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Ubuntu or Linux Mint?

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Poll: Battle of two Linux Distros

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Ubuntu or Linux Mint

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#16 +Karl L.

Karl L.

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 16:16

Like others have mentioned, the best thing to do is to try several different distros before you decide which to install. Since you are new to Linux, sticking with an Ubuntu base is probably the best choice. Ubuntu is polished, easy to use, and very well supported. While I don't mind Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment in its current form, I agree with Max Norris that I don't really like where it is headed. I encourage you to download the latest Kubuntu and Xubuntu discs to try the KDE and XFCE desktop environments before you make your final decision. Both distributions are as highly polished as Ubuntu, and they exclusively use software that is in the Ubuntu repository - essentially they are Ubuntu, not derivatives.

While it is true that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and compatible with Ubuntu repositories, I would never recommend it to anyone because of the high level of technical debt the project has incurred. While many people agree that Linux Mint looks very nice, the Linux Mint developers have taken on a huge number of internal development projects - far beyond their resources. They consistently make poor technical decisions, which includes flagrantly ignoring recommended Debian packaging policy as if they know better than the APT developers. While things mostly work in each release of Linux Mint, their technical debt is becoming more visible with each release as more bugs are found in internally developed software (such as Cinnamon and MDM), the release cycle gets longer, the support window get shorter, and there continues to be a complete lack of an officially supported upgrade path between releases.


#17 Kreuger

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 16:30

I personally like LXDE over all the rest and therefore use Lubuntu. Since Mint can't be bothered to keep up to date with LXDE, I don't bother to use it. I like Mint. OOTB it's much nicer, more appealing than Ubuntu. But for some reason, I never keep it. I can't even explain why. And it's weird because I really hate Ubuntu for a number of reasons but I can't be bothered to switch to anything else.

#18 Haggis

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 16:32

I'd go with Mint. Cinnamon == teh best. I run Debian Wheezy with Cinnamon as the DE with nice dark GTK Themes, and Faenza icons. Would never know it was Debian by looking at it.


screenshot please

i could not get cinnamon to look decent :(

#19 firey

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 19:36

screenshot please

i could not get cinnamon to look decent :(


Current Debian Desktop

Posted Image

Cinnamon 1.8 -> Minty Theme
Faenza Claire Icons
Adwaita-X-Dark GTK Theme.

#20 f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 19:45

I've been diggin' OpenSuse 12.3 with KDE. Very nice OS!

post-447111-0-20415600-1370730112.png


If I had to choose between Ubuntu and Mint, I'd probably go with Mint. :)

#21 Growled

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 19:45

That looks really fine, firey. :)

For me, Mint is the best choice. I use and like almost all of their default choices. The only thing I needed not found on the default install was Chromium, and that was an easy fix. It's not really about the DE for me, even though I do like Cinnamon much better than Unity. I just don't like the fuss and bother of having to hunt things down that I need. Plus, Mint works superbly.

However, if I wanted a slim and trim install I would go with Ubuntu mini and add just what I wanted.

#22 +Karl L.

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 21:48

Current Debian Desktop


Are you running Wheezy or Sid? I noticed that Cinnamon is not in Wheezy, but it is in Sid. The system information in your screenshot also says that you are running Linux 3.9, which hasn't been backported to Wheezy yet. If you are running Wheezy, I would be interested to know how you got it running. Did you use a repository, compile everything from source, or backport the packages yourself?

#23 firey

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 22:24

Are you running Wheezy or Sid? I noticed that Cinnamon is not in Wheezy, but it is in Sid. The system information in your screenshot also says that you are running Linux 3.9, which hasn't been backported to Wheezy yet. If you are running Wheezy, I would be interested to know how you got it running. Did you use a repository, compile everything from source, or backport the packages yourself?


It's Wheezy. Had to add the linux mint repository which has cinnamon and all its dependencies. As for the 3.9 kernel I downloaded the source from git and built it. Then recompiled the required modules, setup grub to include the 3.9 kernel and removed the 3.2 entries, then ran a cleanup to remove all the 3.2 references/modules/headers.

I'm not that skilled at linux to be back-porting. But having run arch for a long time I am pretty used to building from source.

#24 +Karl L.

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 23:26

It's Wheezy. Had to add the linux mint repository which has cinnamon and all its dependencies. As for the 3.9 kernel I downloaded the source from git and built it. Then recompiled the required modules, setup grub to include the 3.9 kernel and removed the 3.2 entries, then ran a cleanup to remove all the 3.2 references/modules/headers.

I'm not that skilled at linux to be back-porting. But having run arch for a long time I am pretty used to building from source.


Your rationale makes sense, but if you are comfortable compiling from source, you should have no problem backporting a package. The basic procedure for backporting a package is documented here, and the procedure for compiling a new (Debianized) kernel is here. Although compiling an upstream kernel release is not hard in most cases, especially for well supported architectures like AMD64, it is probably easiest to use the normal backporting procedure to backport an up-to-date kernel from Unstable or Experimental. If you would like to try your hand at backporting, I recommend that you try the procedure below. I have much more Debian packaging experience and am also willing to assist you if you need it.

Basic Backporting:
# Install the basic Debian development packages
sudo apt-get install build-essential devscripts

# Find the package you wish to backport.
# If this is an official backport you must follow the official guidelines at: http://backports.debian.org/Contribute/
#
# 1. Navigate to http://www.debian.org/distrib/packages in your web browser
# 2. Under "Search package directories"
#   a. Type the name of the package you wish to backport in the "Keyword" field
#   b. Select "Testing" or "Unstable" from the "Distribution" dropdown box
#   c. Click the "Search" button
# 3. Select the package
# 4. Under "Download Source Package" on the right-hand side of the page, copy the link location for the package ".dsc" file

# Download and extract the package source. Replace the package name in this example as necessary.
dget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/pool/main/c/cinnamon/cinnamon_1.7.4-2.dsc
dpkg-source -x cinnamon_1.7.4-2.dsc

cd cinnamon-1.7.4

# Create a unique revision by add "~yourusername1" to the package name.
# This is another example of something that would be slightly different with an official backport.
# Example: cinnamon_1.7.4-2~firey1
debchange -R

# Install any missing build dependencies.
# The command below will print any missing dependencies, which you can then (hopefully) "sudo apt-get install".
dpkg-checkbuilddeps

# Build the package.
dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc

cd ..

# Install the package.
sudo dpkg -i *.deb


#25 firey

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 00:01

snip


Seems pretty easy, basically let the OS do it all for me. For the 3.9 I just followed this guide:

http://verahill.blog...ml<br /><br />Which is really just downloading source and compiling.

For cinnamon I just added the repo, and an apt-get install update/upgrade then apt-get install cinnamon. To get 1.8 I had to do a dist-upgrade.

#26 +Karl L.

Karl L.

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 00:07

Seems pretty easy, basically let the OS do it all for me. For the 3.9 I just followed this guide:

http://verahill.blog...ml<br /><br />Which is really just downloading source and compiling.

For cinnamon I just added the repo, and an apt-get install update/upgrade then apt-get install cinnamon. To get 1.8 I had to do a dist-upgrade.


That kernel compile guide looks about right. I'm sure the LMDE repository works well for Cinnamon as well; I'm just a little hesitant to use anything packaged by Linux Mint anymore. So long as there are no conflicts (despite the dist-upgrade) it's probably alright.

#27 Yogurtmaster

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 00:09

I like Mint Cinnamon. I would like to see Mate dropped. In my opinion there is no need for Mate and Gnome 2.x is obsolete.

My biggest wish in general for Linux is to get a lot of high quality applications and have a 21st century Interface.
This isn't the 1990's anymore. We need modern interface for applications that are easy to use.

#28 firey

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:18

That kernel compile guide looks about right. I'm sure the LMDE repository works well for Cinnamon as well; I'm just a little hesitant to use anything packaged by Linux Mint anymore. So long as there are no conflicts (despite the dist-upgrade) it's probably alright.


Yea, the only things I get from the LMDE is cinnamon/nemo but it is their stable channel. Like Cinnamon 1.8 came out a few months back. Only became available on repo yesterday.

#29 OP nrjperera

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 06:56

Like others have mentioned, the best thing to do is to try several different distros before you decide which to install. Since you are new to Linux, sticking with an Ubuntu base is probably the best choice. Ubuntu is polished, easy to use, and very well supported. While I don't mind Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment in its current form, I agree with Max Norris that I don't really like where it is headed. I encourage you to download the latest Kubuntu and Xubuntu discs to try the KDE and XFCE desktop environments before you make your final decision. Both distributions are as highly polished as Ubuntu, and they exclusively use software that is in the Ubuntu repository - essentially they are Ubuntu, not derivatives.

While it is true that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and compatible with Ubuntu repositories, I would never recommend it to anyone because of the high level of technical debt the project has incurred. While many people agree that Linux Mint looks very nice, the Linux Mint developers have taken on a huge number of internal development projects - far beyond their resources. They consistently make poor technical decisions, which includes flagrantly ignoring recommended Debian packaging policy as if they know better than the APT developers. While things mostly work in each release of Linux Mint, their technical debt is becoming more visible with each release as more bugs are found in internally developed software (such as Cinnamon and MDM), the release cycle gets longer, the support window get shorter, and there continues to be a complete lack of an officially supported upgrade path between releases.


I was actually leaning towards Linux Mint, but you made a strong case. And you're right, Ubuntu has better support than Linux Mint.
I think should probably take some time off to experiment with different distros. And I'm also new to Linux so I'ts better to stick with Ubuntu, right? Just in case I run in to trouble.

#30 Top Qat

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:59

I have been testing various distributions over the last few months (total Linux novice here).
I tried Arch, Debian, Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Mint Linux, all on real hardware (not in a VM).


In the end the one that I really liked, and going stay with, is.....Mint Linux.

But you have me a little concerned with your comments about the Mint Linux team. Damn.
I would hate to have to drop Mint after all the time I spent finding what suits me best :(