Linux Mint 19 Tara
I've been running Linux Mint on my laptop for about a year or so. Until switching to Mint, I had kept a Windows partition to run along side Ubuntu and various other distros. The majority of my time would be in Linux, but I kept Windows for games and a stable fall back (in case I installed a distro and it went south). I also didn't like Unity in Ubuntu, so I would run other desktops, which seemed to cause more issues. I don't remember when exactly, but at some point I decided to try Linux Mint and absolutely loved it. About a year ago I bought a new SSD and only installed Linux Mint. No more Windows partition. It's been amazing. Linux Mint is sleek desktop and the most stable OS I've ever ran. I run the Cinnamon edition. Back in June, Linux Mint released version 19, which uses a Ubuntu 18.04 as its base packages. I've always been eager to install new versions of my OS, even running alphas and betas. This time I was more cautious, because Mint 18 was so stable and I didn't have a fallback if something went wrong with an upgrade.
The Thought Process
Yesterday I learned Linux Mint 19.1 should be released next month, so I began to get more curious about upgrading to 19. Most upgrade issues seemed to be resolved months ago and my hardware isn't all that old. I decided I'd rather upgrade to 19 now, so I can upgrade directly to 19.1 when it is released. I ran the installer test and it didn't report any errors. Let's do this!
I used a tutorial for the upgrade, because I had read it would be a little more complicated than just clicking an upgrade button. I ran the command line commands, updated packages, downloaded everything, and ran the install. Unfortunately, it kept stopping with errors. I decided to start it over and, this time, when I updated the packages, I noticed the Mint Upgrade Manager showed I had an update. I ran the update, which happened to be of the Update Manager. When it refreshed all of the updated packages for Mint 19 showed up in the Updates list. I refreshed it (for good measure), and clicked Install. This time it kept going, for a while, no errors. Finally it finished and I was pretty nervous, but there were no signs of trouble.
Reboot / First Impressions
Still nervous, I shut down the laptop and turned it back on. Bam, it worked! The new desktop design is even sleeker and very polished. Cinnamon seems to be more responsive (thanks to a bug fix I read about months ago) and resource usage is basically zero on idle. It feels like an upgrade, which, honestly, I hadn't felt with most OS' in a while.
Well, it's only been a day, but so far: YES. Linux Mint 19 is beautiful, fast, and the easiest Linux distro I've ever used. It's stable, because it's not cutting edge, but it's stable. I loved Linux Mint 18, 19 is no drop off at all.
One day I want to try another Mint edition, LMDE, which is based on Debian instead of Ubuntu. I feel LMDE will one day be Linux Mint. I was very tempted this time to give it a try, but I don't have as much time to install OS' over and over as I once did. I'll try it one day, even if it's just on a usb or a temporary disk swap. In the meantime, if you aren't using Linux Mint...do it.
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