Sunday, May 23, 2010

Community Counts: Another Advantage to Linux Mint

A few months back I listed five reasons I thought Linux Mint is a better choice than Ubuntu for a Linux distro. Today I would like to add another reason to that list. With the recent releases of Ubuntu 10.04 and Linux Mint 9 we see something that I feel really makes Linux Mint out shine Ubuntu (yet again):

Community input counts.

Now while Ubuntu has a fantastic support community apparently community input on over all design does not matter. Do I think it is right? Not really, but it's their product so Shuttlesworth/Canonical has every right to make executive decisions such as these.

The creators of Linux Mint show a very different mentality when it comes to community input and the design of their Linux distro. In fact it is not uncommon to see popular suggestions that occur in their user forums to become a part of the next Mint release.

A recent example of this would be the Mint software installer. Built from scratch the Mint software installer was designed to be a better tool than Ubuntu's old Add/Remove programs for users to install software from. Then the Ubuntu Software Center released and put the Mint manager to shame. With Mint 9 the Mint Software manager has again been rebuilt from scratch to feature the best qualities from the old software manager, gnome app-install, and the Ubuntu software center.

Now what is the big deal about a distro making improvements to itself in a new release? It is the fact that the creators took to heart what their users where telling them when making this improvement. For some of you this may not be a big deal, but personally I enjoy using a distro where my opinion counts.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. The same holds true for PCLinuxOS as well. I think some of these commercial distributions could learn a thing or two from Mint and PCLinuxOS.

  2. Community is the most important thing of all when you are new to Linux, as I was three years ago.

    In the time since then, however, I've felt that the community is becoming less friendly. The Ubuntu Forums are now filled with arrogant and sometimes aggressive people and I almost cringe when I come back to a posting I've made earlier in case I have attracted idiot comments.

    As for Mint's forum. A year ago I was curious about Mint as an alternative so I posted a question. Rather than a constructive, helpful answer I got smart ass know-it-alls. Never tried it and never posted again.

  3. @Zona
    That's very sad.

    I started in 2002 when there was no Ubuntu and so used - a very friendly bunch of people.
    Extremists and self appointed judges are so very depressing. I don't bother with either the Ubuntu or Mint forums (I use Ubuntu but know enough to no longer need help).
    I do sometimes wonder if certain other software companies employ people to hang around in Linux Forums just to be nasty to people in the hope it drives them to a different choice of OS!

  4. The few times I've felt the need to ask questions in Ubuntu forums, not a single reply. I'd bump it asking for input, still nothing. Gave up after a couple days. These weren't overly difficult questions, just things I was unfamiliar with. Not a very helpful bunch I've found.

    Mint, on the other hand, has proven a quite friendly and helpful mob. People are happy to help, and even if can't, some will at least tell you they don't have an answer, but make suggestions, or point you at threads with similar issues so you might see if it relates to yours. Much better and friendlier. much like the distro.

    PCLOS forums are ok. A few helpful and knowledgeable folk. Is ok, but some of the attitudes could do with a bit of reality. Not as fun and great as they think it is. Much like the distro. Ok, but about all.

  5. Me too I had bad experience with Mint community...

    I recommend Crunchbang !# community much smaller but same and even better efficiency and fantastic people!

    Zona, did you try it?

  6. No consistent wubi like functionality in mint. It is their biggest drawback.

    Just use ubuntu and customize it a bit.

  7. I wouldn't use a distro that excludes people based on politics. Sorry...

  8. Well, I tried Mint a couple of years ago, but I could see no advantage to switching from Ubuntu; however, since I normally try different distros occasionally and I have read so many glowing reviews of Mint 9, I think I'll give it another try.

  9. For all it's commercial trappings the Open Suse community has
    always been very helpful, much more so than the Ubuntu group.

  10. I rarely use the Ubuntu forum. If I have a Ubuntu question, I use Google. There is so much info out there about Ubuntu that most likely someone has the answer already and you don't have to put up with a attitude.

  11. I have to agree with Anonymous. I won't use a distro whose maintainer doesn't want you to use it if you don't agree with him politically.

    I don't, so I won't.

  12. Besides, I ran Mint for a few years and I have to say that "real" Ubuntu simply works better for me. I can reboot without seeing a "BusyBox" prompt. Every time I rebooted Mint, it was a crapshoot. Sometimes it took more than five reboots before I got a real boot. Not good when I connect to my system remotely the majority of the time.

    Any benefits you receive from Mint can easily be achieved in Ubuntu with a couple of simple modifications.

  13. No wubi functionality? From "What's new in Isadora":
    Windows Installer: After a brief disappearance in the previous release, "mint4win", the Windows installer based on Wubi is back in Linux Mint.

  14. Honestly it sounds like a lot of the complaints here against Linux Mint are from people who haven't used it in awhile...

  15. Linux Mint DOES work great on my Laptop and I don't get a busybox or delay of any sort. Mint's mint4win installer was very simple to use n took 20 minutes +/- to install Mint alongside windows without any hiccups, although I saw that there was a 30 GB HD space limit.
    Also I have to say, why do half the ppl who post bad responses have a hard time of installing Mint or other OSes, sighs.

  16. I like to add that I really love how Linux Mint people let the public know roughly when the next Mint version will be out but also say it very kindly :D

  17. You guys should try
    Friendliest forum on the www.

  18. I've always enjoyed Ubuntu, but am a little put off by some of the "executive decisions" made on this latest version. I don't have a problem with them changing software selection as it is easy to add or remove programs as part of the environment. But I do not like them imposing the social networking changes in such a way that it is integrated into the OS, and going against the grain of their users desires with the window controls. If this continues in future versions of Ubuntu, I'm going to take a closer look at Mint.

    Basically, I'm not opposed to changes, but I am opposed when they don't provide an official way to revert back if you don't like the change.

  19. Jeff,

    Nice commentary. As a regular Mint user I have posted questions and occasionally provided answers to the user forum. I also get help and information from other sources as no community has a lock on knowledge. I appreciate the Linux community as a whole. Although I have had a scant few negative experiences, for the most part Linux forums are a rich source of information on a positive level.

    There are lots of great distros and lots of great forums. We have more to gain by sharing than hoarding. I appreciate what Clem and the rest of the community do for Mint but I am very thankful for what other distro communities bring to the party. This is one of Linux greatest strengths, the community of communities. Oh and free as in free beer!