[This is the sixth in an eight-part series on distros I use. These observations are based on distros running on one or more of the following hardware: Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop, an brandless Pentium III-based desktop, an IBM PL 300 Pentium II, an iMac G3 (Indigo) and an iBook G3. As the auto commercials say, your mileage may vary.]
This started out as observations about Linux Mint Cassandra 3.0 Xfce. However, not having been to the Linux Mint site recently, I visited last week and noticed Clement Lefebvre and the crew at Linux Mint had brought another “woman” — Daryna — with the brand spanking new Xfce 4.4.1 desktop. So Cassandra has company in these observations because the Xfce version of Daryna is available.
[The Linux Mint naming convention is interesting. As I'm told, it goes alphabetically by woman's first name with the last letter of the name ending in "a" so Ada was followed by Bianca, which was followed by Cassandra, followed by the current Daryna (next, um, Edwina? Eliza? Emma?). Apparently when they reach Z (Zelda?) they will start at women's names beginning with "a" again, but then end the name with a different letter, although I don't know if the name will end in a "b" . . . .]
So while I have not tested Daryna extensively — and I don’t think that Daryna’s Xfce version is final and two days of fiddling does not qualify for a thorough test — I can say, at first look, that Daryna is both solid and impressive. I did not go the Compiz route on this one — as a self-proclaimed (and proud of it) “old guy,” I don’t mind having a desktop that is two dimensional and, if I had my druthers, they would all be 2-D — however with 256 MB of RAM under the hood, Daryna Xfce still works adequately and quickly on a Pentium III desktop.
Probably the most impressive features that comes with Daryna — and a couple of very cool improvements on any distro I’ve seen — are the MintInstall and MintUpdate features, the latter of which allows a security level that lets the user know how safe programs are to apply. “Safe,” of course, is subjective here, but it serves as a good indicator to those who might be new to the distro in particular, or new to GNU/Linux in general.
Before the building fire in what was once my office (none of my stuff was damaged, although some of the boxes have a smoky, barbeque scent to them), I used to use a desktop PIII with Cassandra Xfce on it. One of the reasons that I haven’t been around at Linux Mint was that I was completely happy with Cassandra Xfce, which suited my purposes. But what happens? Along comes Daryna and she completely sweeps this distro polygamist off his feet.
[The irony of this observation coming out on Valentine's Day is probably not lost on the more astute of you out there.]
So coupling Daryna with Xfce — even though this version also comes in GNOME, KDE and Fluxbox versions — is a natural, and as I mentioned yesterday in the gNewSense item, Ireland is doing itself proud in the FOSS department by providing the world with solid distros.
Thanks, Clement and Linux Minters.
Coming tomorrow: Xubuntu 6.10
(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)