Before I ask my questions, I would like to say a few short words of where I am coming from and why I ask these questions.
I am one of the many Ubuntu-refugees which recently dumped Ubuntu in disgust and switched to Mint. Why? Well, the usual list of reasons. Bradely Kuhn does a superb job listing my gripes with Ubuntu so I will just post a link to his post about this on his blog. I will just add to this that Unity is an abomination and that the first time I saw it I had something very close to a fit of rage. When I dumped Ubuntu I decided to see what "Ubuntu done right" was and I installed Mint. Frankly, I was amazed at how beautiful Mint was, how intelligent the Mint update management system was and, frankly, how helpful the Mint community on the IRC was. Even though I came in rather skeptical I had to admit that Mint was, indeed, Ubuntu done right, and even better.
Next to Mint, I also put Debian-testing and Xubuntu one some of my boxes. Debian-testing is fantastic, and Xubuntu is very elegant (and XFCE is a sane desktop, unlike Unity). So far, I have to say that I love Debian-testing and Linux Mint most, with Xubuntu a close 2nd. What can I say, I love(d) GNOME2.x (not so sure about GNOME3.x which I have not tried yet). Okay, now my questions:
a) What is the Linux Mint main edition position on Ubuntu's Software Center which, as you no doubt know, now prominently features for $$$$ applications? Will LM also include for $$$$ applications in its Software Center?
b) What will LM do with GNOME3? It is customizable enough that it can be returned to sanity or is G3 inherently too Unity-like and, in this case, what will LM choose as its desktop?
c) LM is purely community driven. But Ubuntu, upon LM is based, is heavily corporation-controlled and profit-centered. There is a LMDE which I am looking closely into, but what about LM Main Edition. How long can a purely community run distro be based on a quasi purely corporate run distro?
d) Linux Mint does not, as far as I know, have a Social Contract like Debian. Yet LMDE is Debian-based. Is there some kind of commitment form the LMDE developer and maintainers to the Debian Social Contract and Free Software Guidelines?
e) The LM FAQ says:"We like Software in general, Free Software even more, but we do not believe in boycotting Proprietary Software" and I have no problem with that. Still, after being "burned" by my experience with Ubuntu, I guess I am trying to get some reassurances that Mint will not go down the "Ubuntu way" and end up being driven by purely commercial considerations. Can I hope that LM will remain a distro "for and by the community" and not be "infected" by Ubuntu's recent collapse into the corporate mindset?
Please do not flame me for asking these questions. As I said, I got "burned" with Ubuntu and while I do love Mint, I am nervous about its dependence on Ubuntu. I am thinking of installing Linux Mint on all my boxes (13 computers), but I guess I want to make sure that I will not have to go for another massive disappointment like I did with Ubuntu.
BTW - I know I could go with Debian or Debian-testing (which I love). The thing is that I really like Linux Mint and, in particular, its very sophisticated approach towards updates. Also, Mint is elegant, beautifully configured. Sure, Debian rocks, and value-wise I am a 100% "Debianista" and I will always keep my own, personal, box on Debian-testing. But for non-geeks like the rest of my family, or for its sheer beauty and intelligent design, Mint is probably a better choice. Besides, its just *beautiful*.
Anyway, thanks for all your questions and patience with a maybe naive newcomer to Mint.