Distrowatch Top 5 Distributions Review: Linux Mint
If you’ve done any research into the Linux world you’ll no doubt have heard of Linux Mint. Linux Mint is rated number four on the popular rankings site, Distrowatch, based on number of hits to the Distrowatch page for the OS, not based on actual downloads / user-base. Check out my previous reviews of Manjaro, MX Linux and EndeavourOS.
For those who haven’t heard of Linux Mint, it’s a super popular distribution based off Ubuntu, that is commonly argued between the two for which one is the best distribution for new users. Linux Mint has plenty of friendly GUI tools, a strong and helpful community, and 99% of Ubuntu documentation is also applicable to Linux Mint, so troubleshooting your own issues is significantly easier to research than some other, lesser-known distributions.
Linux Mint comes in three flavours, utilizing different Desktop Environments such as:
For this installation I opted for the Cinnamon flavour of Linux Mint, since there is no official KDE flavour available, and Cinnamon is my second-favourite environment.
- Ryzen 5 3500X
- NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super
- 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz
- System installed on a SATA SSD
The Linux Mint installation via Live-USB was quick and painless, however I can say that I do wish it had a little more features, such as those found in the installation utilities Calamares, found in popular distributions such as Manjaro. I had the option to Erase an entire disk, install Linux Mint alongside other OS’s, or do custom partitioning. There is no built-in option for replacing a partition...So, I had to manually do that myself, which isn’t hard for me, but people who don’t install OS’s like socks might not be as familiar with how to do this; so I think it’s a feature lacking.
However, once the installation was done, which didn’t take very long, I rebooted my machine and was on my way.
Note: Another complaint I have is that Linux Mint attempts to use Nouveau, the open-source NVIDIA driver, by default, and this does not work on my GTX 1660 Super. I had to boot using the compatibility start option to get into the Live-USB, and I had to use the nomodeset option in my GRUB startup line to boot to desktop after installation, so I could install the proprietary driver. Again, nothing complicated for experienced users, but a first-timer with my GPU may get scared off by facing these issues right out-of-the-box.
Included Software and Features
Linux Mint is by no means a lightweight or minimalist distribution; it comes with basically all software that the average user will need, out-of-the-box. Firefox, Hexchat IRC client, Thunderbird, Transmission torrent downloader, LibreOffice, Rythmbox audio player, Hypnotix TV player, Celluloid video player, Redshift (colour changer for night-mode / reducing blue light), Timeshift (an awesome backup utility) and numerous other applications and utilities come with installation. I was surprised that GIMP didn’t come with it, since it had everything else. If you want a system that is pre-loaded with most basic utilities and applications, Linux Mint has you covered...If you want a super minimalist approach to things; you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Linux Mint, and Cinnamon, are not known for their super lightweight and speedy designs; yet, Linux Mint Cinnamon edition was quick, responsive, and elegant when I was testing this out for this review. I had zero issues with big slowdowns, program hanging, or excessive resource usage. With LibreOffice Writer and Firefox with three tabs open, my system was using about 6% CPU and 2.4GB of RAM used. A little heavier than some others I have reviewed lately, but overall the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition wasn’t too brutal for most people to have to worry about.
Besides the couple of negatives I listed earlier, I really don’t have much negative to say about Linux Mint. It’s got graphical tools for driver installations, it’s got great support, it’s based on one of the most commonly used OS’s in the Linux World, and it’s a system that even first-time users can enjoy. Cinnamon is a gorgeous Desktop Environment for those who enjoy more traditional layouts similar to Windows, and it’s highly customizable too. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t used it yet, check this OS out.Advertisement