Tuesday, October 28, 2014

no thanks, mint

The "crippled" Synaptic Package Manager that Linux Mint ships with has been one of the main reasons I've stayed away from the distro since I stopped using it after the Mint 9 ("Isadora") release. For users like me, it looks like things have only gotten worse. Here's Ken Starks in "Synaptic Vs. Update Manager in Linux Mint":

Mint had already made upgrades [using Synaptic] a bit more difficult by making you choose all apps with a ctrl+A command and then right click to update all apps. But now, you can’t do even that. The Mark All Upgrades button is completely missing. It wasn’t stripped out; from my understanding, Synaptic had been replaced by Mint’s version of Synaptic. You can search and install applications with it…you just can’t upgrade your system with it.


What I will gripe about is completely neutering Synaptic as an alternative method of system upgrade/update.

There was a work-around for the "crippled" Synaptic in Mint back when I was using it, and I think there's a different work-around now. But Linux Mint does way too much hand-holding for my tastes. Great distro, for sure, but it isn't for me.

In the comments following the article, one person wrote:

Mint forks a huge number of packages from the Debian/Ubuntu repos. Synaptic installs the Debian/Ubuntu versions from the Debian/Ubuntu repos, and the Mint update manager/package manager installs the Mint version from the Mint repos. A full upgrade using synaptic would result in a Ubuntu/Mint hybrid. If you have ever noticed when upgrading with synaptic in mint that it will ask to keep the original config (mint version), or install the package maintainer’s config.

Okay, I can understand that. So, why even include the "crippled" Synaptic in the default Mint installation? Leave it up to the user to decide whether or not to use Synaptic the way it's supposed to be used. Don't make the user have to jump through hoops to do this. If the user wants to install and use the real Synaptic and risk borking Linux Mint, that should be up to the user to decide.

No other distro that I'm aware of does what Mint does to Synaptic. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth back when I was running Mint. I actually liked the distro, for the most part. But as long as the Mint devs feel the need to protect users from themselves like this, I won't be going back. Thanks, but no thanks.

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