To Tabletize Or Not to Tabletize… & Linux Mint Overtakes Ubuntu On Distrowatch

If you’re a regular follower of Distrowatch, you know that Ubuntu for the most part has held the #1 spot for a long time; according to Distrowatch, since April 2005. Recently Linux Mint has taken over that spot.

I think one of the main reasons, is that most folks, especially experienced Linux users, don’t¬†necessarily¬†embrace what I call the “tabletization” of the desktop OS. I believe that most people, tech folks, along with everyday users, do expect two different experiences when they use a tablet vs a full desktop/laptop OS. According to Distrowatch, Linux Mint 12 will have many tweaks to Gnome 3 to allow for a more traditional experience; I’ll be looking forward to trying it out.

I am not sure why there is such insistence on “tabletizing” the desktop/laptop – other than the generic thought of “it’s the future”. This is not just Linux, but Windows 8 developer preview (which by definition of developer preview, I won’t pass final judgement), and Mac OS Lion, which to my knowledge, for those folks I know with Macs that use this version of Mac OS, do not use the tablet-like features. My wife, who is the epitome of the everyday user, saw the Windows 8 developer preview and had that one eyebrow raised “what thaaa?” look. I know, it’s premature, but still noteworthy.

It will be interesting to see the new version of Mint, as well as if the tabletization of the desktop/laptop is something that will stick or not. I’d love to hear others thought on the topic!

Disabling User List in GDM Login Screen – Ubuntu 9.10 / Linux Mint 8

I’ve been playing around with both Ubuntu 9.10 and Linux Mint 8 (just released and based on Ubuntu 9.10). One of the differences that’s noticed right away is the change in the GDM login screen. By default, it lists the users to choose from, then enter the password. This may be OK for some, i.e. perhaps a home system, but what if you wanted to not use the list of users. If you wanted to require users to type in their username to make it more secure, you can no longer just adjust this setting within the login screen settings. The login screen settings now contain just a couple of options around allowing autologin. It would be nice to have the other setting back, but here is a method that someone can use now:

  1. Logout so you are at the login screen.
  2. Ctrl-Alt-F1 to enter the CLI.
  3. Login to CLI using the normal credentials.
  4. Type: export DISPLAY=:0.0
  5. Type: sudo -u gdm gconf-editor
  6. Alt-F7 to return to the GUI. Gconf-editor should be visible.
  7. Drill down to apps –> gdm –> simple-greeter.
  8. Check box for disable_user_list. Close gconf-editor.
  9. Reboot, GDM should now show a button to login, and prompt for both username then password.