It feels as if the pool of major Debian based distributions is shrinking. I hope it is just me. The fight for the next Linux Top Dog rages on. In alphabetical order, are: Elementary OS, Manjaro Linux, Mint Linux, Pop OS, Zorin OS.
Some of these distributions want to be "Windows" so badly, through slick marketing, they fail to mention they are indeed, Linux Distributions. Wow, this is like having an addicted parent, and telling your friends your Dad/Mom isn't around (in rehab), because he/she went on, "vacation". Too bad, so sad and quite pointless. Linux is what it is, and a complete Windows or IOS replacement, Linux is not, and may never be.
Linux Mint, does not hide its roots, as some of the wanna Be's do. It proudly proclaims Mint is a Linux Distribution. Mint is also unique among Linux Distributions. Most of the major Linux Distributions offer their distribution featuring the most popular desktops. Mint is no exception in this area.
What makes Mint unique, is no matter which desktop version of Mint you download and install, they all look and operate the same. I find this approach interesting. What flavor of Mint you install depends on some cloudy subjective ideas floating around the ether in our heads.
|Mint LMDE 4 from Mint Homepage|
There is only one Mint DE. They are just implemented using different underlying desktops. Most modern laptops and desktops have more than enough horse power to use any modern Desktop. Possibly, favoring certain desktop tuned programs might influence ones decision.
Mint LMDE is no exception in this look alike merry go round. What makes Mint LMDE unique, is its heritage. Mint LMDE is based on Debian Linux. Mint LMDE is not as popular as the the other Mint flavors. In case something serious happens with Ubuntu, Mint LMDE stands ready to fill the gap.
Mint LMDE comes with a hushed and no longer deserved disclaimer that floats around the Internet. Debian is not friendly. Debian is not for beginners. What Debian is and Mint LMDE takes advantage of, is Debian is rock solid and you experience Debian through Mint LMDE. I do not think there are more than a few systems that would not happily run Mint LMDE as well as they would any other Mint flavor.
What you get out of Mint LMDE is you are shielded from exploits discovered in newer versions of Linux applications. Debian application in the Debian Repository are tested to the point there is nothing left to discover.
This means if you use Mint LMDE, you enjoy more protection from potential exploits that are uncovered in newer releases of occasional Linux applications. Not totally protected, but mostly protected. Anything is possible. The truth is, most of what we do is Internet centric. Most standards that make the Internet work have been around for decades, and are not likely to change in the next year. If they do, Mint LMDE will adjust.
One fallacy I read continuously is Mint in any flavor is a, "Beginners" distribution. I spent about a month using Mint LMDE, and I feel Mint LMDE rather than being a beginners distribution, is a well polished, well thought out, and well maintained Linux distribution.
Articles about Linux Mint also complain Mint is not easy to modify. If you use Mint, especially, the Mint Flagship Desktop, Cinnamon, what tweaks do you really need to do make are not available? You can add and remove all the programs you wish, change the looks, change the background image, change the mouse cursor. What you can't do without the probability of breaking your system is change Mint into something else, not Mint. You are on your own trying to do that.
Linux Mint did not arrive at its position on the Distrowatch top 100, because it has a cool name. Mint Linux is in the top five on Distrowatch top 100 because it has earned its right to be there.
Linux Mint will probably find and correctly install your printer. Several of the top twenty-five distributions do not find my Brother Printer, which I think is inexcusable with the state of Linux moving forward in general. If that isn't bad enough, several of these distributions do not even offer a new user any ideas on where to get help.
Whether you are a new user, or a, "Distro Hopper" (like me) always looking for the "best" Linux distribution, Linux Mint satisfies many more users than it disappoints. That thought makes Mint LMDE is one of the hidden jewels of the Linux world.