First off, hats off to all involved in Linux Mint! You have my sincerest appreciation! You have created exactly what I have been looking for, and I can't thank you guys enough!
Okay, for my rant:
This is only my second post here. I am still a newbie when it comes to Linux, but have been tinkering with it off/on now for a number of years. Without making my long rant needlessly longer, I have a two year old laptop with 2nd gen core i5 processor, BUT have been running WindowsXP on it due in part to work necessity, but mostly because of choice.
I have been using Microsoft products since the Win95 days. Lets be honest-that is what I used (and got used to using) because "everyone else" did too. Compatibility of existing software was usually broken in some fashion along the way after Windows upgrades (9x->2K->XP), but mostly it wasn't too bad. Then 64bit computing arrived, and although some things remain compatible, in my mind the transition from XP to beyond was a pretty big hurdle in some cases. So I decided to sit it out. Then the world of smart phones and tablets arrived, which seems to have revolutionized the way we use "computers".
I knew I would eventually jump ship, and I wanted to move to a linux platform. So I looked at ubuntu, mainly because when did my research I wanted the most popular distro so I could have the widest range of support. I tinkered with it, and really liked it, but I just wasn't ready to make that leap just yet. The next LTS version came out, and I quickly snagged an .ISO and booted it up, but was severely disappointing. What had happened to the traditional desktop? Of course I did find out about "sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback", but I just didn't like the direction it was headed. I am not knocking it, but its just not my cup of tea.
Now I may be entirely wrong, but the way I now see our world of computing is two classes: You have content creators, and content consumers. In the world of consumption, tablets, smartphones, bluray players, and other "gadgets" do an absolutely outstanding job of consuming content. However, for content creation, I still see a need for a more traditional interface. Now I myself don't do audio editing, video editing, or the like, but am more of a "power" user. I dabble in a lot of different areas. Although I am sure these things can be done on a tablet or other mobile device, but I just can't see it being convenient.
Although I believe the target audience for a traditional desktop interface is of course getting smaller, I do think there will ALWAYS be a need. And I am so glad to see that Linux Mint is based upon arguably one of the most successful Linux distros, but still understands the desires of us users that still want a more traditional looking interface.
I have used a couple other distros-CentOS for example-and I LOVE that distro for fileservers, and specific server related tasks. Its a "no frills" system with a simple (almost Windows 2000 like) interface. Although I am sure I could work it to become a suitable desktop replacement OS, it doesn't have the codecs built in for media playback, nor a whole lot of "bells and whistles". Being a newbie, it would take a LOT of research just to get it to do tthe simple things we sometimes take for granted in Windows (mp3, dvd playback). Again, I love it for what I use it for, but I wanted something that would allow me to learn Linux, while at the same time actually being able to USE it.
In short, Linux Mint is everything I have been looking for. I have been test driving it in virtualbox under XP on my laptop, and I'm loving it. I am sure there will be some growing pains when I get ready to come out of the vm, and install it for real, but again, a big THANK YOU for all the hard work you have put into this truly wonderful OS!