Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: Which One’s Better For Beginners?

Confused between Linux Mint and Ubuntu? You've come to the right place!

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Mint and Ubuntu are the two most popular Linux Distros among beginners. Some of the reasons they’re popular are their simple and delightful easy-to-use UIs, especially Mint’s UI, which resembles Windows in many ways. In this article, let’s compare Linux Mint Vs Ubuntu, check out the similarities and differences, and determine which one’s better for beginners.

Linux Mint Vs Ubuntu: What Are The Differences?

1. User Experience And Interface

While Ubuntu ships with GNOME, Linux Mint ships in three flavors – Cinnamon, XFCE, and MATE, out of which Cinnamon is the most preferred Desktop Environment.

Ubuntu essentially looks like .. Ubuntu and Linux Mint Cinnamon resembles quite a lot to Windows XP/Vista/7.

That said, if you’re someone who’s coming from Windows, I’m pretty sure you’ll like Linux Mint.

Also Read, Ubuntu Vs. Pop!_OS: Which One’s Better?

2. Linux Mint & Ubuntu: Memory Usage

Both Cinnamon and GNOME have their own perks, but I like Cinnamon over GNOME. Cinnamon consumes significantly lesser memory than your usual Ubuntu Desktop, making Mint the best distro for old PCs.

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Cinnamon vs GNOME

I’ve tried both Ubuntu and Linux Mint, and the difference in performance was second to none on my 8th Gen Intel i5 machine. But, if you’re someone who’s running ancient hardware, you might be able to see the difference.

3. Pre-installed Applications: Difference Between Ubuntu And Linux Mint

Many people, including me, hate bloatware, but the set of apps that come pre-loaded in Linux Mint, even though they’re too many, are all essential apps that you’ll definitely use at some point.

Linux mint pre installed applications

Whereas, to get started with Ubuntu, you’ll need to install many apps as it comes with almost nothing except the Libre Office Suite and a bunch of other non-useful applications.

4. Ubuntu Vs Mint: Customizations Options

Linux mint customization

Customization is another area where Mint has the edge over Ubuntu. Now, I know that you CAN customize Ubuntu, but I’d pick Mint’s pre-built customization options any day.

5. System Requirements For Linux Mint & Ubuntu

System Requirements For Linux Mint & Ubuntu

While Ubuntu has become a more spec demanding OS in the past few years, Linux Mint requires the least system resources among both.

If you own an ancient PC, then you should be better off with Mint. Here are the minimum specs requirements for Mint.

  • 1GB RAM (2GB Recommended)
  • At least 20GB of free disk space.
  • A Dual-core processor
  • 1024×768 screen resolution

7. App Compatibility Comparison

App compatibility is another factor that could help us draw a comparison between Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Both the operating systems come with a variety of default apps including browsers, media players, text editors, and more. Technically speaking, Ubuntu has a large number of applications but it’s not easy to find them on the internet.

However, Linux Mint, on the other hand, has a lesser number of applications but you can easily find them using Mint’s Windows-like Start menu. Also, you can easily download applications using App Stores that are available for both operating systems. Moreover, Ubuntu also offers the option to get paid apps, a feature missing in Linux Mint.

6. Software Center And Snap Support

Software Center And Snap Support
Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu’s software center is slower than the one on Mint which is blazingly fast. Also, Mint doesn’t support Snaps by default.

Like many other open-source developers, Mint’s developers don’t like how Canonical practically controls the Snap format, which is a valid point of view.

7. Linux Mint Vs Ubuntu For Programming

I’ve used both Linux Mint and Ubuntu for development purposes, and both the distros offer a similar experience. None of them has unique programming/development features that would act as a differentiating factor between them.

That said, if you’re looking for a distro solely for Development, do check out Solus in our 4 Best Non-Ubuntu-Based Distros That Are Beginner Friendly article.

8. Linux Mint vs Ubuntu gaming

Linux Mint vs Ubuntu gaming
Pop!_OS: A Ubuntu-based distro recommended for gaming

As Linux Mint is just a prettier version of Ubuntu, there’s not much difference in both the distros’ gaming capabilities. As long as you have the latest NVIDIA or Mesa (AMD) drivers, you should be good to go.

Besides, if you need the best Linux gaming distros, we’ve got you covered! Check out our 13 Best Linux Gaming Distros article.

9. Upgrade Options

Since both Linux Mint and Ubuntu are based on Debian, two updates are released annually for both. If you want to upgrade Linux Mint, you need to use the Update Manager app, whereas, Ubuntu can be updated by using the Software Updater found in the Dash. Therefore, it can be said that the upgrade procedure is fairly the same for both options.

Which One’s The Best For Beginners?

On an old PC and for beginners, Linux Mint is the clear winner. On more modern hardware, the choice is not quite as clear. Both distros offer different experiences, and at the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal desktop preferences.

If simplicity is what you adore, Linux Mint is a better choice. But, if customizations are what you crave, Ubuntu is a great choice. Don’t like either of them? Make sure to check out our 10 Best Linux Distros To Try Out In 2021 article.

Ubuntu vs Linux Mint FAQs

1. Is Ubuntu better than Linux Mint?

Ubuntu can be said better than Linux Mint in terms of app compatibility and user interface but a lot depends upon personal usage. If you want a Windows alternative, go for Linux Mint. For a more professional approach, we recommend Ubuntu.

2. Which is faster: Linux Mint or Ubuntu?

If you are using an older PC, you’d find Linux Mint performing faster than Ubuntu. Therefore, it can be said that Linux Mint is faster than Ubuntu.

3. Why is Linux Mint so popular?

The reason why Linux Mint is more popular than Ubuntu is its ease of usage. If you’re planning to shift from Windows, Linux Mint should be your first destination.

4. What is the difference between Linux Mint and Ubuntu?

The major difference between Linux Mint and Ubuntu is the way Debian has been implemented at both. While Linux Mint offers a more user-friendly and polished user interface, Ubuntu could be tough to grasp at first due to its archaic interface.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a passionate tech writer whose love for tech started in 2011 when he got a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Linux and open-source, you'll find him binge-watching anime or Tech content on YouTube.

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