Linux Mint has always been the top choice when we talk about the most simple Linux distribution to use. Quite often Linux Mint is recommended to beginners as developers have made specific Cinnamon Desktop based on GNOME 3 to suit beginners.
There is a lot to talk about Linux Mint as it is our favorite Linux distribution and in this review of Linux Mint, we are going to discuss what it has to offer, what makes it so special, and some specific features that stand out.
But before that let’s clarify some basics about Linux Mint.
What is Linux Mint? Why Makes it So Popular?
Linux Mint is a community-driven open-source project which is focused on bringing Linux to a general audience by reducing the amount of complexity of Linux. There are two variants of Linux Mint:
Ubuntu-Based: This is the most popular and widely used version of Linux Mint as it is recommended by the official site itself. By the name, you can guess it is based on Ubuntu but there’s the similarity ends with Ubuntu as they have different visions and approach toward Linux:
LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition): The only reason this version exists is to have it as a backup if Ubuntu gets closed source. Still, we prefer LMDE more than the Ubuntu base as it is more stable.
The reason why Linux Mint is so popular is its Desktop Environment “Cinnamon Desktop”. It is the simplest Desktop Environment and gives Windows 7 vibes. Cinnamon Desktop is so straightforward that anyone can use it.
In a traditional Desktop Environment, we have to use Terminal for day-to-day tasks but Cinnamon handles things differently. You will get GUI for almost every normal operation so that any new user can get comfortable with it.
Cinnamon is not just meant for beginners but also for advanced users who love the clutter-free experience and believe in a minimal approach as Linux Mint ships with essential software only. You get various customization options too.
Linux Mint 20.3
The Linux Mint 20.03 also known as “Una” is going to be supported till 2025 as it is based on LTS (Long Term Support) Kernel. There are numerous changes done on the inside out. So let’s discuss what Linux Mint 20.03 has to offer:
Key Features of Linux Mint 20.03:
Calendar Integration: It might sound like nothing but developers took so long to decide on its features and make it useful. Rather than being just a normal Calendar app, this lets you sync with all your online calendars be it Thunderbird, Google Calendar, or GNOME.
Modified Hypnotix: Hypnotix is given new look with dark mode but it is not just about looks. Developers have also added a new search function by which users can easily search for Live TV Channels, Movies, and more.
New Document Manager: Linux Mint has introduced its document manager named “Thingy”. From now on, Mint users are no longer required to use a third-party document manager as it is well integrated with Cinnamon.
It has useful features such as adding documents to favorites and giving quick access to recently opened documents.
Search Function in Sticky Notes: Sticky notes are one of our favorite features in Linux Mint and by adding a search function, developers have made it easy to find and manage notes. From now on, you can also adjust the size of text and choose from various fonts.
Dark Mode: Finally, Linux Mint has a system-wide dark mode and many applications are working great with it. As Linux Mint is based on GNOME 3, it is not a huge issue to get dark mode working with third-party apps.
Titlebars and Corners: This is the major visual change that every user is going to notice. To bring modern design without losing their core design DNA, developers have done a great job by getting us rounded corners and large window buttons.
They have also solved issues that users were facing such as icon fixes for icons in VirtualBox, Nemo would no longer vanish content if Nemo is closed and many other improvements under the hood to bring a snappy experience.
Linux Mint 20.2
Every iteration of Linux Mint is known for bringing new features and enhancing user experience and this is true for Linux Mint 20.2 known as “Uma”. Linux Mint 20.2 is based on Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) and will get you updated by April 2025.
Now, let’s have a look at what Linux Mint 20.2 has to offer:
Update Manager: From now on, you can update Spice (updates for applets, desklets, extensions, and themes). These are different from APT updates but for the convenience of users, this was added so that you do have control over updating each element.
Bulk File Renamer: A new software named “Bulky” is introduced in the new update of Linux Mint and avails users to rename files in bulk.
Sticky Notes: By the release of Linux Mint 20.2, the default app for notes GNote is replaced with Sticky Notes. As it integrates well with Cinnamon Desktop Environment, it lets you access your notes quickly from the system tray.
Another reason to make Sticky Notes the default choice for notes is that is developed in GTK 3 and also has support for HiDPI screens.
Warpinator: Previously, Warpinator was used to share files between computers among local networks but thanks to the new Android app, users can share files across the network. The latest version of Warpinator features a new prompt where you can choose from available multiple networks to send files.
Nemo File Manager: Till now, we were only allowed to search for files in Nemo (default file manager of Cinnamon Desktop). By this update of 20.2, there is a new search bar named “Content Search” where we can search for specific types of content.
Linux Mint 20.1
Linux Mint 20.1 is the first release that is going to use LTS and promises updates till April 2025. All the later releases will be based on the same Ubuntu base so shifting to the newer version would be hassle-free.
Linux Mint 20.1 has brought some major changes, let’s have a look at its key features of it:
Web Apps: This was one of the most requested features by users and now developers have a tool named “Web App manager” which lets you create a web app from any website. The web app will behave as a separate application as it will run in its separate window.
You can also pin this to your panel and will have its desktop entry as the system will great this as an installed application.
Hypnotix: We have a new app in this release named “Hypnotix” which is an IPTV player for M3U playlists. It supports Live TV and even lets you enjoy TV series.
Favorites: This is our favorite feature among the others as it is so conventional and useful. Quite often we are required to use the same files and using this feature, you just have to add required files to favorites and you will be given a little icon of a star in the panel.
You just have to click on that icon and you will be given a list of your favorites. This lets you access your favorite files with ease.
Developers have made some other improvements that are going to work under the hood such as better Flatpack support, Zstd support in the file manager, printing and scanning improvements, and tweaks related to performance.
Pros and Cons of Linux Mint
Before using Linux Mint as your daily driver, knowing its pros and cons is extremely important to decide whether those cons are a deal-breaker for your workflow or not. So let’s start with some positives.
- Linux Mint is designed to work out-of-the-box. Compared to the other Linux distributions where users are required to install proprietary drivers separately, Linux Mint gets you everything to run your system just after installation.
- If you feel Cinnamon Desktop Environment is quite heavy for your system, you do have the choice of MATE and Xfce desktop Environment so you can choose what suits your workflow and available resources.
- It’s a free, open-source, and community-driven project which is why users can share their feedback, ask for new features, and even contribute to this project.
- It is a rock-solid Linux distribution as it is based on LTS and does not break unless you try some weird stuff.
- As it is based on Ubuntu and Debian, you get the benefit of numerous amount of packages directly available to you so you won’t require to add PPAs most of the time.
- It is a resource-friendly Linux distro as uses fewer resources compared to Ubuntu as Cinnamon is considered less resource hungry compared to GNOME which is the default Desktop Environment of Ubuntu.
- If you choose Cinnamon edition which is their flagship Desktop Environment and specifically designed for Linux Mint, you won’t get many customization options compared to other Desktop Environments such as KDE Plasma.
- Linux Mint has the official support of 3 Desktop Environments which does not include widely known Desktop Environments such as GNOME and KDE.
- Linux Mint hates Snaps and won’t let you use them unless you do have enough skills to remove some restrictive configuration files. Developers are concentrated to bring better Flatpack support as it is regarded as the future of packages.
- Although Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and Debian, you won’t what the latest software as Linux Mint is always behind 1-2 iterations.
Is Linux Mint a good OS?
Yes, it is one of the best Linux distributions available in the market and the best choice if you are a beginner in the Linux world.
Is Linux Mint good for daily use?
Yes, Linux Mint is designed in such a way that anyone can use it and has all the essential tools and software out-of-the-box which makes it best for daily usage.
Is Linux Mint free?
Yes, it is completely free and open-source.
The main intention behind the Linux Mint review was to bring what it has to offer and what you should expect from it. We have also mentioned the pros and cons of Linux Mint so if you are planning to make it your daily driver, you can have a better idea of whether it is a deal-breaker for you or not.