testing time to include it by default in Intrepid.
OpenOffice 3.0.1, to be released on Dec. 2, is a bugfix only release and should prove to be much more stable than the current release. This release will be available on the backport repository.
More infos:
http://www.tectonic.co.za/?p=3447

 

Mint 6 appears to have followed the same path that Ubuntu chose, and stayed away from OOo 3 for now, even though they shipped enough after both the Ubuntu 8.10 and the OOo 3 releases that they could have included it if they had thought it wise.


Active Content

 

I have never really talked about things like flash and media player being things that an office desktop should or has to do. I'd be willing to bet that there are many IT departments that keep such things very locked down. On the other hand, in the Web 2.0, active content world we live in, being able to access active content or watch short movies (say, internal training programs or the like) is probably required. This was always one of the reasons I liked Mint so well. It made content a no-brainer. Flash was already installed. Many of the non-free non-Open Source stuff that so many Linux distros (like Fedora) steer clear of like the plague are installed and ready to go.

 

Turns out Ubuntu has made real strides there as well. As a test (and I hope the IT guys don't swoop in on me) I played the new Star Trek Trailer on both the Ubuntu and Mint machines. it worked on both, but it loaded faster on Mint. This is cool, because the ST trailer is in Quicktime format. I did not do anything special. It just worked.


Hardware Support

 

Ubuntu 8.10 works extremely well on the Dell 745 desktop, and Mint 6 works extremely well on the Dell D620 laptop. Each has their own challenges. The Dell desktop has an Nvidia graphics card and two monitors. the laptop is... well... a laptop. Wireless works out of the box and is the Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 3945ABG. Intel and Atheros are my two favorite wireless vendors, because their stuff usually just works under Linux.

 

Both systems enabled Compiz by default and it works in both places without issue, even though the laptop has the relatively speaking graphics-challenged Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS. I say it is graphics challenged, but Compiz works without any issues at all, so I guess it is good enough!

Volume up/down buttons on the laptop are enabled by default, and that is always very nice to see. Those special laptop buttons are often orphaned.

Mint 6, even in its RC version, appears to just work at work.