Total Newbie wondering which flavour of Linux to use

I’m inclined to install Mint on an WinXP laptop I’ve just been given. Do I go for the MATE or Cinnamon versions? Or am I missing an altogether better alternative? I like the idea that Mint has a good web presence with forums etc, as a newbie I don’t want to work without a net. All thoughts very much welcome and appreciated.

It really depends on the spec of your laptop Mint is a great OS in my opinion but it would be a good idea to wait on the 15 Olivia release should be available in a day or two), I found 14 Cinnamon a bit problematic.
i have Peppermint 3 installed on a an old low spec laptop and it flies, so personally i would opt for peppermint on a laptop over Mint whatever the spec

Good luck whatever you choose


+1 for Peppermint :slight_smile: … for many reasons that I’ve gone into elsewhere on this forum.

But that’s just my opinion … best to try a few on LiveCD/LiveUSB’s then decide for yourself which suits

yes - once I have a working optical drive I’ll have a good play around with the candidates. Thanks

Can your system boot from a USB stick … if so, there’s no need for an optical drive.

It can, but I need a CD/DVD drive for other reasons. I take your point, though

For what its worth…

I’ve just come through a mad period of distro hopping - over the last month or so I’ve gone through openSuSE, Manjaro, Chakra, Slackel, Fedora, Kubuntu, Debian, Mageia and Mint. On all, where possible, I’ve tried KDE, xfce4, Mate, Cinnamon and enlightenment.

LinuxMint KDE wins hands down.

What’s the difference between Mint with KDE and Kubuntu ?

The K in Kubuntu stands for klunky.

To be honest I have no idea, only that Mint do it better.

I’ve apparently run into a known issue with my old Inspirion 1501 and Linux - I get a screenful of coloured stripes and not much else with both Peppermint and Mint. It seems that there are workarounds - I shall plunge in and try to apply them.

You need to add the “nomodeset” kernel boot parameter.

Are you getting this with the LiveCD/LiveUSB, or after installation ?

Problem occured with both situations. I’d be grateful for a walkthrough on how to apply the fix?

So have you managed to get it to install, or are you having problems with the LiveCD/LiveUSB ?

The reason I ask is the procedure is different for the CD/USB stick than an installed OS.

and do you first want the instructions for Peppermint or Ubuntu ?

Adding the nomodeset kernel boot parameter to a Peppermint 3 LiveCD/LiveUSB -

Boot the LiveCD/LiveUSB … when you get to the screen where it ask if you want to install or try Peppermint, leave “Try Peppermint” highlighted and hit the “Tab” key.

At the bottom of the screen, you should see some white writing that ends with:-

quiet splash –

make it end with:-

quiet splash nomodeset

and hit the “Enter” key to boot.

Does it boot now ?

[u][b] Adding the nomodeset kernel boot parameter to an Ubuntu LiveCD/LiveUSB[/b][/u] -

Boot the LiveCD/LiveUSB … when you get to the screen where it ask if you want to install or try Ubuntu, leave “Try Ubuntu” highlighted and hit the “F6” key.

use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the “nomodeset” option … so it has an “x” next to it

Hit Esc to go back to the main menu (Try Ubuntu) … and hit Enter to boot

Does it boot now ?

In either case … if/when you decide to install Peppermint or Ubuntu you’ll have to do this again on the first boot after installation, but the procedure will have changed … I’ll post in a minute what you’ll have to do after an installation.

Once you have Peppermint 3 or Ubuntu installed (for the first boot after installation)

OK, the following instructions are for a single boot ONLY … so you’ll have to do this EVERY time you boot … but if it works, we can automate the procedure.

Turn ON your laptop, and as soon as your BIOS POST screen disappears, press the SHIFT key and hold it, until you are presented with the GRUB menu … SIMILAR to this:
(you won’t have long to hit the shift key, and the timing can be a little awkward, so it may even be easier to hit AND HOLD the Shift key DURING the BIOS POST … ie. immediately after turning on your PC)

Select the ‘default’ kernel (usually the top one), and rather than pressing enter, press E to edit.

You will be presented with a screen SIMILAR to this:

Press DOWN ARROW until you get to the line that starts with:

linux /boot

and press the END key to position the cursor at the end of the that line… it usually ends with “quiet splash”.

Now you can enter additional kernel boot options… so add nomodeset as in the above screenshot … so it now reads:

[b]quiet splash nomodeset[/b]
(doesn't matter if it moves down a line, as long as there is a space between splash and nomdeset)

Now hit Ctrl+X to boot.

That should get you booted … but so you don’t have to enter that each boot, we now need to permanently add nomodeset to the GRUB bootloader.

I’ll post in a sec how to do that.

OK, to make it permanent (on Peppermint or Ubuntu) so you never have to enter it again -

Once you’ve booted to Peppermint/Ubuntu on your hard drive using the last instructions … Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run:

sudo cp -v /etc/default/grub /etc/default/grub.backup


sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Find the line that reads:-


Change it to read:-

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=“quiet splash nomodeset”

Visually double-check the line … SAVE the file and exit gedit.

Now back in the terminal run:

sudo update-grub

When that’s finished … reboot to test.

Sorry for the delay in replying. I’ve tried all permutations of ‘nomodeset’ & ‘quiet splash’. None helped, though some made the graphics performance worse. I can live with the issue, and I’ve decided not to waste any more time on it, but just get on using Linux! It’s generally been a pleasant experience, although I find a lot of the advice out on the Web totally incomprehensible! Some aspects of Linux are a revelation. My previously unreliable Windows 7 home network is rock solid dependable under Linux. I’ve already decided to work towards a complete conversion to Linux on grounds of cost and reliability. Using cheap reconditioned laptops instead of expensive new one certainly appeals to this pensioner!