Ubuntu and Linux Mint are two popular Linux distros available in the Linux community. Ubuntu is a derivative of Debian, and on the other hand, Linux Mint is developed based on Ubuntu LTS. Though both the distros are quite an excellent choice for the newbie and support a wide range of modern devices, there are still some differences for which an array of users may want to compare as Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu digging out the right reasons to choose. Further, just describing these distros, I would like to hit the bull of the deciding factor to compare Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu. It helps you as new Linux users or users who want to shift from Windows or macOS and try to get the best OS alternative.
Linux Mint or Ubuntu, Which one is Better?
In this comparison article, I am not going to start a battle (Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu) on finding the answer to the queries of which one is best for newcomers; rather, I will show you some overriding factors which will help you guys to fit yourself according to the choices.
Before going into the details, I would like to mention for whom this article is developed. A good number of users regularly search online for “Best Linux Distros for Beginner.” There are no specific answers for solving this sort of question because choosing the best distros or OS depends on users’ needs. So there is nothing called – best Linux distro.
Two camps ask the best Linux distros for a newbie. One camp is tech-savvy tweakers, knows a lot about technology, computer and now desires to explore Linux for the first time and likes the concept of open source software movement.
On the other hand, another camp doesn’t know much about Linux but wants to install a fresh copy on old hardware to give a new life or want to shift from Windows or Mac and want to get the taste of freedom. These guy doesn’t care about customization or tweaks on Linux, and they want a better and smoother computing experience. Before going to the main discussion, you can check out my latest comparison article on Debian vs. Ubuntu.
Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: Deep Down into the Core
Both the distros are forked of the Debian system and have lots of things in common. However, they have approached a different path to fulfill the user’s needs. Linux Mint is an excellent alternative to Windows OS, and Ubuntu is more about competing with the Mac system. Besides all these differences, you can make these Linux distros as like as you want with a few tips and tricks, and that’s the beauty of Linux – ensuring freedom all the way. Now it’s time to deep down into the core of Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu comparison and see the overriding factors.
1. System Requirements
Both systems run on a wide range of devices, but Ubuntu demands a bit more power than Linux Mint. Ubuntu Gnome version offers sleek modern design and stunning visual effects, but Linux Mint is old-fashioned and runs on current and old hardware. Ubuntu Gnome requires more power and resources, but Linux Mint demands a bit lower than Ubuntu.
2. System Installation Process
Installation methods for both the distros are quite the same and easy. Linux Mint and Ubuntu both support the Ubiquity installer method and UEFI.
3. Basic Interface
Linux Mint comes with various Linux desktop environments, but Cinnamon is the default one. This DE is more like a Windows interface with the bottom panel, launcher at the bottom left, and system notification at the right. You can see all the active app windows in the bottom panel.
On the other hand, Ubuntu comes with default Unity like Gnome version besides with different desktop environments like Budgie, KDE, XFCE, etc. It provides a common dock-like panel at the right and a top bar consisting of a notification area and an app window integration panel. You can find all the active app in the dock panel. This dock panel can be moved either bottom or left with a few tweaks via Ubuntu Gnome Tweak Tools.
If we discuss the performance for both the Linux distros, Linux Mint will remain ahead of Ubuntu. Ubuntu default flavor is best suitable for modern devices with high-end hardware equipped. On the contrary, Linux Mint runs smoother on old equipment as well as a current machine. If you want to give life to your old dead laptop, I would recommend using Lubuntu or Xubuntu flavor.
5. Software Manager
Both systems come with a complete software management system. Ubuntu Software center seems a bit slower and takes considerable resources to load. Comparing to that, the Linux Mint software manager is fast, quick, and straightforward. Both the distros provide various software under different categories, allowing the users to choose the right app easily.
6. Software Sources with Useful Options
Linux Mint and Ubuntu come with software source tools or managers, but the one that comes with Linux Mint is far better and offers more usability options for the beginner. Sometimes newbies messed up with the PPA repositories while installing some third-party Linux software. So the choice of resetting PPAs to default one comes in handy in this situation.
Only Linux Mint shines while offering these resetting options. Moreover, Linux Mint has a separate PPA management tab for easy control. Additionally, Linux Mint allows fixing various common update problems under the maintenance tab automatically. Ubuntu lacks all those nifty helpful options.
7. Necessary Software Out of the Box
What new users want to do just after installing any OS? As a new user in the Linux community, you might want to enjoy movies and music, do some office productivity tasks in words, sheets, or excels, web browsing, or some photoshop job. All these are fundamental requirements for any user.
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Linux Mint and Ubuntu both distros come with a set of default productivity applications. However, these distros also lack in some aspects. Linux Mint and Ubuntu don’t come with media codec or adobe flash if you have not selected them during the Ubuntu installation process.
Ubuntu has a package consisting of all the necessary media codec and flash, namely Ubuntu Restricted Extras. However, you will not get it on the software store; instead, you have to run a command into the terminal to install it. Initially, this process may seem a bit daunting for new users. On the other hand, Linux Mint also doesn’t come media codec, but it’s easy to find in the software center.
Moreover, Linux Mint offers some best Linux software like VLC and GIMP preinstalled that Ubuntu does not provide by default. You can install it afterward, but Ubuntu lacks behind by giving some essential apps pre-installed by default.
8. Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: Beautification of GUI
Linux Mint does offer a better customization option than Ubuntu regarding the beautification of a graphical user interface. Though installing themes is not difficult on Ubuntu, you need a separate Ubuntu Gnome Tweak Tool to get more customization options for applying themes and icons.
On the other hand, Linux Mint comes with a handful and nice-looking community-driven themes, applets, and desklets preinstalled. In Ubuntu, you have to find the Best Ubuntu Themes and Icons on the internet and download a zip file, then install it to apply. Ubuntu also does not support Linux Mint-like applets and desklets like widgets.
9. Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: System Customization
Linux is impressive in the spare of customization. You can do whatever you want in the Linux system. It let you enjoy the freedom of customization. Ubuntu and Linux Mint are also not lag in customization.
However, Ubuntu offers some preference, and it’s much more as “what you see is what you get” than Linux Mint. Time has gone a long way, and now both the distros let you modify the system starting from icons, menus, file systems, window management, and whatnot.
10. Various Desktop Environments
Ubuntu and Linux Mint both come with a set of different flavors. Now Linux Mint supports Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce desktop environment. Recently it has abandoned KDE development. On the other hand, Ubuntu supports a wide range of Linux desktop environments, including Ubuntu Gnome (Default), KDE Plasma, LXDE, Budgie desktop environment, MATE, and Xfce. So in the case of various Linux desktop environments, Ubuntu goes ahead of Linux Mint.
11. Software Update and System Upgrade
Both the Linux distros provide a versatile way to update the application and upgrade the system into the latest release. Ubuntu has a software updater utility tool that checks the most recent app and system image release with just a single click.
Linux Mint also provides a software updater for its app update and distro release upgrade. Moreover, you can also update the installed Linux software through a distro-specific software center in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
12. Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: Release Cycle
Every six months, Ubuntu releases a new version, and after every two years, It releases an LTS – Long Term Support version. Its LTS supports five years for desktop and server systems. So you understand now that the Ubuntu system release cycle is scheduled. However, Linux Mint has not planned; instead, it provides a new version after a few months when Ubuntu releases an LTS version.
13. Corporate or Business Use
Canonical is a great company and has made significant efforts to push its Ubuntu into corporate or business usage. The company is immensely successful in this sector. In this tech world, many servers are running Linux, and Ubuntu bites a large part of it. Moreover, many governmental authorities, including China, are converting their official system to either Linux or Ubuntu. Furthermore, Ubuntu could convince the PC manufacturer to pre-load its system onto desktops and laptops.
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On the other hand, Linux Mint is more aimed at enthusiasts. Apparently, Linux Mint has not taken any endeavor to push its system into the corporate or business world. However, Linux Mint is polished and capable of replacing any OS or distros for any users.
14. Gaming Experience
Linux Mint and Ubuntu, both the distros, will have the same gaming experiences. However, as Linux Mint consumes fewer resources, running various games will give a bit more performance than Ubuntu. On the other hand, Ubuntu is an excellent choice for modern hardware so that gaming performance will be increased on Ubuntu with fewer compatibility issues. Finally, I can only say that gaming experiences will be more or less the same in both systems.
15. Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: Community Support
If we discuss the community support, then Ubuntu remains a long ahead of Linux Mint. Ubuntu is backed up and developed by a large corporate company called Canonical and has a huge fan base and community-driven support teams worldwide. Linux Mint also does not lag. Many community groups worldwide and a group of companies using Linux Mint also act as partners, donors, or sponsors for its development.
Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: Who Wins the Battle?
Personally, I like Ubuntu, but I also do not hate Linux Mint. It’s not a hate post towards Linux Mint or Ubuntu. However, a mere discussion and review on which factors we have to consider while choosing the beginners’ right Linux distros. As a new user, I recommend using both of them and finding out which one fits your desire and needs. Linux Mint and Ubuntu are both very popular in the Linux community and offer a wide range of software compatibility.
If you are an MS Windows user, then go for Linux Mint, which will give you a known desktop environment to play with but if you are a tech-savvy guy, stick with Ubuntu, as it provides a stunning and sleek system for your latest hardware.
What do you think? Is Ubuntu is better than Linux Mint or vice versa? Let us know your suggestions, experiences, and opinions in the comment below.