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

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 is as efficient, easy to use, and elegant as possible. In other words, the Linux Mint aims to develop its idea of the ideal desktop.

The distro comes bundled with various free and open-source applications. In addition, it 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. On top of that, the distro 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

While that may sound a little confusing for the newcomer, each version contains the same core Linux structure and kernel that handles all the instructions between the software and hardware.

Each version is simply a different desktop environment, the Graphical User Interface (GUI), that you use to interact with the operating system.

In addition, each desktop environment 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.

But, again, the available core productivity, video, and graphic suites are the same and function similarly.

Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon

Unlike Ubuntu, the version numbers for Linux Mint are usually not set in months and years but increase. A more interesting thing about the Linux Mint code names is that they are typically named after the female name, ending with the letter ‘a’, and most are derived from mythical Abrahamic religious stories.

So, for example, Linux Mint 17 is called Qiana, 18 is called Sarah, 19 is called Tara, and 20 is called Ulyana. You got the idea. In addition, these code names are incremented alphabetically in each release.

The History of Linux Mint

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. It 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 Unix-like operating systems. Cinnamon’s conservative design model is similar to the Xfce and GNOME 2 desktop environments.

Cinnamon development 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.

For novice Linux users, the first thing they will notice when they start Cinnamon is that it reminds them of Windows.

Of course, you could say that there is some resemblance to good old 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 why users love it.


Linux Mint has its tools to make 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 inspired by GNOME Software and built upon GTK3.
  • Update Manager (mintUpdate): Designed to prevent inexperienced users from installing unnecessary updates that require a certain level of knowledge to configure correctly. 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 notified, 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, favorites, 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 and 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 add domains to be blocked system-wide manually.
  • Desktop Settings (mintDesktop): A tool for configuration of the desktop.
  • Welcome Screen (mintWelcome): Introduced in Linux Mint 7, it is an application that starts on the first login of any new account. It 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.
Bobby Borisov
Bobby Borisov

Bobby is an Editor-in-Chief at Linuxiac. He is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, Bobby has worked as a Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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