Linux Mint

Linux Mint: Elegance and Convenience or Just the Better Side of Ubuntu

Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Cinnamon is the principal desktop environment of the Linux Mint.

The purpose of Linux Mint is to provide a desktop operating system that home users and companies can use at no cost and which is as efficient, easy to use, and elegant as possible. The Linux Mint goal is to develop own idea of the ideal desktop.

Linux Mint comes bundled with a variety of free and open-source applications and can provide full out-of-the-box multimedia support for those who choose (by ticking one box as part of the installation process of the OS) to include some proprietary software, such as multimedia codecs.

Linux Mint has multiple editions that are based on Ubuntu, with various desktop environments available. Linux Mint also has an edition based on Debian.

Linux Mint offers the user a choice of five versions of the desktop environments:

  • Cinnamon
  • MATE
  • Xfce
  • KDE
  • LMDE 2

Whilst that may sound a little confusing for the newcomer, essentially each of the versions available contains the same core Linux structure and kernel, that handles all the instructions between the software and hardware.

Each of the versions are simply different desktop environments, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) than you use to interact with the operating system. Each of the desktop environments uses different apps for accessing or using the system, such as the file manager to browse the operating system’s file structure or the way it launches other apps. Again though, the core available productivity, video and graphic suites are the same, and function in the same way.

Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon

Unlike Ubuntu, the version numbers for Linux Mint are usually not set in months and years, but simply increase. A more interesting thing about the Linux Mint code names is that they are usually named after the female name, ending with the letter ‘a’, and most are derived from mythical Abrahamic religious stories. For example, Linux Mint 17 is called Qiana, 18 is called Sarah, 19 is called Tara, 20 is called Ulyana. You got the idea. In addition to, these code names are incremented alphabetically in each release.

The History of Linux Mint

Development of Linux Mint began in 2006, mainly developed and released by Clement Lefebvre in France with a beta release of Linux Mint 1.0, code-named “Ada”, based on Kubuntu. Following its release, Linux Mint 2.0 “Barbara” was the first version to use Ubuntu as its codebase.

Linux Mint had few users from these early versions until the release of Linux Mint 3.0, “Cassandra”.


Cinnamon is the flagship desktop environment for Linux Mint.

The Cinnamon desktop environment is a fork of GNOME Shell based on the innovations made in Mint Gnome Shell Extensions (MGSE). It was released as an add-on for Linux Mint 12 and has been available as a default desktop environment since Linux Mint 13.

Cinnamon is the principal desktop environment of the Linux Mint distribution and is available as an optional desktop for other Linux distributions and other Unix-like operating systems as well. With respect to its conservative design model, Cinnamon is similar to the Xfce and GNOME 2 desktop environments.

The development of Cinnamon began as a reaction to the April 2011 release of GNOME 3 in which the conventional desktop metaphor of GNOME 2 was abandoned in favor of GNOME Shell. Following several attempts to extend GNOME 3 such that it would suit the Linux Mint design goals, the Mint developers forked several GNOME 3 components to build an independent desktop environment. Separation from GNOME was completed in Cinnamon 2.0, which was released in October 2013. Applets and desklets are no longer compatible with GNOME 3.

The first thing you will notice when you start Cinnamin is that it reminds you of Windows. You could say that there is some resemblance to Windows 7, which is precisely why this Linux distribution is an excellent choice if you were a Windows user up to this point. The interface is simple to navigate, and it won’t take more than seconds to get used to it, which is the reason why users love it.


Linux Mint comes with its own set of tools aimed at making the experience easier for the user.

  • Software Manager (mintInstall): Designed to install software from the Ubuntu and Linux Mint software repositories, as well as Launchpad PPAs. Since Linux Mint 18.3, the Software Manager has also been able to install software from Flatpak remotes, and is configured with Flathub by default. It features an interface heavily inspired by GNOME Software, and is built upon GTK3.
  • Update Manager (mintUpdate): Designed to prevent inexperienced users from installing updates that are unnecessary or require a certain level of knowledge to configure properly. It assigns updates a safety level (from 1 to 5), based on the stability and necessity of the update. Updates can be set to notify users (as is normal), be listed but not notify, or be hidden by default.
  • Main Menu (mintMenu): Created for the MATE desktop environment. It is a menu of options including filtering, installation and removal of software, system and places links, favourites, session management, editable items, custom places and many configuration options.
  • Backup Tool (mintBackup): Enables the user to back up and restore data. Data can be backed up before a fresh install of a newer release then restored.
  • Upload Manager (mintUpload): Defines upload services for FTP, SFTP and SCP servers. Services are then available in the system tray and provide zones where they may be automatically uploaded to their corresponding destinations.
  • Domain Blocker (mintNanny): A basic domain blocking parental control tool introduced with v6. Enables the user to manually add domains to be blocked system-wide.
  • Desktop Settings (mintDesktop): A tool for configuration of the desktop.
  • Welcome Screen (mintWelcome): Introduced in Linux Mint 7, an application that starts on the first login of any new account. It provides links to the Linux Mint website, user guide and community website.
  • USB Image Writer/USB Stick Formatter (mintStick): A tool for writing an image onto a USB drive or formatting a USB stick.
  • System Reports (mintReport): Introduced in Linux Mint 18.3, the purpose of System Reports is to allow the user to view and manage automatically generated application crash reports.

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