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Ubuntu has been heralded by many as the apogee of the user-friendly, consumer driven Linux distribution. But what if there was an even better alternative? An operating system that benefits from the extensive Ubuntu repository, the proven Debian core and an user interface that would make it easy for Windows users to switch?  And better yet, how about an operating system with the motto “From Freedom Came Elegance“?

Linux Mint, a distribution based on Ubuntu, has won a significant share of users, and represents a better Linux experience for both advanced and first time users. Simple yet effective tweaks, like the Mint Menu, might not appear very impressive at first glance but they affect your daily routines in a positive manner. It’s the same principle that makes Apple software better: an uncanny attention to details and yes, elegance.

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Gloria, or version 7, was launched by the development team in June and is based on Ubuntu 9.04 “˜Jaunty Jackalope’. The release schedule for new versions of Linux Mint is tightly linked to Ubuntu’s, with updated versions releasing within 3 months of the official Ubuntu launch date.

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The Mint tools, a set of applets or small applications, pre-installed extras and a customized theme package are basically what set Linux Mint apart. Support for MP3s, AVI video files, Java, and proprietary hardware drivers come standard. It’s like buying a tuned card straight from the factory, except Linux Mint is completely free.

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The theme looks sleek and attractive, with shades of minty green and black, unlike the brown bliss of its father. You’re going to notice the similarity with the Windows taskbar immediately – the “˜Start’ button, quick launch and tray icons are right where they are supposed to be. The same goes for the windows switching area, there’s no separate bar. This makes for a quick and painless switch for those who would prefer the advantage of running Linux without having to spend a great deal of time adjusting to the UI (User Interface).

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The Linux Mint Menu works pretty much like its Windows Vista and 7 counterparts, providing quick access to system locations, applications or configuration panels. If you have many applications installed and forget how the one you needed was called, you had to scroll down alphabetically in Windows, which is quite tedious if you have the bad habit of trying stuff all the time. The Mint Menu makes this experience much better by organizing the application by their category: Office, Internet, Administration, etc. The “˜Filter’ search box also has a leg up; it provides various actions related to your keyword automatically, be it a Google  search, an application or a package you want to install.

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Linux Mint Install is another cool applet that replaces the standard Add/Remove Applications feature. Neatly organized in categories, featuring descriptions, ratings and reviews, applications couldn’t be easier to locate and install. It’s considerably simpler than on Windows; select the application, click “˜Install’ and you’re set.  Because Linux Mint is based  on Ubuntu, it’s compatible with the same huge repository of applications.

Mint Update keeps all the software updated with the latest patches for security and performance. Forget about checking Windows Update and then each application individually – Mint Update works with all the applications installed using Mint Install as well as the system packages. It even assigns a number to each update so you can quickly assess its importance and compatibility with your system.

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The Control Center, a feature that will look familiar to KDE users, is now available in the default Gnome window manager, aggregating all the available configuration applets – complete with a search bar and categories.

A few more tweaks and applets make Linux Mint great, but they are less important and I’m sure you’ll discover them yourself. Linux Mint comes in both 32bit and 64bit, with KDE, GNOME and XFCE flavors available here. Each version includes the standard array of applications such as Gimp, OpenOffice and Rhythmbox 5 Great Alternative Linux Music Players 5 Great Alternative Linux Music Players Read More . The Live CD image can be burned to a CD ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App Read More or USB stick How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin We've already talked about Linux and why you should try it, but probably the hardest part of getting used to Linux is getting it in the first place. For Windows users, the simplest way is... Read More and can be booted for testing or performing a permanent installation. A quick start guide can be downloaded for free. You might also want to check out our “Getting Started Guide to Linux Getting Started Guide to Linux [PDF Guide] Getting Started Guide to Linux [PDF Guide] Read More “.

  1. Bob
    December 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I have tried mint on several occasions, IMHO it is rubbish, the only linux that seems to read my second hard drive automatically is Ubuntu, which I have used for several years. Also cannot understand why anybody would want to use up resources by running KDE, especially newbies Gnome is much easier to configure.

    • Abhilash
      January 20, 2010 at 8:01 pm

      @Bob
      Gnome is the default desktop for Linux Mint, not KDE. I agree with you on KDE being only hype and gnome being the more mature and easier to use desktop... but I dont agree on Ubuntu being better than Mint. If anything else Mint is what Ubuntu should have been.

      @Florian
      Stop trolling

      @Manolis
      Mint is proven to be more stable.

  2. Minted
    December 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Linux Mint 8 Helena

    It has to be one of the best distro's of 2009....

  3. Burtm10
    December 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    @skodarally - Switch to OpenOffice. Works natively with Linux, reads and writes to Word files (if you must), prints to PDF, is open source and free.

    Burning stuff to cd /dvd lots of tools so don't limit yourself to Nero. I don't know Final Draft but my experience with Linux is that Wine works great with most programs and Virtualbox with your favourite Windows version does all the rest. I have 1 program which I use, occasionally, in VirtualBox because there is no alternative in Linux and it won't run in Wine.

    I switched to Mint after Xubuntu and I am extremely happy with it. Does all I need and much more, plus it's faster than Windoze on my laptop. I no longer dual boot. I feel much cleaner now.

  4. skodarally
    November 22, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Can I use Windows programmes like Word (A must have, I am a writer), Nero, Final Draft, etc, if I use Wine? Thanks. I am utterly fed up with Windows and looking to take a new path. Half the time I have had my desktop PC has been wasted trying to get it to work properly!

    • Bharadwaj Raju
      July 26, 2015 at 7:56 am

      Yes. WineTricks and PlayOnLinux will help you, though the recent versions have the excellent LibreOffice. Plus, a CD/DVD burning program has been offered by default for years in Ubuntu/Mint.

  5. TheMonitor
    November 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    actually, the default does look like windows. But it's linux...a few clicks and you have 2 panels, and different colors, then customize them, and grab a custom theme, and wallpaper, looks 200% different. may i suggest to not use defaults, make it your own.

  6. Jay
    September 24, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    (Regarding Florian) Troll Alert.

  7. name
    September 15, 2009 at 12:10 am

    linux mint is very well suited for internet cafes, and could also come in useful for refurbished computer companies (i.e. sell 2nd hand/refurbished gear with a working, free os)

  8. Florian
    September 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Linux Mint is like a themed version of Windows. It's shit. It does nothing better than Ubuntu, and does loads of stuff way worse.

  9. mykeljomz
    August 22, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Just a question... Can I run Corel PSP X2 or Adobe CS4 on Linux mint?

    • Noah
      August 22, 2009 at 11:26 am

      Yes, using Wine. I use CS4 all the time. Wine is free and open source, it lets you run Windows apps on Linux and Mac

  10. J-Dizzle
    August 20, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Just installed Mint 7 on a 8 gig sd card and popped it in my Asus Eee 900 netbook and I was off to the races. Love this "distro." Some of you are right though. It's just a tweaked form of Ubuntu. I still use Ubuntu on another PC and go back and forth without noticing usuaully.

  11. Yogesh Malik
    August 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    I recently moved to mint from ubuntu, good decision.

  12. webby
    August 19, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Wow! Thanks for the quick answers!!

  13. Ruskya_lover
    August 18, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I'm surprised that no one mention SimplyMEPIS 8.0.6

  14. Howard Pearce
    August 18, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    As a long time windows user and linux beginner, I tried 4 distros including Ubuntu. Linux Mint won pretty easily.

  15. jim
    August 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Wow! Thanks for the quick answers!

  16. Lane
    August 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I was a long-time Ubuntu user until I tried Linux Mint. Now there's no going back. It is the most polished and user-friendly Linux I've ever used... and I've used quite a few.

    I don't think anyone's mentioned there is an excellent support forum for Mint. I've taken advantage of it a number of times.

  17. jim
    August 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    will linux run cs3 adobe internet suite (dreamweaver, illustrator, video editing etc.?)
    Can i find a driver to run my old hp printer?

    • Noah
      August 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm

      Yes, using a app called Wine. They all run fine, I use them.
      Yes you can. http://hplipopensource.com/hplip-web/index.html

    • Hugo
      August 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      My Hp printers all worked without me ever needing a driver and way better and faster in mint then they ever worked in Xp

      Hard to believe i know cause I hate printers but they work better in Mint than windows

  18. mchlbk
    August 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Running Ubuntu 9.04 here.

    I've tried Mint several times but never felt it offered much I didn't already have in Ubuntu. Actually I don't really get why it's even considered a seperate distro - it's just Ubuntu with a different theme and a somewhat different set of default applications.

    Perhaps it's time to try the new Mint to see if there's any real innovation this time.

  19. John Woods
    August 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Sounds pretty reasonable to me dude!

    RT

  20. Manolis
    August 18, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I Personally find Ubuntu more easier.Mint isn't as stable as ubuntu.MintUpdate and MintInstall are outdated and have many problems when adding extra repositories.

    • Satyajit
      January 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      Are you mad? Linux Mint is based on ubuntu, or you can say, modified ubuntu. But its much more user friendly and stable.

  21. Sanity
    August 18, 2009 at 11:15 am

    That is probably the single most ignorant comment I've read in my entire life. Linux actually has MORE applications available than Windows has. They're free (unlike Windows) and they do the job better and more reliably.

    Please do some research before you make ignorant comments like that.

  22. Sanity
    August 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Not True. Shockwave IS available for Linux.

    • flabdablet
      August 18, 2009 at 10:36 pm

      Where? I've only ever found Flash players, not Shockwave players. If I could find a Linux-compatible Shockwave plugin for Firefox that would let my four year old play games like http://www.abc.net.au/children/mixy/dressup/game.htm then I could uninstall IE from our home Ubuntu box, and that would be a Good Thing.

  23. Zwopper
    August 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Mint is really something special, and I'm glad that Clem let my artwork be the center piece.
    For a super fast slick minimalistic Ubuntu derivate try: #! Crunchbang - my guess is that this is going to be the next big thing for the minimalists and it's PERFECT for netbooks!

  24. Abhilash
    August 18, 2009 at 8:30 am

    @Scodge did you use the 64bit version on mint? If so then I wouldn't want to comment. If you have the 32bit version then I dont see why you had these problems unless your hardware was very new. I have an AMD Athlon 64 laptop myself and Mint has always been a breeze.

    • Scodge
      August 18, 2009 at 9:52 am

      @Abhilash. No, I used the 32 bit version. Actually, thinking about it, I believe the single desktop problem is also an Ubuntu fault - about 2 years ago I tried Kubuntu and had exactly the same problem! Obviously there is something about my PC that does not play nice with Ubuntu. But I hope my experience does not put others off. As I said, Mint is a very polished distro and most people should have no problems.

      • Abhilash
        August 18, 2009 at 10:49 am

        Well I hope Mint 8 holds more promise for your PC. Personally I really don't like KDE. Not because it is more Windows like but simply because its just not a classy environment. Too much stuff for my liking.

  25. Scodge
    August 18, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Sorry, but I have to disagree about Mint Linux. I tried the new KDE version and had several problems (on my AMD64 system):
    1). There was a problem with Pulse Audio which needed a work-around. (This is an Ubuntu problem - not specific to Mint - but still really annoying.)
    2). Trying to use Compiz just repeatedly crashed my system (yet on Kanotix, I get all the effects, flying cubes etc without a problem).
    3). The system was stuck on a single desktop and refused to expand to the "normal" four, however many times I tried to alter it.
    After the above, I just figured that Mint was not for me. Apart from that, I agree that the eye-candy is great and it looks a very polished O.S. Shame it suffers from the faults bequeathed to it by Ubuntu.

  26. John Woods
    August 18, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Sounds pretty reasonable to me dude!

    RT

  27. rothgar
    August 18, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I thought I would throw out a shameless plug for the official Linux Mint podcast: mintcast.org
    We try to answer any questions and explain Linux Mint specific tools. We also talk about Linux news and gadgets.

  28. JK the Fifth
    August 18, 2009 at 4:40 am

    What I meant was that I cannot get all the apps that I currently use to work in Linux (and I am not talking about big names, like Firefox, I am talking about small tiny apps that I have grown fond of). Or maybe its just that I have been using XP for such a long time that I dont wanna leave it. :D

    Anywho, great post, and I will definitely try Linux Mint.

  29. Abhilash
    August 18, 2009 at 2:15 am

    I have been preaching about Mint for a long time. In fact since I switched from Ubuntu to Mint after the mint 6 release.
    Its cleaner than Ubuntu and a breeze to use. And the best part is that there is no BROWN.

    Mint makes Ubuntu what Ubuntu should have been to start off with. I dont try the latest ubuntu any more. Just wait for the next mint release.

  30. sigra
    August 17, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Where ubuntu fails is the top and bottom menu's for one. our group is nearing over 1,000 users switched over to linux. this is home users in past 2 years. not one has switched back or even uses windows as a 2nd operating system. with ubuntu this was not the case. also linux mint is nothing like xp. and no its not kubuntu. its gnome but all on bottom with alot of intuitive work to make it simple for beginners.
    our team has utilized many distros, and out of all them linuxmint has been only issue to not cause us many questions to new users.

    Best Regards
    Linux Mint User

    • Abhilash
      August 18, 2009 at 2:21 am

      I complete agree. The powerful implementation of the Mint Menu is just awesome. Its something that I use every day.

  31. Ultimatebuster
    August 17, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Wait, so this is Kubuntu with a different theme?

    • Abhilash
      August 18, 2009 at 2:20 am

      @Ultimatebuster If you mean Mint is Kubuntu with a diff theme... then... No its not.

      Even Mint has a KDE version which goes beyond Kubuntu (The KDE version of Ubuntu) in easse of use and overall slickness.

    • Noah
      August 18, 2009 at 7:16 am

      No, it's more Ubuntu with a different theme and menu layout (because it uses Gnome, not KDE), as well as some extra tools.

  32. LinuxLover
    August 17, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    We all have our opinions, and my opinion is that Linux Mint fixes Ubuntu. The UI is so much better and the artwork so much more classy and inspiring.

    I love KDE, but Ubuntu/Kubuntu's implementation of it is a disaster. For good KDE, see Mandriva. I haven't tried Mint's implementation of it, but if it's as much better compared to Kubuntu as their Gnome is to Ubuntu, I'm sure it's a home run.

    BTW, there is no perfect choice for a desktop Linux distro. We all have different needs and different opinions. As long as it's Linux...

    • Sharninder
      August 18, 2009 at 1:00 am

      Ubuntu has only now started touching GNOME, the first bits being the new notification system. They've till now only concentrated on making the installation and setup easier for newbies. I always felt that they could do a lot better with the UI but well, I guess mint is beating them to it and they need to pick up their game too.

  33. Jorge Sierra
    August 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Nice overview Stefan. Does Linux Mint include installation/configuration of Compiz?

    • Stefan Neagu
      August 18, 2009 at 1:23 am

      Yes.

  34. JK the Fifth
    August 17, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Thats the problem with Linux. There are only a few apps available for it. And I suspect not everything runs smoothly on wine. Its about time developers take linux seriously.

    • Noah
      August 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

      Only a few apps???? Are you crazy. Everything you have on Windows, you can find a alternative, or make the same work on linux.

    • Richard
      August 18, 2009 at 1:15 am

      There are thousands of apps all free and installed with a couple of clicks - dead easy. All from safe sources so no .exe files to worry about. All code is publicly available on apps so no malware etc can sneak through.
      Link to get more apps in Mint are in 'Package Manager' - screenshots, search by name etc etc.

    • Clint Brothers
      August 19, 2009 at 1:06 am

      There are over 28,000 programs available in the current Ubuntu repository and Linux Mint is compatible with them. You should try it out. You'll never buy another app again.

  35. Richard
    August 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    You can install this using Mint4Win which enables you to have Windows & Mint on the same machine. It's like a dualboot but no partitioning needed. Check the CD - run in Windows and choose 'install in windows'. In the very unlikely event you don't like Mint, if you use Mint4Win you can remove through Windows Add/Remove options.
    Or if you follow the install guide, having made some free space (10gb o so) leave unformatted & Mint will install to there giving you dual boot with a very elegant boot screen choice of Min or Windows at boot.

    • Stefan Neagu
      August 17, 2009 at 1:47 pm

      Excellent tip Richard, thanks!

      • mchlbk
        August 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm

        But be aware that installing with mint4win (which is Mint's name for Wubi) results in a pretty slow Mint experience.

        For maximum performance use the installer to make a dualboot system. Use manual partitioning and make a swap partition double the size of you ram + a root partition formatted in the ext4 format in stead of the default ext3 format. If you want to make future upgrades easier you can create a home partition (ext4) too.

        • karen311
          August 18, 2009 at 11:55 pm

          I am envious of the knowledge of the Linux topic. I am very curious of the whole experience, but don't have the savy of where and how to begin. Can anyone direct me to a starting point of switching to Linux.

        • Noah
          August 19, 2009 at 4:33 am

          First, you have to download a iso file and burn it to disk.
          http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
          Follow the guide, then boot up your computer with the disk in.

  36. RK Veluvali
    August 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Hi All,
    I was cling to MS Windows XP, till I found this little master. With rock solid set of features features, and an eye candy interface (looks amazing, believe me) this distribution is amazing. Just like most live CDs this distribution is around 700MB. Coming to performance, it rocks. While my WINXP takes 38 seconds to show me the desktop, this hardly takes 25 seconds. I can assure you, if you try this version once (especially people who can't leave Windows, due to its user-friendliness) you mostly forget about using windows.

  37. Noah
    August 17, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Mint is definitely the one that's be made to look like Windows.

    • JBu92
      August 23, 2009 at 12:01 am

      umm... you mean OTHER than vixta.org?

  38. Simon Slangen
    August 17, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Mint is definitely the most beautiful Linux OS out there - true eyecandy. This is a little sample of how much Linux has changed the past decades.

    • JBu92
      August 23, 2009 at 12:00 am

      UltimateEdition is one of the prettiest out of the box IMHO

  39. John Sousa
    August 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

    By the way, I recently heard that Shockwave is NOT available at all for Linux, true?

    • Noah
      August 17, 2009 at 11:47 am

      True, but there are replacements for it. For example, if it's just a flash file, you can use your browser, or if you must have shockwave, you can install Wine and run it through there.

  40. John Sousa
    August 17, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Hi. Can anyone recommend a distro of Linux that would run great in an Intel Pentium 3 - 933Mhz, 256MB of RAM, 20 GB Hard Drive system? These systems are intended to be donated to first time computer users so we are looking for something that runs quick on these specs yet is also easy to use, and already includes all major popular apps(browser, office suite, mp3 support, avi support, etc. Thanks!

    • Noah
      August 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

      Well, you could use xubuntu - but that would be a bit slow, so I would recommend damnsmalllinux.org It will run super fast on your system!

    • absurdist
      August 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm

      Puppy Linux is a better alternative to DSL if you want to do any real work: puppylinux.org

      • Noah
        August 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm

        Puppy Linux isn't a good choice for first time computer users.

        • absurdist
          August 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

          Far better than DSL, IMAO.

        • il_marcello
          August 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm

          I recommend you try Crunchbang Linux. You can find my review here:

          HTH

        • il_marcello
          August 19, 2009 at 2:14 pm

          Sorry, messed up my message:

    • Michael
      August 18, 2009 at 9:49 am

      Hi, give Linux Mint XFCE edition a try. I've been very happy with it running on an old PC connected to my LCD TV so I can watch movies, browse the net etc on my TV.
      Should be good for 1st time users...
      Might still be slightly slow with only 256 meg ram though, but give it a go.

    • Matthew
      August 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm

      @ John Sousa

      Try out Tiny Core Linux - tinycorelinux.com/
      OR
      xPUD - xpud.org/

      See how you go.

      Cheers!

  41. Noah
    August 17, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Personally, I think things are already pretty easy in Ubuntu. I mean, the hardest thing a new user will come across is forcing a 32bit app to run on a 64 environment. Ubuntu also looks better, by default, and I'm sure quite a few Windows users will be attracted by the looks. Mint is a bit too XP for my liking.

  42. José Mota
    August 17, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Even better than using GNOME would be daring to use KDE. It's gone so far lately! That's the main reason I stopped liking Ubuntu :(

    • Sharninder
      August 18, 2009 at 12:18 am

      If you're only problem with Ubuntu was GNOME, you should have tried Kubuntu, the KDE based version of Ubuntu.

      But, seriously, I really think the Mint people are on to something here. I've not completely switched yet to Mint, but have been using it a virtual machine and am quite happy with it.

      • Steve Max
        August 18, 2009 at 9:45 am

        Why would you suggest Kubuntu to someone? It's definitely the worst KDE4 implementation out there. It has some weird optimizations/library mismatches that make the desktop crash much more often than it should. It lags behind Ubuntu because the Ubuntu team won't wait for Kubuntu to implement something before it they launch it. Even in theming, its theme is bland. Seriously, if you want to try KDE, use anything but Kubuntu.

  43. Noah
    August 17, 2009 at 11:30 am

    *Damn Small linux damnsmalllinux.org/

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