The tool that really stood out to me was mintBackup. It felt the same as Ubuntu's included Deja Dup app, but it went a step further – mintBackup can backup applications. Now I assume it's merely putting a friendly face onto "dpkg get selections." Still, in terms of managing software for friends and family, this would be a tremendous time saver. Restoring my own apps is stupid easy. Figuring out what the heck your "Uncle Bob" used for his music, videos, etc, isn't as simple. Hence, mintBackup blows Ubuntu out of the water in this regard.
Speaking of applications, the ability to run startup applications is pretty lame on most distros. Yes, I can do it and so can most of you, however for newcomers it requires one to know what the heck to add into the boxes. I found Mint's startup tool to be a step in the right direction as it allows one to add software by selecting it directly. Crazy I know, but it's stupid easy to use. Just open the dialog, browse and you're done.
Lastly, there's the update manager and software sources tool. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the numbering system to rank updates. However, I do love that they include GetDeb as a provided software repository for those who want it for extra software.
Overall, Linux Mint feels far more polished than Ubuntu with Unity. Yes, part of this is due to my dislike for Unity and its abundance of head-scratching "huh" moments it provides. But in terms of adding basic indicators, extending functionality in a unified manner (not relying on apt, etc) and a clean flow between the desktop to control center, Mint wins big time.
Now for stuff that would make Mint better than it already is. First off, Linux Mint (and other distros) should be slapped for not offering newbies a toggle switch during the install to use TLP. Without TLP, Linux battery life on any kernel is pretty poor. Another thing that should be provided by default is a working touchpad disable while typing function. Ubuntu MATE does this smooth as butter right out of the box. Yet Linux Mint's feature for this is DOA on my tested Intel based laptop. Ubuntu of course, didn't even offer such a function within the Mouse/Touchpad settings.
And lastly, Firefox using Yahoo as the default search engine. To be fair, I have no problem with this…except that Google wasn't even an option in the secondary search engine box at all. Normally when you use Firefox's change search engine feature, Google is an option. Not with Mint apparently!
Can I recommend Linux Mint to those looking to switch folks over from Windows to Linux? Yes, if they're using a desktop PC. However, to even suggest that this is usable for laptops means you're ignoring some significant bugs that need to be addressed. Someone would need to make sure the touchpad issues are addressed (it's 2016 people, c'mon!) and TLP is installed for laptops. Without those two features addressed by either a "tech helper" or the Mint team, this isn't a laptop ready OS for a Linux newcomer in my opinion.
What are your thoughts? Think that Ubuntu with Unity beats Mint? Perhaps there are other features I missed here you want to share? Hit the Comments, let's talk about it.
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