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Linux Mint: the New Ubuntu? 685

MrSeb writes "In the Linux world, a war has been raging for a couple years. At stake are the hearts and minds of its user base. The combatants: the various distributions of Linux itself. For some time, Ubuntu Linux has been the clear leader in the fight, amassing more users than any other. Canonical and its baby seemed poised to take over the Linux desktop/laptop market completely — until it released Unity. Unity has caused an uproar in the Linux community — especially amongst the power users who decry its lack of customizability and inability to scale on big- and multi-monitor setups — and users are defecting in droves to Linux Mint, now the second most popular Debian-based distro and gaining fast on Ubuntu. Mint has very similar commands and shortcuts to Ubuntu, runs most apps the same as Ubuntu, and you can customize it to look and feel exactly how you want — which, for most users of Linux, is exactly what they want."
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Linux Mint: the New Ubuntu?

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  • How about Fedora? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CmdrPony ( 2505686 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:10PM (#38026620)
    I've never been able to figure out why Ubuntu is so popular. It has always felt a bit annoying distro to use, especially with sudo and apt. On the other hand, after I tried Fedora I can't but love it. It goes really well along with CentOS too, if you run servers, and has a much larger company backing it (Red Hat). So why is Ubuntu more popular than Fedora? Is there some specific reason I don't see?
    • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:5, Informative)

      by tokul ( 682258 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:15PM (#38026718)

      Is there some specific reason I don't see?

      You did see it. For some reason your mind interpretered apt as annoyance. Debian package management was and is way ahead of any rpm distro.

      • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by caseih ( 160668 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:07PM (#38028408)

        Frankly the debian package (.deb) format is about equivalent of RPM. They both declare dependencies. In fact I'm hard pressed to find any differences between them. Neither package system does automatic dependency resolution. That's what yum and apt are for. And yum and apt are much the same in that they resolve dependencies and automatically download packages. To say that debian package management is "way ahead of any rpm distro" is untrue. RPM as a package format works just fine. In fact it supported overlapping multiple architecture packages long before .deb files did. As for yum vs apt, that's a matter of taste. And actually apt appears to be losing favor to aptitude, which to me seems even more yum-like. Yum's insistence on always updating its catalogs is a bit annoying, but then so is having to run apt-get update every few days before running apt-get install. Sixes.

        The real problem I have with debian is the way they organize the start scripts and things in /etc. I have always preferred RH's system-V-like way of doing things. We shall see what systemd brings us I suppose. Anyway, under the hood debian always lacked the refinement of the RH-based distros, at least in the aforementioned /etc/ stuff. And Ubuntu always seemed like it was just a pretty face on top of the roughness of debian. That is likely less true now than it was five years ago of course.

        • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:4, Informative)

          by dondelelcaro ( 81997 ) <> on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:18PM (#38028540) Homepage Journal

          I have always preferred RH's system-V-like way of doing things.

          While there are slight differences, Debian has been using SysV as a default for a very long time. [Probably even since the beginning.] We also have file-rc and various other init systems available as options; while they may be the default at some point in the future, they're not the default now.

        • What you call lack of refinement debian people call flexibility. It is there because Debian is way bigger than RH, and the possible combinations of packages increasy, well, in combinatory way.

          Also, that last fact is what people normaly mean when they say that apt is more developped than rpm, you can install more software, and seldon used packages normaly won't break your system, and will install. People are just bad at describing that feature. It does not mean that the software, or the protocol are better,

        • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:51PM (#38028944)

          Frankly the debian package (.deb) format is about equivalent of RPM. They both declare dependencies

          Just talking about dependency when we are speaking about packaging is talking about the tip of the iceberg only, and forgetting about the 90% under the water. Packaging involves a lot more skills. The real issue with RPM and yum isn't the result, which is now as much user friendly as in Debian in many aspects (I still prefer the Debian way, but as you said it's all about tastes). No, the real issue is how to actually make a package. RPM having all the packaging written on a single file, mixing both shell scripting, changelog, dependency, you name it... is simply a horrible idea. But that wasn't it, they had to make exception for patches that are lying around separately...

          Yum's insistence on always updating its catalogs is a bit annoying

          I'd write instead, yum insistence of not letting the user into the control of wants to do.

          but then so is having to run apt-get update every few days before running apt-get install

          You don't have to, you can use apt-cron or whatever so that your sources.list are always refreshed. In fact, what I find annoying is not being able to tell to apt "can you please just update THIS repo of my sources.list, I don't need to update the others".

    • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:4, Informative)

      by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:21PM (#38026840)

      Fedore isn't very stable according to my own (very limited) experience.* Also, Ubuntu sports a mediaplayer by default and downloads the required codecs without hassle (doesn't bend over for patents, it just shows a warning screen once that what you do might not legal in all countries, and you might have to get a license for the relevant patents).

      Also, dpkg/deb repositories are richer than rpm repositories.

      * even non LTS Ubuntu releases

      • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:28PM (#38026952)

        I agree with this.

        I am a Linux novice, and I recently installed Ubuntu and I found it refreshing that rather than give me a couple hours of headaches later, it gave me the option to download and install these items during the OS install. Previously you were constantly hitting these tripwires because it wouldn't install something that was "not free software".

        Honestly, I will probably continue with Win7 for the bulk of my computing tasks because I don't want to invest a lot of time troubleshooting my home PC - "just works" appeals to me. Linux is fun to switch over to for a day or so but I always run into something that "just works" with my Win setup so.. back over I go.

        I appreciate what people are doing with Ubuntu and Mint and I will keep checking. As soon as it's seamless for me, the novice, I'll switch. Until then...

        • by Crudely_Indecent ( 739699 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:53PM (#38027350) Journal

          "just works" appeals to me

          "just keeps working" appeals to me. So I use Linux.

          • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @03:06PM (#38027562) Journal

            That is the tradeoff, in a nutshell. For most people, who don't want to dick around with the internals of their PC to get it working, Windows 7, and even moreso Mac, is the right choice.

            For people who instead enjoy optimizing their PC - setting it up "just right", and then having it work forever after that, Linux is the appeal.

            And that is why Canonical shot itself in the foot with the latest changes - a less customizable experience can only possibly fly with an OS/distro that "just works" out of the box. There's just no one who both wants to labor to get their PC working, but then doesn't want to customize and tune it.

            • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <slashdot.uberm00@net> on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:43PM (#38028842) Homepage Journal

              And that is why Canonical shot itself in the foot with the latest changes - a less customizable experience can only possibly fly with an OS/distro that "just works" out of the box. There's just no one who both wants to labor to get their PC working, but then doesn't want to customize and tune it.

              Canonical blew their leg clean off, because not only did it become less customizable, it made my laptop less customizable, the one I had already worked to get "just right", in a way that was nigh irreversible. It's fine to make another product like Unity but goddamn, make it a different product, don't mark it as an upgrade to a very different system that plenty of people were happily using.

            • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:5, Informative)

              by znerk ( 1162519 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:49PM (#38028912)

              Ubuntu has tended to "just work" "out of the box" for the past several years, for me. As a matter of fact, when I became frustrated with Unity and began looking for another distro that suited my needs, I ended up reinstalling 10.04 (the Long Term Support release) because it didn't have Unity, but detected and interacted with my hardware setup with no issues, out of the box.

              Other distributions' LiveCDs have failed to work on my system, or didn't feel right. I tried many of them over the course of about 10 days before giving up and going back to Ubuntu LTS.

              Fedora 15 didn't like my dmraid, nor my audio card. It also felt weird, because it has Gnome3, which doesn't suit my workflow. Among other things, my brain visualizes multiple workspaces in a horizontal row, rather than a vertical column. I also don't particularly care for the new applications menu.

              Plain Debian also had issues with my dmraid, and it just felt... well... clumsy and slow. Some of the slow was due to running from a LiveCD, I'm sure, but there's no way all of it was due solely to that.

              Admittedly, Gnome3 is probably a lot of my issue with most of the current distros. I don't feel very friendly towards KDE, though, and XFCE isn't "shiny" enough for my tastes - it feels like stepping back in time about a decade.

              Ubuntu 10.04 "feels" good - partially because I'm used to it. I'm used to the way the desktop environment is laid out. I'm used to having the system monitor in the center of my top panel, so I can see at a glance whether to expect my next operation to be a little laggy, or if I can expect the blazing speed I've become accustomed to receiving from my system. I'm used to the "eyecandy", with its wobbly windows and sliding desktop helping me not break my concentration when I'm in the middle of something. Having a window subtly react visually when I grab hold of it and drag it around; having the desktop visually slide across my screen when I switch workspaces; these things gives me the feeling I'm working with sheets of acetate on a horizontal line of projectors, rather than working with windows on a stack of workspaces. It's like the subtle background flow of information in a good novel or movie; it helps keep me from losing my suspension of disbelief, so I can perform the tasks I bought the computer for in the first place instead of wasting intellectual processing time fighting the system to get it to do what I want it to.

              Ubuntu appears to "just work" with my hardware, and the current LTS version has a desktop layout I'm familiar with. Admittedly, I had to uninstall totem to get nautilus to allow vlc to be my default media player, but I haven't really had any major software snafus other than that and the buttons being moved to the "wrong" side of the application windows. Speaking of which, gconf-editor: apps/metacity/general/button_layout="menu:minimize,maximize,close" puts the buttons back where they're supposed to be.

              I know I appear to be contradicting myself in the previous paragraph by showing how to "fix" things in the default Ubuntu LTS while saying that it "just works" with the default install, but moving the buttons doesn't "break" the system, whereas the changes inherent in Unity makes the system unusable to those who are only familiar with the previous versions. Ubuntu was stealing Windows users in droves when it looked and acted very similarly to Windows XP. This new change appears to be an attempt to snag the hordes of OSX users... which, in my opinion, is the wrong userbase in which to be looking for new converts. Canonical should have realized that their immense growth has been due to the fickleness of the users - continuing to build a solid base of users would have been smarter than alienating all the users they managed to steal from Windows when Microsoft decided to drastically change the UI.

              To sum up, the majority of Ubuntu's users are stolen from the Windows camp, which is not surprising considering that they make up the overwhelming majority of desktop users. Many of them switche

    • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:28PM (#38026948) Journal

      So why is Ubuntu more popular than Fedora? Is there some specific reason I don't see?

      For me it was RPM Hell. Before YUM, installing software using RPM's was a nightmare. You first had to download the RPM you wanted. Then you tried to install it, only to find that you needed more RPM's to fulfill dependencies. You would search and find those RPMs, only to find out they had their own dependencies, and the number of RPM's needed increased exponentially as each level grew. Well, this sucked!

      Then I tried Debian. I typed in apt-get install app-name, and it found all the dependencies needed and installed them. There was nothing more for me to do. I vowed never to go through RPM Hell again! The problem with Debian, of course, was that it was always dated. Deb Stable was years behind everything else.

      Then came Ubuntu. It was up to date and came with apt-get. That was it! I was done! I vowed never to go back to anything that used RPM's again, even after yum came out.

      I tried Mint a few years ago. It was buggy as hell for me. Whenever the machine rebooted, about 2/3 of the time, I received a BusyBox prompt that really allowed me to do nothing. While onsite, I could simply reboot until it came back up. This was not an option when I was connecting remotely. Ubuntu never had this problem, which really confused me because Mint was based on Ubuntu.

      Right now, I'm running the latest Ubuntu with either XFCE4 or Trinity KDE. Unity sux IMHO. It's not so much that I can't configure it as much as it that I can't figure HOW to configure it. With the old Gnome, I would click System and it would pull down a menu that either allowed me to edit personal or system configurations. I have no idea how to do that in Unity and I really don't care to learn. Hell, it's almost easier to type "gedit /ect/configfile".

      • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:5, Informative)

        by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:55PM (#38027380)

        Deb Stable was years behind everything else.

        Then came Ubuntu. It was up to date and came with apt-get.

        Come over to sid. It's "unstable" in terms that it changes a lot. Sid is almost ALWAYS newer than Ubuntu. Because every 6 months Ubuntu draws a line in the sand and says "Nope, we're stopping here." Sure you get bug fixes and can go through and find a ppa that backports. As long as that ppa developer doesn't stop. Then you find another PPA. But it has a different naming convention and it's a (@#* nightmare.

        Plus, Debian leaves my system the way I WANT IT. If I do an apt-get dist-upgrade I won't find XFCE replaced by Unity.
        And to grandparent you don't get sudo and apt? It's nothing short of black magic. They debian developers have pretty strict guidelines. And now they even had a kfreebsd kernel that has zfs built in, all with apt-get. If I'm trying to compile something on my own and I get a "can't find" 99% of the time I don't even look for it before doing a "apt-get install libXXX4".

        I went through years of RPM hell when friends tried to tell me "Oh you really should try out linux." Then I discovered debian on my own. (Mainly because it was started at Purdue). And... it was like the clouds cleared and it was amazing. Want something? Apt-get install. Don't want something? Apt-get remove/purge.

      • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:4, Informative)

        by hduff ( 570443 ) <> on Friday November 11, 2011 @03:11PM (#38027638) Homepage Journal

        For me it was RPM Hell. Before YUM, installing software using RPM's was a nightmare.

        Mandiva's URPMI solved those problems very well and early on.

      • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @03:12PM (#38027656)
        Yum is still pretty bad (disclaimer: I cannot get away from Fedora and I was once a Red Hat employee). Installing packages in a user's home directory is poorly supported (if you can even call it "support"), and removed packages that are not needed (e.g. libraries that are not dependencies of any other package and that do not need to be on the system) is still a giant pain. It is certainly better than plain RPM, and it beats the urpm system we saw in Mandrake/Mandriva, but there is a lot of work that will need to be done before we can be proud of it.
      • Google "Debian pinning", and install apt-listbugs. It will make you have a system based on stable with just the parts of testing or unstable you want. Then, cheer because you'll have the last update of every piece of software you care about much earlier than Ubunty or Mint.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:37PM (#38027120) Journal

      It has always felt a bit annoying distro to use, especially with sudo and apt.

      What's annoying about sudo and apt? You don't have to use sudo if you don't want to, adding a real root user is easy. But using sudo is good practice on any Linux system. And apt? Apt is one of the major reasons to use a debian based distro.

      • What's annoying about sudo and apt? You don't have to use sudo if you don't want to, adding a real root user is easy. But using sudo is good practice on any Linux system. And apt? Apt is one of the major reasons to use a debian based distro.

        Having come from a BSD background as my first *nix-like OS exposure and later migrating to Gentoo for desktop use--and more recently to Arch, which I love--apt and friends seem spread out and feel somewhat inferior. They're not, of course, but given package managers I li

    • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:45PM (#38027236)
      Ubuntu wasn't always annoying. I think until recently it was one of the most polished user friendly experiences there was. I think with their recent missteps that it is becoming annoying. Unity sucks and there is no indication in the latest release that the penny has dropped in Ubuntu land what they need to do to fix it.

      A lot of people might contemplate going over to Fedora. It works pretty well with GNOME Shell. I doubt the different package manager means anything most of the time but yum has one pretty compelling feature - the presto plugin for yum which downloads and applies delta rpms. For the life of me I do not understand why deltas haven't been a standard feature of every dist for the last decade. Downloading a 30MB file just to apply a fix which probably only touched a few lines makes no damned sense.

    • by Pecisk ( 688001 )

      Well, you sound like a troll, but have some interesting prospects in your post.

      First of all, apt and apt-get were truly a first repository/packaging system which worked. It is strange that you couldn't find your way with it, especially with using Aptitude or Ubuntu Software Center (which is really still a bless, even I dislike Unity quite strongly).

      Fedora were no argument for Ubuntu till GNOME 3. Fedora always have impemented vanilla GNOME - for better or worse. Ubuntu polished GNOME and rest of components

    • Re:How about Fedora? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @03:02PM (#38027500) Homepage

      Ubuntu became popular for several reasons:

      1) It had a well maintained package system of configured packages. There was a time where most distributions configured the base stuff but other applications weren't fully configured.

      2) At a time when all the competitors felt the need to be Gnome and KDE and traditional window managers, Ubuntu was able to be Gnome only and configure for Gnome giving a unified feel. The choice of Gnome was also good. Gnome had started to do very well around 2002 and KDE floundered, especially with respect to United Linux. Ubuntu along with distributions like Progeny and UserLinux came along at a time when the Unix community was ready to standardize on Gnome while early distributions had user bases that were much more divided.

      3) Most distributions were trying to make money on their desktop versions and were discouraging free distribution. Ubuntu has never tried to make money off the distribution which led to two major advantages:
      a) Ubuntu would mail CDs with the distribution, which was useful for for install fests.
      b) But beyond that, you could access their repositories for nothing.

      4) Ubuntu choose to build off Debian testing which is very high quality and reasonably up to date. Most other major repositories have failed in one or the other area.

      5) Ubuntu focused immediately on hardware lists. Simple easy instruction to resolve problems on hardware, rather than opaque instructions. The Ubuntu forums were a huge step forward in Linux to the masses.

      6) Ubuntu embraced the open source ideology with things like the circle of friends logo. Many of the early Linux companies were more focused on business acceptance at the time.

      7) Many of the other distributions in the easy desktop space were going bankrupt. Ubuntu had deeper pockets.


      So why is Ubuntu more popular than Fedora?

      a) Easier to install
      b) Far fewer bugs
      c) General direction dictated by Debian and the distribution itself rather than by the needs of an Enterprise server distribution.
      d) A novice friendly community.

      • Gnome polish (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:03PM (#38028354)
        The Gnome polish that Ubuntu introduced went a long way as well, including things like a working network manager that dealt well with wireless connections, supporting administrative tools like gparted, Synaptic Package Manager, and other printer/user/gui management tools was also a boon. They made sure users never had to go to the command-line, and provided defaults that were acceptable to the majority of desktop users. Their focus on the end user desktop experience really paid off. I'm not sure if Mint can carry that legacy, for now I'm happy enough just apt-getting gnome and sticking with Ubuntu. The fact that GUI packages such as Gnome and KDE want to re-invent the wheel for every major revision is a bit troubling, and I'm happy that projects such as Trinity exist, even though they are fringe products. I'm actually intrigued by Gnome 3, but that doesn't change my disappointment over leaving users who have gotten used to and like Gnome 2 out in the cold. XFCE never seems to change, only polish, and that's great. Too simple/bare-bones for me though.
    • While I'm not a heavy Ubuntu user, I don't understand the care about sudo. Just type sudo passwd root and you have a root account just like everyone else. It takes 1 minute post-install.

  • by locokamil ( 850008 ) * on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:10PM (#38026624) Homepage

    I wasn't aware that FreeBSD was a Linux distribution. At least it appears to be on the ranking site linked in TFA...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      FreeBSD and the likes was included due to popularity (requests) rather then it being "linux" per se. For most users, having it within the rankings is much more valuable then the possibility of confusion.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:17PM (#38026748) Homepage Journal

      That page is distrowatch. It is more about Open Source distros than Linux.
      Linux just tends to top the chart.

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:15PM (#38026714)
    I can not recommend Ubuntu to new users at all at this point. For having things "just work", Mint is where it's at, these days. Canonical got too full of themselves, and dropped the ball. Unity isn't the only problem.
  • Fixing Gnome3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:17PM (#38026760)

    The big promise of Linux Mint lies in the upcoming release 12. They are trying fix what the Gnome developers fucked up so royally and no one else has been able to do: fix Gnome3. They have a set of extensions that, at least judging from a static desktop screenshot [], look like they will actually make Gnome3 usable like Gnome2. The release candidate due tomorrow [] should tell the story for these MSGE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions).

    • Re:Fixing Gnome3 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel_is_Legnd ( 1447519 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:21PM (#38026832)
      Mint 12 RC as actually already been released. They recently took it down to reduce server load.
    • Re:Fixing Gnome3 (Score:4, Informative)

      by gshegosh ( 1587463 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:26PM (#38026916)
      Having tried the RC for a few dozen minutes, I can tell that MSGE is quite good in making Gnome3 feel more "like home". Having the bottom window task list bar and sane alt-tab experience doesn't magically fix what is broken in Gnome Shell (configurability is still missing), but it's a step in a good direction IMO -- it lets people used to "old" ways upgrade their systems with less fear.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pecisk ( 688001 )

      Problem is, GNOME Shell doesn't need fixing, GNOME Shell actually works. Unfortunately geeks stubbornness too :)

      • You forget there is a thing called "personal preferences". Just because it's new and shiny it doesn't mean you NEED to adopt it.

        Yes, I am a KDE user.

      • Re:Fixing Gnome3 (Score:4, Informative)

        by dballanc ( 100332 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:28PM (#38028648)

        Gnome shell does work great... if you install all the user extensions to actually make use bearable. With a few silly warts it's the best desktop experience I've had on linux in the last decade or so. Unfortunately out of the box it is a lot like opening a new toy on christmas and not having any batteries for it. It looks nice, and you can see the potential... but it's useless without the batteries.

        Batteries to make gnome3 useful;:
        install gnome-tweak-tools to get user extension support
        install applications menu extension
        install shutdown menu extension
        install native window placement extension
        install bottom panel extension for taskbar (to taste, I prefer the alt-tab)
        add back the minimize/maximize buttons via obsure gconf settings

        After all that, it starts looking pretty good. The multi monitor support could be better (Why don't new windows open on the screen with the mouse?, Why virtual desktop only works on one screen?)

  • Mint 12RC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daniel_is_Legnd ( 1447519 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:18PM (#38026770)
    I downloaded Mint 12 RC this morning and the new desktop is fantastic. The nice look of Gnome 3 with all the great features of Gnome2. Instead of telling users what to use, they listened and create a fantastic product.
  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:21PM (#38026824)

    The reference [] in TFS actually shows Mint is THE most popular linux distro of ALL distros at the moment. Look at the last column (1 month).

  • Small Error.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:24PM (#38026886) Homepage

    "and you can customize it to look and feel exactly how you want"

    no you cant get rid of the non standard 2 pixel wide scroll bars that pop up to a scroll tab when you get over them. I hate them. I have spent hours trying to disabled the damn things and they stay there on the File manager and the settings apps.

    Make the damned things go away and back to NORMAL scrollbars.

  • Ubuntu hatred (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:24PM (#38026890) Homepage

    Hatred towards Ubuntu seems to be focused on Unity and Gnome.

    I use Kubuntu LTS and am more than happy with it. Sure, the LTS is pretty far behind (still on Firefox 3.6), but I don't have any real gripes besides this.

    From the looks of things Mint supports KDE, but is there any real reason to jump ship?

  • by citizenklaw ( 767566 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:29PM (#38026968)
    One reason: Mint's heavy handed tendency to replace the default Google search with a 'Mint-ized' version of Google search to draw revenue. I mean, I get it: it needs money. But if you're going to substitute something that works great (Google) with your own version of search to take eyeball money, give me something as good as or better than what I'm used to. Granted, there are instructions out there to change this by running a couple of scripts and commands. But it would revert after updates were pushed down to the system. I had to do it at least once a month. Disclaimer: I donated directly to Mint through PayPal, precisely because I changed the search engine knowing full well this is a way the get money. I would not mind paying a bit more and a bit regularly if they would keep their hands of my search.
  • The real winner... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sfing_ter ( 99478 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:34PM (#38027076) Homepage Journal

    The real winner of course is Debian. Being a devout debiate for many years (12), both the distros you speak of use debian as it's base. I use Mint myself for my desktops, it works well and their kde version was always better than kubuntu. I have even softened on my Gnome-hate somewhat with Mint's Main version and have even setup clients and friends with it.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:50PM (#38027318) Homepage Journal

    While I'm sure ill get modded down, my personal opinion is that this is one of the problems that still holds Linux back from 'world domination' ( whatever that is ),

    While admittedly its not nearly as bad as in 'the old days' when i jumped ship to the far more structured and focused BSD camp ( after being here from the very beginning ), the still rather fragmented Linux community wastes limited resources continuing reinventing the wheel, and 'doing things my way' which causes confusion for both end users and developers.

    Sure 'choice is good' for the short term gratification me me me crowd, but if it hinders longer term goals it should be avoided if possible.

    • This is a major difference between BSD and Linux. BSD development/maintenance is very structured, whereas Linux is very organic. This allows each to achieve different goals---Linux undoubtedly has better support for newer hardware, whereas BSD is a very stable product.
  • by davek ( 18465 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @03:05PM (#38027554) Homepage Journal

    I'm trying Linux Mint out in a VM right now, but I'm probably not going to switch from Ubuntu just because there's no real reason to.

    LXDE, however, is awesome. It's the default window manager for mint, and on top of being very snappy and having relatively good configuration options, it supports dockapps! I don't have to use some end-around tongue swallowing app to get my precious square apps to work anymore! I don't have to run some hacked version of windowmaker to get a modern desktop anymore!

    Now if only would come back...

  • Mint - very good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n ( 98366 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:01PM (#38028344) Homepage Journal

    And the reason is pretty simple. They *really* focused on delivering a desktop thats rounded and end-user in idealism. Not really the usual focus on devs, or linux geeks, or coders or any of the normal compromises that are often tipped in other Distros. Things like a software manager, a user menu, and having DVD and codecs from the off. Wireless drivers that tend to work (as well as they do in the landscape of linux) - and lots of effort to focus on that idea.

    The delivery of this across multiple versions has been praised, and is praise worthy, and its being rewarded by end users moving to it on one very simple thing. Merit.
    People like Mint. And the devs deserve that because of their desire to deliver something that is sometimes missed by Linux, and thats care for the end user. Somehow its a chunk of what Shuttleworth has totally lost in his headlong charge to unity. And its alos lost on the Gnome 3 devs who lost it totally as well. Now they went down a path that was more please themselves and ram it down people's throats. (Hi MS, I love how you've mimic'd the same stupid move with Metro).

    Anyway, nuff said. I predict that in fact Mint 12 even with a bit of rough round the edges - will be welcomed by one and all, and others will in fact have to have a rethink. And thats a good thing.

  • by AdamJS ( 2466928 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:10PM (#38028456)

    You have to admire the Mint team.
    They're trying their hardest to reign in Ubuntu without abandoning the original desktop environment line.
    It's a nice sense of loyalty and dedication.

    And it's a doomed effort, because eventually, Gnome will get the point where the combined effects of the "upgrades" actively work against the traditional (read: good, working, not-shit) desktop environment format, if not entirely stopping the possibility of Gnome being retrofitted to be like one.

  • by Arrogant-Bastard ( 141720 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:43PM (#38028844)
    "Awful" doesn't even begin to describe it. All development on it should be abandoned, it should be ripped out of the distribution, the code should be printed out and burned, a massive apology should be issued to the userbase, and any defenders left standing should be forced to read 419 spam for a month...or until their minds crack. This won't happen, of course. But 2011 will be remembered as the year that Ubuntu began to fade into irrelevance, thanks to Unity and the fools behind it.
    • It is weird how people who want customization, seem to be singularly unable to install a different Desktop Environment that is customizable. If you want a customized desktop, install XFCE, LXDE or KDE and STOP MOANING!
  • Popularity (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dennis Sheil ( 1706056 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:45PM (#38028862)

    Let's look at a better popularity metric - what percent of which OS hit the servers of Wikipedia [] in October 2011.

    Ubuntu was 0.41% of all Wikipedia traffic with roughly 16.9 million hits in October. Mint was 0.01% of Wikipedia traffic, with roughly half a million hits in October. Ubuntu traffic dwarfs Mint traffic by many multiples.

    In terms of the popularity of Linux distros hitting Wikipedia: Android was #1. Ubuntu was #2. Fedora was #3, just barely surpassing SuSE which is #4. Debian was #5. Mandriva was #6. Then comes along Mint at #7. In fact, Mint is barely even beating Kubuntu. Hits to Wikipedia is not a perfect metric, but if anyone knows of a better one I'd like to hear it.

    Things can change, and Mint may be gaining popularity, but we have to be realistic about things. I like a lot of things about Debian and Trisquel, but I'm also aware of the fact that for every Debian desktop hitting Wikipedia, there are 20 Ubuntu desktops hitting Wikipedia, including my own. That number goes to 1:30 for Mint to Ubuntu. So no, Mint will not be surpassing Ubuntu any time soon.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:36PM (#38030178) Homepage

    Unity has caused an uproar in the Linux community — especially amongst the power users who decry its lack of customizability and inability to scale on big- and multi-monitor setups

    No, it's because it's slow, buggy, and makes it almost impossible to get to the programs and files you need to get work done by increasing the number of steps to do so. I don't know about multi-monitor support, but I'm guessing it's more to do with the UI's general functionality not support.

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