By Martin Jansen, Owner Jansen-PCINFO
February 26, 2019
In my over 30 years of working with computers, I have worked with many operating systems (OS). My first computer was a Commodore VIC-20 which used BASIC as an OS. I wrote my thesis on a Commodore 64 which extended the OS word processing, spreadsheets and games.
Later, I purchased my first IBM compatible using MS-DOS. After graduating from college I worked on the first “luggable” computer by Compaq at the Red Cross. I was their untrained “computer guy.” Later, this lead me to a large insurance company where I learned IBM OS/2 Warp. I still have an old T-Shirt that proudly proclaims “I’ve been Warped.”
Around this time, I started experimenting with Linux. Linux is actually a UNIX variant created by Linus Torvalds back in 1991. If you read his background on Wikipedia, his experiences are similar to my own. Linux is an open source OS under the GNU General Public License allowing others to modify and create their own operating systems. If you go to Distrowatch, you can see hundreds of different OSes available for download.
While my work life was involved working on Windows operating systems, my home life revolved around different Linux variants. I experimented with SUSE, Caldera OpenLinux, Mandriva Linux and others. In 2004 a new OS was released called Ubuntu. I became an early adopter of the OS and followed it downloading and installing new versions as they became available.
This brings me to Linux Mint which became available in 2006. It is based on Ubuntu using the vast software resources which Ubuntu has developed. It features a very traditional desktop environment friendly to experienced and novice users alike. For instance, left click on the LM icon in the lower left corner and you are presented with a list of software you can use.
Speaking of software, there is a huge list available through the Ubuntu repositories. In the original download you have a complete Office Suite of programs for productivity called LibreOffice. Also included is a list of utilities for back up, file management, file viewing and update management.
Unlike Windows, Linux Mint lets the user decide when to update the system for security reasons and updates are handled without rebooting the operating system. This results in an operating system that is extremely reliable with high availability. The uptime on my computer system is often weeks in a row without having to restart the system. Linux Mint rarely “freezes” and never presents the infamous “blue screen of death.”
Over the years Linux Mint has improved and become a great operating system for most people. With so many software programs going “online” there is simply no reason to stay with Windows. You can try it before commiting by downloading a copy and boot from a USB stick. Here is a lengthy video showing how. Another shorter video which shows “live mode” is here.