key difference and similarity between Linux mint and Ubuntu

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Ubuntu and Mint are among the most popular Linux distributions and used by users all over the world: here are the main features of the two environments. In this article, you will know about key differences and similarities between Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

Linux is attracting an increasing number of users to its huge offering of distributions, and in this article, you will be able to explore the differences between Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

These distros are operating systems based on the Linux kernel and enriched by a wide variety of software designed to build a desktop work. Environment tailored to the various needs of users.

By continuing to read this article, you will be able to find a Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu comparison and better understand what the most suitable distro could be for your work or your free time.

Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: main features


The name of the Linux distro derives from the South African word in the banti language Ubuntu, which can be generically translated as “benevolence towards others.”

The name Ubuntu gave to this Linux distribution, therefore, represents the spirit that its founders wanted to give to a complete operating system, which is both free and highly customizable.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and is built as a user-friendly. Alternative with complete and ready-to-use multimedia support.

The popularity of Linux Mint has grown a lot in recent years, but Ubuntu retains a following of loyal supporters.

Each Linux distro has its own range of features and benefits, and the best choice will depend on your needs and preferences.

Desktop environments

Ubuntu and Linux Mint are both accessible desktop options for Linux newbies.

After a simple installation, they will be immediately ready for use without particular difficulties or need for technical knowledge.

The interfaces of the two distros are both highly customizable, but each has a different desktop environment.

GNOME vs. Cinnamon vs. MATE

Some time ago, Ubuntu used the Unity desktop, but now it’s back to GNOME, the default desktop for most Linux distributions, while Linux Mint offers a choice between Cinnamon and MATE.

GNOME offers a wide range of configurations. Users can switch to a different desktop if they don’t like the one used by default.

Cinnamon’s interface has a strong resemblance to Windows, which helps make the transition of users from the Microsoft operating system comfortable.

Software packages

Both distributions come with a wide range of pre-installed software, including an office suite, browser, and media player.

If you want to use and install other software, you can use one of the software package managers available for your distribution.


Linux Mint has become a very popular Linux distribution, but Ubuntu still has the most widespread and large community. This large user base increases system stability and also offers the widest range of online support.

Regular versions of Ubuntu are implemented every six months and are supported for nine months. Ubuntu’s long-term support publications (LTS) are released every two years and include five years of support. This sets it apart from Mint OS, which has an unscheduled release cycle. Linux Mint releases tend to follow those of Ubuntu, coming out about a month after each new release.

System requirements

The system requirements between the two distros are very similar.

The latest version of Ubuntu at the time of publication of this article that is 17.10.1 requires:

  • A system RAM of at least 2 GB
  • 1024 × 768 screen resolution
  • 25 GB of free hard disk space
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The requirements for Linux Mint, version 18.3 are instead:

  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 1024 × 768 screen resolution
  • 15 GB of free space on the hard disk, but to ensure the best performance, it is recommended to have at least 20 GB free on your disk

How to choose the most suitable edition of Linux Mint

If you are looking for alternatives to Windows, after the end of extended support for Windows 7 or if you are tired of Windows 10, among the editions of Linux Mint, you will find a valid alternative. Linux Mint is really free, free, and open-source and very easy to learn for those used to Windows.
At the end of the reading, you will know the differences between the various versions, and you will know how to choose the edition of Linux Mint that best suits your needs.

If you are looking for an alternative to Windows, which is easy, free, in the dual sense of open source and free, Linux Mint is an excellent choice.

The ease of use is its main purpose and proves to be a better choice, even Ubuntu, for those coming from Windows to the immediacy with which you learn to use it to those who are used to Microsoft systems. It is, in fact, as simple to use as Windows 7 and much simpler than Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, for which the editions represent a valid open source and free alternative ( FOSS, free and open-source software).

The Linux Mint editions

First of all, a few screenshots to immediately see how the desktops of the various editions of Linux Mint 19.3 (codename: Tricia) or Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce are shown.

First, the desktop of the flagship version, Cinnamon. Beautiful and elegant.

Instead, what follows is the desktop, as presented in the traditional, stable, and reliable MATE edition. Finally, to follow, the screenshot of the Xfce edition, very light and suitable for older PCs and notebooks.

It is an edition that is not based on the Ubuntu engine and related applications. But on that of the “parent” version of Ubuntu itself, Debian in fact.
It is a robust and stable version but definitely aimed at a Linux expert audience.

How to choose between Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce

Linux Mint’s own desktop is provided in the two “major” versions Cinnamon and MATE, and in the minor version Xfce.

Cinnamon is the most modern and advanced version of the Linux Mint desktops.  It is very simple to use for those used to Windows, but much faster, no-frills, essential and elegant.

It proves to be very stable, performing, and reliable, especially if used without resorting to too many three-dimensional and animated effects, just like by default installation.

Through keyboard shortcuts, it will find it extremely easy to start using the Cinnamon desktop profitably.
You can open a Nemo window, the file manager, with the key combination WIN + E, close a window with ALT + F4. Or switch from one open window to another with ALT + TAB.

If you have to choose the most suitable edition of Linux Mint and you are in doubt, my advice is, therefore, to focus on the Cinnamon version.

The Xfce edition is much lighter than both the MATE and Cinnamon versions and, therefore, more suitable for very dated computers. In the case of computers with a maximum of 2GB of RAM, you could still also evaluate Lubuntu, the lightest derivative of Ubuntu.

Linux Mint system requirements 19.3 Tricia

The official Linux Mint blog page where version 19.3 is announced. codenamed Tricia, lists the following as system requirements :

In my opinion, to have reasonable and smooth performance, it is good to have at least 2GB of RAM for the Xfce version and at least 3GB for the MATE and Cinnamon versions.

They are sufficient 30 or 40GB of disk space. However, if you want to keep system backups (Timeshift), particularly very large applications (Flatpaks) and/or abundant photographs, music, or videos, and you have a hard disk of sufficient capacity, I would recommend you reserve at least 100GB for Linux Mint.

If you have over 4GB of RAM, a video card with at least 512MB of dedicated memory, your installation will be a bomb!

Choose 32-bit or 64-bit Linux Mint?

Now, 64-bit is an almost obligatory choice because 32-bit architectures are disappearing. And consequently, software applications also adapt to the trend.

Moreover, the 64-bit version is much safer. Programs made for 64-bit architectures benefit from several improvements. That makes them more difficult to attack and less likely to vulnerabilities exploitable by attackers because of the availability of less than 2GB of RAM.

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The latest version of Linux Mint or a previous one?

Suppose you want to install Linux Mint on a computer that, at the time of purchase, included Windows XP or Vista. It might be a good idea to install version 18.1 with Xfce desktop.

Does my favorite program work on Linux?

Not really: Linux is an operating system. But for many programs, there is also a version for Linux, such as Firefox or LibreOffice.

How do I install new programs on Linux?

Applications on Linux have always been managed by means of package managers. Programs that allow you to install and keep updated all the other programs in the system. In a similar way to what happens on smartphones. Some of which are official for their own distribution. You can also install packages provided by third parties. But where possible, it is always better to use those coming from monitored and considered safe repositories.

Are there any viruses on Linux?

Precisely because the same Windows programs are not running on Linux. And considering that viruses are nothing more than computer programs. The answer is “no.” There are also specific viruses for Linux.  To date, it is absolutely safe not to install any antivirus inside your environment (with all that follows in terms of computer speed).

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Is it true that I can also install Linux on old PCs?

For example, if you have a PC dating back to the era of Windows XP. It is likely that you will be able to install a graphically pleasing ad-hoc version with well-updated software (and, therefore, stable and secure). Try contacting the Linux Users Group closest to home for the advice! Don’t expect to be able to install the latest version available on a device from the 90s. Or to have cutting-edge 3D effects on a computer recovered from the cellar. There are obviously physical limits beyond which it is impossible to go.

Which computer is recommended to install Linux on it?

Much depends on the availability of drivers to make the various components work. Such as the accelerated graphics card or wireless. It is always useful to read up on the actual compatibility with Linux first. If you intend to buy a new computer, you can consult the list of Linux-friendly stores in Italy. Or take a look at this page to see which brands produce computers. That is more compatible with Linux on average and to find reviews for laptops and components.

I have a technical problem: who do I contact?

First of all, you can contact the Internet. Very often, just consult your favorite search engine to find a solution to your problem. On some online forums, it’s not always easy. But to get an answer a lot depends on how the question arises. The second step is to get in touch with Linux. Users Group closest to you: dozens of them exist throughout Italy. All indexed on the Lug Map: try to take a look, maybe you will find some friends.


Both Linux Mint and Ubuntu are free and open-source distributions. And chose many beginners of the Linux operating system. Both are highly customizable and suitable for any recent computer.

This does not mean that they are also a good choice for expert users. And for a wide range of different ways of use. Linux Mint has a slight advantage for users who switch from Windows. Thanks to the feeling of greater familiarity with its graphical interface.

Ubuntu has a clearer update system and a wider user community. Which means it has more online support through forums and tutorials. The Linux Mint community is smaller but substantial.

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