I had been a faithful follower of Ubuntu since my introduction to Linux a few years back and I dipped my toes in the Fedora and Debian pools for a bit as well. Recently Ubuntu decided to change things up with the Unity desktop and while it’s nice and flashy, it leaves a lot to long for from a System Administrator aspect, for me at least. They are focusing too much on being the eye candy of Linux and competing with Windows for who looks better, in that process they are leaving behind the reason we use Linux instead of Windows.
Ubuntu at one time was poised on becoming the destop Linux market. Now don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of reasons to stay with Ubuntu, especially if you are not a power user, my problem is that they choose to FORCE their choices upon us users, much to the Microsoft way instead of leaving an option like they did with their earlier release.
In came Linux Mint running Gnome 2 and their latest release Mint 12 Lisa, based on Ubuntu Oneiric runs Gnome 3, KDE or Gnome + MATE, but be completely compatible with Gnome 2, it uses the same commands and runs most apps the same as Ubuntu; in short, it’s Ubuntu without someone else telling you what to do or forcing you in a direction that you’re unwilling to follow. Ubuntu One works with Mint, and best of all, you can customize it to look, feel, and run exactly how you want it, which is exactly what most Linux users are looking for.
Linux Mint simply does what it was meant to do – to take Ubuntu and fix any usability problems that users were complaining about and were not being addressed.
From the Linux Mint site:
The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use.
Started in 2006, Linux Mint is now the 4th most widely used home operating system behind Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS and Canonical’s Ubuntu.
Some of the reasons for the success of Linux Mint are:
- It works out of the box, with full multimedia support and is extremely easy to use.
- It’s both free of cost and open source.
- It’s community-driven. Users are encouraged to send feedback to the project so that their ideas can be used to improve Linux Mint.
- Based on Debian and Ubuntu, it provides about 30,000 packages and one of the best software managers.
- It’s safe and reliable. Thanks to a conservative approach to software updates, a unique Update Manager and the robustness of its Linux architecture, Linux Mint requires very little maintenance (no regressions, no antivirus, no anti-spyware…etc).
To me, one of the first highlights of Linux Mint 12 experience was its neatly executed Welcome Screen with useful links to User Guide, Tutorials, Hardware Database etc., something that other Linux based distros can also emulate. Mint offers a Windows like menu to make users comfortable with Linux.
Linux Mint 12 is simply the best GNOME Shell experience I’ve had so far. If you want the best possible out-of-the-box experience in a GNOME desktop, then Mint is for you.