Ubuntu vs. Mint: Which is the Better Linux Distro?

Ubuntu Linux server desktop

Ubuntu vs. Mint: Which is the Better Linux Distro?

Key Points

  • Both Ubuntu and Mint are desktop operating systems based on the Linus kernel.
  • Both systems come with many preinstalled apps and are widely used.
  • Both Ubuntu and int are open-source and free.

While Windows and Mac OS take the lion’s share of operating systems, some still prefer an alternative experience. Linux is popular with techies who love tinkering. Thanks to its open-source license, Linux is free to use and modify extensively. You can edit the source code to create your own unique version of Linux. As a result, many different distributions or “distros” of Linux have emerged.

Ubuntu and Mint are two top distros, competing for the most popular Linux distro for over a decade. Each one has gained a loyal following of users and developers. Ubuntu bs. Mint, which is the best OS? Let’s see how these distributions stack up against each other. With side-by-side comparisons, features, and pros and cons, we’ll figure out which Linux distro is the best.

Ubuntu Vs. Mint: Comparison Table 

DeveloperCanonical Ltd.Clement Lefebvre, Vincent Vermeulen, Oscar799
OS FamilyUnix-likeUnix-like
PlatformsX86, x64, ARM64, RISC-V, and morex86, x64
Initial Release20042006
Latest Release20222022

Ubuntu Vs. Mint: Key Differences

Desktop Interface and Appearance


Linux Mint comes with a variety of free and open-source applications.

©Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock.com

While both operating systems have the same core, their user interfaces differ slightly. Ubuntu resembles Mac OS than Mint, which has a more Windows-like appearance.

Linux Mint uses an interface reminiscent of Windows. Using the “Cinnamon” interface, you’ll notice the taskbar is situated along the bottom of the screen. Like in Windows, you’ll also see a start menu icon in the lower left corner. Overall, the Mint interface is simple and ideal for users familiar with Windows and just now trying out Linux.

In contrast, Ubuntu shares more interface similarities with Mac OS than Windows. Using Ubuntu’s “Unity UI,” the left side of the screen has widgets for your most common apps. You’ll notice Firefox for web browsing and Libre Office for office work like spreadsheets and typing. Other icons along the top of the screen are devoted to more settings-related functions, such as wireless networking, audio and sound, time and date, and language settings.

One nice feature present in Ubuntu is known as the Dash menu. You access this via the Dash icon on the dock. Similar to the “Spotlight” feature in Mac OS, the Desh menu allows you to search the contents of your drive for different programs and applications. 

Package Managers and Preinstalled Programs

The package manager or software center is vital to any operating system. You’ll need a package manager for downloading, installing, and updating many programs. Most users report the package manager to be significantly faster on Linux Mint than Ubuntu. With reports of Ubuntu’s software center taking up a lot of system resources and offering slow loading times, you might find Mint more enjoyable to use. 

Despite this, both package managers offer plenty of options for installing your favorite applications. You can find a wide selection of free and paid apps on both Mint and Ubuntu. Additionally, you can always install programs through the terminal.

For productivity, both Mint and Ubuntu come with many preinstalled applications. You’ll most commonly find web browsers like Firefox and office software like LibreOffice. Additionally, there are built-in programs for media playback, image manipulation, and system utilities.

Support and Updates

Both operating systems enjoy frequent updates and continued support. With Ubuntu, you can count on five years of system updates for each version. Some versions of Ubuntu are limited to three years of support, most notably Kubuntu and Lubuntu.

On the other hand, Linux Mint also offers an extended support period. With five years of system updates, you can be sure your system will keep running, even if you don’t have the latest version of Mint. Overall, both Mint and Ubuntu are comparable in support and updates.

Different Versions

Ubuntu also comes in many different flavors, depending on your desired use case. For servers, you have Ubuntu Server. For lightweight options, you can choose Lubuntu, Kubuntu, or Xubuntu, all designed to run well with very low-specced systems. Ubuntu Mate is another fascinating version of Ubuntu, focusing on the “desktop metaphor” interface style.

Ubuntu Core is a special edition focused on embedded systems and IoT technology. With no graphical user interface, this version is only accessible over SSH. Another interesting version of Ubuntu is known as Kylin. This is a version created specifically for the Chinese market. Finally, you have other specialized versions like Ubuntu Studio designed for creators.

Ease of use

linux distros for macbook pro
Linux Mint is ideal for most beginners due to its similarity to Windows.

©Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.com

Having a user-friendly operating system makes life easy. You don’t want to struggle to handle basic tasks. The good news is that both Ubuntu and Mint are reasonably straightforward for a beginner. However, there are a few key differences that could make one better than the other.

With a Windows-like start menu and taskbar, Linux Mint will be easy for most Windows users to pick up. Additionally, with a faster package manager and more out-of-the-box features, Mint will be friendlier to a beginner. The update manager is also faster and more user-friendly on Linux Mint than on Ubuntu.

Mint also allows a beginner to customize their user interface. With the built-in theme manager, you can easily customize the look and feel of your operating system with different themes. Additionally, Linux Mint offers a host of downloadable applets and desklets, which are helpful widgets you can place on your desktop or taskbar.

Ubuntu Vs. Mint: Overview

To understand the differences between Ubuntu and Mint even further, you must look at the history. Ubuntu is the older operating system of the two, with its first release dating back to 2004. Known as version 4.10, the first version of Ubuntu is so named because of its release date: October 20th, 2004. 

Ubuntu is still undergoing continuous development. Now, almost two decades after the initial release, Ubuntu is at version 22.04. Like any open-source project, Ubuntu relies on the community for continued development and support. In Ubuntu’s case, Canonical Ltd. also plays a significant role in research and development.

Linux Mint is only a few years younger than Ubuntu, with an initial release date of August 27, 2006. Linux Mint also enjoys frequent updates and continued development, with the latest official release in July 2022. Known as Linux Mint “Vanessa,” the latest update to the operating system includes updates to standard features and security enhancements.

Which One is Better For Business?

Your typical business user wants a system that is robust yet easy to use. The best distribution will have enterprise-level features and a reliable support network to go along with it. When looking for the ideal business operating system, most companies choose Windows Pro or Enterprise due to its vast support network, enterprise capabilities, and huge market share. 

Other users will likely choose Mac OS over Ubuntu or Mint. However, there is still a small subset of business applications where Linux shines. Linux can even be preferred for servers and data centers due to its enhanced security and increased performance. 

The developers of Ubuntu have always pushed their operating system as the best Linux distro for business use. Some major PC brands even offer Ubuntu as a preinstalled option for some business-grade equipment. Overall, there are no clear advantages to one or the other regarding business. Even so, Ubuntu is still touted as the superior Linux distro for business users.

Ubuntu Vs. Mint: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Both Ubuntu and Mint are desktop operating systems
  • Both operating systems are based on the Linux kernel.
  • Ubuntu and Mint both come with a variety of preinstalled apps.
  • Both are currently supported and widely used.
  • Ubuntu and Mint are both open-source and completely free.

Ubuntu Vs. Mint: Which One Is Better?

If you are a beginner, you’ll probably go with Linux Mint, as it is easier to use. Its interface is similar to Windows. This is a plus for those who frequently use Windows.

On the other hand, Ubuntu is not complicated for beginners. Not to mention, it’s a very solid operating system too. If most of your computing experience is with a Mac, you’ll find Ubuntu very familiar and easy to navigate. 

Ubuntu and Mint each have their pros and cons. With continued development always progressing on each one, you know that both will offer the support and features that you expect in a modern operating system. Overall, the choice comes down to your own personal preferences. Either one is suitable for daily use.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mint easier than Ubuntu?

With its user-friendly interface and familiar layout, Linux Mint may be the easiest distro for a beginner. If you are just starting in the Linux world, then Linux Mint will be ideal.

Is Linux Mint safer than Ubuntu? 

Both offer similar levels of security, although Ubuntu is allegedly safer due to receiving specific updates sooner than Mint.

Which is the best Linux for beginners? 

Mint is the ideal Linux version for a beginner due to its ease of use. However, Ubuntu is still relatively easy to use.

Which Linux is best for home use? 

Linux Mint and Ubuntu are both great for home use. You can easily use either version at home with built-in applications for playing videos and music.

Which Linux distro is faster?

Ubuntu offers better performance, particularly with lightweight versions like Lubuntu or Xubuntu. Linux Mint does, however, reportedly offer a faster package manager for installing programs.

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