It's been a few years away from Linux for me. I was active in the Xandros community as a forums mod and beta tester. Sadly Xandros died the death of neglect and with less time available to me I turned back to Windows. I wanted to say a quick hello to any other former Xandros users who might have joined the Mint Community.
A few years later here I am with some free time so I thought I would check out how Linux has changed. I am absolutely gob smacked. The level of Polish and integration is remarkable. Far less Terminal commands required to get things working. The level of improvement is wonderful.
At this point I don't have much to contribute but I can write a few notes on my install experience. I downloaded the 64 bit Cinamon Install disc and put it in a Toshiba Satellite L300D laptop and this was the things that struck me. I tried to look at it the way a typical new user coming from a Windows background would without any background linux knowledge. Which considering how rusty I am probably isn't that far from the truth
I am mostly focusing on constructive criticism since that is how we make things even better!
1) The install begins with the live CD portion running a fair amount of code while just displaying a terminal window. Even in a fairly modern laptop drive the pauses and length of time it takes to get from CD in the drive to seeing a GUI is a bit long and at times could leave a newbie wondering if something might have crashed.
2)The webcam initalization to take a picture during install was a wonderful touch. It was the aha moment for me as to the change in how Linux hardware support has evolved. Kudos to whoever came up with that idea!
3) The install was quite painless and simple. I might have preferred more options to choose what I want to install from the get go rather than searching for things and adding them later. Personally I think you should include Wine and and other Features you are listing in the slide show in the default install. A windows convert will be downloading some kind of .exe file for a program they miss pretty quickly and will be wondering why it doesn't run.
4) I personally think one of the last bastions of new user comfort that linux has to cross is more user friendly naming. We have come a long way from the dpkg in terminal days but a Windows Refugee will have no clue where to go to find software. Synaptic Package Manager isn't exactly a user intuitive name for a software installer and the GUI is definately designed more for the power user than the newbie.
I hope this is helpful. Thanks so much to all the people who have worked to make this amazing Distro. I am excited to see how it evolves/