Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya MATE Complete Review

linux mint 18.2 sonya mate review

​So let us agree on this, Linux Mint is the best Linux desktop around. Linux Mint in 2017 is what Ubuntu used to be in 2008. With Cinnamon and MATE desktops, Linux Mint is simple and intuitive for new users and has gained widespread applause, appreciation, usage, and popularity.
While the Cinnamon edition has been targeted at modern computers and users who prefer a more modern desktop. It is much more graphics intensive and requires greater resources, which can be difficult for some computers to handle. And thus comes the MATE edition. Mate was on the once popular Gnome 2 desktop environment.  It requires less intensive graphics and works much better on older computers. So how good is the MATE edition of Linux Mint? Let us find out.
linux mint mate desktop

Download and Installation Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya

Installing Linux distros are becoming as easy as it can be. Download Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya edition from here then go ahead and make a bootable disc or USB with tools such as Etcher on Linux or Rufus on Windows. The ISO allows you to test drive the distro in a live mode before installing. There is even an OEM install option to allow OEMs to easily set up new computers with Mint ready for use.
linux mint grub menu

The installing process is very simple and straightforward. All you have to do is set up your location, keyboard and language preferences, specify your partitions and create your user accounts. The process won’t last more than a couple of minutes before your new desktop is ready for use.
partition hard disk to install linux mint mate

The Desktop

Upon bootup, you will be presented with a very clean desktop with a few icons on the top left corner.  On the bottom of the desktop is the panel which houses the App Menu and some quick launch icons on the left and a notification area to the right.
linux mint 18.2 sonya mate

The MATE Desktop was designed by enthusiasts who preferred the quality of the GNOME2 desktop which was the default on Ubuntu before the switch to Unity. It provides users with a familiar and traditional desktop that works much like Cinnamon or WIndows XP or 7. 

linux mint sonya application menu

Linux Mint 18.2 features a brand new login screen. It uses the LightDM display manager by default along with the “Slick” greeter and the “LightDM Settings” configuration tool.
linux mint login screen

Available Software in Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya

Linux Mint 18.2 features a very good selection of apps and software. It is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and comes with Linux kernel 4.8. Other applications include LibreOffices 5, GIMP Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. There are also a selection of X apps particularly designed for Linux Mint such as Xed, Xplayer and Xreader.
linux mint photo viewer

You can always easily add more software with the ever useful Sofware Manager
software center in linux mint sonya

Customization

Like most Linux distros, Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya allows for customization and tweaking. You can customize Linux Mint MATE with the use of themes. By default, there are variants of the Mint X and the follow-up Mint Y themes provided. There are the dark and darker variants as well as Pink, Purple, Red, Sand and Teal colors to match the lighter themes.
install themes in linux mint

background wallpaper in linux mint

You can also customize things such as the Window borders, the controls, icons, and pointer.
customize look linux mint

You may add more themes by going online to further tweak things up. You may also customize the bottom panel by moving around to different positions. You may auto hide it or shrink it to a smaller dock-like panel to the center. You may also change the background of the panel to a solid color or a picture of your choosing.

Compiz Effects

You also get the CompizConfig Settings Manager which allows you to configure Compiz for the MATE desktop. Compiz allows you to customize your desktop with effects such as Desktop Cube, Fade to Desktop, Rotate desktop, 3D Windows and so much more allowing you to bring some fancy to your desktop if you wish so.
ccsm advanced graphic customizer

One thing that surprised me was that the amount of customization and tweaking was not up to that provided by Ubuntu MATE that we looked at a while back, considering that the MATE desktop was first developed for this distro. The guys on the Ubuntu MATE flavor adds a MATE tweak tool allowing you further customization and maybe it should become part of the MATE DE.

Updates and Upgrades

One of the advantages of Linux Mint over other distros especially Ubuntu is the way it handles updates. With optional Update settings, users can choose between upgrading everything, only the essentials or a balance between the two.
update linux mint

select updates in linux mint

Users on Linux Mint 18.1 can easily upgrade to 18.2 Sony. Within a few minutes of downloading about 200mb of updates and installation, your system will be operating optimally with a small downtime and with no broken packages or software.
upgrade linux mint

Users of Linux Mint version 18.1 can easily upgrade to the 18.2 using the Update Manager.

Control Center

The Control Center provides a one-stop shop for configuring your system. Everything from the administration, hardware, internet settings, default applications to look and feel can all be accessed from here. You can customize your login window, users, and groups, disks, Bluetooth and more.
linux mint control center

Others

Linux Mint Cinnamon is a pretty fast but the MATE edition is even faster. On modern PCs, you will hardly encounter your computer even slowing down for a moment and your old PC will run like a new machine. You can always expect at least a decent performance from Linux Mint MATE even on a very old PC.

Download Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” MATE

Conclusion

​Linux Mint MATE edition is just another awesome flavor of the Linux Mint experience. It is all at all the same as the Cinnamon edition packing the same packages and applications. Even though it is designed to be more conservative, it is just as attractive and functional as far as desktops go. If you have an older computer, the MATE edition of Linux Mint is a great choice to go with. Thanks for reading and share your thoughts and experience with us.

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