Why would I pick MINT?

All Gurus once were Newbies
Forum rules
There are no such things as "stupid" questions. However if you think your question is a bit stupid, then this is the right place for you to post it. Please stick to easy to-the-point questions that you feel people can answer fast. For long and complicated questions prefer the other forums within the support section.
Before you post please read how to get help
Hoser Rob
Level 16
Level 16
Posts: 6080
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:57 am

Re: Why would I pick MINT?

Post by Hoser Rob »

Mint and Ubuntu are the only distros I'd reccommend to Linux newbies. Ubuntu has the best support of any distro but Mint's update policy is better.

Actually one of the main reasons I use Mint is that their Xfce version is long term support with a 5 year cycle. The LTS Xfce version of Ubuntu only has 3 yesrs support.

tomliotta
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:59 pm
Location: Gig Harbor, WA, USA

Re: Why would I pick MINT?

Post by tomliotta »

I've been a software developer for 40+ years, though not in UNIX/Linux. A few projects in the past 20 yrs needed to make use of POSIX-compliant libraries, so I gave myself some background knowledge. Still, my actual Linux experience was effectively zero.

About five yrs ago, MS was getting close to dropping support completely for WinXP, the last Windows I ever felt like using. And I really wasn't even a real Windows/MS fan, preferring OS/2, but... that was tricky.

Anyway, that support drop motivated me to look seriously into Linux as my personal desktop environment. I expected release after release of Windows regularly obsoleting my printers and who knows what else, weekly patches requiring restarts, needing to keep my A/V and other apps updated (often also requiring restarts) and other oddities. Linux seemed reasonable.

So, I bought a couple old/used laptops off of EBay for approx $50US each and began downloading some distros while also tracking down reviews. I did some testing with OpenSUSE, Debian and others, Kubuntu, UBuntu, and I'm no longer sure what all. The last Ubuntu I looked at wasn't too far off. But I'd read some references to Mint and gave it a shot.

That was right close to exactly five years back. Except for a couple very specific needs, e.g., Kali Linux, a few days with Mint was all I needed to be convinced for myself. Coming from Windows, Mint felt /almost/ natural. I began switching all of my desktops/laptops to Mint with three exceptions: I still run OS/2 on one desktop (the eComStation "open source" version), WinXP on one laptop (for a single app that I haven't given up to buy a Linux license for) and my wife's WinXP desktop (because switching her to Linux would be harder than for me since she only had basic home-user experience).

But after a couple months, a problem with my wife's desktop pushed me to create a new dual-boot system with her old XP and Mint 16 installed. I set up Mint to look as much as possible like her old setup and showed her how dual-boot worked. I had long before moved her to LibreOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird, so those were practically exactly the same, including her bookmarks, various logons and saved e-mail items. The only somewhat different app for her was Pidgin for her messaging, and her previous account migrated fine.

A year later, her HDD seemed flaky, so I migrated her again. That was to Mint 18; and it was without dual-boot because the only time dual-boot was ever needed was during the first few days when I initially showed her how that worked. I figure that not needing it even once during her first year of seeing Linux meant that Windows was done here.

Now, none of that means that I'd expect everyone to feel comfortable with Mint. I have more than enough general experience to figure out most things by myself. A couple times I've needed to post questions here to get help and mostly things have worked out. But someone like my wife wouldn't stand much of a chance. She'd need to know a close friend with Linux background or with very strong general experience to get past even minor issues. That's easier with Windows simply because just about everyone knows someone who is fairly comfortable troubleshooting Windows problems or at least knows how to get help from on-line forums and to apply that help.

I might advise doing it as I did. Start immediately on Windows with LibreOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird (or others that can be used while still on Windows) so that later migration is much easier. Buy a cheap/used system as a test throw-away (a laptop is self-contained) and install Mint on it. See if it works for you at all. See if the Cinnamon (my choice) or Mate desktop fits your style. Practice basic actions like finding, downloading and installing apps. Get a feel for how updating and security features work.

Actually, you might try two laptops. Mint goes on one. Nowadays I could expect Fedora 25 and perhaps one or even two other distros also to work well for Windows refugees. So far, Mint still seems to have an advantage because it usually doesn't provide the very "latest and greatest" of its features and included apps. The Debian and Ubuntu fanboys usually give the newest elements a working over before Mint includes them. (Though if you really wish, you can usually choose to obtain/install them somewhat at your own risk.)

A primary objective of Mint is to keep things both updated and stable at the same time. By itself, that's perhaps enough to recommend Mint as a Windows replacement. Linux is a different world regardless of how similarly it can look and act. Step outside just running apps by double-click or menu selection, and things can seem unfamiliar. Having (nearly) everything "just work" goes a long way to keeping users comfortable. At the very least perhaps, you can be mostly comfortable long enough to achieve basic familiarity.

And once that happens, the whole world of Linux starts to open up. From there, you can go in any direction you wish.
Tom

For LM12: Old IBM T22 laptop, 512MB, 40GB HDD (w/LMDE12 dual boot), CD-RW/DVD, USB 1.1 and on-board Ethernet
For LM16: IBM ThinkCenter M52, 4GB, 500GB HDD (w/WinXP dual)
Lenovo W510 ThinkPad,Core i7, 12GB, 320GB HDD (LM17.3 64-bit)
and 2 others.

User avatar
Flemur
Level 17
Level 17
Posts: 7933
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:41 pm
Location: Potemkin Village

Re: Why would I pick MINT?

Post by Flemur »

NewBee wrote:Why would I pick MINT over Debian or Ubuntu?
They're all similar but Mint has some extra tools ('driver manager' and such) that make some obnoxious tasks easier. Some other distros might have the latest-and-greatest versions of software, but the Mint versions will be more tested. Also Mint has the best forums, I'm probably the only jerk that posts here.
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] if/when it is solved!
Your data and OS are backed up....right?

User avatar
MintyO
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 460
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:54 pm

Re: Why would I pick MINT?

Post by MintyO »

Flemur wrote:
NewBee wrote:Why would I pick MINT over Debian or Ubuntu?
They're all similar but Mint has some extra tools ('driver manager' and such) that make some obnoxious tasks easier. Some other distros might have the latest-and-greatest versions of software, but the Mint versions will be more tested. Also Mint has the best forums, I'm probably the only jerk that posts here.
I agree - except the part about Flemur being a jerk :lol:

I'd put it like this: Debian is the raw base. Great OS, but for a home use desktop you need to mold it quite a bit to get it usable. Ubuntu does this quite well if you like the choices they make, the looks and the content. Mint takes Ubuntu and adds the missing bits and pieces and takes away the bad and ugly. Result is the best out of the box linux desktop OS at the moment and has been for many years.
Ducks on the edge sleep with one eye open.

ZakGordon
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:07 am

Re: Why would I pick MINT?

Post by ZakGordon »

Historically Windows users and Linux users have never been the best of friends in relation to their heated OS debates, and both sides have good arguments that shape those kind of opinions.

For me, Linux Mint was a great choice as work (and gaming) have shaped my mostly Microsoft based OS history. I have looked at Ubuntu also, many years back (when it was 'Feisty Fawn' version) and that was a great introduction to Linux for someone used to WIndows. Still Mint is way ahead of that experience, and as a predominantly Windows based user, i have found it the easiest of Linux distro's to get into.

It is not however Windows and you will still need to spend the time learning some new methods and conventions, but it is by far and away the easiest option for a longtime Windows user, and that is to me Linux Mints greatest strengths. It does not hide behind a wall of 'not being Windows' as a way to define itself, and in that it offers the best first steps AWAY from Windows OS which, looking at the direction MS wants to go with Windows 10, is pretty much priceless.

As others have said you will need to do some work to ensure various software you need to use can work, and at the very least you will be able to set up a dual-boot configuration where both Windows and Mint exist on the same PC, to ensure a 100% compatibility for any programs you can not get to run under Mint.

It's free, it's easy (pretty much) so give it a go via a 'Live CD' which will give you a great way to test out a slower running version (as it reads from the disk!) to give the best idea of how it feels.

After using Mint for around a year now, I'm not seeing Windows as part of my computer future going forward, that future is now Linux and Mint. It's been that convincing an experience.
Laptop overheating? Check link here:itsfoss guide . A move from Cinnamon to XFCE can give a -5 to -10 degrees C change on overheating hardware.

Build a modern dual-boot Ryzen Win7/Linux Mint PC:Tutorial

polarvortex
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 236
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:47 am

Re: Why would I pick MINT?

Post by polarvortex »

NewBee wrote:I should have added that my main reason for going to Linux is privacy and security. The tasks I do are program Excel, create databases, photo restoration, research for investing (three monitors) and soon video editing which would include sound.
I think you will find Mint to be great and simple to use for lots of things like web, video viewing, online communication. But for half of the tasks you want to do you probably depend on Windows-only software. You would have to learn how to use linux alternatives to those softwares. You simply can't do advanced Excel programming, or MS Access databases on linux. If you are really good at photoshop, I doubt you will be happy with image editing on linux. But there are pro video editing tools on linux, like DaVinci Resolve and Lightworks.

Maybe you could manage entirely on linux, but my bet is you would be happiest with two computers, a Mint computer for all your web and online stuff (best security and privacy), and a (well configured for privacy and security) Windows 7 computer for your windows software - or - a completely offline Windows 10 computer (because Windows 10 cannot be configured for privacy).

inradius
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:32 am
Location: north america
Contact:

Re: Why would I pick MINT?

Post by inradius »

Hi. Welcome to LM

That's a good question, one that we're asked many times over the years. There is no black and white answer to this. People have different wants and needs and expectations from an OS. From a general point of view there are some suggestions. We've been doing this for quite a few years now: installations, repairs, troubleshooting both LM and Ubuntu as they are the most common OS that people try first. I've put together a few starting points, points to considar and points to argue. I hope you find this helpful and are successful in your LM installation.

- Firstly you should find out if your machine's hardware setup is compatible with a Linux installation. This is not as common an issue as it once was but there are still OEM machines out there that cause major headaches. For example: Hybrid graphics GPU configurations (Nvidia Optimus anyone?) Some SSD's have trouble but not all. Some proprietary network hardware vendors still refuse to support Linux so do your research. Ubuntu website offers pages of Linux compatible machines, the database continues to grow. This is very important, do not skip this step. I repeat, Do not skip this step.

- Linux Mint tends to look, feel and act similar to a Win XP - 7 OS thereby making it a logical choice for new users as they gain confidence quickly. For example: LM has a panel/Win has taskbar; LM has a menu with the look and feel of Windows. Folders act/look similar, etc. While LM may have these attributes, the system operates behind-the-scenes vastly different.

- Audio/video/graphics editing: Gimp is a very powerful graphics editing tool. With a little practice it can rival Adobe. Do a little research for yourself.
Audacity is a powerful audio editing tool. I've written an operational tutorial on audacity; taking large MP4 files splitting them into segments and converting then into different formats. Again, a little practice and research is helpful in the learning curve.
OpenShot is a powerful video editing tool arguably rivaling some of the best proprietary programs on the market. Mind you there is a learning curve just as there is with the mainstream tools.

- LibreOffice is imho the best productivity software on the market. Not only does it handle cross formatting it also contains security features not found in Win Office and also LibreOffice isn't poisonous like Win Office which means a user does not need to create an account, will not be spied on, will not have documents either natively or via third party embedded with malicious code. LibreOffice will exceed any expectations a new or experienced user will have.

- Lets face Linux has the best security features an OS can have. LM utilizes an Update Manager which can allow a user to select the level of updates they want to use to keep their machine up to date with the latest in software improvements, system security, and kernel updates. While this system of selective updating used in LM has come under fire by some of us working in the security business due to the fact an OS should update 'everything' and not offer user defined selections, it is by far the safest updating system for new users. Tip: select "don't break my system" until you are confident enough to change these settings.

- That said, you will find LM to be a great experience not only in terms of usage but also viscerally. LM Sarah/Cinnamon is the best looking OS I've ever set eyes on and I'm sure many people will say the same. So why not have the best of both worlds: an OS that just plain works right out-of-the-box and looks stunning at the same time.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions just message me and I'll do my best to help out. :)

Enjoy your LM experience :)

Post Reply

Return to “Newbie Questions”