Review of the 5 best distrowatch distributions: Linux Mint
If you’ve researched the Linux world, you’ve probably heard of Linux Mint. Linux Mint is ranked number four on the popular ranking site, Distribution watch, based on the number of visits to the Distrowatch page for the operating system, not actual downloads / user base. Check out my previous reviews on Manjaro, MX Linux and EndeavorOS.
For those who haven’t heard of Linux Mint, it is a very popular distribution based on Ubuntu, which is commonly discussed between the two for which one is the best distro for new users. Linux Mint has a lot of user-friendly GUI tools, a strong and useful community, and 99% of the Ubuntu documentation is applicable to Linux Mint as well. So it is much easier to solve your own problems than other lesser known distros.
Linux Mint comes in three versions, using different desktop environments such as:
For this install, I went for the Cinnamon flavor of Linux Mint, as there is no official KDE version available, and Cinnamon is my second favorite environment.
- Ryzen 5 3500X
- NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super
- 16 GB DDR4 3000Mhz
- System installed on a SATA SSD
Installing Linux Mint via Live-USB was quick and painless, but I can say I wish it had a few more features, such as those found in Calamares installation utilities, found in popular distributions. such as Manjaro. I had the option of erasing an entire drive, installing Linux Mint with other operating systems, or creating custom partitioning. There is no built-in option to replace a partition … So I had to do it manually myself which is not difficult for me but people who don’t install a system operating as socks might not be as familiar with how to do this; so i think this is a missing feature.
However, once the installation was complete, which didn’t take a long time, I restarted my machine and was on my way.
To note: Another complaint I have is that Linux Mint is trying to use Nouveau, the open source NVIDIA driver, by default, and it doesn’t work on my GTX 1660 Super. I had to boot using the compatibility boot option to access Live-USB, and had to use the nomodeset option in my GRUB boot line to boot to the desktop after installation, so that I can install the proprietary driver. Again, nothing fancy for power users, but a newbie with my GPU might be scared by facing these issues right off the bat.
Software and features included
Linux Mint is by no means a light or minimalist distribution; it comes with virtually all the software the average user will need, out of the box. Firefox, Hexchat IRC client, Thunderbird, torrent transmission downloader, LibreOffice, Rythmbox audio player, Hypnotix TV player, Celluloid video player, Redshift (color changer for night mode / blue light reduction), Timeshift (a backup utility awesome) and many other apps and utilities come with the installation. I was surprised that GIMP didn’t come with it, because it contained everything else. If you want a system preloaded with most basic utilities and applications, Linux Mint has you covered … If you want a super minimalist approach to things; it is better to look elsewhere.
Linux Mint and Cinnamon aren’t known for their super light and fast designs; Yet the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition was fast, responsive, and stylish when I was testing this for this review. I had no issues with big slowdowns, program suspension, or excessive resource usage. With LibreOffice Writer and Firefox with three tabs open, my system was using around 6% CPU and 2.4GB RAM. A little heavier than some of the others I’ve reviewed recently, but overall the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition wasn’t too brutal for most people to worry about.
Other than the few negatives I listed earlier, I really don’t have much bad things to say about Linux Mint. It comes with graphical tools for installing drivers, great support, it’s based on one of the most commonly used operating systems in the Linux world, and it’s a system that even novice users can enjoy. . Cinnamon is a beautiful desktop environment for those who enjoy more traditional Windows-like layouts, and it’s highly customizable as well. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t used it yet, to check out this OS.