Linux Mint: from Rafaela to Rosa


Updated: January 16, 2016

You know I love Linux Mint. It is one of my favorite distros. Which made the Rosa disappointment all the more shocking. It was so bad it was almost a Rosawell Accident. See what I did there? Never mind, I have calmed down since, and now we're trying Mint 17.3 once again. Only this time, in a slightly different fashion.

Rather than booting from a live USB or whatnot, I am going to attempt an in-vivo upgrade, which is something that usually didn't work quite that well in the past. Linux Mint abstained from this thorny path for many years. Its parent Ubuntu sucked for a while, with dodgy upgrades, and then eventually Ubuntu worked just fine. So this is going to be a rather interesting exercise. Shall we?

Rafaela, first steps

Update your system to the max. Good. Click Edit in the Update Manager menu. Good. Here comes the upgrade. You are presented with a simple wizard, which will inform you about the upgrade, notify you of the changes, new things and release notes for Rosa, warn you of the possibility that things may break, and then proceed with the upgrade.

System up to date

Menu, upgrade option

Wizard intro

Requirements

To my great surprise, the whole thing took less than 10 minutes. All of it. Rafaela changed its sources, pulled a handful of packages, upgraded the system, and then congratulated me on the completion of that task. That's it? Well, amazing. But how it should be.

Working, downloading

Upgrade underway

Upgrade complete

Reboot into Rosa

One of the things that I noticed is - there's no ugly virtual console text intruding into the splash screen anywhere. Very professional. This is something that few distros manage to pull off successfully. But Rosa does. Finally! The desktop took a little while showing up, though.

Desktop

System info

It turns out one of my extensions is NOT supported in Rosa. Flipper. Well, that is something to take into account when upgrading. But I would expect a wider, more coordinated community effort to prevent things like this. However, that seems to be the only problem in the new operating system. So far. Cinnamon was working, and it looked just like before, stylish and polished and slick.

Broken extension

Flipper not compatible

A tour of Rosa

I tried a few things to get a better impression of what has changed, if anything. The update manager did ask me to switch to a local, faster mirror, which is really neat. All my programs were working correctly, including fun stuff like VLC, Steam, Skype, LibreOffice, and all the rest. Speed, performance and battery usage are all identical to Rafaela, which is rather expected. Nothing seem to be missing or misbehaving.

Local mirrors

Apps

Well, Bluetooth decided to suck. I was unable to detect any one device. I tried with Ubuntu Phone and iPhone, and while they did see each other, they did not see the laptop, nor could the G50 discover them. So this might be a beginning of a regression, and I'm not really sure why or how. But that would seem to be the only other real issue I discovered after the upgrade.

Bluetoth does not work

Resource utilization remains virtually unchanged at about 650 MB. This isn't a low figure, but it's not astronomical, and the CPU is fairly quiet. All in all, the good things that made Rafaela the top performer of 2015 remain here. It is so unfortunate that I was unable to get this lovely impression while testing Rosa from a live USB, due to the frequent network hangs. Then, the Bluetooth issue is also something that deducts from the near perfect score Rafaela had. Something did go ever so slightly wrong in the process.

Resources

Samba speed, good! And that would be all, folks.

Fast Samba speed

Conclusion

Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa is almost identical to Rafaela, and this consistency is a key part of the steady, practical, predictable Mint experience. The upgrade was phenomenally fast, and everything seems to be in order, except one small thing - Bluetooth. For some reason, Mint is fighting hard against my desire to put it on the pedestal as the perfect distro. Rosa sure isn't as good and slick as Rafaela, all considered. Might be just luck.

Rosa got a zero score because of the network glitches, and now, just because of the Bluetooth problems, the grade is only about 9/10, less than what Rafaela had. Still, it's a pretty darn good distro, with an excellent combination of stability, looks, and functionality. If you're wondering, then you might as well upgrade or test, just remember that Bluetooth might no longer work. I haven't explored this in depth, but it seems to be another one of autumn naughties. All in all, Mint is back in the game. Faith in Linux restored. Take care.

Cheers.

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