mintCast 255 – Derivative distros and ferenOS, a Mint derivative



Main Topic:

  • Rob talks about what exactly is a Derivative distros and his experience with ferenOS, a Mint derivative, while Isaac isn’t sure what went wrong when he tried out ferenOS.

Tips & Websites:

Pre-Show Music:

Podcast Announcements:

More Information:

Hosts: Rob, Scott, Joe and Isaac
Live Stream every other Sunday 2:00 p.m.(Central):

Contact Us:

More Linux Mint info: website, blog, forums, community


Podcast Entry and exit music provided by Mark Blasco ( Podcast bumpers provided by Oscar.

10 Replies to “mintCast 255 – Derivative distros and ferenOS, a Mint derivative”

      • Daniel

        You know I started listening after Scott and Joe were a thing too. Are there any plans at all for these guys to come back? Or are you looking for another co-host — preferably an open-source dev talking about various projects? I would love if you can bribe Wimpress to come on for an hour. U understand Ubuntu and Mint are mostly a symbiotic relationship, but Martin rarely mentions Mint on the Ubuntu podcast. I would also recommend checking out an appearance for Chris Were, his youtube channel is mostly good.

  1. Will

    That NoScript blog post is basically FUD. NoScript does not contain malware. The NoScript website does have ads and one of the ads was for some junkware that triggers a false positive on a few virus scanning services.

    That said, there is still some sketchiness to the behavior of the NoScript author over time. The default behavior of NoScript is to open the NoScript web page every time NoScript is updated (which is roughly weekly). The main purpose for doing this is to show NoScript users ads (it would be easy to include the release notes in a notification in the addon without loading an external page with ads). The NoScript author also modified NoScript to whitelist the NoScript web page so that NoScript would not block the ads and at one point entered into an arms race with AdBlock Plus to keep it from blocking his ads. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the ads on are hosted directly rather than being served by an external ad network, so the NoScript author is choosing to show an ad for junkware to his users. That doesn’t look good for a security product even if it is just junkware and not malware.

  2. Michael

    Since the early days of Linux there have been many attempts to make X11 desktops that looked and felt like other platforms, particularly windows. Some tried even for pixel-perfect mimicry of various versions of Windows over the years (remember Lindows?). The idea is to make a new user feel more at home on Linux. But the problem with this is that if it looks too close to Windows then users expect that it will essentially be Windows, but it isn’t. And it’s not going to function exactly the same. You can emulate a start menu, for example, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s no Program Files directly on the hard drive. You can emulate Explorer, but there’s still no C: drive, no D: drive, etc. Hardware that is only compatible with Windows still won’t run. the list goes on. This is kind of an uncanny valley of desktops and operating systems.

    From my own experience it’s actually easier to give users a very different-looking desktop, as they know from the beginning that things are done in slightly different (but still familiar) ways. It’s not at all hard, for example, to move users from Windows to Mac. And those desktops and paradigms are quite different.

    When I set up Linux Mint for new users I don’t theme it in any particular Windows-y way (there’s a full-blown Windows XP theme for cinnamon for those that want this uncanny valley experience). I try to set up some quick launch icons for common apps like firefox and libreoffice, show them how to search for apps, and show them their home directory with Nemo. With that they are quite successful at getting up to speed with basic use. I don’t believe it would be quite as smooth as if I tried to make it look exactly like the version of Windows I was replacing.

    TL;DR: I think ferenOS’s themer ability to mimic other OS’s is unlikely to be that benefitial because looking like other operating systems just isn’t that important nor is it helpful in helping new users adapt to a Linux desktop. The morbidly curious part of me wonders if I could just add ferenOS repos to Mint to see this vaunted Themer app in action, though.

  3. Mark G

    I don’t get it, Mint was originally a green Ubuntu with the codecs pre-installed, and it grew from there (though arguably it’s still just Ubuntu with a different DE like you said about X/K/Lubuntu). So do you think Mint should never have started their distro, even though it’s now grown into something more ?
    Most derivative distros start either with an eye to a niche (as with Peppermint) and/or becoming something bigger if/when they can attract other developers (as with Mint, though Mint fell into both categories), I personally wouldn’t say even ’boutique’ let alone niche distros should be denied the chance to grow, or Mint wouldn’t exist, and with that neither would Cinnamon or MintStick, or MintSystem, or…..

  4. Andy S

    Michael makes a great point.
    On one hand, I kinda think its a lot of fun to ‘mimic’ a rival OS just to throw co-workers for a loop! When they access my computer, nothing seems to work as expected and so, they just move on to someone else’s machine. Security in Confusion! (Deception)

    However, the ‘valley’ effect mentioned by Michael can very much be substantiated. “If it looks like ____ why doesn’t it BEHAVE like _____?” is something I have run into before.

    So, while its fun to play in the ‘valley’, there’s (3) mountain peak vistas I’d like to encourage you to visit:

    (1) Mint has such a beautiful and elegant design, layout, and function… I just can’t bring myself to lower it to mimic the OS’s I’ve been so aggravated by that I left! “If I wanted a cat, I would have brought home a cat, right?” (Contentment)

    (2) Mint’s layout and design seems to work well for the types of programs and workflows that visit it’s desktop. For example, the programs that will not run on Linux wouldn’t fit very well in the environment anyway, right? And the ones that do always seem… less than graceful when running on a Mac or Windows box. As if… “I should be SUDO-ing something, but that won’t work here.” (Conducive)

    (3) The only ‘benefit’ that might be on the discussion table is that if your company is not too keen on Linux on the network of ‘Windows’ or ‘Macs’… when they look at your screen in passing, no one bothers to mess with you. 😛 (Camouflage)

  5. mikef90000

    Regarding Cinnamon vertical panels:
    “Welcome to 2010!”
    Sincerely, your Xfce using friend :-).
    Seriously, easily and completely customizable panels was a major factor in my migration away from the FrankenDog’s Breakfast of desktop environments, MS Windows. May MATE and Cinnamon continue to catch up with Xfce …..

    I glanced at ferenOS and see another MacOS wannabie. Is that John Gruber wearing a Rob mask? It’s getting close to Oct. 31 ….. I agree that most open minded, desktop oriented Windows users will adapt to a ‘classic DE’ with no problem.

  6. eladhen2

    My two cents on the subject of choosing the wrong distro being a mistake new users do: I first picked up Linux a couple of years ago, when I was searching for a way to get some more millage from an Atom processor powered netbook. Well meaning people directed me to Lubuntu as a good place to start. I’ll grant you, it’s lightweight, but it’s so bare-bones and lacks so many of the niceties of modern desktops that my first couple of months on Linux felt like a visit to Sparta. After some distro hopping I settled on Mint Xfce for that machine, and boy, was that a whole new world of comfort and fun. That was the thing that slowly converted me to running Linux full time (so much so that the next laptop that I bought was picked because of its Linux compatibility).

    So, a good soul that would have pointed me towards Linux Mint Xfce or Xubuntu would certainly have made my landing in Linux softer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Linux Mint

The distribution that spawned a podcast. Support us by supporting them. Donate here.

We currently host our podcast at Support us by supporting them. Donate here.


They’ve made post-production of our podcast possible. Support us by supporting them. Contribute here.

mintCast on the Web

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

This Website Is Hosted On:

Thank You for Visiting