Linux Technology Explained

Debian vs. Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint: Which Distribution Should You Use?

Bertel King Updated 30-06-2020

If you’ve heard of Ubuntu, the most popular version of Linux for desktop PCs, there’s a good chance you’ve also heard of Debian and Linux Mint.


With so many Linux distributions to choose from, a newcomer can understandably have a hard time telling them all apart. In this case, these three options have a great deal in common, but there remains a lot that sets them apart.

Debian-Based Linux Distributions

In the Linux world, there are hundreds of Linux-based operating systems (commonly known as “distributions” or “distros”) to pick from. Most of them expand from an already existing distro and implement various changes. There are only a handful that aren’t based on something else.

Debian is one of them, a parent that a majority of other versions of Linux have spawned from. Ubuntu is the most prominent descendant.

Yet while Ubuntu may be based on Debian, it has gone on to become a parent to many other distros as well. Linux Mint, for example, is based on Ubuntu What's the Difference Between Ubuntu and Ubuntu-Based Distros? The distinction between different Linux distros can be confusing. Here's how Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros are different. Read More .

If you’re connecting the dots, that means that Linux Mint is ultimately based on Debian.


But Linux Mint is not Ubuntu, and Ubuntu is not Debian. While they may largely share the same technical underpinning, chances are you won’t have that impression when you boot them up for the first time.


Debian running the GNOME desktop

Software engineer Ian Murdock released the first version of Debian in 1993, in the process establishing a community of developers who would work together to provide a stable way to use the best software the free software world had to offer. The name came from the combination of his name and the name of his then-girlfriend, Debra.

While you can install Debian on your laptop and replace Windows, Debian is more than a desktop operating system. It’s a massive collection of software that you can configure in different ways to create the kind of experience you want. This is why so many projects use Debian as a foundation.


But yes, you can install Debian as a desktop operating system. Technically there is a default desktop experience available, but the installer enables you to pick and choose which desktop interface you prefer. You can even choose not to have a graphical interface at all, which is ideal for servers.

This freedom means the Debian teams leave the bulk of design and usability decisions to the various free software projects themselves. How Debian looks and feels has more to do with what the GNOME or KDE teams decide than the opinions of Debian developers.

You won’t find the custom themes and personal style that Ubuntu and Linux Mint both offer in spades, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The GNOME desktop interface, for example, doesn’t support custom themes and many app developers actively request that distros stop theming their apps.


Debian’s Package Management

Yet there is a major part of the experience that is specific to Debian. That’s package management. Debian uses the DEB format and the APT package manager. I won’t go into details about them here, though, because as Debian-based distros, Ubuntu and Linux Mint inherent these same tools.

This isn’t to suggest that there’s nothing special about Debian. The reasons to use Debian 12 Reasons Why You Should Choose Debian Linux Consider a Linux operating system but don't know which to choose? Well, as many distros are based on Debian, why not start there? Read More are many, but only a few are likely to matter all that much to people first discovering free software.

If you’re coming to Debian from a different version of Linux, you may notice that much of the software is older than what you get elsewhere. New versions of Debian only come around once every two to three years, and app updates are frozen in time alongside the rest of the system, aside from security patches and similar maintenance. If you want to use newer software on Debian, you can, but doing so comes with more bugs and instability.

In short, Debian isn’t hard to use, but it is geared more toward technical users than Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Debian is great for people who care more about the values of free software, want more control over how their PC works, are creating a server, or value long-term stability.



Ubuntu Linux distribution

Unlike Debian, Ubuntu is the product of a private company. Canonical launched Ubuntu in 2004. The goal was to create a version of Linux geared toward non-technical users. The slogan was “Linux for Human Beings.”

So, what set Ubuntu apart from Debian? For starters, there was a clear product: the Ubuntu desktop. Canonical employed developers to make the chosen default experience as pleasant as possible for users.

Today, Canonical provides a simpler installer, a restyle of the GNOME desktop, and newer software.

(Ubuntu packages technically come from the unstable branch of Debian. That means experienced users can get this software on Debian too, but at the risk of a less stable desktop).

The Snap Store

Canonical has created the snap package format, courting commercial software developers to release their apps into the Snap Store Flathub vs. Snap Store: The Best Sites for Downloading Linux Apps When you want to download Linux apps, how do Flathub and Snap Store compare? We pit them against each other to find out. Read More .

The Snap Store, alongside Ubuntu’s position as the most widely used version of Linux, makes Ubuntu the Linux distro with the greatest degree of software support from non-Linux developers. This is relevant for apps like Skype and Steam, plus large swathes of PC games.

Canonical’s snap format is a universal format that works regardless of which Linux distro you choose. As such, you no longer have to use Ubuntu to enjoy many of these benefits.

Ubuntu has a predictable release schedule, with new long-term support releases launching every two years. Interim releases come out every six months. This makes it suitable for people who like regular updates and those who simply want a reliable computer.

Various flavors of Ubuntu are available beyond the mainstream version. Kubuntu uses the KDE desktop environment, while Lubuntu uses LXQt. Xubuntu employs the Xfce desktop, and Ubuntu MATE ships with (surprise!) the MATE desktop. If you don’t like the default interface, one of the many Ubuntu flavors 8 Ubuntu Flavors Compared: Kubuntu vs. Lubuntu vs. Xubuntu vs. MATE vs. Budgie vs. Studio vs. Kylin If you've heard about Linux, then you know about the most popular version for desktop users: Ubuntu. But which flavor of Ubuntu is right for you? Read More may be the right fit.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop environment

Clément Lefèbvre started Linux Mint in 2006, only a few years after Ubuntu. There was considerable experimentation in the early days, as the Mint developers decided how to structure the technical aspects of the desktop. They eventually landed on making Linux Mint fully compatible with the Ubuntu desktop.

Both distros use mostly the same repositories and can install the same software. DEB packages meant for Ubuntu will also work in Linux Mint. The Linux Mint team doesn’t care much for snaps, but it’s still possible for you to install them.

The primary difference between Mint and Ubuntu comes down to the initial desktop experience. The Linux Mint team created the Cinnamon desktop environment, which by default resembles Microsoft Windows. You have an app launcher in the bottom left, a task bar along the bottom, and system icons in the bottom right.

Mint comes with a selection of tools that simplify the process of installing apps and changing desktop themes. Mint also has the option to pre-install multimedia codecs that, on Debian and Ubuntu, you have to install after installation.

These changes have encouraged people to choose Linux Mint 10 Reasons to Fall in Love With Linux Mint Not sure which version of Linux to try out first? Linux Mint is a popular option, and one of the friendliest and most versatile versions of Linux available. Read More  as an easier or more comfortable desktop to learn and use on a daily basis.

If you don’t love the Cinnamon desktop, there are MATE and Xfce editions of Linux Mint available as well. Both come with the same theme and general layout but may run smoother on older machines.

Debian vs. Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint: Which Is It?

Personally, I would use Debian. But then I’m a long-time free software user who has come to prefer distros that try not to make changes to “upstream” code. But I wouldn’t necessarily give Debian to a first time Linux user. Anyone familiar with computing could figure it out, but Ubuntu and Linux Mint offer an easier experience and look better.

The same could be said of elementary OS and Pop!_OS, which are both also based on Ubuntu. And if you’re inclined to like Debian, you might find much to like in Fedora, another upstream-focused project that isn’t based on another distro.

If you aren’t already paralyzed by choice, there are so many more great Linux distros to consider The Best Linux Operating Distros The best Linux distros are hard to find. Unless you read our list of the best Linux operating systems for gaming, Raspberry Pi, and more. Read More .

Related topics: Debian, Linux Distro, Linux Mint, Linux Tips, Operating Systems, Ubuntu.

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  1. Kalyan Chatterjea
    July 3, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I used all these distros & with respect to ease of use I recommend Peppermint 10, which is far superior! I am on Linux for more than 10 years!

  2. John Smith
    July 2, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    All you need to know, the others are Debian based, with enhancements and customization.

  3. Sam Brown
    July 1, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    Articles like this would be more readable if you skipped the entire freaking history and just compared them.

  4. phil darby
    March 26, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Im using linux mint 18.3 currently, linux mint 18.1 was my first venture into the linux world, after doing a bit of research i decided to go with mint having come from windows xp and windows 7 previously, my main usage is browsing the web and watching films, plus listening to music, which mint does very well, I have a tri boot pc windows xp for legacy pc games (32 bit) and win 7 (64 bit) for my more recent games and photo editing, I dont do much heavy photo editing, but have found the windows side more supported than the linux side of things, mainly in the form of .jpg files.

    As a desktop enviroment I have found mint to be very customisable and in some ways it is superior to windows 7, one of my favorate applications being cairo-dock, which can effectively run the whole desktop, there are some cross platform applications as well, which is handy.

    All in all I like Linux Mint and am happy to stich with it, for now.

  5. Manny
    December 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I've used both Debian & Ubuntu. I usually recommend Ubuntu for those that know nothing but Windoze. I prefer to use Debian myself due to my feeling that Debian seems more stable & resource efficient. I use Debian mostly as a Virtual Host , enabling me to use the best OS for the task at hand. While I haven't tried Mint yet, next chance I get I will check it out.

  6. Manny
    December 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I've used Ubuntu & Debian . I recommend Ubuntu to folks that know nothing but Windoze but I prefer Debian as it seems to be most stable & resource efficient. Mint sounds good but haven't played with it......yet.

    • Tech Man
      April 27, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      Bum Bum Bum...

  7. Ether
    November 21, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Very clear. Thanks for straight-forward comparison.

  8. Mark Ackerman
    September 9, 2016 at 11:50 am

    i have used all 3 but only Linux Mint for 2 of the past 3 years, until problems with steam, and tried to my GREAT PLEASURE Ubuntu-Gnome and Tweak-Tools/Extensions from Gnome 3 are SOO AWESOME making the sickest desktop EVER, and finally kicking Windows bling out of the park. So why am i writing ....
    it is 4 am and last night i bought a Cutting edge gaming HP OMEN laptop 15-5220 512 SSD PCIe!!!!
    and thought I would give Debians Jessie a run with its Gnome 3 ....
    it is awesome tooo EXCEPT, Wireless and Nvidia Optimus Support Sucks, and no DRIVER MANAGER! It's like being back in Ubuntu 8 years ago. And yes i have been a keen linux user for 10 years, and Debian - I am sorry it is a deal breaker big time!

    6 hours later and i am going to install Ubuntu-Gnome and have it all set up in 20-30 minutes DONE!

    Ubuntu-Gnome WINS!

    I truly hope this helps!

  9. QuixoteMD
    July 20, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Debian is the OS of choice of the big TECH Colleges MIT GA Tech ... and because of that waaaayyy ahead of any bureaucracies inherent in aftermarket credit claimers!!! Whenever I had real problems Debian was years YES YEARS ...ahead of anyone else if finding a solution to attempted Microsoft driven hardware hijacks ie.. UEFI Also the technical user base tends to be more selfless driven Educator and TechnoGeeks who just love sharing their technical Genius.

    Like RedHat and Susi Ubuntu $ELL$ their technical expertise for server help and thus their documentation is weak and unworkable example dead end do-loops in practice. AND THEN ... Debian documentation and knowledge base comes through.

    Sorry ...Mark Shuttleworth .... just HAD to Document and validate my objections with facts ... I'm a retired educator ...and love to share MY STUFF FOR FREE TOO !!! Teach a Course a community education course for Emory on how to use a $5 stripped goodwill store computer with Linux and a big honkin' hard drive for a basement server. !! :-)

  10. Nat
    January 23, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Mint is the best. Simple. easy to use.

  11. Michael
    December 6, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Help! Can ANYone tell me where I can find a Ubuntu package for qpopper? It seems that it
    is no longer available!


  12. Ralph
    December 6, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Is there a link for the desktop backgound picture shown in the Ubuntu picture above?

  13. Anonymous
    April 3, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Debian is a distro that is made by geeks for geeks for geeky stuffs!
    Ubuntu is a commercial project not a complete free distro. it's going to be the Darwin of the *nix systems ,
    Mint is for whom that they try to have a taste of linux without technical knowledge...
    you have to know how unix works if you really want to use debian like a pro.
    debian is a journey ...

    • Anonymous
      August 7, 2015 at 8:36 am

      The linux we all love is just the same underneath. Mint just gets you up and working quicker out of the box.

      If you're an expert or novice, doesn't matter. If you want to get working, go for Mint.

      I use and love both Debian and Mint (and Arch and Gentoo). Dropped Ubuntu when it got released with crapware installed.

  14. JustSomeOldDude
    January 19, 2015 at 6:39 am

    I was using Ubuntu 14.04 for a while and i really liked it. but i noticed UNITY and associated applications starting to use up system resources, mostly just maxing out one CPU core. Flash was also starting to crash in firefox. when i tried to simplify the unity operations i ended up breaking Ubuntu. so tried Mint rebecca. So far i like it. The GNOME environment seems to be steady and uses up fewer system resources also Flash is behaving as long as hardware acceleration is disabled.

  15. Hugo Heykers
    December 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Short, but nevertheless interesting article.
    I myself use Ubuntu as the host on my (Asus) laptop, on which I also have virtualized machines in VirualBox. The original host OS from the shop was Windows 7, but on this I don't wanna spill any more words.
    Debian I use as the overall server for our homenetwerk. I have had my doubts for long time, but finally decided to take Debian, since it seems more stable as server.
    Linux Mint I have installed on a dedicated pc as multimedia client.

  16. Trent Black
    June 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    This article is typical of a linux expert. They forget when things don't run, the typical user does not want to google for answers, and hope they find a current answers. Linux experts dream of running a terminal, while I consider a terminal requirement an incomplete program. I remember a programmer in a meeting discussing the maintenance of tables and instead of building screens signed up all the users for SQL. Plus, look in the beginning of the comments of things not working. And we have not gotten into users installing codecs.

    Mint has a lot fewer hassles for the average users, which do not have pocket protectors.

    • Danny Stieben
      June 29, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Most Linux distributions which are made for the average user (such as Ubuntu and especially Linux Mint as you pointed out) work well enough where this really isn't an issue anymore. The quality of popular software is also constantly rising, so users tend not to run into "incomplete programs" either.

      I don't see a problem with my comparison between the different distros, so I'm not quite sure why you bring up those points.

  17. Enki
    June 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Have been using Ubuntu from 2006 and loved this disto to the moment the developers decided to go for UNITY crap. Of course you can say that I can just use classic Gnome - sure, but I want to try Mint now and tbh I think it's gonna very similiar due to origins of it (Debian->Ubuntu->Mint). One thing which made me crazy was upgrading from distro to distro under Ubuntu, practically on every upgrade I had crashes with some packages or they were not "user friendly" compatible with my hardware and I ended with blank desktop. I hope Mint team will put more effort to make things straight forward - we will see cause I am tired of frequently appearing issues (though it may be Linux in general feature :D ) and in the same time I will stick to Debian based distro. If things stay the same I will probably jump in the end to Redhat which seems to be better optimized however I don't have an experience in that as a (lazy) home user.

    • Danny Stieben
      June 28, 2012 at 3:24 am

      I agree that the upgrade of Debian-based distros usually doesn't go so well, even more me. I've had far fewer problems with Fedora. I'd recommend trying Mint first like you said, but it's not all that hard to get into Fedora. It might take some work to get it set up so that it's usable for anyone and not just those who live open source religiously.

  18. Edmond Condillac
    June 22, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I use Ubuntu operating system. Kindly let me know how, if possible, I can change to Debian, please

    • Danny Stieben
      June 28, 2012 at 3:21 am

      You can easily install Debian by downloading its ISO, burning it to a CD or USB, and going through the installer, just like you did for Ubuntu. You cannot, however, simply "upgrade" from Ubuntu into Debian. It will require a fresh install.

  19. Noo
    June 9, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I had problems with ubuntu 10.1 constantly crashing. Firefox was just starting down its road to becoming unusable and java was running horribly. I weighed up my requirements top of the list were reliability and stability. I installed Debain squeeze and have never looked back. There is simply no comaprison in terms of stability and speed. Debian is not as pretty and looks like an old version of Ubuntu but for me, this is well worth the tradeoff. The only thing that can be annoying is having to compile more programs to get newer program versions or add sid repositories.

    • Danny Stieben
      June 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Don't forget you can customize Debian yourself through themes, icon packs, and so much more! :)

  20. Jeewantha Bandara
    June 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Hi everybody.
    I just downloaded Linux mint Maya and I'm gonna replace Windows with it.
    No known faults with the new Mint edition, right?

    • Danny Stieben
      June 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      None that we're aware of! However, it's always best to at least check by running the Live environment before committing to an install.

  21. Ralph The Other
    June 3, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Easy of acquisition and testing should also be considerations. Some distros have live versions for different architectures and others do not. Some have torrent downloads but others only have http and ftp options, making it hard to download an ISO using different Internet connections here and there. How easy is it to get a copy on CD/DVD or on a stick? Can you order it on physical media?

    Also consider:
    Is it available in your language?
    What is the documentation like, again in a language you know well.
    What is your local community like and what do they use?

    • Danny Stieben
      June 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Those are some really good points I didn't think about! Although for the majority of users those questions shouldn't really be of much concern, I'm sure there are a few that constantly ask those questions.

      I believe all of them can be downloaded via torrents and ordered on physical media. They should all support the same languages as Debian --> Ubuntu --> Linux Mint.

  22. kim
    May 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    I just moved to Ubuntu 12.04, Best Linux distro, IMHO. Thousands of packages, bleeding edge of open source, debian level security (for the most part). My comp is retty beastly, so I don't know how this will run on older stuff, but on my comp 12.04 is ultra fast out of the box. The only flaws with Ubuntu are ones inherent with just about all linux distros. Unity is a big change for Ubuntu and I have grown to like it alot. Well worth the effor put into it.

  23. Ted Trujillo
    May 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Well I have been using Mint for a while. I recently switched to Pinguy and haven't looked back. Pinguy has been my distro of choice for months now and has actually replaced both my Ubuntu and windows systems in my tripleboot. Heck I am now playing WoW in wine and haven't fired up win7 in quite a while.

  24. Andrea
    May 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I love Debian. Loved it more before gnome 3 screwed things up. I am barely hanging on to gnome 2, had to uninstall update manager because it was updating and installing things that made it harder to use gnome 2.

    I have used Ubuntu and I was not happy with it. Xubuntu was a complete disaster! I had a crazy rebooting problem that no amount of upgrading could fix. It could have been the version or iso I burned at fault, but I have not used any ubuntu distro since. The live disks work fine, by the way.

    I tried a live version of Linux Mint, and I liked it, but could not get sound to work, which is why I have not installed the distro to a hard drive. But it's one I would love to make my 2nd OS on my dual boot system.

    • Andrea
      June 6, 2012 at 3:02 am

      Last night I installed Linux Mint 10 Julia and it works far better than I expected. I am concerned about the distro's inabilty to be updated, but it also makes me think that I won't have the same update issues I have encountered in Debian, and before than Dreamlinux 3.5.

      BTW, the sound works just fine (it was muted) and the distro has better 3d drivers for my gamer video card, which means compiz works far better in Linux Mint. And Docky too, for some reason. In Debian, when I would add a launcher to docky it usually stopped working or was gone when I booted up the computer the next day. Today, every launcher I added yesterday was present and worked perfectly. This may be the final distro for me.

  25. romeo
    May 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I like Windows 7.

  26. TedT
    May 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Been using LMDE for a while, got caught up in a update failure, switched to Pinguy, been very happy ever since.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      So you're liking the Ubuntu base better than the Debian base?

  27. joe
    May 12, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I'm using Ubuntu x64 off of a livecd right now and I'm quite impressed. Its very fast, responsive, and stable. It just works.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      That's the idea of it all! :)

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      May 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      I'm not quite sure where you could go to look, but I wish you good luck in your endeavors!

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  31. CrazyR
    May 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Ajem...Ubuntu was goood until 12.04 came out. It Began to look like windows, that was a very wrong step

    LinuxMint is like a sister of Ubunto, it's based on ubuntu. but the graphics weren't that eye candyish. When LinuxMint12 came out, the Graphics began to look like windows, just like ubunto

    Debian is just fine, i have it, it's fast, and it has no eye candy's, of course if you want to have eye candy's you can change it, i wouldn't do it, it's bad for the monitor.

    • Marcus
      May 9, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Canonical is the Micro$oft of Lunix. They are pure evil.
      Unity Uber Alles they cry.
      Ubuntu removes choice. It is neo-fascist.
      Debian is the only pure Linux out there.

      • Danny Stieben
        May 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm

        How does Ubuntu remove choice?

    • Danny Stieben
      May 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      I guess you just don't like the Unity interface, which is fine. Not all that many people do either.

      I don't quite think that eye candy is bad for the monitor...

  32. eric
    April 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I've used Ubuntu a lot over the years. Ubuntu live cd is one of my go-to tools for troubled windows machines.

    lately, i run into problems - ubuntu with nvidia card, can't have all the pretty gui effects with dual monitors.
    video playback problems and a few more things.

    i've tried ubuntu 10 - 12 (btw, trying to install gnome on 12 is a pain in the butt and didnt work well for me)

    anyways, so i decided to test drive linux mint... o.m.g. wow
    this is GREAT!
    using Linux Mint 10
    i have FULL gnome desktop GUI effects, full HD playback, seamless VMWare workstation unity mode; the works.

    here is prime example of what linux mint can do on my computer that windows and ubuntu haven't been able to keep up with:
    drag HD video window between dual monitors and no skipping, etc.
    i have wobbly windows and desktop water effect going - i can shake the video window all around and in between monitors, but wobbly window and video playback do not hesitate even for a millisecond.
    when switching between desktops (i have cube effect for desktop switching), video playback remains flawless.

    in windows 7 and ubuntu 10 - 12, when i would drag the playing video between windows it would lock up the video playback, sometimes the video player itself. this is among many different programs for playback.

    vmware workstation is FLAWLESS in linux mint - i didnt really have problems with it in windows, but i did in ubuntu (it won't even install on ubuntu 12)

    i'm sold on linux mint now. i use it as my primary OS and whatever windows programs i need to ru, i just use the XP virtual machine I have set up.
    (this is my work workstation, so no gaming going on)

    i know the video playback performance may seem trivial, but to me it shows the stability and powerfulness of linux mint; that it can maintain HD playback with full gui effects dragging across dual monitors and never miss a beat.

    even the VMWare unity windows are flawless on the wobbly windows and water effects. i guarantee Windows (any version) could not maintain this.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Interesting to see that Linux Mint is working so much better for you since most of their packages are simply borrowed from Ubuntu.

  33. betty
    April 28, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Hi-My brother installed and got mu PC ready--I'm computer illitrate as I have little time to lear about these things. After using Windows forever, I now need to learn a whole new system.
    Are ther any simple tutorials that explains in both laymens and real terms re: how the programming works, where to get downloads etc. What the termanoligies mean and as much simplified info as possible? I really appreciate all the help I can get.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 4, 2012 at 6:38 am

      Well, since you say that you're computer illiterate, programming probably isn't a topic that you're interested in. Maybe programs? They work just like Windows programs. They are just installed via packages (either .deb files for Ubuntu/Debian or .rpm files for openSUSE/Fedora), which you can get from your package manager (look for something like Software Center or Add/Remove Software). The key difference is that all the software you'll need is found in one central location, so you don't have to go to many different websites to download each program. Again, as far as use goes, it's basically the same.

      I hope that was helpful!

  34. Ralph
    April 28, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I played with all 3 and even though Unity is pure evil... I prefer Ubuntu I just like the flow and how it runs yes Mint reconized my gpu out the box however I used XP over it... when I had Ubuntu I found myself always on it except when I played a game unsupported by wine.... Yes Unity can take a bit to follow over what we are use too, however you can easily change it to another (Gnome 3 or 2.2 with shell extention) my laptop was designed for 7 (I prefer XP due to less resources and support....) it runs all of them flawlessly but Ubuntu always caught my eye any problem google provide an answer faster than 7. Also the Unity keeps close to 7 UI for those transitioning to a linux distro. Hopefully this helped people, as this knowledge would have helped me, I have dual boot for mmo purposes and some games I still play on XP if you want newer games dual boot with 7 and it's worth it I only have 40 out of 500gbs to this and it's worth the security and the fun learning. If your content with windows but want more stability roll back to XP with SP3 other wise most drivers won't work... Simple all distributions are fun and easy to learn :) any questions google is your best friend, serious there forums can lack on a response or be one sided....

  35. pavan
    April 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    linux mint is the best.

  36. Cameron
    March 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I loved Ubuntu 10.04. Then I used another computer for a while and then decided to reinstall the OS. I installed Ubuntu 11.10. The UI immediately pissed me off. It was also incredibly slow for some reason. I am now using Linux Mint, and I love it.

    • oboltyo
      April 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      I'm perplexed that it is so hard for people to install the interface they like....seems undoubtedly and uncanny that it is so hard to 'apt-get', use synaptic, or the default package manager to load another interface...Now in saying that, I too am also perplexed that Canonical did not give an option to choose interface upon start up for I also do not care for Unity (and know not many that do). But why is is so easy to through in the towel on a good distribution??

    • Erick
      April 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      You don't have to use unity, I don't know anyone that actually does.. Unity is nice but the bar is just not made for the side at all! It's made for the bottom it's a super bar basically.

      Just install Gnome3 using sudo apt-get gnome3, also install the gnome tweak tool and docky(make sure expand is selected or use it like a dock).

      You don't have to use docky you can just right-click+add another panel but it's not as effective imo.

      For the actual desktop however I would just use arch linux with gnome 3 in fallback(the smallest the panel can be is 19 pixels..), compiz, docky, and the ambiance theme with some cool icon sets.

      Arch and Gentoo are the only Linux distros I actually use on the desktop environment, for servers I use ubuntu server as gentoo or arch are rolling releases and you shouldn't upgrade very often unless it's an update to ruby, python, sqlite/mysql/posgresql, php, or an update to the OS itself but with gentoo/arch that's every week not a good practice.

  37. Jeff
    March 16, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I myself am probably not welcome in this discussion because I kicked wincrap 7 to the curb only 6 months ago, but I find that Ubuntu 11.10 has a lot of cool things to offer but isn't there yet, it's seems very buggy and I find myself restarting my computer more than I should have to. And what's with the laptop over heating problem, my other laptop is slow and choppy because of this over heating issue, with the latest distro of Ubuntu, it shut itself down ever since then it's been really slow when doing anything. So now I'll try the Linux Mint 12 and see how it behaves.

    Now don't get me wrong Ubuntu 11.10 has some interesting programs, like running the software centre and other apps. It has promise but for now I think I'll try out Mint.

    On the brighter side at least GNU/Linux users get a choice, not like the world of Microsoft, where you do what your told, or ELSE!

    • Chris
      April 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Jeff, what sweeping statements you make.
      I use all three. I have been in IT since before it was called IT and I can honestly say that Windows 7 is one of the most stable OSs I have ever used. Up to the present, MS have not once told me to do anything, by the way. The advantage of MS is that it still has just about the widest range of software and hardware available. I have tried many times to make the switch to Linux permanently, but some stuff is just not available - like the route-planning software and update for my aviation GPS, for example.

      I love Linux, but it cannot do everything I want, and I do not see that day approaching any time soon.

      Just as a parting comment to the Linux community - don't you think we're losing sight of some of the original goals? Ubuntu is so bloated now, it seems to take as long as Windows to start up, certainly slower than my iMac.

      • Jack
        April 21, 2012 at 10:10 pm

        Maybe little off-topic we are, ahem?

        • None
          April 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

          No not at all. You probably don't know what "reply" is..

      • Shreya Dahal
        May 13, 2012 at 4:54 am

        Exactly.. That's why I keep both Windows and Linux. And btw, i gave up my plan to move to Mint. Something just didn't look right. Besides, I found unity 2d is much more stable, and im happy with it.

  38. Terrance Mohead
    March 12, 2012 at 12:34 am

    You, my pal, ROCK! I found exactly the info I already searched all over the place and just could not locate it. What a perfect web-site.

  39. Shreya Dahal
    March 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I first started Linux with Fedora.. Not bad.. The went to Ubuntu.. I was with it through 9.10 to 11.10, then Unity put me down. It just started crashing a lot. I am thinking of moving to Mint now. Sounds pretty promising.

    • Jeff
      March 16, 2012 at 6:51 am

      I agree I thought Ubuntu 11.10 was pretty cool but got turn off of the behavior of Unity, it acts kind of finicky I also like to run the Cairo Dock along with it, and sometimes they get angry at each other and one time Unity will open the program and sometimes it won't. So now that I read this article I think I'm going to try Mint as well.

    • Annapolishome
      April 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      if you replace ubuntu with mint do you lose everything, i.e. email, gnucash files, etc. with the new installation?

      • Danny Stieben
        April 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

        You will lose your programs, yes, but you can save your personal files and settings if you have a separate home partition or back up your home folder.

    • pr@x
      April 26, 2012 at 9:04 am

      what i hate...


      - prop. codecs not installed out of the box
      - theme. its not bad but not appealing to me; Zukitwo is better despite not being dark
      -unity. i prefer gnome-shell for usability though not feature rich; I am not Linus ;)

      mint and deepin

      - mono and/ wine installed by default
      - python based mint menu(MATE)
      - cinnomon and MATE (gnome-shell is better)
      - I remember python based mintmenu eating memory(may be past)

      Personal preferences


      1) Ubuntu
      2) Linux Mint Debian


      1) Debian / Ubuntu Server
      2) CentOS

  40. W8PIE
    February 25, 2012 at 4:02 am

    Unity sucks and I quite using ubuntu. I actually installed will.dowsing 7. Come to find out there is nothing written for windows 7 and not device drivers.

    So ill installed mint with gnome 3 and see.

  41. Jon Hulka
    February 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Its complicated :D I think the main distinction between the Open Source Initiative and Debian is that the OSI is business focused where Debian is community focused.

    Debian's main repository is free (by FSF standards) and the only way to get non-free software from Debian's software manager is by explicitly choosing a non-free repository, so a default Debian installation is free.

    I agree that the FSF comes off as a bit too militant sometimes, it tends to alienate people from the idea of free software.

    Anyway, Ubuntu, Mint and Debian are all Debian based, and a lot of people get started using GNU/Linux on one of the 'easier' distros, so they all play an important role, both in bringing people to GNU/Linux, and in educating people on the importance of free software.

  42. Jon Hulka
    February 19, 2012 at 9:50 am

    @Lazza I missed your other comment the first time I read this.  I've been distro-hopping for quite a while, came to Debian in the last year or so, and I'll be staying. I think I'll go with the Debian Free Software Guidelines for my definition of 'free'.

  43. Lazza
    February 19, 2012 at 9:14 am

    If you really want to stick with the FSF definition, Debian is NOT free software. I'm sorry to repeat this again and again, but people should be aware of this useless hate and discrimination the FSF does against Debian. :)

  44. Danny Stieben
    February 19, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Ah, nice find, Jon. I suppose so...I've been interchanging those two terms more than I probably should.

  45. Jon Hulka
    February 16, 2012 at 6:40 am

    "Debian is created by the open source community"

    Don't you mean "the free software community"?

  46. Michael Peyton
    January 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Unfortunately, I have recently switched from Ubuntu to Debian due to Debian being more "free". I do not agree with Ubuntu not only encouraging users to install non-free software but selling it as well.

    I'm surprised this aspect was not discussed in the article. Debian is the most free out of the three listed. It's also important to refer to the operating system as GNU/Linux. Linux is just the name of the kernel. If you do not understand why this is important you should take a look at the free software foundation. If you don't care then you are missing the point of free software entirely.

    • Lazza
      January 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

      If you listen to the FSF, then you'll believe Debian is NOT free.
      Going in this way, one day FSF will tell you Richard Stallman is a proprietary software endorser...
      Of course this doesn't make sense, but if you want to stick with the FSF too much don't consider Debian as free.

    • Stephen Reed
      March 3, 2012 at 5:00 am

      Yes, I do understand why this is supposed to matter. However, to me it doesn't. There is nothing wrong with proprietary software in itself. The issue is draconian licence terms.

      I love open source, don't get me wrong, but people, and companies have every right to charge for software, and to own the code that they spent their time and effort working on.

      My issue with proprietary software is the "you don't own the software, it's licenced to you. We don't have to let you use it, and you can go to prison for trying to modify it for peronal use."

      In other words, I think software licences often restrict your use of software to much. However, I see nothing wrong with a developer saying you can't sell an app he wrote!

  47. Olaf van Kooten
    January 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

    I'm a happy user of Linx Mint on my Netbook! However, I stick to Windows on my Desktop ;)

  48. ItBms Biz
    January 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Danny,
    Good introduction to the blog as a young student. Here is my turnoff that occurred within the the first sentence. It was the use  of the word "hard".  That word should be "difficult".  Wood and cement are hard but decisions are difficult to take­. In French you say "take a decision", in English you say "make a decision".

    As a follow up, you might indicate why one would choose a distribution over another.  You could have given your opinions such as one distribution offering the easy transition of a computer beginner from a Windows environment to Linux.  Another opinion or consideration could be a program or group of applications that would help a person with a problem, such as design, statistics, or other. A third consideration could be that a particular Linux distribution allows a person to maintain an older computer, instead of sending it to the trash.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 19, 2012 at 3:38 am

      Thanks for the tips!

      I suppose I could've been a little more specific about the benefits of each, but I mainly wanted to talk about what each one is about. As far as distributions for the right purposes, there's now our Best Linux Distributions page [1] that you can check out.
      [1]: //

      • Stephen
        March 3, 2012 at 5:03 am

        So, it's not perfect. Who cares. I enjoyed the post greatly!

        (I just hope the grammer police (no offence intended) don't read my posts!)

        • Tuhua Tarakona
          April 22, 2012 at 9:48 am

 Although I have the same horrible habit of correcting grammar - - I think (humble opinion only) that ItBms Biz may have been commenting on this because of the language barrier more than the actual grammar! :^) I suspect if I spoke only Spanish or French, and used a translator to understand a page, the wording could be construed as 'difficult' versus 'hard'. So - totally understood what you were getting at, ItBms Biz. And, understand your comment on the 'grammar police', too, Stephen! ...big grin...

  49. Cybe
    January 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I was an early adopter of Ubuntu (Ubuntu user # 2136) with Warty Warthog and was a regular advocate until the advent of Unity.  I now use Debian once again and forevermore.

  50. Admin
    January 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    all of these operating systems are just as unstable as hell is on fire. The solution? Windows... Derp. The fact that linux is so unstable is the reason so many virus creators avoid it. Also another reason is because they're brain-dead dumb-asses. Linux to me is almost as fucking bad as mac but not quite, more like in the middle.

  51. guest
    January 13, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Tried them all. My two cents is that if one is using from a dev point of view, go for debian with gnome; some development and general (power) usage ubuntu/kubuntu/medibuntu are great. Mint fits that profile too but more I'm happy to put that for older relative :)) It is very good too!

  52. Bradley D. Thornton
    January 13, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Hm... The "Other" camp? This was referred to as fedora/RH/SuSE (Paraphrased, of course). I would tend to break things out by the packaging systems, since these are the things that most distinguish the distributions. Yes, we covered the debian GNU/Linux family in the article above, although I think more attention could have been given to LMDE, rather than the Mint mentioned in the article. But the next camp I'll call the Redhat camp - which includes Fedora/RHEL/Unbreakable/Scientific/CentOS. Now, SuSE was a fork of Slackware, and is now a distribution in it's own right, so I would put that camp (the Yast camp) into it's own category, while the debian camp uses *apt-get*, and the Redhat camp uses *yum*. Now we have three camps, the other two I would add would be the Slackware camp, which includes Salix, Slax, and other great variants, and uses the pkgtool package management system, including installpkg, upgradepkg, slackpkg, and SBo's either manually or via sbopkg. Salix uses additional package managers with dependancy checking capabilities, which is why some folks proudly exclaim that it is, "Slackware for lazy people.". The final two groups that I would add would be the Arch camp (Pacman installation system), and the true source based distros like Sorcerer Linux and Gentoo, with it's *emerge*. Like Salix, I would personally categorize LMDE as debian for lazy people, and ubuntu??? Well, my daddy always told me if you can't say something nice... :) I hope that helps :)

  53. bretzel
    January 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I am a KDE user because I rely 100% on KDevelop for my personal (and in-progress - )   small enterprise resources control project, coding in C++.
    KDE as the most easiest and complete configurability and integration of the desktop. No one ( gnome, xfce, blackbox, E17,  etc...) is near. 

    For Debian flavour, I use Kubuntu.
    For slackware as free and total control, I use Arch linux because of its AUR and pacman, very close to apt-get.

    Today's computers have so much resources - it is no more a reason to complain against the resources angry of KDE.
    Btw, OpenSuSE is the best KDE distribution - but it is out of this topic :-)

  54. Rahul Shelke
    January 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I prefer Ubuntu as it is user friendly as well as reliable. It comes handy when I need to install or try any new package, as most of them are available with Ubuntu.

  55. Benjamin
    January 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I like both Kubuntu and LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) as far as layout goes.  For Kubuntu I like how customizable the desktop is with the widgets, and with LMDE I really like the start menu layout.  With LMDE I think that is how Gnome 3 should have turned out instead of the screenhogging colossus that Gnome 3 and Unity have both become.  I never have and probably never will like Unity with the zero customization and the fact that the "menu" always covers the screen and is near impossible to navigate for me.

  56. Leonslaughter482
    January 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Switched from Mandriva to Debian-6.0, and I could not have been more pleased.  For years I used and thought Mandriva was the Bomb, but Debian, only in my opinion is "All of that".  This distribution has indeed been "Rock Solid Stable".  Even as a dual boot WindowsXP/Debian System, I really can not ask for or expect too much more.  Coming from Mandriva took a bit of adjustment, but the transition has been great.  DEBIAN ... "ROCK ON !!!"

    • Danny Stieben
      January 12, 2012 at 4:57 am

      Great that you've had such a nice experience!

  57. gerlos
    January 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Since we like to be picky like James Bond, we should say that actually Debian is not a single distribution, but actually 3 distributions: stable (squeeze, atm), testing (wheezy for now) and unstable (sid), while the name give you an idea how packages are updated:
    - In stable there will be no new versions after release, just security and bug updates.
    - Testing will be the next stable when ready, and updates will come fast but not as fast as possible, since they need to stay in unstable for a while, and they are rolling continuously, unless we are near the release of the next stable, while everything is freezed for the release.
    - Unstable/sid is continuously rolling with new versions of everything, so it changes almost every day.

    • Danny Stieben
      January 12, 2012 at 4:57 am

      All of that is true, but I wouldn't say they're different distributions. They're different releases. Even Debian's site says so.

  58. Anonymous
    January 11, 2012 at 5:23 am

    The best distribution is Ubuntu ! 

    Cloud computing and virtualization has been around and with ubuntu one can easily install any application he wants or build a new kernel needed for the distro or customize the distro and install any services needed to get all your vm running.

  59. JcbStts
    January 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I have tried and experimented with lots Linux OS. I particularly like Racy Puppy but must admit the one I use most is LinuxMint 11. I have not upgraded to LinuxMint 12 but have set up LinuxMint Debian Edition on another PC to see how  it goes for me and if works well for my requirements and I feel comfortable with its various behaviours it may well become my daily OS.

  60. Galileo
    January 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I use Debian Stable for servers (in the past I upgraded production servers from 4.0 to 5.0, and 5.0 to 6.0 without problems). And for desktop/laptop I use Debian Testing, upgrading the packages every two weeks or so.

  61. Justen Robertson
    January 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    This is sort of like asking whether you'd like vanilla, french vanilla, or vanilla bean ice cream :)

    • Danny Stieben
      January 12, 2012 at 4:58 am

      Yet they're all different. :)

  62. bofh
    January 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Hmmm i think the major question first is server or desktop - then later the distro qustion comes

    personally on a server ubuntu vs debian is a nobrainer for debian
    redhat vs fedora vs centos vs scientificlinux -
    SL or redhat all the time

    redhat is costly - sl is a bit behind but free
    as some others mentioned fedora is to unstable for productive and centos hasits own problems

    also interresting is that centos is even behind Sl in release cycles

    but interresting note on the side - the reason why cern uses SL isnt because its more stable - it was an economic desicion - but even there some people start thinking loud about debian

    personally i can tell that no distribution was ever that stable as debian - but of course its always behind what can also be a trouble on server (i just say libvirt and kvm :)

    ife also made 2 weeks performance test on virtual guests in different distris - guess - debian got the best IO rates even as a guest - ubuntu got some serious troubles as a guest

    so atm - on server i would go with debian then redhat/SL

    everything lse is just a desktop - so more or less a toy :)

  63. Blammo
    January 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    SalineOS. Debian with a shot of soap to knock out The Great Fear of "non-free" necessities.

    • Danny Stieben
      January 12, 2012 at 5:00 am

      Is there anything else that you like about SalineOS that isn't in Debian?

  64. Miquel Mayol i Tur
    January 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    i think you forgot to say something about MATE like this ...

    Mint12 uses also MATE - old Gnome2 fork - and that was the reason I switched from Ubuntu. But now Mate can also be installed on Ubuntu via PPA. And the Mint software center is faster and better than USC built in, at least in my computer, but USC has a new web service that is amazing, better than the app.
    PPAs in Ubuntu and Mint12 are an amazing way of prove new software at your desktop, Unity lens for youtube from el atareao more or less arrived at the same tiem than Ubuntu TV and it is simiiar. 

    But Debian and LMDE - I have LMDE installed too - need some tricks to be able to use PPAs and - as you write - not always the packages are compatible.


  65. Anonymous
    January 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Interesting article, thanks.  I got into Linux out of curiosity around 2000 and made the switch from windows about a year later.  Back then it was Redhat but around 2004 found Ubuntu.  I really thought I'd be with Ubuntu forever but found the new Unity interface just too buggy.  I stuck it out into 11.10 but just encountered way too many cliches (laggy mouse movements, hangs, etc.).  Then Fedora 16 came out and I decided I'd give it a try.  I had to work to get all of my applications working, but it runs very very well now.

    As for deciding which works for you I think it comes down to:

    1) What will run the applications you need to be "productive" (whether that's presentations/documents/spreadsheets, like me .... or surfing .... or gaming, etc.)
    2) What runs well on your machine ... one operating system does not run the same on all machines (desktop, laptop, tablet)
    3) What is visually interesting/appealing ... let's face it, we in the Linux community are a bit geeky and want a cool looking desktop/laptop!

    Thanks again for the article!

    • Danny Stieben
      January 12, 2012 at 5:05 am

      Thanks for the tips!

  66. Bojan Tomic
    January 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Not doing justice to Mint. With the advent of Cinnamon, Mint is no longer just Ubuntu with codecs.

  67. James Christensen
    January 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I use all 3 of the OS's in the article, I'm a little upset with Ubuntu since Unity, I really don't like the unified menu. My main system is dual headed 23" LED. It can be a long way from the program to the menu, and making sure you have the right program selected adds an extra step. However on a small screen it is quite nice. "Give us the choice Ubuntu"

    I like that Linux Mint with Gnome 3 doesn't use the unified menu. So on my desktop this is my choice.

    For servers and development, I use Scientific Linux, based on RHEL, Debian is also a good solution for servers, if your more familiar with the Debian management, ie. used to using Ubuntu. 

    I am also pursuing my RHCSA, Scientific Linux is similar to RHEL, so it does provide good practice for a career as a Linux Administrator.

    My 2 cents.

  68. pipesmoker
    January 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    If you know what you are doing Slackware which I have used since 1992.   If not then any of the others which best suit your box without too much hard work.  

  69. Danny Stieben
    January 9, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Good list of points, Billy. Seems that a lot of other people agree with you in saying that Debian is a solid choice.

  70. Charles Baker
    January 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I have come to love CrunchBang Linux, the latest version of which is based on Debian. It takes care of a lot of the ease of use issues and uses OpenBox for the desktop environment. So fast! So pretty! So lightweight!

    • Tech Man
      April 27, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Now that CrunchBang has shut down, are you using CrunchBang++?

  71. RamaKrishna RK Veluvali
    January 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I prefer Mint, it is the best Linux even a Windows fan can try without any hassle.

  72. Sam W
    January 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    debian! simple to operate, fast and stable. like any distro, the user decides how far down the rabbit hole they want to go.

  73. John
    January 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    After trying Ubuntu, LMDE Xfce, and Debian Testing Gnome I am now using Debian Testing KDE with the Liquorix Kernel. If Gnome 3 worked with ATI video cards I probably would have stuck with that, but after being forced into the classic mode for about a month I installed KDE and removed everything Gnome. I don't see myself switching back anytime soon.

  74. darkviolet
    January 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I use to recommend Ubuntu to everyone, but that was a mistake.  Linux Mint is much more complete right after installing.  Easier to use because Java, Flash and Codecs already installed.

  75. R S Chakravarti
    January 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

    There are Debian Live CDs and also Knoppix and Mepis which are Debian-based live CDs. Knoppix was, I believe, the first live CD of all.

    • Tech Man
      April 27, 2018 at 12:50 pm


  76. Anonymous
    January 9, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I have been a distro hopper for the past 8 years.
    And to say that Debian is a friendly OS is full of it, coming from a windows newbie.
    Mint was friendly at the beginning, but now they just keep fallowing Ubuntu.
    They are trying to make it stable, and user friendly that is the reason for cinnamon.
    But to make unity stable or even really useful that will take quite some time.
    In my case I use Ultimate Edition it is at least more compatible with Debian core.
    And it has all tweaks, drivers, and all codec, plus most software you will ever need.
    It has all the eye-candy the you can muster, granted version 3 is base on Mint.
    But it has always been based on ubuntu, but it has more stability than Mint.
    Since version 1 to the present day, EU has always been outstanding and reliable.
    Mint has KDE look will EU Gnome & KDE and they work side by side.
    Don't get me wrong Mint has done a lot for Ubuntu based OS.
    But I find that EU is more stable and compatible to repositories than Mint.
    Plus EU has a lite , gamers , intermediate versions that cover KDE and others wild having gnome stable.
    So there is always something for someone at any time, and there is a LTS version too.
    Will there is no version for servers, I rather use BSD for that purpose.
    Granted this is my personal view.
    But if you like the unity look and feel there is Oz Unity 2.0 - Onyx 64 at least this one works better.   

  77. Anonymous
    January 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I have been a distro hopper for the past 8 years.
    And to say that Debian is a friendly OS is full of it, coming from a windows newbie.
    Mint was friendly at the beginning, but now they just keep fallowing Ubuntu.
    They are trying to make it stable, and user friendly that is the reason for cinnamon.
    But to make unity stable or even really useful that will take quite some time.
    In my case I use Ultimate Edition it is at least more compatible with Debian core.
    And it has all tweaks, drivers, and all codec, plus most software you will ever need.
    It has all the eye-candy the you can muster, granted version 3 is base on Mint.
    But it has always been based on ubuntu, but it has more stability than Mint.
    Since version 1 to the present day, EU has always been outstanding and reliable.
    Mint has KDE look will EU Gnome & KDE and they work side by side.
    Don't get me wrong Mint has done a lot for Ubuntu based OS.
    But I find that EU is more stable and compatible to repositories than Mint.

  78. Anonymous
    January 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Hard to pick, those are the best three horses I believe.

  79. Jaakko Joki
    January 9, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I started using Linux when I was in senior high. The distribution was Fedora and since then I've tried out many of them including Mandriva, Red Hat, Suse and Gentoo. I never liked any of those to suit me best and when I installed Debian I thought it was good but not very suitable either: I really hate when things need to be configured before getting anything done. Ubuntu solved the problem and for many years (now five+) I've used Ubuntu. Now I'm struggling with the idea that I really don't like Unity. I had it on my netbook for a while but it really did not suit for me at all. Not more than a month ago (when the current hype on Mint started) I installed Linux Mint 12 on my netbook for a try, and from the beginning really enjoyed the user experience. It's easy to install and actually I didn't have to configure too much at all. Now I'm planning to change the main computers of mine as well to Mint because there are everything I need: familiar Debian-Ubuntu feeling, Gnome (2-like...) X and all the software I'm familiar with. So my pick would be Mint.

  80. Anonymous
    January 9, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Debian vs. Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint: Which Distribution Should You Use?


    • Tech Man
      April 27, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      For me, I use different machines all the time, so it depends.

      If anyone here needs a lightweight distro, my favorite is Puppy Linux.

      Otherwise, I don't really have a favorite distro. It all just depends.

  81. John Schaaf
    January 9, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I started using RedHat, didn't like Fedora very much so I moved to Mandrake (which was the 'Ubuntu' of the late 90's, early 00's) and moved to Debian in 2002. Started using Ubuntu when it came out and been doing so (on desktops) ever since. Tried mint a few times and although it's quite good, I didn't really like it.
    But I also use Debian. On my home server, one web/mail-server at work and even some Desktops. In my experience, Debian keeps running until you mess it up yourself, Ubuntu is somewhat less rock solid.
    For servers I choose Debian or CentOS (and I'm trying Scientific Linux which is also RHEL based). Both will keep running forever :). On Desktops or Laptops I use whatever works out of the box. First I try Debian, then Ubuntu, if that doesn't work I'l try Fedora, Mandriva or OpenSuse. If nothing works i put Windows 7 on it wich as we all know has a far worse hardware support but a far better vendor support

    • Tech Man
      April 27, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      If you were coding a web page, a good program would say there's no opening tag for that parenthesis. :)

  82. Mark Maas
    January 9, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Simple! Ubuntu as my desktop and Debian on my servers!

  83. hartford3
    January 9, 2012 at 3:19 am

    Favorite a fork of 10.04.3 Ubuntu. OZ Redux.  It's LTS, no bugs and runs anything I throw at it. Wine 3 will run any MS I throw at it also.  Happy Linux family.

  84. Reference2myself
    January 9, 2012 at 3:17 am

    I left Ubuntu for Mint long ago, and been using Mint Debian edition ever since they release the first .iso for it.

  85. Justin Malcolm
    January 9, 2012 at 3:05 am

    My preference is Debian on my desktop and RHEL (Red Hat or Scientific Linux) on the server. Debian is also a fine choice on the server but I just prefer to hitch my star to the world's leading Linux company (Red Hat) in the server room. They make sure everything you need in the real world (like virtualization) work well. Also, Red Hat does a great job of maintaining absolute stability while still managing to keep the system up-to-date enough to stay relevant and useful over the years.

    I was a loyal Ubuntu user for quite a few years but Debain finally won me over because it is just so much faster on the same hardware. I also feel that Debian has become a bit less rough around the edges over the years, which removes much of the reason to use Ubuntu instead, but it could be me that has changed. I run Debian "unstable" because I find it more stable than Ubuntu and at least the packages are a little less ancient than they are on Debian stable. I am a developer and the age of the Debian packages is frequently a problem for me.

    I find it difficult to use RHEL as a desktop system as there are not nearly as many packages available. At the very least, using RHEL means having to pull packages from multiple repositories and eventually that always leads to problems. At worst, it means having to compile a bunch of packages yourself which is not only inconvenient but also means that the package manager is unaware of a bunch of the software you have installed which leads to problems again.

  86. Timmythepirate
    January 9, 2012 at 2:53 am

    The reason there are two panels is because MGSE was meant to be a stepping stone and was never meant as a permanent solution. It is already being replaced by Cinnamon which is much better than MGSE.

    Also, you should actually read Clem's (Linux Mint's project leader) reply about Banshee. Originally, Ubuntu took 100% of the profits away from GNOME, but the link had to be rebranded in order to be used by Mint. However, the link that GNOME gave for where to send profits to was broken and because the proceeds only equaled about $4.00 a year, it was decided to just leave the link pointing to Linux Mint (It's better than Canonical getting all the profits).

  87. Tiny
    January 9, 2012 at 2:47 am

    I prefer to use Ubuntu LTS server edition with only the base software installed. Then I install xubuntu-desktop by typing:
     sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
    Afterwards I install only the software that I need with the Synaptic Software Manager. This way I have a machine loaded with only the programs that I want.

  88. Papa_Chango
    January 9, 2012 at 2:42 am

    >but what works best for you?
    Then how about putting a KDE up there as well?
    Giving people 'choice' between two distros using GNOME (Im going to stay quiet about Unity since I have nothing good to say) isnt choice.

    We installed close to 100 Linux installs at our Halloween and Xmas install fests.
    We had stations set up where people could test drive GNOME, KDE, Unity, XCFE and we let the people choose which one they felt confortable with (we didnt give choice on older hardware and went for best performance).

    KDE beat Gnome 2-1, Unity and XCFE tied.
    Considering that almost everyone came over with a Windows machine, I dont find it too surprising.

    Distros arent the dealbreaker when a newb chooses a Linux distro, the differences between most distros with same environment being very small.
    Show them the top 3-4 desktops (im a great fan of E17 but  its not ready for prime time) and have them decide which paradigm THEY prefer.

    Its all about choice and making the user feel comfortable.
    Problem is our communitIES are EXTREMELY tribal: not liking 'your' distro or desktop or text editors is taken as a personal affront.

  89. Linux Canuck
    January 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I find it curious that no mention is made of KDE which can be installed in Debian, Mint and Ubuntu. It is as if users must choose between bad and worse.

    Debian 6 is not user friendly in the least. It will not even install on my computer because it does not include drivers for my network card and I cannot download them with an internet connection. Duh! Who thought this was a good idea?

    Linux Mint 12 tries to walk the line and satisfy everyone so the include Mate which is half baked attempt to emulate a dead DE that was successful, but ugly and not very customisable. It added MGSE also to try to disguise that users were using GNOME shell. They now have Cinnamon for those who want to live in the past. It is as if they cannot make up their mind. I say fish or cut bait and quit playing games.

    Ubuntu uses Unity and includes two version 3D and 2D. It at least is trying to do something new instead of retreading the past. You may not like Unity, but it will grow on users and as time goes on I think that Mint and GS users will be envious. I am a KDE user, BTW.

    I have used Mint 12, Fedora 16 with GNOME Shell, and Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity. GNOME Shell and Unity take some time to get used to, but are highly customisable. That is where I see Mint making its mistake. With GNOME shell extensions and Unity Scopes and Lens becoming very easy to add they are not able to keep up. GNOME shell is a solid base that you can build on. So is Unity. Mint just confuses users by adding old and new at the same time.

    As for me, I am going back to the safe refuge of KDE where sanity reigns. It still uses the old desktop metaphor, but in the right hands it can become anything that you want. There are no arguments about who has the biggest or which works best. It is faster than Unity or GS. It is more customisable. All of the GTK applications run in it. You can still run applications from the system tray. The buttons have always been on the right. You can have as many virtual desktops as you want and can have different wallpaper on each desktop. You can add Activities to double your fun.

    I appreciate giving Debian some kudos. They deserve it, but their strategy does not permit it to become popular. I think Mint is way over hyped. I think Ubuntu is on a good course. I think GNOME made some mistakes with GS and are trying to compensate. Everything is basically good. People have choice and it has never been better. 

    You do not have to choose just this or that. You can have your cake and eat it too. You can install Kubuntu, add ubuntu-desktop, gnome-shell and add the Mint sources. Then with one installation you can try out KDE, Unity 3D and 2D, GNOME Shell, MGSE and Mate and switch between them as often as you lie at login. Or you could install Debian and stick with GNOME 2.x for as long as it is available.

    • Lazza
      January 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      I agree with most of your comment, but could you provide some data about the statement that KDE is faster? I have always believed GNOME was a bit more lightweight than KDE. Of course, this doesn't mean KDE is bad. :) I personally believe that all of the 4 most famous DEs (GNOME and variants, KDE, XFCE and LXDE) are good in some aspects.

  90. james lagerman
    January 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Billy Larlad you like Gnome 3???Unity and Gnome are great..... they are great if your using (Unity and Gnome 3) on a tablet.I have a tablet and my tablet OS is Android which works for me so..........Why the HELL should I use a tablet shell on my desktop computer Hmmmmm. Can someone please tell me why??????? -----------------------------------------------------------------I loved using Ubuntu now I hate it. My Linux OS is Mint. Thank you Linux Mint for saving the Linux Desktop.

    • Lazza
      January 8, 2012 at 9:21 am

      So a dock with square icons means it's for a tablet? I bet some OS X users will get offended by this vision. :P A tablet OS is one that is perfectly usable with "taps" and a bit of scrolling. Ubuntu is quite usable with single clicks, but it's not perfect in that sense. It's a bit better to use when you still have a mouse and a real keyboard. :)

      • Christopher
        May 17, 2012 at 12:35 am

        yup, offended. long time mac os x user. Docky is a nice merging idea though, atleast for me....

  91. Orion
    January 8, 2012 at 7:40 am

    i have a feeling that Ubuntu will eventually come back up on top.

    Linux Mint is offering what adults are used to. I am a teacher and I have converted all the computers in the library to Ubuntu with one running Mint 12. In general, when choosing which distribution to install on their own computers, all have opted for Ubuntu with Unity.

    I guess it has to do with their being accustomed to smartphones and the UI on them. Having used Unity myself for some time, I find myself drawn away from the traditional menu system started by Windows.

    Those who click into distrowatch are not today's kids. In 3, 5 or more years later, I feel it will be the mobile UI that will dominate.

    In the meantime, for myself and the students, Unity and Ubuntu serve us well as a PC, notebook or netbook desktop (we have all of these in the library) and none have complained. In fact, students are bringing in their netbooks (2 in the last week) and PCs (one coming tomorrow) to add Ubuntu and even to replace XP. None have asked for Mint 12.

  92. Practical man
    January 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Simple and powerful: Debian testing!

  93. Lazza
    January 7, 2012 at 11:00 am

    "and above all else very easy to use"
    Easier than Ubuntu?
    Debian is great, and so are also Ubuntu and Linux Mint... but for a "normal" user you can't say Debian is easier than the other two.

  94. Sam Tuke
    January 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    The second most important consideration for me regarding distributions is whether it supports Free Software, or whether it includes or promotes freedom-restricting software.

    This is a difficult consideration because there are very few popular distros that do not bundle or promote non-Free software. Of the three you list, only Debian positively regards freedom (Ubuntu advertises non-Free Software alongside Free Software, and automatically installs proprieary packages, and Mint bundles Free Software in (at least) it's non-Debian edition).

    I find Fedora has better / easier hardware support for my machines, so I use that instead of Debian, those being the two best freedom-respecting options that I'm aware of.

    It would be nice if your reviews took into consideration the issue of freedom however, as this is after all the principle which inspired and protected all the Free Software that you discuss.

    • Danny Stieben
      January 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks for noting that, Sam! That would've been a good thing to cover.

  95. Barelohim
    January 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I really like Linux Mint Kataya..... I liked Ubuntu 10:04, but the newer version I didn't, so I tried Linux Mint that a friend suggested, and this is the one for me...

  96. Polk_High_Bundy_4TD
    January 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    The article needs to specify and/or clarify the criteria upfront. Even the 3 mentioned here serve different purposes.

    If you're looking for a fine and user friendly desktop: go with Linux Mint 11 (not the latest 12 edition). Things like reasonable app selection + codecs in the default install, Jockey to help out with drivers and Software Update tool that rates the relative safety of the updates are definite pro for Mint 11.

    This is my personal subjective criteria: I can not stand blurry subpar font rendering of Debian (and Debian based distros) when compared to Ubuntu base.

  97. Rambo Tribble
    January 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Some time ago Ubuntu announced their releases would be based in Debian testing, so your comments regarding it using the unstable branch would seem out of date. 

    • Danny Stieben
      January 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      I've seen both appearing. However, Debian testing and Debian unstable are pretty similar in content, so it doesn't matter too much.

  98. rakete
    January 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    My experience with the last stable build of Debian (Squeeze) was: Uninstallable via LiveCD, because the Installwizard window was bigger than my resolution (1440x900) and I could not reach for the "next" button...
    I laughed and switched back to ubuntu... So much for Debian beeing tested and stable when it is released.

    • Danny Stieben
      January 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Not sure what problems you've been having...usually installers should never have that kind of problem. What about the non-graphical installer?

    • anon
      May 13, 2012 at 5:06 am

      Stable doesn't mean it will work on everything. It means it won't crash and will run smoothly.

    • Rajeev Jha
      May 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      This is the first I have heard of Debian being un-installable. You laughed and switched back to Ubuntu which is itself based on Debian. So you are at the core still using Debian (so now we are laughing!)

      Usually people install Debian where nothing else would install. Debian testing is more stable than released version of other products. Debian may not provide a nice desktop out of box but on every other front, nothing beats Debian,

      These kind of general statements, "it sucks", "it did not install" without backing of data does not prove anything.

  99. sri
    January 6, 2012 at 5:56 am

    I think ubuntu with its updated gui's provides good initiative for windows users to explore linux.also it is even powerful with its terminal and other apps

  100. Me
    January 6, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Debian Sid FTW!

  101. Stan
    January 6, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Well, if you don't want to re-install/config your computer for every 6 months, must go Debian or Linux Mint Debian Edition (I am); but if you have plenty of time, then you can go the Ubuntu way...

    • Anders
      January 6, 2012 at 6:26 am

      I have had no problem upgrade Ubuntu or Debian to next level.  Even my old mother (66 years) manage to do that, without any formal computer training at all.
      Have not reinstalled any of them, unless I felt to do that.  Just to see how a fresh installation looks like.

    • Lazza
      January 7, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Have you ever heard of system-upgrade? Because I've been running it since 2008. Yes, to be fair I had to reinstall when I switched to 64bit.

  102. Troy
    January 6, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I <3 Debian!

  103. Refurbishing
    January 6, 2012 at 1:15 am

    After deciding against Ububntu and Mint for legal reasons, and Debian due to usability standards, we have begun using Unite! 2012 in our recycling shop.  We just can't beet the automatic install and usability.  It also comes on as a "System Restoration DVD" so our customers leave with a fully functional PC and a way to restore it if they need.

    It's built on Debian -stable.

    • Danny Stieben
      January 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      Does that distribution have a website?

  104. Blind Tiger
    January 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Started w/Ubuntu,have tried many others, but use Mint now.  Unity, a misnomer, is not for me.  

  105. Sonny Bass
    January 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Mint 11 64bit, Puppy lupu 528.003 are my favorites at the moment. Both my desk and laptop are triple booted with those and Windows 7 64bit, Easy BCD lets me use the Windows boot loader to handle the booting

  106. mikia
    January 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm


  107. Miggs
    January 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I love and use Debian testing.
    I wanted something well supported, relatively stable and mature. Debian's one of the oldest distros out there and it's supported by thousands of devs / packagers / ...  GNU / Linux is the leading server OS and most of the people choosing it opt for Debian / CentOS ( excluding distros with commercial support ). 

  108. Bob Henson
    January 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Plain Debian Stable is small, fast and highly suited to anyone with a bit of Linux know-how, so long as you don't mind the menu bar at the top (I do!)  The Linux Mint Debian distro is a big improvement for the novice, with a much better front end. The Mint system of holding back the Debian updates and releasing  only in large groups at intervals, after they have been well tested, is good, and a good  compromise between having the newest updates and stability. The latest version (updated to the third service pack) runs Gnome 3 and the Debian 3.x kernel, and is my personal favourite at the moment. The Mint Ubuntu variants are a big improvement in terms of ease of use over plain Debian, but version 12 is very much in the testing/setting up stage, and whilst 10 and 11 are usable, I  would recommend the long support Mint version 9 for a newcomer, it being smaller, faster and simpler. On an old machine, it is definitely the one to go for - the latest Ubuntu and Debian versions are getting more bloated and slower, and are being aimed at fondle-slabs and mobile phones.

    • Billy Larlad
      January 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      In what ways are their "big improvements in terms of ease of use over Plain Debian"?

      Having to wade through a 1000 Mint "tweaks" to GNOME 3 isn't easy for the new user.

      Also, Debian isn't "aimed" at tablets or phone at all. It includes GNOME from upstream, pretty much as always; I would also argue that GNOME 3 isn't especially tablet-oriented, but whatever. It's a fine desktop environment for, well, desktops.

      • Pat
        January 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm

        GNOME 3 is made to be customized, and is barely usable without Mint's MGSE.  You don't need to wade through the tweaks, Mint works well right out of the box.

    • Anonymous
      January 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

       there is no gnome 3 or gnome shell in debian stable. what "bar at the top" - that presumably can't be moved - are you talking about? if it can be moved (gnome 2 panel) why mention it?
      debian is powerful, versatile and secure. i've been running it for over a year, incredible stability and reliability. really gives linux a good name, separates it from other OS's in precisely that department that matters the most. ubuntu is unstable, way too many bugs and regressions, and it's gotten user-unfriendly (unity). mint is just getting too complicated for its own good, although it's clearly trying to fix the many shortcomings of ubuntu. and kudos to them for that.
      imo mint should just base on debian and choose xfce as the default DE. for godsakes if you're gonna put so much effort in improving stuff, contribute to the xfce project. none of mint's work (cinnamon, whathaveyou..) will ever be accepted by gnome.
      gnome has gone about as autistic and plain daft as canonical, and that's saying something.

      • Terroreek
        January 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm

        LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) is based off Debian testing.  It's still on gnome 2, but once gnome 3.2 is in debian, mint will push 3.2 and MGSE to the LMDE users.

    • Danny Stieben
      January 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      I tried updating my LMDE to that Update Pack 3 but it wasn't successful. You had no problems with it?

    • Terroreek
      January 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      LMDE and update pack 3 have not pushed gnome 3 as of yet to end users.  You must have debian repos still enabled in your repo list, I would suggest you open update manager and fix your repos.  LMDE will push gnome 3, but not until Gnome 3.2 gets pushed into debian testing.  

  109. IT Support Los Angeles
    January 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Hi guys.  We are trying to add linux to our support list.  I want to start learning the server side of linux.  Anyone know which linux server I should start playing with? Something that is close to Red Hat Linux Server edition.  Thank you in advance.

    • Roger Vandawalker
      January 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      CentOS would be your best bet.

    • Anders
      January 6, 2012 at 6:20 am

      If you want something close to RedHat, there are usually one recommended for servers and that is CentOS.  It's based on RedHat, but free as in beer and also a bit after RedHat.

      But if I would use one, I would use Debian, as I have experienced that it is more stabel than most other.  It is also a bit behinde the desktop versions, but that is not a problem for a server.  Stability is what you want, and that is what you get in Debian/stable.  Even more than Ubuntu:s server version.

      For desktop, I use Ubuntu or Debian/testing.  I prefere Debian myself, but for others I recommend Ubuntu. I have not tried Mint though, so I can't really tell there.

    • rakete
      January 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      taking a look on fedora (basically RedHat without proprietary components) won't hurt... but there is no specific "server version", like for ubuntu.

      • Justin Malcolm
        January 9, 2012 at 2:49 am

         Fedora is like a unstable preview of what might be coming in RHEL (Red Hat) in the future. I would not use it on a server (because of the "unstable" part).

        • rakete
          January 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

          now that is a bit unfair, since fedora is based on RedHat and is not a development spin.

          fedora delivers 100% free software, unlike ubuntu or RedHat. It is RedHat without proprietary packages (which could, of course, be installed when needed).

          The main disadvantage I see in fedora is the relative short maintenance period of only 13 month...

        • Lazza
          January 9, 2012 at 9:56 am

          Not more than Ubuntu or Debian. If you take a look at the FSF site, you'll see Fedora is not listed as a free distro. Basically because no usable distro is considered free by the FSF. :)

        • eCubeH
          January 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

          Do you have specific examples of where Fedora was 'unstable'?

      • snow man
        January 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm

        Ubuntu does have a server build - a reasonable choice for a small/fast server.  You should also take a look at CentOS and OpenSUSE.  If you're new to server support I'd point you at CentOS or OpenSUSE but Ubuntu server has a modest hardware requirement.

    • Dusten B.
      January 8, 2012 at 12:47 am

      I would recommend CentOS. RHEL is insanely popular in the server world, and CentOS is a 100% binary compatible free clone of RHEL. Its essentially RHEL, de-branded.

      I prefer the Debian way of doing things, and use an old version of Ubuntu on my desktop and Debian for my home server. Things make more sense, to me, and the Debian package management tools are absolutely the best.

      At work, we use mostly CentOS over several thousand servers, and some older RHEL releases.

      • Peter Ridgers
        May 30, 2012 at 5:57 am

        All linux variants - especially if installed without a gui - do well as a server, but I prefer freebsd in this role.

        At home I use an old (circa 2000) Inspiron desktop as a windows pdc/ldap server/email (groupware) server and the only time I turned it off since 2005 was to change the battery and to upgrade freebsd to 2011. /home is on a usb raid array and / is on the internal ide - to upgrade the os I slip in another ide for the installation giving me a very quick fallback if any problems occur with the upgrade (never had a problem so far).

        OK I could do all this with Centos or Ubuntu server or OpenSuse - I'm just familiar with the freebsd ports so that's why I stick with it.

        I have tried the Citadel groupware server on Centos, Ubuntu Server and OpenSuse, but have been more comfortable with it on my freebsd server - that could be down to familiarity or to the excellent and well maintained freebsd documentation.

    • Danny Stieben
      January 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      As others have said, use CentOS or Fedora. I'd recommend CentOS over Fedora but if you're ok with minor instability in order to play with newer tools, you can use Fedora too.

    • Charles Baker
      January 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      When I want RHEL w/o the price tag I use Scientific Linux. It, like CentOS is built with RHEL sources w/ the RHEL branding and such replaced. SL seems to keep up with RHEL releases better than CentOS, IMHO.

    • Nobody
      January 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      CentOS. it's basically a free Red Hat.

    • Chankey Pathak
      February 17, 2012 at 2:50 am

      Go for either RHEL6 or CentOS6.

  110. Clyde Atwood
    January 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I use Mint because I am a Linux newbie and it does everything I want an OS to do.  It is easy, fast and isn't Micro$oft!!!!!

    • Joel Lee
      January 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      Linux Mint was my first distro when I started getting into Linux back in college. You chose well and I would recommend it for anyone who wants to give their hand at trying Linux.

    • shubham maheshwari
      February 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      ubuntu is to very good for linux new bies to professional on which linux mint relies

    • Jonathan Chan
      June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      depends on your hardware. although they say ubuntu runs better on older machines, it isnt the case now. ubuntu's new unity is very resource hungry and runs laggier than windows xp. i mean you can install lxde or gnome onto it but it will be a headache for a person new to linux.
      i switched to lubuntu, a variation of ubuntu for the ubuntu support and its lightness.

  111. Mohan
    January 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I prefer Ubuntu and Unity as it is very similar my setup pre-Unity. I had one bar at the top, and replaced the bottom bar with Docky to the left, so I felt right at home when I used Unity in Ubuntu for the first time.

    • Antonio
      January 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      I am using Linux since 1996 and 
      I agree with you. I have the same experience using in the past Ubuntu and a Dockbar like Ubuntu 11.10 and Unity now. Beyond this i do like the approach putting, when the windows is maximized, all the menus and buttons on the top bar.Great work!  

    • Danny Stieben
      January 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      That's great! Why do you suppose do some others dislike Unity?

      • Mohan
        January 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

        I am guessing it probably because the lack customization.  I at the point where I just want stuff to work, and it works for me.  I am done tinkering around with Linux, it was nice and cool when I first started to use it back in 2000.  Nowadays I just want it work so I can get things done.

        One that note I am done with customizing Windows as well, not more dll hacks to get these custom made themes. :)

      • Charles Tryon
        January 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

        My problem with Unity is that (a) it changed a lot of things that were working just fine, and (b) LOTS of stuff just broke.  I switched from Fedora to Ubuntu because I was tired of so many bleeding edge releases that kept not working right.  I didn't have to fiddle with Ubuntu to make it get out of my face and just do what I needed to do.  Unity is slow, buggy, crashes, drops things in random unexpected places, won't let me change simple things like fonts, and generally GETS IN MY WAY.  I feel like I'm fighting with it all the time.  I have tried the new Gnome3 on Fedora, and while I don't really like it, at least I spend a lot less time scratching my head trying to figure out why things aren't working.  I'm seriously thinking of moving to Linux Mint because they aren't changing things just for the sake of "changing things".

        • rdvavid
          January 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm

          Hi Charles,

          When you say "LOTS of stuff just broke" and "scratching your head trying to figure out why things aren't working" exactly what "stuff" just broke and what "things" aren't working?

        • Anonymous
          January 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm


          Install Cinnamon and in Ubuntu's "Settings" -> "User accounts", change automatic login to "off". Then, logout, choose "Gnome Classic" before logging in. Then you're good to go. I did this and am really happy. I added Docky to keep a set of favourite programs handy. Fantastic desktop! Nothing like the best of the old and the best of the new for the ideal mix!

      • WTB Minimal Grief
        January 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm

        The first thing I want to do on a new distribution is always the same: open a shell.  If I have to dig/search for how to do that, that's a BIG Strike One.  

        Next thing I want to do is set it up so that the few things I use all the time can be launched with a single click.  If the distribution makes that difficult, Strike Two.

        Lastly, I've had too many problems with graphics cards, so I want text only login, and want to run startx by hand.  If that's made difficult (and, yes, having to blacklikst the nouveau driver in grub, and find some way to get the traditional redhat runlevel 3 put in place by hand both count as difficult), Strike Three, and it's time to move on.  Not impressed with Ubuntu in  general, and Unity in particular.

        When I switched to pure X with XFCE, I got pretty much what I wanted.

        • George
          April 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm

          But I can do all that stuff with Unity. Put my favorite programs in the sidebar, launch them with [windows]+[1..9]. Terminal was in the sidebar after the first login.

          And I loved the Unity, even in its first incarnation :) It moves in the right direction IMHO.

      • Rory
        April 29, 2012 at 12:40 am

        I have a tendency to be very utilitarian. I just want to get things done. The complaints I have with Unity are the are the same I had with Windows Vista and 7. They are very pretty and have lots of cool looking effects, but they use lots of resources and I can't find any usability improvements. I find that it's all just in my way. When I have told this to people I know that are fans, they immediately begin telling me about the keyboard shortcuts I should use. This tells me they are not really using the desktop. It just looks cool and they have found cool ways of avoiding it.

        I moved to Lubuntu 11.10. It's Ubuntu 11.10 with a LXDE windows manager. I like it a lot better. I downloaded a theme so it doesn't look so much like Windows 95 and set it up so it looks almost like Ubuntu 10.04, but faster because LXDE is even lighter than Gnome 2.

        Best of all I have a "taskbar" again, so I can jump around from window to window without having to sit down my coffee to type in shortcuts.

        I'm thinking about going to Debian with LXDE. I like the idea of installing all the stuff that's useful to me without having to uninstall a bunch of stuff that isn't. It also sounds more stable so you can just get things done.