So I’ve lived with Linux Mint for a couple of weeks, and I’m generally impressed, at least with the system as a whole – there were a couple of issues with the sound system as it stood.  Now, sound is important to me, given the amount of music I listen to through my PC, so I’ve been fiddling to try and fix it, and as a result of all the mucking about a number of glitches seem to have surfaced. For instance, the start menu wasn’t behaving properly, and the desktop theme would sometimes not load. But the worst thing was the strange stuttering of MP3 playback through Amarok for the first minute of use, which was really odd.

So, Monday night was “fresh-install” night in our house.

And it all went really well.  Yes, the sound system was initially entirely dead, but I followed this guide to checking the system, and added the relevant driver module (snd-ice1724 for my Shuttle SN25P-based system) to the /etc/modules file, which seemed to fix the problem. And yes, when I installed Amarok it wouldn’t play any MP3s, even after installing the Mint codec support, but in a moment of insight I realised that Amarok uses the Xine engine, which probably isn’t covered by Mint by default. Sure enough, installing libxine1-ffmpeg package and rebooting gave me a fully working version of Amarok, completely free of strange stuttering and jumping.  Hurrah!

I still occasionally have no sound at all when I boot up, but that happened under Fedora 8 and 11 as well – I’m beginning to suspect an issue with my hardware.  At least Mint reboots considerably quicker than Fedora ever did.

So now I’m rebuilding the rest of the system, which I have to say is a much speedier enterprise with Mint than it was with Fedora.