Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution based on Debian and Ubuntu that strives to be a "modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use." Linux Mint provides full out-of-the-box multimedia support by including some proprietary software and comes bundled with a variety of free and open-source applications.
The project was conceived by Clément Lefèbvre and is being actively developed by the Linux Mint Team and community.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Compatibility with Debian and Ubuntu software builds and repositories
Mint gains a very strong package ecosystem and software manager of Debian, including more than 30,000 packages available from the Debian repositories.
Pro Familiar user interface
Mint is highly recommended for both users coming from Windows, as well as users coming from Ubuntu, but unhappy with Ubuntu's recent, rather dramatic interface changes. Mint provides an updated interface with a look and feel similar to Gnome 2, with an application menu reminiscent of the Windows 7 Start Menu, with categorization and search.
Pro Already functional out-of-the-box
Mint comes bundled with software for browsing the web, editing pictures, browsing files, watching videos and even a full office suite (LibreOffice). An average user can use Mint right away after a fresh install, using all the software that comes with the distribution to complete most of their daily tasks.
Pro Complete and stable
It's based upon Ubuntu LTS or Debian.
It depends on which one you select - Linux Mint or Linux Mint Debian Edition.
The Debian Edition is even more stable.
Pro Easy installation and configuration
Linux Mint uses the same installer as Ubuntu. It is very easy to use for beginners, and also allows more advanced users to choose their own partitions. Linux Mint's Cinnamon desktop is highly customizable and can be made to look however preferred.
Pro Provides LTS (long term support) versions
Long Term Support versions are versions of software that are continuously updated for an extended period of time, even after newer versions are launched. LTS versions will typically get feature additions and enhancements for an extended period of time, then security updates up until its End of Life. An LTS release should typically be considered good for at least 5 years.
Pro Good community support
There are several different ways to get support for this distribution, including the forums, their IRC channel, or their github repositories if you think their software isn't behaving as it should.
Pro Dedicated upgrade process
The Linux Mint team is very dedicated to upgrading and improving Mint, to the point where the releases are fairly predictable. They are also dedicated to their users, meaning that they are responsive to critiques, suggestions, etc.
Linux Mint is currently the most hit page on DistroWatch. Because of its popularity, long-term support is pretty guaranteed.
Pro The OS is great for both beginners and advanced users
The OS has different update settings for different users and has easy manual within the OS.
Pro Supports proprietary software
Linux Mint does maintain a free software environment, however, it does offer full support to proprietary software (Chrome, Skype, Teamviewer).
Pro Has more desktop options
You can choose between Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE.
Pro Not from a big company
Linux Mint is not Canonical, while based upon Ubuntu.
Pro The easiest option ever
The distro is the easiest operating system to run ever.
Pro There is a "system restore" tool to restore the OS if something breaks
This tool backs up the core OS files to an external drive with an option for full encryption.
Pro Pretty desktop
Linux Mint has a quite pretty default desktop. Cinnamon is adopted by other distros also.
Pro Mint 20 will actively avoid the Snap landmine planted by Canonical in Ubuntu 20.04.
Pro Low learning curve to go from installation to advanced configuration
Mint is extremely easy to install, and with community support, easy to move onto adjusting the OS to meet your specific needs. The vast majority of instructions for undertaking configuration work and are easy to understand.
Pro 2016 hack listed here as a Con, was very quickly dealt with and is a non-issue over 4 years later.
Pro MATE desktop (as an option)
MATE is a classic desktop as opposed to the newer "Unity" desktop. For people who prefer the classic style this is one of only few modern distributions with still active MATE desktop development.
Con The Linux Mint website once provided spyware
The website for Linux Mint was hacked in 2016 and its download links led to a modified ISO, which contained spyware.
Con Outdated software centers
Many of the offered options are older versions.
Con System updates can lead the system to being unstable
While a new installed system is stable, after an update, there is a slight chance of something not working.
Con Does not handle multiple languages well
Con Mint 19 forces unwanted updates
Since version 19 Mint adopted Windows 10's policy to force the user to install unwanted updates and even if the user deselects them and marks them not to be installed, they're still being installed.
Con Nothing new
Just another fork of Ubuntu. Produces nothing that can't be found in another Debian-based distros
Con Upgrade process between version can be painful
The Linux Mint team offers a method to upgrade the OS between versions but they tend to recommend clean installs, which isn't always suitable for everyone. However, following the upgrade process currently is less than straightforward and is easily capable of leaving your system in a confused state.
Con The Update doesn't work sometimes
Sometimes the update failed to configure a package.
Clement Lefebvre, the lead developer of Linux Mint said “I don’t want any money or help coming from people who support the actions of the Israeli government.”
Con Cheap Windows substitute
Mint tries to be like Windows when it could be different and provide options.
Con Looks ugly
The default theme and wallpaper looks outdated and bland. Luckily that is easy to change in the settings.
Con Limits to the support of propriatary hardware drivers
Mint has limited support for older graphics cards beyond the generic nouveau driver, and some software (like Stremio) only works with official Nvidia drivers (for example).
Con Many proprietary (closed-source) packages
By default, Linux Mint includes almost all the proprietary packages just to improve the user experience.
Con Linux Mint tries to force people to use less powerful custom package management system
The custom package management system is slow, frustrating, and forces you to select and install one package at a time. Can't select a whole load of packages and then run the installations in one go.
Con Very boring to boring people
Con Too many kernel crashes
Linux Mint Xfce keeps crashing 5-6 times a day with no way to fix it. Endless rebooting. It is the most unstable distro.