Which Linux Distros is Better - Linux Mint or Ubuntu

Compare Linux mint vs ubuntu

You have a lot of Linux popular distributions available as you are spoiled for choices which are generally subject to comparison in order to know the best. Among these popular systems, you have Ubuntu and Linux Mint that attract the attention.

In this article, we will try to give you some specific aspects concerning the latest versions of Ubuntu (v. 18.04) and Linux Mint (v. 19) so that you will be able to take your own decision in order to determinate which one is the most suitable for your needs.

What to know about Ubuntu and Linux Mint

Ubuntu 18.04  is an operating system developed by Canonical and based on Debian, it uses Gnome as default desktop environment and proposes a lot of others improvements.

Linux Mint 19 is a distribution based on Debian and Ubuntu which is also involved in the development of MATE. It provides a classic interface such like Windows unlike most of the others Linux distributions.

1) The minimal requirement

Each of the those two operating systems requires a minimal configuration to be installed on a computer. The requirements for Ubuntu 18.04 are 2 GHz dual-core processor, 2 GiB system memory, a free disk space of 25 GB and a 1024x768 screen resolution while those for Linux Mint 19 are 1GB system memory (with a recommendation of 2GB), a free disk space of 15GB (20GB recommended) and a screen resolution 1024×768.

2) Desktop environment

Each system comes with its own default graphical interface. On the actual newest version of Ubuntu (18.04), the default desktop environment is Gnome but on the previous versions, it is Unity. This environment offers a new enjoying and fascinating experience with the design, effects, etc.

ubuntu gnome environment

while Linux Mint 19 uses Cinnamon but it also offers Mate and Xfce that can choose when you try to download it via the official site. The particular thing to notice is the fact that the Cinnamon desktop environment of Linux Mint looks like Windows meaning that new Linux users can be more at ease.

linux mint cinnamon environment

3) Release cycle

Each of our two popular possess its own release cycle. Ubuntu schedules new releases every 6 months exactly two times during a year (April and October). A special release that is called Long Term Support (LTS) is scheduled every 2 years (during April) and provides support during 5 years for both the desktop and server versions.

In the past, Linux Mint scheduled a version one month after an Ubuntu release on which they were based and every fourth Linux Mint release was an LTS release with 5 years of support; but it's no longer the case. Now Linux Mint proposes major releases based on Ubuntu LTS.

4) Installation

Both Ubuntu and Linux Mint use Ubiquity installer that offers a configuration wizard for a friendly installation. It also shows you a map to choose your location with some other options. The other good thing with Ubiquity is the fact that it normally allows the user to automatically update the package during the installation process.

location during ubuntu installation

It offers a good experience during the installation process

5) Package manager

Ubuntu and Linux Mint both use apt and dpkg to manage the packages that you can need to install even for those which are already present in the system.

However, Linux Mint still offers you by default Synaptic and another tool called software sources 

Linux mint packages manager

6) Software management

Ubuntu comes by default with a tool center called Ubuntu Software which can propose you the software by categories.

Ubuntu software center

While Linux Mint uses its own Software Center that seems to be not too much different from Ubuntu Software.

Linux mint software center

7) Customization

You can need to improve the look of your Linux system by changing the theme, colors, fonts, and some other things. Ubuntu offers Tweaks tool to edit the look of your system. It allows you to choose which types of icons you want to show on Desktop, to edit how your workspace should run, choose what you want on your top bar, etc

Ubuntu gnome tweak tool

Linux Mint on his side offers you by default the possibility to customize your system through the system settings through the Applet 

Applet for LInux Mint

where you can decide what feature to add or remove. Just click on the feature, then hit the + button at the bottom of the windows.

Applet customization for Linux Mint
Themes setting for Linux Mint

You can also easily change the Themes by accessing via Preferences -> Themes

Then if you go to Icons, you can choose from the list which appears to the right how you want your icons to look. You can either edit the Windows border, mouse pointer, etc.

Themes customization for Linux Mint

8) Default Applications

Ubuntu and Linux come both with a lot of default applications but you can face some difficulties with the video application because it didn't come with some media codecs by default. On Ubuntu, you will need to install the codecs or another media player like VLC but Linux Mint offers VLC by default which saves you against those codecs problems. Linux Mint also offers Gimp by default which can be interesting to edit your images.

9) System restore

Normally when you want to give a reference concerning system stability, you immediately think about the Linux systems. But, for some bad manipulation, a problem can occur and your system can encounter some damages causing filesystem instability. At this time, you should need a method to restore the filesystem for example to a previous stable state.

Linux Mint offers by default Timeshift which helps you to take snapshots of your filesystem by using Rsync or Btrfs and then you choose where to save.

timeshift btrfs or rsync

You can also schedule automatics system snapshots. It available through the administration tools

Linux mint timeshift for filesystem restore

You can create a backup of your filesystem and choose where to save it so that you can use it for the restoration if a problem occurs after. The first time it will do a complete save but the next times it will just increment the information that it didn't have before.

timeshift filesystem restore presentation

Ubuntu does not offer Timeshift but it proposes by default another backup software named Déjà Dup which gives you the possibility to choose the folders to save, to ignore and also to schedule the process.

Ubuntu backup software

10) Community support

The two systems are very famous with a lot of users. It can be difficult to say which one has the most active and efficient community. It's true that Ubuntu is present for many years and can be considered as the most popular with a large community but Linux Mint is also popular among users because it proposes a wonderful experience to new Linux users. But when we talk about the community support, we can think that Ubuntu through its official community can be in first place but do not forget that Linux Mint community also offers good support through their official forum. Because Linux Mint comes from Ubuntu, this allows users of each system to refer to the other community which let us think that the two offers good support through their different ways.

Below a table recapitulating the points mentioned above

AspectUbuntu 18.04Linux Mint 19
The minimal requirement
  • 2 GHz dual-core processor
  • 2 GiB system memory,
  • free disk space of 25 GB
  • 1024x768 screen resolution
  • 1GB system memory (with a recommendation of 2GB),
  • free disk space of 15GB (20GB recommended)
  • screen resolution 1024×768.
Default Desktop environmentGnome
  • Cinnamon
  • Mate
  • Xfce
Release cycleLong Term Support (LTS) is scheduled every 2 years (during April) and provides support during 5 yearsmajor releases based on Ubuntu LTS
Default Package manager
  • apt
  • dpkg
  • apt
  • dpkg
  • Synaptic
  • software sources 
Software managementUbuntu SoftwareSoftware Center
Default Customization toolsTweaks tool
  •  System Applet
  • System Themes
Default Applicationslot of default applications
lot of default applications included Gimp and VLC
System restoreDéjà DupTimeshift
Community supportactive communityactive community

The goal was to present you some points concerning Ubuntu 18.04 and Linux Mint 19 so that you can be able to know which one can be suitable for you. Depending on the user's experience, the opinion will be not the same so what I can say is to try if you can the two systems to have your own point of view

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3 Comments... add one

  1. Although Mint is based on Ubuntu, why is LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) not mentioned?
    LMDE has no dependencies on Ubuntu - but acts functionally like Mint.
    Since LMDE is based on Debian stable, I get the advantages of Debian plus the easy customisation of Mint.
    I'm also insulated from some of Ubuntu's dafter ideas such as Unity...

  2. I believe this questions' answer is both relative and subjective. Ubuntu has done so much for Desktop Linux and Linux Mint is one of the results of Canonical's efforts to make Linux for the desktop viable. Linux Mint has an awesome development team and their laser focus on user experience has made it a truly remarkable distro.

    They have also shown that replacing Ubuntu with Debian as the base is a feasible alternative and helps secure Mint's future. Both are great distributions so it really boils down to choice. What the user thinks is best for them is the answer. I like Linux Mint and I like a couple of the Ubuntu official flavors, like Kubuntu.

    I fell off of the Gnome bandwagon years ago when they began removing so many of the features that made it great. Nemo is far better than Nautilus and environments like Plasma. Cinnamon, Xfce, Budgie and Deepin serve me far better. Even Mate's shaping up to be a superior option. Mate started out being what Gnome once was but it is maturing into a first class environment all its own.

    Gnome is best for many users and that is as it should be. Choice is a cornerstone of Linux and one its greatest attributes. I feel instead of asking which distro is better we should investigate what makes the distro a possible best choice for potential users.

    I like many distributions Ubuntu to Arch to Deepin and I am always curious what it is about some distributions that make them popular for their user base. I test new distributions based on user input but sometimes find that the distro does not make a good fit for me.


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