In my perennial quest to find the perfect Rescue distro, I downloaded and tested Linux Mint 10 (Julia) and I must say that I was very pleased by the way it performs.
I downloaded the image (it does not fit a CD, so you have to burn it to a DVD instead) and ran the Live mode.
After 1:15 had elapsed, I could see the well-known Linux Mint logo as a splash screen. For those who are not familiar with it, Mint features green as its trademark color, which is not strange for a distribution that is made in Ireland. It took 2:15 to show the desktop and an additional 15 seconds to use it and I was surprised by the desktop wallpaper.
Interestingly, Mint's desktop moved away from the green freshness that originally attracted me to the distribution: the new look is darker. You get a black wallpaper with shades of gray: That shocked me at the beginning because I've been following Mint since the seventh release, and Gloria, Helena, and Isadora all paraded wearing green clothes. Of course, if you dislike this darker look, you can easily change it and set any of the good many green Isadora wallpapers. Gloria's default wallpaper is also there in case you are trapped by nostalgia. All of the wallpapers are tasteful and beautifully designed.
Julia's somewhat Gothic appearance, however, is no omen of poor performance. As a matter of fact, this Live DVD comes with everything you might need for using it as a rescue distro: it has Brasero (for burning media) and mounts your Windows and Linux partitions without any problem. It also lets you delete files from Windows (not from Linux) and works with audio and video out of the box. I tested .flv, .mpg, and .mp4 formats for video and all of them worked flawlessly. As for audio, Julia beats Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat because it gives you the preview of MP3 files by hovering over the icon out of the box.
Julia comes with Open Office, a dictionary, and several applications that might help to finish your pending office work you if your computer acts up. For localization, you must install the distribution. The process does not seem difficult, nevertheless.
Concerning the Internet connection, it picked up my cable connection automatically, so I browsed the Web for a while with Firefox. I also set up an IM account with Pidgin and everything went up fine.
This is certainly a great rescue distro: easy to use, responsive, elegant, and functional. The only flaw I found is that it does not fit a CD...which is the same case of the alpha release of SimplyMEPIS 11. Is Linux moving to Live DVDs instead of Live CDs?