Linux Mint: The reliable Windows 11 alternative

Linux Mint is a lean and user-friendly alternative to Ubuntu and Windows. The operating system also runs on many older computers and offers various desktop environments. The distribution supports numerous free and paid programs.

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What is Linux Mint?

There are many different Linux distributions for every possible purpose. One of the most popular is Linux Mint. As a particularly user-friendly desktop system, Linux Mint makes the switch from Windows to Linux easy even for beginners and has now established itself as a reliable alternative to Windows 11. Users have the choice between three desktop variants with Cinnamon, MATE, and the slim Xfce. Linux Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu and was developed in 2006 with the aim of making better use of free and paid software. It is open source and, in addition to the standard edition, is also available as Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE).

What are the system requirements of Linux Mint?

Linux Mint is available in different versions and a 64-bit as well as a 32-bit variant. For Linux Mint 20.3 from 2022, a RAM of 1,024 MB and 15 GB on the hard disk are required in the 64-bit version. However, 2,028 MB of RAM and 20 GB are recommended for smooth operation. The 32-bit version gets by with 512 MB and 9 GB of hard disk space. However, a more generous approach is recommended here as well: Linux Mint itself estimates 1,024 MB of RAM and a hard drive of at least 20 GB for this. Processors without Physical Address Extension (PAE) are also not supported.

For 2020 Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), your computer needs at least 1 GB of RAM and 15 GB of hard disk space, but 2 GB and 20 GB are recommended. These requirements apply equally to 64-bit and 32-bit. Processors without PAE are also fully supported in LMDE. All requirements apply to versions with the MATE or Cinnamon desktop environments.

What does the operating system have to offer?

Even though Linux Mint originally emerged from Ubuntu, it has developed into an almost completely independent distribution over time and can be considered on its own. Cinnamon is included by default in Linux Mint 20.3. On the one hand, Linux Mint uses software that is also available for Ubuntu and Debian, but also relies on its own programs. After the installation Banshee player and VLC player, LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird as well as Gimp are contained. In addition, there are the own programs Mintbackup, the software management Mintinstall, the upload manager Mintupload as well as the troubleshooting tool Mintwifi. Additional packages with free or proprietary programs can usually be installed without problems.

Why is Linux Mint considered beginner-friendly?

Linux Mint is a particularly beginner-friendly distribution and for this reason it is recommended to users who have just decided that Linux is their winner in the Linux vs. Windows comparison, and now want to make the switch. There are several reasons for this. For one, the ease of switching begins at the point of entry. Linux Mint can be installed very quickly and easily. While more sophisticated distributions like Arch Linux only use a command line and forego graphical elements completely, Linux Mint guides you clearly through the installation. The standard programs are also pre-installed and can be used immediately. In daily use, Linux Mint is characterized by a clear desktop environment.

The pros and cons of this Linux distribution

If you compare the advantages and disadvantages of Linux Mint, this is what you get:

Pros

  • User friendliness: The above-mentioned user-friendliness is clearly the biggest advantage of the operating system. Especially for beginners, Linux Mint is a good choice.
  • Software: Important programs are pre-installed and immediately usable, and further software can be added easily. Linux Mint thus offers many options for different application wishes.
  • Desktop environment: Users have three different desktop environments to choose from, namely Cinnamon, MATE, or Xfce. They differ in some aspects, but one thing they have in common is their clarity. Thus, even beginners can quickly find their way around Linux Mint.
  • Speed: Even if you use a comparatively old computer, you will notice that Linux Mint gets the most out of the available possibilities. The operating system is very fast and slim, so nothing stands in the way of unrestrained usage pleasure.
  • Security: Most Linux distributions are very secure, and Linux Mint is no exception. Regular updates protect the system in the best possible way.
  • Costs: Linux Mint is free of charge. Numerous programs that you can use in the distribution also cost you nothing. However, the operating system also allows the use of commercial software.
  • Community: Linux Mint has a large community and even provides documentation in different languages. So if problems arise, you can usually find help quickly.

Cons

While the advantages should clearly outweigh the disadvantages for most users, there are also a few factors that experienced users might consider a disadvantage of the system. For example, Linux Mint is not as customizable as other distributions. Purists also criticize the proprietary operating system components. However, some of these codecs are no longer delivered by default.

Differences between Ubuntu and Windows 11

However, if you are looking for a user-friendly operating system, Linux Mint should be on the shortlist. Compared to Ubuntu, Linux Mint is much slimmer and thus also suitable for older computers. The second major difference is the desktop. Cinnamon is equipped with more immediate customization options compared to Gnome, although Ubuntu also offers download options. So in this point, it’s mainly your own taste that decides. However, the training period is a bit longer with Ubuntu. Compared to Windows 11, Linux Mint is clearly suitable for older computers. The Microsoft system has much higher requirements.


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