I just wanted to say that I agree with OP on Linux Mint 12 being totally awesome and I have been following Mint since the very beginning and I can honestly say that this time they actually filled a huge gap in my linux world!
I like Ubuntu. I don't like Unity! I can install Gnome 3 on Ubuntu, but it's still just as if it is the 2nd DE.
While that pushed me over to Fedora 15 and 16 to get a better feeling of Gnome 3, I realized I was missing good ol' Gnome 2
Biggest problem on Fedora was incompatibility with Gnome 2 and the futuristic Gnome 3 making work-flow non-existing (Though I really love the default looks of Fedora).
Therefore I am totally getting why Linux Mint 12 made Lisa the way they did!
It is the (perfect?) combination of a modern Gnome 3 and good ol' Gnome 2 + compatibility with everything Ubuntu 11.10 has to offer in terms of packages and settings.
I actually created a user on Mint forum because I liked this new desktop so very much!
Thank you Mint!