A couple of weeks ago I posted here that I had downloaded Mint 12 into Virtual box and was going to see how the new interface worked now they have moved to Gnome 3.2. Unfortunately due to issues with VB and the new Gnome interface I was not able to get it fully working as it should so was not in a position to really make any comments.
However Yesterday I installed the Distribution release onto a Toshiba R500 dual core laptop I have as one of my portable solutions. I'll not go through the install process there are a number of good videos on U tube showing this, one is to be found here:
I like the the mint interpretation of the Gnome 3.x desktop but I still have some issues in that I do not seem to be able to create desktop or panel short cut icons to lunch an application, I have to go to the menu to find it. if this is not in the favourites bar then this can take a moment or 2 before your able to launch the application. Aesthetically this leads to a very clean desktop environment but productively it does nothing to speed up my work flow and it's my desk top and panel if I want to populate them with launch icons the system should allow this.
However Mint have provided a solution in the form of the MATE desk top environment which is a fork of Gnome 2.6. If you log out of Gnome 3 you can choose to use the MATE option before logging in again. Booting into MATE and your back in the world of Gnome 2.6.x as you know and love it. 'Warning' the Mint developers do say this is still work in progress, MATE is not yet fully stable and not all the functionality is working yet, but if this comes off then there is a solution for those of us who are happy with the Gnome 2.6 interface without having to jump ship to one of the other desck top solutions, such as XFCE or LXDE.
As for Mint 12 generally, desk top environment apart, this seems like another solid release, with all the usual tweaks having been made to Ubuntu 11.10 to make it a very friendly Distribution for those new to Linux. All the codecs needed for music and video playback including Flash and propriety DVD playback are included so if you just want to brows the internet, do social media and play your music and videos this is the Linux distribution for you.
If your a more experienced Linux user and have a more demanding work flow then you may find that Gnome 3 is not your preferred choice and until MATE is more stable you may want to stick with Mint 11 or try another Debian based distribution that better meets your needs.
For the time being I'm sticking with Mint 11 Gnome edition, as there is nothing dramatic in the new release that I need to upgrade for and I'll wait and see how the development of MATE progresses in the coming months.