Linux Mint to take Linux Crown from Ubuntu?

Linux Mint is now the 4th most used home operating system in existence. But can it unseat Ubuntu as the top Linux OS?

Ubuntu, currently number 3 (behind Windows and Mac) in the home OS theater, has received some stiff competition from Linux Mint. Distrowatch shows that Linux Mint has been the most popular Linux distribution over the last year, and their Linux Mint page has had about 2.5 times more visitors than Ubuntu’s page. Though Distrowatch claims that their stats are for entertainment purposes only, Linux Mint is definitely on the rise.

Add to that long time Ubuntu users dislike of the Unity desktop, now the main GUI by default,  and several issues with upgrading to 11.10 and you can see why some people are starting to look elsewhere.

Linux Mint may be an attractive alternative to many users. The install is familiar, it looks like Ubuntu, acts like Ubuntu and most importantly, it comes with the classic Gnome interface – not Unity.

With reports that it is very stable, I couldn’t resist anymore and decided to give it a whirl.

The installation was almost completely identical to Ubuntu’s. And once it is up and running, it looks just like Ubuntu with the classic gnome interface installed. Just a quick glance around and I fell in love very quickly.

First I liked the way it notifies you of available updates:

Also, looking through the menu, I found that it comes with the Firewall graphical user interface installed. You have to install it yourself in Ubuntu:

Just surfing around I felt very at home and familiar with the Gnome interface and the Ubuntu feel.

Okay, what didn’t I like about Linux Mint?

The color scheme! There is just something about green on gray that just turns me off. But a quick theme download and background change and things looked much better:

Linux Mint 12, check it out!

3 thoughts on “Linux Mint to take Linux Crown from Ubuntu?”

  1. Well, I can tell you it _doesn’t_ work. You get logged into the gnome desktop, but you cannot move windows nor resize them. Lot’s of other stuff does not work. Right-clicks on windows pass through them and work on the background instead. This is because somehow compiz is all messed up in Natty Narwhal. It is possible to fix some of these problems via the compiz config settings manager. Under window management, enable `move window´ and `resize window´. It does not work right away, you have to log out and back in for the settings to take. This is new, because settings in ccsm used to take effect immediately. Other stuff that is broken: blurred transparent terminal windows. Compiz just crashes on them or restarts multiple times per second when having that enabled. The mac-like exposé function is broken (move mouse to a specified corner and have all windows as miniatures on the screen so you can pick one; it’s under window management->scale->initiate window picker for all windows). Lots of other problems. Might be a new but buggy version of compiz, or ubuntu specific alterations or a configuration to make compiz just right for unity or whatever. Fact is, for me, not only did Canonical add unity which is all but unusable and severely limited compared to normal Gnome compiz, no, they also _broke_ the old gnome compiz. Luckily I could figure out how to (somewhat) fix it. I can imagine that lots of other people may not be able to.

  2. I made the switch about 12 months ago from Ubuntu. I like playing around with new distros just for the sake of it. But few actually made me ‘switch’. Mint did that.

    What I liked is that I had an old Dell laptop. Previously I had Ubuntu on it, but it was playing up with the drivers. I put WIndows XP on it, but obviously started running like a dog. I put Mint on it, and everything worked out of the box. Fast, smooth and error free. All drivers worked (wifi, gpu). By default it already had all of the media codecs I needed for movie playback.

    I liked the classic Gnome GUI with a few extra touches (including the graphical firewall like you mentioned) – very good for basic users, and seems very solid and usable.

    (I even liked the default colour scheme – unlike yourself)

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