I shouldn't make such a summary. I probably gave up too soon. I just installed Mint 13 again, upgraded it in every way, while clinging tenaciously to Mate, and will probably try Mint 17 again in another year. I'm sure it will be running smooth by then. Really, the problems I had aren't untypical for Linux of any type. It seems like there are always new bugs, or just quirks that need ironing out of a new version. My desktops are still working fine with Mint 17, though I couldn't tell you what the difference is. Spearmint 2 was incredibly helpful, even if it didn't work out the way I hoped, but I ended up learning a bunch more really good things about using Linux with his help. Thanks again Spearmint 2.