Linux Mint

Linux_mint_logo

Linux Mint, a distribution based on Ubuntu, was first launched in 2006 by Clement Lefebvre, a French-born IT specialist living and working in Ireland. Originally maintaining a Linux web site dedicated to providing help, tips and documentation to new Linux users, the author saw the potential of developing a Linux distribution that would address the many usability drawbacks associated with the generally more technical, mainstream products. After soliciting feedback from the visitors on his web site, he proceeded with building what many refer to today as an "improved Ubuntu".

But Linux Mint is not just an Ubuntu with a new set of applications and an updated desktop theme. Since its beginnings, the developers have been adding a variety of graphical "mint" tools for enhanced usability; this includes mintDesktop - a utility for configuring the desktop environment, mintMenu - a new and elegant menu structure for easier navigation, mintInstall - an easy-to-use software installer, and mintUpdate - a software updater, just to mention a few more prominent ones among several other tools and hundreds of additional improvements. The project also designs its own artwork, while its reputation for ease of use has been further enhanced by the inclusion of proprietary and patent-encumbered multimedia codecs that are often absent from larger distributions due to potential legal threats. However, one of the best features of Linux Mint is the fact that the developers listen to the users and are always fast in implementing good suggestions.

While Linux Mint is available as a free download, the project generates revenue from donations, advertising and professional support services. It doesn't have a fixed release schedule or a list of planned features, but one can expect a new version of Linux Mint several weeks after each stable Ubuntu release. Besides the "main" edition which features the GNOME desktop, the project also builds a variety of semi-regular "community" editions with alternative desktops, such as KDE, Xfce and Fluxbox. However, these are often completed several months after the release of the "main" GNOME edition and may sometimes miss some of the "minty" tools and other features found in the project's flagship product. Linux Mint does not adhere to the principles of software freedom and it does not publish security advisories.

  • Pros: Superb collection of "minty" tools developed in-house, hundreds of user-friendly enhancements, inclusion of multimedia codecs, open to users' suggestions
  • Cons: The alternative "community" editions don't always include the latest features, the project does not issue security advisories
  • Software package management: APT with mintInstall using DEB packages (compatible with Ubuntu repositories)
  • Available editions: A "main" edition (with GNOME) for 32-bit and 64-bit computers, a variety of "community" editions (with KDE, Xfce and Fluxbox) for 32-bit computers
  • Possible alternatives: Ubuntu, SimplyMEPIS

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updated: 01.11.2010

released: 31.10.2010