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An Introduction to Linux Mint

Mint Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirements for the current (12) release of Mint are:

  • x86 processor (32-bit or 64-bit) (700MHz Celeron or equivalent)
  • 512 Mb RAM (1 Gb recommended)
  • 5 Gb of free disc space
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution
  • DVD drive or USB port (-for installation media)

The Advantages of Linux Mint

The Mint Desktop

[Mint] works straight out of the box: everything you need is already there in the distribution, meaning you don't have to spend time installing additional applications..

In our opinion, Linux Mint has three main strengths (-over and above the usual Linux ones):

  • Mint works straight out of the box: everything you need is already there in the distribution, meaning you don't have to spend time installing additional applications (-unless you want to)

  • It's based on Ubuntu, which means that the majority of software available for Ubuntu will also work on Mint

  • It's community based, which means that any Linux developers out there (-and there are many) can contribute to the codebase. Often, this means fixes are available quicker than distros maintained by companies (-such as Ubuntu and Fedora) - which generally only release updates twice a year

This makes it great for home users new to Linux, who perhaps would like to dip their toe into Linux for the first time.

The Disadvantages of Linux Mint

Mint is a good all-rounder, so any drawbacks are quite minor, notably:

  • It is not Ubuntu! Although based on it, Mint differs in many ways from it's sibling, so not everything out there for Ubuntu will work with Mint. Also, the latest version of Mint will not be based on the latest version of Ubuntu: it is invariably some way behind (-e.g. one or two releases)

  • Mint has a conservative approach to new technologies so, if you like to keep up with leading edge technologies - or flashy desktops - then you may be better suited to a distro such as Fedora instead

  • Mint is quite large and requires a reasonably capable machine to run effectively: if your machine is particularly old (-and you can't upgrade it) then you may be better off with something like Puppy instead

Mint Applications

Mint ships with a good amount of installed applications: to see a short summary of these, please see our section on Default Mint Applications. Also, see our Useful Linux Applications to see where to go to install our recommended software.

Video Tour of the Linux Mint Desktop

We have created some videos of the Linux Mint desktop in our Video Section: click here to take a tour of Linux Mint LXDE or click here to take a tour of Linux Mint Gnome!

Mint Releases

There are two Mint releases a year. Mint releases do use a codeword for the release during development, but this is rarely referred to following release, in favour of an integer release number. Here are the codeword and versions for the last few releases:

CodenameReleaseRelease DateEnd of SupportBased on Ubuntu
Julia10November 2010April 201210.10
Katya11May 2011October 201211.04
Lisa12November 2011April 201311.10
Maya13May 2012April 2017?
Nadia14November 2012May 2014?
Olivia15May 2013January 2014?
Petra16November 2013July 2014?
Qiana17May 2014201914.04

Installing Mint

Mint can be installed by doing the following:

Different Versions of Linux Mint

Linux Mint is available in several different versions - mostly based around different desktops and include the following:

Mint VariantDesktopDescription
MintGnomeStandard Gnome GUI Edition
Mint KDEKDEKDE Desktop Edition
Mint LXDELXDELXDE Desktop Edition

Links to Linux Mint Articles

We have created several short articles to allow you to familiarise yourself with Linux Mint. This should help you decide if this is the Linux distribution for you - before you take the plunge and download it! Here are a selection of the main pages you may want to review:

Installing the OSHow to install the Linux Mint O/S
Patching the O/S and ApplicationsHow to patch the Linux Mint O/S and applications
The Mint DesktopAn introduction to desktop and how to use it
Installing ApplicationsHow to install and remove applications

Further Reading:

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