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Linux Mint Vs. Ubuntu – Which Is Better in 2023

Ubuntu and Linux Mint are currently arguably two of the most popular Linux distributions around. Both distros are quite user-friendly and for Linux newbies, 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 the most hits on Distrowatch.

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

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.

Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu 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 Linux Mint both offer support for UEFI.


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 users 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 web browser. With Linux 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 Linux Mint and Ubuntu also have their own app stores that make it easy to find and install new software. Gnome software (previously Ubuntu’s Software Center) comes with Ubuntu and Linux 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.

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Customization (default flavor)

One great thing about Linux is the amount of customization it allows. With Ubuntu, most of this has been done within recent releases. You are quite limited to what you can tweak. Linux 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, Linux 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 install Lubuntu or Xubuntu.  


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 install them.

The process is similar in Linux 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.


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.

Wrapping up

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.

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 Linux 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.


So about Linux Mint Vs. Ubuntu, 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.

Linux 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 Linux Mint? Is there stuff I should have talked about? Let us know in the comments.

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16 Comments Text
  • 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.

    • “You keep referencing names I’ve never heard of and lots of initial for names which makes the whole read more than confusing.”

      ==Linux is not a complete OS. Linux is just the kernel part. Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, CentOS and all the rest are distros. Let’s just call them all Linux for simplicities sake. The OS has multiple components which can be replaced with what you prefer. The components are programmed by various groups who collaborate. How many distributions are there? Probably 200. You can see a list at distrowatch.com. But forget all that. Just download a couple of these Linux OSes and give them a try. That’s what I did. I am currently using Kubuntu. I have tried OpenSuse. That was pretty nice. I will try Linux Mint.
      All Linuxes are sort of the same. The differences are small. The idea is to customize and have something you are comfortable with rather than letting Microsoft or Apple decide.
      There is linuxquestions.org which I sometimes visit and ask questions.

      Yes, it’s basically tribes.

      How to keep the files you have on Windows? Backup backup backup! Copy them to CD, DVD and USB sticks. Your word files like .DOC and .DOCX can be opened in Libre Office. I don’t think Libre Office is perfect. It might not display some of your files correctly. I use Libre Office often, on Windows 7 and Kubuntu. I use the RTF and ODT format. You can probably run Word through WINE if you really prefer Word. Libre Office takes a long time to start. I don’t like it’s word correction feature.
      MS Office is a really nice polished product. Don’t get me wrong. I only use Libre Office at home. It does the job for me.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I’ve test drove a lot of distros in the past before I settled with Linux Mint. However switched from Cinnamon to Mate – noticeably faster. I’m primarily a windows user at work but use linux at home so Mint was a good fit for me.

  • I started to create a Mint installation on a virtual machine. As soon as the installation started, I got a message that the machine required 13.7 GB of disk space and I only set up the VM for 10 GB. That’s a HUGE amount of space.

    Why so space hungry?

    • For Linux Mint, you need to have a minimum amount of free disk space. 13.7 GB is due to the number of applications pre-installed in the distro.

  • It’s like ONE GIANT STEP BACKWARD. Ubuntu-cinnamon won’t load on my HDMI motherboard graphics card. Not a cheap one either, and to make matters more confusing it works flawlessly on Linux Mint. Choosy means POOR quality in my book. It’s like the early days of UNIX. Setting up graphics needed to be a drama. Not easy.
    Second… it’s slower on everything.. click an icon, and wait… reminiscent of Windoz. If you’re patient, it is nice enough, but still a GIANT step backwards in my opinion.

  • Same sentiment here. I find Ubuntu horrible to use and it’s also too lack out of the box standard apps.
    Installing in Mint is more painful than Ubuntu which already too difficult to install.
    For everyday computing, I still prefer Windows and secondly is Apple. Android is still easier than Linux!
    Everyone keep saying easy but I am not a software programmer! If Linux is so easy, Windows and Apple had already closed down.

    • Hi,

      “If Linux is so easy, Windows and Apple had already closed down.”

      You don’t see the irony in this statement. Do you? Let me help you understand your own statement. Just switch Linux with Windows and Windows or Apple with Linux, and see what you get. “If Windows is so easy, Linux had already closed down.” Turned out, your logic for judging Linux’s ease-of-use is totally wrong. If one cannot make a little effort into learning something, forget Linux, one cannot even learn to understand his/her own words. 😛

  • My installation of Mint was unable to connect to my hi-speed Internet provider “Failed to establish connection to …”


    Ubuntu has never had the slightest problem. So, it’s Ubuntu for me.

    Mint was also (admittedly subjectively) much slower.

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