Linux Mint 13 “Maya”: A Very Stable Release With Long-Term Support

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linux mint mayaThe “Linux release season” is starting to come to an end as the last few major distributions are coming out with their latest release, most notably Linux Mint. This time around the Linux Mint developers have released version 13, codenamed “Maya”. As far as major releases go, Linux Mint 13 doesn’t have a whole lot to offer as far as changes are concerned, but it is still a very solid update that rides on Ubuntu 12.04‘s LTS (long-term support) status. Therefore, Linux Mint 13 will be supported through April 2017 as it is based on Ubuntu and its packages. However, don’t confuse it as another Ubuntu, as it does include big differences.

MATE Desktop

linux mint maya
The “original” Linux Mint (not including KDE or Xfce variants) comes in two different desktop environments. The first one, called MATE, is simply the continuation of Gnome 2 in a separate project as upstream Gnome 2 has been abandoned. Linux Mint 13 includes MATE 1.2, which includes a handful of incremental updates since MATE was born and Gnome 2 had its final release. The MATE experience picks up exactly where Gnome 2 left off, so if you’ve been a fan of Gnome 2 and want to go back to using it, MATE is your answer.

Cinnamon Desktop

maya linux
The other desktop environment you can choose is Cinnamon. This desktop environment is based off of Gnome 3’s packages, and essentially uses everything that is Gnome 3 except for Gnome Shell. Instead, Cinnamon offers a more Gnome 2-like desktop experience. Therefore, Cinnamon doesn’t have a learning curve that hinders its use as it’s as easy as MATE. Even Windows users trying Linux Mint for the first time won’t have any problem from the get-go. Linux Mint 13 includes Cinnamon 1.4, which offers an “Expo” view of your open applications, new panel settings, and plenty more which you can read about in the release notes here.

Say Hello To MDM

linux mint maya
Linux Mint 13 also replaces the Gnome Display Manager (GDM) with the MDM Display Manager (MDM). MDM is based off of GDM 2.20, which was among the last GDM releases that accompanied Gnome 2. People have always missed the old GDM because of all the things that could be easily configured, such as themes, scripts, and more. Linux Mint says “it provides graphical configuration tools, theme customizations, remote, automatic and timed login, event scripting, language selection and it comes with more features than any other Display Manager currently available.”

Miscellaneous Notes

Last but not least, Linux Mint 13 includes a few other subtle changes to round out the release. GTK3 support has been improved and the distribution’s Mint-X and Mint-Z themes have been updated. Of course, the choice of default wallpapers has also been refreshed with new choices. The developers have also replaced Duck Duck Go! with Yahoo! as the default search engine. This move was made because the developers had reached a deal with Yahoo!, and are now receiving shared revenue with the search engine. Linux Mint also uses Ubuntu’s Linux 3.2 kernels for this release cycle.


Overall, is Linux Mint 13 a worthy upgrade? Absolutely! Despite the relatively subtle changes, a lot of software has been updated, the desktop environments (especially Cinnamon) have been refined, and it is running very stable. Not to mention that this release has support for 5 years, it’s more of a question why you wouldn’t want to upgrade. And if you aren’t a Linux Mint user, now is a good time to try it out if you’ve been considering doing so.

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What’s your favorite Linux Mint feature? Will Ubuntu or Linux Mint be more popular than the other in a few years? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments (47)
  • David Lo

    I installed this on some old work computer (non pae) and it really brought them back to life. Great OS

  • Vishal Srivastava

    Thanks for the review!! I’ve tried a few flavors of Linux and have added Linux Mint to my list.

  • fallen heart

    I love LM too but i am stuck with lm12 due to sopme bug in lm13 with usb dongles……:(

  • Boni Oloff

    This distribution of Linux looks very beautiful. I think i love it.
    Gonna try this system, better than the new Windows 8.. )

  • ted zontag

    “Even Windows users trying Linux Mint for the first time won’t have any problem from the get-go. Linux Mint 13 includes Cinnamon 1.4″

    Are you on crack? This Cinnamon is broken as well as having a learing curve as it is very different than windows…Just stupid..please next time write a review that really makes sense…and be honest about this buggy hard to use operating system shell.
    Cinnamon and all its Gnome 3 buggy NON INTUITIVE shenanigans can take a hike.
    Your review is vapid and not a true reflection of what users will be up against with this broken piece of crap.

    • kirk

      New install for me and the only thing I ran into was some extra stuff I had to do cause I wanted to dual boot with win7 from a 2nd hard drive, but after some research it really was bsdEasy program I was using that was not up to date. I expected more of an issue, but so far has worked great. Yep new learning curve if you have used since Windows all your life (me since 3.11), but once you see where everything is, it sure is a lot faster to get to things and the kicker…it runs faster!

    • Charles


      @Ted: I would recommend your googling up the word “netiquette”.

      @Danny (reviewer): Thanks for your posting your review, it made a lot of sense of sense to me, and it was also quite considerate of you to take some time to share your knowledge with others. Although it might not be 100% accurate, as Cinnamon is stated by the Mint guys to be somewhat unstable as of yet, I learned a couple of new things on this great distribution. Thanks for sharing.

      As for the desktops, I have been using Gnome 2 for some time now (since Mint 8, Ubuntu 9.04) and I have got used to the way this desktop works, as it is very simple to use and very similar in functionality to Windows; I completely agree with your stating that the average Windows user will, in most of the cases, feel right at home. So, I am using Mint13-MATE which has proved very stable and easy-using as previous Mint distros. I haven’t tried Cinnamon, but MATE provides the Gnome 2 functionality I’m looking for.

      I have also tried Ubuntu 12.04 and its “Unity” desktop which I do not like too much, as for me, it is less productive (maybe not for others). BUT, I installed “gnome-session-fallback” on it, did a couple of simple tweakings, and I now have a Gnome-2 functionality, not 100% though, but which is good enough for me. I know it is better not to have to tweak anything, as everything should run out-of-the-box to choose your settings, just as with Ubuntu 11.04, where you could choose among different desktops (Ubuntu – default = Unity, Ubuntu classic = Gnome 2), but well, I like Ubuntu very much (not its Unity desktop) as it has a fantastic software install app (Synaptic – but need to install manually) which makes it just hassle-free to install any Linux software you want with a few clicks for FREE, and just works great in my PC, so I’m also using Ubuntu 12.04 with the “fallback session” (meaning Gnome-2 like desktop).

      I also installed Fedora17, but unfortunately for die-hard Gnome 2 fans like me, it didn’t prove as easy to tweak to get a Gnome-2 experience. I installed “gnome-tweak-tools”, did some tweaking but I just ended up with an ugly-looking, non-functional desktop with Gnome-shell + app menus. Not that useful to me, so, I had to drop Fedora17. I must state that the desktop experience is very important to me for choosing a distro over another. Others might disagree, but I agree with them to disagree.

      It must be mentioned, however, that Fedora has the most software installed by default than any other distro I’ve tried, and lets you choose among the latest and cutting edge software available, and that’s really good, as I installed lots of software that I use at work. Unfortunately, fedora 17 does not provide choices to users regarding the desktop, and that is not good for me.

      CentOS is also a great Gnome2 distro, but it might prove too plain for some users, and it lacks the great software installation functionality that Ubuntu’s Synaptic provides, but if you just want to get your work done, this distro is just fine. I am also using this in my PC, and works just fine.

      So Danny, thanks for the great review, I enjoyed it and I’m just adding my 2 cents.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
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