Why do I use Linux Mint on my primary PC instead of elementary OS or Ubuntu?

Little history about my Linux usage

When I first started using Linux back in 2007 I used Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). I was very impressed with it and I sticked to Ubuntu for many years. Then I used Linux Mint for some years, I liked the fact that it’s default apps were more appealing to me and also I didn’t have to bother about installing Flash and other proprietary software. It also had a better looking theme in my opinion and for me it also felt faster.

When Gnome released 3.0 and dropped support for the 2.x branch I was confused. I really didn’t like the whole idea and I thought that Gnome Shell was totally unusable on a desktop. I was trying a lot of distros out with different desktop environments and that time I was using either Arch Linux with Xfce or Xubuntu or Mint Xfce and also LMDE Xfce (Linux Mint Debian Edition) to name a few. These Xfce flavours were running fine on my old Dell XPS M1530 laptop while the newer DEs like Gnome Shell, Unity or MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) were sluggish and also just felt uncomfortable. I felt everything I do it takes me twice as much time to do it. When I first started using Cinnamon it was also not that fast on my old laptop and felt very unmature and it was a bit buggy, too.

Ubuntu / Linux Mint / elementary OS

Back to the present

Last year I bought a new Lenovo ThinkPad W530 laptop and I thought I’ll give Ubuntu another try. I like Xfce, but I wanted to try out something modern. Well, Unity wasn’t slow now, but I just couldn’t live with it. It felt uncomfortable and it was quite uncustomizable as well. I was a huge Ubuntu fan a couple of years ago, but since they use Unity I just don’t like it at all. I really liked the idea of Ubuntu based distros though. Looking around many distros I was down to two: Linux Mint Cinnamon edition and elementary OS. As the title says I decided to use Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon edition on my  primary laptop.

Why did I choose Linux Mint over elementary OS?

I didn’t mention elementary OS so far. I used it a couple of years ago, too. I really liked it but I always ended up using something else. And here’s the main reason I prefer using Mint over elemenary: customization. Elementary OS (as the name suggests) is more about simplicity while the latest Linux Mint with Cinnamon has many many customizable options and I like it. I’m so used to the 2 panel layout, everytime I try a dock I get to miss the bottom panel soon. I also like putting lanchers on the top panel. Cinnamon has a very good and customizable panel what you can add some great Applets, too. Linux Mint also have a very powerful file manager, named Nemo. It has many features that Pantheon Files doesn’t. Also Linux Mint 17 is based on Ubuntu 14.04 while the current stable version of elementary OS (Luna) is based on Ubuntu 12.04 which uses much older packages. That will change by the release of elementary OS 0.3 Freya though, which is going to use the same Ubuntu base as Linux Mint 17.

My current Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop
My current Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop

However there’s a little devil in my head who always want to kick me back to elementary OS. Literally for years now I couldn’t stop reading news about it, looking for screenshots what other users post about it, I get so excited everytime I hear about it. That distro is so amazingly beautiful that it makes me a little addicted to it. They pay attention to details. It’s also very fast and extremely stable. I can’t wait for Freya beta 1 to come out. Fortunately there’s a little tool what we can use to customize the system, it’s called Elementary Tweaks. I’ll post an article about it, soon.


So to sum it up I feel that I’m more productive when using Linux Mint (can do things faster, probably because of the desktop layout I’m used to) but at the same time I feel better when using elementary OS.
I’m totally happy with my Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop, but I’m so excited about elementary OS Freya. And this is happening for a long time now. This is the reason I created this blog. I just like these systems so much and I’m happy to write about them.

Please feel free to comment which distro do you prefer to use and also let me know why. 🙂