Updated: January 4, 2016
The R naming tradition continues. Linux Mint 17.3 comes with Rosa as its official title, and it is the latest release in this rather successful family of distros. Steady, stable, quite predictable, Mint has been in the top of the chart for a while, and quite often Dedoimedo's favorite. Rafaela, the previous edition, did quite well, almost taking the perfect score in the review.
Time to see if Rosa can deliver. After all, this distro season has been awful so far. Pretty much all and every release sucked big time, with some monumental regressions all over the place. Even openSUSE with Plasma couldn't redeem the situation. Horrible. But maybe Mint can save the day? Shall we?
Kiss from a Rosa
Booted fine, UEFI, Secure Boot, GPT and such notwithstanding, as it ought to be. The desktop is familiar, green and silver and gray, Mint's staple look & feel. Immediately, I set about exploring. The very first step is to copy some files off Samba shares to begin the multimedia compatibility testing.
Networking - The Reign of Suck is back
The copy procedure of five MP3 songs and a single WebM HD video stalled completely, and wouldn't complete in any way, shape or form. Likewise, trying to discover and print to my Samba printer wasn't working either. I copied these files from another internal distro partition and did the multimedia step instead while waiting for Rosa to calm down and let me begin using the network shares again. Now and then, this kind of glitch would happen, so I wasn't stressing too much yet, although the agitation levels were rising.
Weirdly, MP3 songs do not launch by default in either VLC or Banshee, both of which have the panel volume button thingie integration. You have to manually fire them up this way, and then you will get some lovely and improved artwork on your desktop. The same does not apply for videos, though, which show up without any fancy stuff.
Networking - Dead
A few minutes later, Mint would still not do any fancy Samba-ing. At this point, I learned that I had no network at all. The Realtek bug or whatever variation thereof was back to haunt me, or some random unrelated crap regression had been introduced into the system. Whatever the reason, the network was completely dead, and the only way to recover was to reboot, and start a fresh new live session test. Coincidentally, possibly for the same reason, Cinnamon was not willing to remove mounted volumes icons from the desktop.
I restarted the computer. Rosa booted fine. Then, I learned the Touchpad was all fidgety and all too sensitive, something that normally did not affect me too much. But I redid my attempt to copy files from the Samba shares. This time, the system did not even bother trying. It just seized. The network was dead again. Completely. Within seconds of reaching the live session.
There's so much good will and patience that I can spare. But just to be on the safe side, I rebooted into Rafaela, which resides happily on the laptop's hard disk. I tried a bunch of copy operations worth several hundred MB both ways, small and big files. I even copied photos off an iPhone directly onto an NTFS-formatted Samba share via Wireless. Not a single glitch. The hardware works beautifully. It's the autumn crop of Ubuntu-based distributions that sucks major, major, major time. Stupid regressions that warrant electrocution.
I have decided. From now on, no more mercy. I am not going to waste my time and patience and good mood trying to debug stupidity anymore. If and when any distribution starts its live test session with so much as a tiniest network-related glitch, be it Samba, printing, a copy operation or anything or that sort, I will terminate the testing immediately and report back with the most scathing review and a perfect zero score. I've had enough of this half-assed QA, rushed releases, and problems that do not belong in 2015. Bloody Samba copy. Network bugs that I had reported nine months ago and have been floating around the Web for a solid couple of years. GTFO.
To my great disappointment, but not entirely surprisingly, Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa sucks, just like the rest of them. All of them. The most horrible season of distros there ever was this side of the Necromancer multiverse. All the hard work and love, gone in one fell swoop of neglect. Creating distributions is a responsibility. It's not a jerkfest competition who gets their git commit in faster. Yes, blame Realtek. It's always someone ELSE's responsibility. My day is ruined now, thank you. Rosa, 0/10. Total fail. Next please.
P.S. Adding this little comment a few days after I wrote the article and CALMED down - I will probably give Rosa another chance eventually, the same way I did with openSUSE, Fedora and friends. However, my initial impression stays. What makes everything even more disappointing is that Rosa is based on the LTS crop, so we shouldn't be seeing too much pain and trouble. Alas, whatever has changed under the hood hath ate my hamster. Regressions are like a kick to the gonads. The full effect does not immediately register. But I'm still hurting on the inside. Still hurting.