Ubuntu vs Linux Mint

ubuntu vs linux mintUbuntu or Linux Mint. This is the question most people ask me when they set mind to install first Linux distribution in their machine.  When you plan to use Linux, you are surrounded by the choice. There are 100′s of Linux distribution available, each having their own specialty. People pick their favourite distros because they find it convenient and easy to use. The same distro can be disgusting  and ridiculous to other people. So, its the choice that matter.  however this articles will helps you to visualize the differences between Ubuntu and Linux Mint and helps you to find the appropriate choice for you.

Brief Overview

There are 100′s of different Linux distribution but as a title suggest I am not comparing every possible distros .In 16 August 1993, Debian the mother of Ubuntu and Linux mint had its initial release. From the past 19 years it has been able to gain wide amount of popularity with its focus on stability and security. In 20 October 2004 Ubuntu was released as a fork of the Debian Project’s codebase. After 2 years, in 27 August 2006 Linux mint release its first beta release based on Ubuntu. If there hasn’t been Debian there mayn’t be Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

Ubuntu is based on Debian and Linux mint is based on Ubuntu. However they both have evolve themselve on unique way following their own approach and desktop environment.

Desktop Environment

When it comes to the desktop environment, both Ubuntu and Linux mint are different from other Linux distro. Ubuntu has adopted unity despite of several controversy, while Mint uses MATE desktop which is a fork of Gnome 2. Here are some difference on desktop environment between Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

Default Desktop environment:  Ubuntu use unity as their default desktop environment whereas Linux mint user can choose between mate and Cinnamon. Unity is available in 2d and 3d. The 3D version is powered by compiz.

Other desktop environment: Both Linux mint and Ubuntu are available in different taste. Ubuntu is available in Kubuntu(KDE version), Xubuntu(xfce version), Lubuntu(LXDE version) , Edubuntu, ubuntustudio(Multimedia user). Linux Mint is available in KDE, Xfce, mate and cinnamon. Unlike ubuntu, Linux Mint doesn’t have seperate name for different desktop environment.

 You can always install other desktop environment in any Linux Distribution. The installation is simple and doesn’t required any specific knowledge. You can even choose different desktop environment during login process and use it for that particular session.

Screenshot Ubuntu with unity


Screenshot Linux Mint with Cinnamon

Performance and Usability:

Linux Mint is light and faster than Ubuntu . Ubuntu has improve the speed since Ubuntu 12.04 but it still can’t beat the Linux Mint. Linux Mint is a good choice for old hardware machine.

While comes to usability, Ubuntu have received a wide amount of criticism. Many expert claim usability is dead on ubuntu since is start adopting unity. Unity is still evolving so its too early to predit about its future but it slowly receiving a good feedback after the release of version Ubuntu 12.04. On the other hand mate wins in terms of usability. Mint default desktop environment “mate” gives users the taste of Gnome 2. My personnel choice is Linux mint in terms of speed.

Release Schedule and Upgrade

Ubuntu and Linux Mint are release once every six month. Linuxmint is release one month after Ubuntu, based on the version of Ubuntu. Ubuntu and Mint both follow the followng release convention.

  • Alpha 1
  • Alpha 2
  • Beta 1
  • Beta 2
  • Release candidate
  • Final Release

The upgrade  process can be start in Ubuntu by launching update Manager. Linux mint categories the update in two different block: ”fresh” and “package” upgrades. Mint recommend the fresh installation over package upgrade. You can read the full documentation over here.

Ubuntu update

Software install, update and backup

Both ubuntu and Linux mint are based on Debian, therefore the software install method are almost same. Ubuntu has ubuntu software center for software installation while Linux mint has software manager. You can rate , review, download, install, uninstall software in Both distros. PPA works both on mint and Ubuntu. The installation method via ppa is same on Ubuntu and Mint.

Directory backups in ubuntu is perfomed via DEja Dup. Linux mint offers a backsolution from the application called mintBackup. Both application is easy to use and simple. However Mintback can’t handle incremental backup like Deja DUp. Incremental backup take less time to complete. Deja Dup doesn’t provide application specific backup whereas Mintbackup does.

Final Conclusion:

Ubuntu and Linux Mint has their own pros and cons. If you have just migrated from windows and using the Linux for the first time I recommend you to choose among these two Linux distribution. Ubuntu and Linux mint both have good community support. You don’t really need to know handy command to operate these distribution, however learning basic command is always recommended.


Posted in Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 11.04, Ubuntu 11.10, Ubuntu 12.04, Ubuntu One | Tagged , | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Ubuntu vs Linux Mint

  1. Andrei Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Linux Mint 13 Mate is faster than Ubuntu 12.04 but Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon in as ”fast” as Ubuntu 12.04.

  2. Bodi UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Have you ever tried Linux Mint 13? The screenshots above is Linux Mint with Cinnamon not Mate. And Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, not on Debian. If one reads this article and installs Mint Mate, they won’t get a Cinnamon Menu nor Expo view like the screenshot section shows.

    Mate is, indeed, faster than Unity, but Cinnamon is not notably faster but a lot more unstable. I’m not critisizing Mint nor it’s desktops. Cinnamon is pretty new and so will take some time be stable. Long-term Windows users like me initially prefer Windows-liked desktops such as Mate or Cinnamon but Unity is really awesome on my Laptop.

    • saugat NEPAL Google Chrome Linux says:

      Apology for the mistake. It has been corrected. I am using Linux mint 13 with cinnamon in my office and using Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 1 in my home computer.I agree with you cinnamon is not as faster as mate but is productive at the end of a day(at least for me).

  3. nigel UNITED KINGDOM Google Chrome Linux says:

    I’ve just joined linux from win7 and must say it’s not as daunting as i’ve read, any problems easy to find solutions in forums or just google

  4. Giulio ITALY Google Chrome Windows says:

    I installed ubuntu for the firts time in 2008 on an old pc (512Mb ram, 30 Gb HD). I migrated to mint in 2010. Now i’m using mint xfce. I think it’s great! Fast and light (6 gb Ram, 500 HD.

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