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Ubuntu Vs. Linux Mint – Which Is Better in 2019

ubuntu vs linux mint 1

Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint are currently arguably two of the most popular Linux distros (with Debian) around. They are both quite user-friendly and for the Linux newbie, you couldn’t be wrong choosing either.

For a very long time, Ubuntu was considered the distro of choice by most Linux enthusiasts, but it has currently been surpassed by Linux Mint (and Debian) as the distro with most hits.

But which one is better? I believe we all have our favorite distros but having used either of these distros, I’m gonna make an argument for why I believe one is better than the other, so kindly indulge me and let’s see if you can agree with me.

Ubuntu vs. Linux mint

​Linux Mint Vs. Ubuntu System Requirements

Both Linux Mint and Ubuntu have quite similar requirements. For new computers, whichever way you go, you’re going to be fine. For older hardware, Ubuntu does best with Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu MATE flavors and Mint users also have Mint MATE edition available.  

Ubuntu And Linux Mint Installation

There isn’t much difference in the installation experience of both distros. Both use the  Ubiquity installer and the experience is quite similar. Ubuntu and Mint both offer support for UEFI.

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​Interface(default)

linux mint vs ubuntu

The default interface for Ubuntu is Gnome. With Gnome, Canonical provides a  global menu and notification area occupying the top panel. Some common applications live in a dock on the left. You launch the software from the Dash by clicking on the Ubuntu icon.

linux mint cinnamon

Mint ships with Cinnamon as its default DE. Applications appear in the panel on the bottom of the desktop, with a launcher menu in the bottom left and system icons on the right in a manner quite similar to MS Windows. “Unity like Gnome” may feel more familiar to Mac OS X users, while Windows user will feel right at home on Linux Mint.

​Software Out Of The Box

Both Mint and Ubuntu use mostly free and open source software. Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint comes pre-installed with some proprietary software that most users tend to need, such as Flash, Java, audio and video codecs. Both distros come pre-installed with LibreOffice and Firefox browser. With Mint, you also get VLC and GIMP out of the box. Overall, Mint comes with more apps out of the box than with Ubuntu.

Software Installation

Both Ubuntu and Mint also have their own app stores that make it easy to find and download new software. Gnome software (previously Ubuntu’s Software Center) comes with Ubuntu and Mint also offers Mint Software Manager(also responsible for updates) which is usually mistaken as a system tool instead of an app store. Both stores provide you with a ton of open source software for you to download and use.

Official Spins

There are ten different official flavors of Ubuntu listed on their website. Besides the Gnome desktop, you have alternatives that have their default DEs KDE, LXDE, XFCE, MATE, and MythTV. There are also specialized distributions including Edubuntu for the education community, Ubuntu Studio for multimedia production. There’s also Ubuntu Kylin for Chinese users. Linux Mint, on the other hand, comes in four main distros. There’s Cinnamon, MATE, KDE, and XFCE.

Customization (default flavor)

One great thing about Linux is the amount of customization it allows. With Ubuntu, most of this has been done away with in recent releases. You are quite limited to what you can tweak. Mint, on the other hand, has lots of settings that allow you to tweak everything down to the very little details of your interface. Its customization is your thing, Mint does it way better.  

Performance (default flavor)

Linux Mint most definitely has an edge when it comes to speed and performance. On a newer machine, the difference may be barely noticeable, but on older hardware, it will definitely feel faster. Ubuntu appears to run slower the older the machine gets. If you’re going to use Ubuntu on older hardware, I recommend you go in for Lubuntu or Xubuntu.  

Upgradeability

Both Linux Mint and Ubuntu allow you to update to the new releases from the very recent version almost as soon as they are available. Software updates are also provided have easy-to-use updaters. For Ubuntu, it’s just a case of clicking on the Dash icon in the dock and searching for the Software Updater. For Ubuntu, you use the software updater to check, download and install any updates (OS or apps), download them and then installs them. The process is similar in Mint using the Update Manager app to update your apps or OS. It is also worth noting that there has been some concern towards Mint’s approach to providing important updates  

Support

While Ubuntu has software company Canonical behind it to run its development, Linux Mint relies on individual users and companies using the OS to act as sponsors, donors, and partners. Both distros also have vibrant community support.  

In Summary

Both Ubuntu and Linux Mint have a lot going for them and choosing one over the other. The main difference between the two is how they are implemented in terms of the User Interface and support. Between the default flavors, (Ubuntu and Mint Cinnamon), it is not easy recommending one over the other. Ubuntu suffered a great deal of backlash due to Unity (though it has now switched back to gnome) even though it is considered the more modern of the two, whilst Cinnamon is considered the more traditional but looks a bit old-fashioned.

ubuntu vs linux mint

So which one is better? My Verdict.

​Based on the arguments I have outlined for either distro, I have provided a scorecard for them.

Category UBUNTU LINUX MINT
System Requirements 10 10
Installation 10 ​10
Interface(Default) 910
Software (Out of the box) 9 10
Software Installation 10 9
Official Spins 10 7
Customization (Default) 8 ​10
Performance (Default) 8 10
Upgradeability and Updates 9 8
Support 10 10
TOTAL 93/100 94/100

Ubuntu has a lot going for it but it comes up on top only in 3 categories whilst Linux Mint comes top in 4 categories. Canonical has done a great job at keeping Ubuntu stable and secure. They also try well to keep their official packages as new and updated always. They lay down their own infrastructure (that Mint relies on). They provide a go-to point for transitioning OS users and companies.

But Mint’s desktop and menus are easy to use whilst Ubuntu’s dash can be sort of confusing especially for new users. It’s the gate that ex-Windows users walk through and as such is the most welcoming to such persons. Mint gives more in terms of the pre-installed software but finding and installing software from Ubuntu’s Software Center can be a little easier.

Conclusion

So I’m choosing Mint over Ubuntu, but don’t get me wrong, Ubuntu is awesome once you know what you are about. I do believe Linux Mint in its current state is a wee bit superior to Ubuntu.  Mint is possible “Ubuntu done better”. Overall, Linux Mint with Cinnamon feels far more polished than Ubuntu with “Unity like Gnome”.​

So, what do you think? Do you think Ubuntu is better than Mint? Is there stuff I should have talked about? Let us know in the comments.


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8 comments

Garry Montgomery March 5, 2019 at 11:16 pm

You keep referencing names I’ve never heard of and lots of initial for names which makes the whole read more than confusing.
I have Windows 10 With Office 2016 Pro.
How do I save all my Windows files to Mint or Ubuntu. How can they both be Linux? If they’re both Linux, then are Mint and Ubuntu simply “diversions” or is Ubuntu not Linux?
It sounds like a lot of lost kids forming a tribe and coming up with a dozen different names or gangs within the tribe.
How do I keep what I’ve got with Windows if I convert to Linux/Ubuntu? MInt whatever.
I once ran Office Libre alongside MS Word and that was a disaster with one not recognizing the other.

Reply
Mithun Baiju April 5, 2019 at 11:23 am

Actually, Linux is a bit different than Windows and Mac. Ubuntu and Mint are both Linux based OS.
For newbies, I would recommend using Mint.
You will not be able to use Windows apps or software.
The thing with Libre office is that it uses a generalized document extension like any other Word processing software while Microsoft being Microsoft don’t want its users to migrate to any other software. So, they use a unique document extension, .doc and .docx.
I don’t use any software. I use Google Docs for document processing.

Reply
Scott October 28, 2019 at 11:27 pm

I have different revisions of Linux here at my home. I use linux Mint 17.3, when I installed Mint on my Granddaughters and wife’s computers I Installed Ubuntu 18.04.2 due to its better wifi handling. I like both of them much better than Windows or IOS. There are different revisions of linux due to many more power users and linux officianados who would make microsoft technicians pale in comparison. LINUX WORKS, you might have to search the internet for different hardware fixes and drivers and how to install, but the first time I installed linux at my hardwired desktop system, everything went flawlessly with mint and In MINT the Libreoffice can be used for numerous text type files. DOCX, DOC, XML, DOT, 2nd version of DOC, html, rft, txt and more. I will save a file in doc extension if needed for windows… I have even opened Corel files with Libreoffice. Download both MINT and UBUNTU, but if you are using wifi I would recommend UBUNTU because I hand issues with getting wifi to work in all versions of mint, but UBUNTU 18.04.2 works with both Desktops and laptops and a brother printer just fine. Download the latest versions and write it to CD and try it out, you can run LINUX from the CD to see if you like it and. IT just runs slower from the DVD or CD drive. Put some of your windows files on a cd, or go to dolphin file manager in Linux Mint and open windows document files from there or launch Libreoffice or writer and try from there, I only use Windows for taxes, so take it from there. Hope this helps….. BUT be prepared to leave the socialist microsoft behind and not get hammered with the cost of OS or software for it, numerous software available for linux through its integrated software manager.

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Garry Montgomery April 5, 2019 at 5:13 pm

How do I convert all of my Word .docx files to Linux and will they then be convertible to eBook files?
In order to install Mint, must I dump Windows or provide a separate partition on my C drive si I can use one or the other.

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Scott October 28, 2019 at 11:30 pm

you can use partition handling to keep both OS’s Upon Linux install it should see your windows partition and ask you what you want to do, create the new Linux partition and install, upon boot up with Mint 17.3 I could chose boot os from boot menu…. so enjoy. Run it from DVD or CD first to see if you like it.

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John Bockman August 5, 2020 at 7:54 am

You can keep all your Word .docx files because LibreOffice can open them, and if you want, can convert them to .odt files and even .pdf. You can make your PC double-boot, where you have Linux installed in its own partition, or you can install on Virtualbox without any effect at all on your Windows. However, a Vbox installation needs enough RAM to work smoothly but not more than your PC can afford, and it needs a package of guest additions, so using it is pretty tricky if you’ve never done it before. Double-booting is the better option, but I did the best and made my PC single-boot.

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Pete November 7, 2019 at 2:43 am

Removed my dual-boot Mint as Win10Pro requires too much of my 256GB SSD. Mint is far superior to Win 10 Pro. The Bluetooth on W10P sucks, really. Mint is faster, simpler, lighter on resources and just easier than W10P. I see no reason to even use Ubuntu with GNOME. That’s archaic.

Reply
David Cazalet November 10, 2019 at 1:45 am

Thanks for the article, really enjoyable.
I dabbled with Linux mint 18.something a few years ago on an old Thinkpad but could not find much use for it as I already had 3 Windows Laptops.
I have just installed 19.something as the OS on an ancient LG X120 ex-windows 7 tablet with 2 GB Ram. The hope is to use it as a streamer if I can get some Android Apps on it. Dont really need a streamer as I already have 2 OTT boxes, a Fire Stick and an ancient Raspberry Pie with native Kodi on it. Just like to dabble.
I look forward to more of your articles.
Dave

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