Linux Mint Is Still the Leading Desktop Distribution

Linux Mint is a Debian and Ubuntu-based community-driven distro that aims is to be modern, elegant, powerful, and easy to use.

Straight out of the box it provides full multimedia support due to its inclusion of proprietary software that is bundled with several free and open-source apps.

It was created by French IT specialist, Clement Lefebvre in 2006 who at the time had the responsibility of maintaining a website that provided documentation and guides to Linux newbies until when he decided to develop a distro that will fix Ubuntu’s weaknesses.

Linux Mint is available in 3 main editions – MATE, Xfce, and Cinnamon, as well as in Community and Debian editions.

Although Linux Mint is free, it manages to generate revenue from professional support services, advertising, and donations from generous contributors. Currently, the project is being actively developed by the Linux Mint Team and community

It is clear that Linux Mint started to become a fan-favourite as can be seen from its page hit ranking history on DistroWatch. It had a page hit ranking of #44 in 2006, #6 in 2017, and #3 in 2008 till 2011 when it got to #1 and held the spot down till the end of 2017!

Now, in 2018, Linux Mint is second to Manjaro Linux at the #2 spot with up to 2,512 hits per day. Of course, hits per day are not everything, it carries significance because it means that more people are still checking out the distro despite its huge fan base.

It is good that Manjaro is getting some traction because it is a fork of the awesome Arch Linux, and is, itself, a reliable distro. It is common knowledge that the Manjaro and Arch Linux user base combined is less than that of Linux Mint.

Although Ubuntu is the most popular Linux online, many users reportedly end up switching to Linux Mint after finding out that Mint does indeed fix the problems cramped up in Ubuntu and its flavours. And because the same commands work on both distros, switching poses no threat or new learning curve at all. If anything, Linux Mint is simpler to use.

So this is the scenario that I want you to picture:

  • Linux newbie searches online for a distro suggestion.
  • Installs Ubuntu.
  • Discovers how buggy Ubuntu can be even when it is an LTS version.
  • Checks online for complaints and solutions only to find out Linux Mint is the ultimate answer.
  • Linux newbie installs Linux Mint.

This is probably the case with many other distros out there for one reason or the other and the Mint community is always welcoming them with open arms and it might remain this way till another distro comes to blow it out of the water. Could that distro be Manjaro? Or maybe Deepin. Only time will tell.

Are there other reasons why you think Linux Mint is still the leading desktop distro? Or maybe you don’t think so at all. Drop your thoughts in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

Each tutorial at GeeksMint is created by a team of experienced writers so that it meets our high-quality writing standards.

18 thoughts on “Linux Mint Is Still the Leading Desktop Distribution”

  1. Linux Mint was my entry point to the wonderful world of Linux. Right now i think i’m still on the distro-hopping phase of my linux life but i find Manjaro to be very good, even better than Mint. Everything loads faster, security is better thanks to the rolling release, and personally i just like it more, though every now and then i have that urge to go back to Mint.

    Perhaps i’m the average nerdy guy who can pull off some cool stuff but doesn’t have time for things like ArchLinux installation. So Manjaro is the perfect pick for me. 😀

  2. I have been checking out LMDE3 as well as Manjaro lately. I have always been impressed with Linux Mint and keep an installation in a dual-boot setup on one of my laptops. My love for Deepin has also made me a fan of Debian and LMDE3 is a huge improvement over LMDE2. LMDE3 has given me absolutely no issues with any part of the system and Cinnamon runs like a well oiled machine. I am definitely a fan. LMDE3 makes a good fit with Deepin 15.7 and since they are both Debian based it keeps me firmly in the Debian camp which I have come to prefer. I like getting my hands dirty with the ins and outs of Debian and when configured and tweaked properly it has none of issues that crop up with Ubuntu-based systems.

    Now for Manjaro. Wow! I am quickly understanding the power of Arch. The repositories are amazing. Even Lector is in the Arch repo. Manjaro is gives me the opportunity the see what Arch has to offer in a way that is just awesome. I feel my Linux skills have entered intermediate, anyway. I can configure Debian without headache and I have no problem compiling software from source, although Python can be tricky at times. Manjaro makes me want to learn more. I still have my love for Deepin, LMDE3 as well as KDE Neon but Manjaro is one of the finest distributions I have had the pleasure to check out and it looks like it will find a full time home on one of my rigs. My first taste of Arch was with Antergos but it is not hard to see why Manjaro has become so popular. It is here to stay.

  3. Wow, this is the biggest puff piece I’ve read in a long time. Ubuntu is a buggy distribution for hobbyists but Mint is what you want to be productive … so Mint should have a lot of corporate, adoption, right? But it has none. And last year you were all psyched that Mint had the most page views so you called it the #1: distro, right? But this year Manjaro is leading in that category so you go with the “common knowledge” that Mint is more popular than Manjaro. That’s simply hypocritical.

    I came hear going to learn more about Mint but findf an echo chamber that makes your local Apple fan club look open-minded minded.

    • Its not so much that Mint is tip-top, but that the others are subpar in terms of getting masses into the loop, using GUIs to simplify management of archane protocols, which makes Mint sort of prominent, not wonderful overall as an OS, but stick out above the other Linux for people who just cant be bothered with manic “manual combing”. Unix/Linux is made for programmers and never was intended to be secure nor stable nor anything but a programming platform. Mint has still a lot of work needed, specifically in terms of efficiency and security, but then again much of that is architectural under the hood and not Mint-specific, but Linux or Debian or X11 (window mgr) or kernel or C language specific, which are handled by other orgs, Mint is far downtream, they essentially just patch this stuff and choose whatever most stable options rather than rearchitect and remaster as these things really need to be. So in effect they just polish the shoes, not design or build them. On the other hand, Apple does the entire chain, its apples and oranges.

  4. “Are there other reasons why you think Linux Mint is still the leading desktop distro?”

    Well, it’s the difference that makes the difference.

    Distributions like Arch, Fedora or Gentoo are great. At least that’s what computer nerds tell me and what I read. But these distributions necessitate advanced to very profound knowlegde of command line instructions, among others. Unwordly. Because, would anyone want to have to study engineering before buying and using a refrigerator, a TV or a car? Certainly not. The same is true for distributions, except that here it would be informatics. Put your hand on your heart! Nobody needs CLI’s when the issue can be settled with a click or two. In Linux Mint, you need to know one CLI only: sudo nemo. That’s it. No burden, no fuss.

    On the other hand, all these lightweight distributions are no real alternatives to the above-mentioned. They are easy to handle, or seem to be, and to a certain extend they do what you may expect, or they do not. Because they fluctuate between simplistic and primitive.

    Ubuntu? Just as Debian, it’s solid, if you do not take into account immature updates then and now that unfortunately affect Linux Mint, too. So why not Ubuntu? Because it’s inconvenient and cumbersome. Very! And ugly, to the utmost. No wonder that there are 4.755 GTK themes and 1.301 icon themes on

    Linux Mint keeps the balance. It’s sophisticated, but does not make demands. It does not set itself up to an end in itself. Its enormous user-friendliness convinces again and again. Et comme c’est élégant et discrètement chic, ce Cinnamon! This is not an accident. There is a Frenchman behind it.

    Manjaro might be or become a serious contestant, most notably its Cinnamon edition. The latter being no accident either, rather a well-considered strategy. But Manjaro, ‘the people’s edition of Arch’, is still somewhat intricate and not quite as down-to-earth as Linux Mint. Thus: Nothing to fear. Says my crystal ball. 😀

  5. This is not a vote for any distribution (my favorite is neither–now–Mint nor Manjaro), but merely a request for some sanity and objectivity in the ‘comments’ section.
    The same people who claim that Manjaro will not unseat Mint from its number one position conveniently ignore the fact that Manjaro has led, as Number One, in DistroWatch’s rankings for the past year. Simply check the 12-month rankings. Obviously most commenters, here and elsewhere, do not let facts interfere with what they know, absolutely, is true.
    Objectivity, and the strict adherence to facts, has never been a serous problem for most commenters.

    • It has had more hits this year than Mint, true, but it will take a lot more than that to unseat Mint which has a written-in-stone record.

    • This is all fine and well, but why use DistroWatch as a reference? I spend my time using my computer, not checking new distributions. Let’s use something else, say, Facebook.

      Ubuntu – 1,330,541 likes
      Linux Mint – 130000 (10 times fewer)
      Manjaro – 20000
      Lubuntu – 73000
      Arch Linux – 13000
      Deepin – 7700
      (I’m using Xubuntu with 17000 fans)

      So, numbers mean what? All and nothing. Just use what works for you. I visit this page to check the news, as I have nothing against Mint (probably because I don’t know anyone who uses it) not to read silly insults. Buggy? Haha.

  6. I used Linux almost exclusively since 2000 and have tried quite a number of distros and UIs. As a general purpose operating system Linux Mint had everything else beat, hands down. I used to use XFCE but a couple of years ago moved to Openbox with the Tint2 panel. Run that combo on a SSD and you just about can’t ask for more.

  7. Manjaro is not as user friendly as Mint so until it is, it will not unseat Mint, simple really. Arch and manjaro are for wannabes, great distros, powerful for sure and a credit to Linux, but its a hobby distro. If you just want it to work, no fuss and get work done than it is Mint, maybe Ubuntu Mate everything else is a toy. Did my years of distro hopping always back to Mint. Sorry to break it to you Kali and Arch guys, Mint will be the distro of choice for years to come and it will be the one that bridges the gap between Windows and Linux.

  8. I am a more or less compulsive distrohopper 😛 but i always go back to linux mint. Maybe it is because I am used to it. Right now I am in love with Deepin since a couple of weeks back. So beautiful and I like the concept of it, but I do miss the way things are done in Linux Mint, even though Deepin is quite easy to handle – as long as you dont want to do more advanced stuff, then it gets a bit tricky when you are used to Linux Mint, like installing stuff through apt-get and add repositories… I guess Deepin is so specialized it wont allow the way you do it in Linux Mint/ubuntu.

    I’ll see how long this love affair with Deepin lasts. I am already looking for ways to customize Linux Mint Mate (or maybe try LM XFCE) so it looks like Deepin coz I sort of start to miss the way things are done i LM but I just cant let go of how beautiful Deepin is. I just get a warm fuzzy feeling using this DE 🙂

    Btw, my first distro was Ubuntu back in the day. But then they forced Unity on me and I started to look for something else and tried Linux Mint, never looked back… So your scenario sort of fits on me 🙂

  9. I find the app store in Ubuntu to be more beginner-friendly than the one in Linux Mint.

    But Linux Mint basically has a star menu so Windows users will immediately know what to do.

    I wonder what what Mac OS users think about the default DE’s of Linux Mint vs Ubuntu.

  10. I have tried dozens of Linux distributions, everything from Manjaro to Kubuntu to Elementary to MX Linux. With each, I gave it at least a full week of daily use, and truth be told, any of them would get the job done on my Asus laptop. But I always come back to Linux Mint. Maybe it’s the familiar interface, or the simple and intuitive way Mint allows me to install video drivers and tweak the desktop to my satisfaction, but Mint just works. I’ve used the now-defunct Mint KDE version, and I tried out the XFCE version (but I just don’t like the XFCE UI that much), but LInux Mint Cinnamon is simply the best operating system I’ve ever used. I take nothing away from the other distros, or Windows 10 (my desktop computer at work has Win10 and it is MIcrosoft’s best OS in years, despite its eccentricities and update headaches), but for me, the Linux Mint team has put together the most polished OS available. I’m typing this on LInux Mint 19 Cinnamon, and anyone who hasn’t tried it, should.


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