I'm a little less than impressed with Mint 12 so far. I'll try to reserve total judgement until the final version is released, but usually an RC is pretty close to what we can expect.
The live CD boots straight to the desktop now, the same as the recent Ubuntu releases. The first thing I noticed - the lack of any menus. I played around with it, you really can't do much of anything. Maybe things will get better after it's actually installed....
Installation seemed pretty routine:
until I tried to partition the hard drive. For some reason, it kept refusing to resize the root partition to allow free space for a swap partition.
But finally after struggling with it for a while, I found it would allow resizing the partition if I increased the amount of resulting free space from the 4GB I was originally attempting to over 5GB. I then was able to create a swap partition using the resulting free space:
Here's the logon screen after the first boot. It looks a lot like Ubuntu's:
Here are the logon options. It defaults to Gnome on the first boot:
Here's the desktop with 'Gnome'. As with the live CD, there's no menus, not really much you can do that's obvious:
Opening the home folder gives you this. You can't move the window around at all,
or resize it. It's fixed just like it is, because it's not a window.
Now here's how it looks with Mate. There's a bottom panel now, and a menu. But not a very impressive menu, compared to what we normally get from Mint:
But at least it can be customized a bit, even if with a few issues:
Panel transparency works, but it's either all the way on, or all the way off, you can't adjust it:
This is all about Mate:
Mate is supposed to be very configurable. This is apparently the tool to use for that purpose - the Configuration Editor:
It may require spending some time playing with the options
Finally I tried Gnome Classic. This gives you a desktop with a top panel and menu, but once again, just a basic standard Gnome menu, and the panel cannot be customised. You also cannot customise much of anything else, other than the wallpaper. You can launch the Configuration Editor, but in the brief time I spent with it I couldn't find anyway to mod very much of Gnome itself.
LMDE is looking more and more like a better option all the time. I don't understand the new obsession in the GUI world with restriction. At least Mate does make it more tolerable, and it'll probably get better over time. But the sad thing is that we even need an overlay like Mate.