From its earliest release, Linux Mint was designed to make the transition to Linux as easy as possible. For Windows users, it was a match made in heaven. One could argue that Ubuntu did the same, however some simply preferred the approach Linux Mint provided in terms of layout and updates.
When Linux Mint first came out, the main attraction was its inclusion of restricted media codecs provided by default. Today Linux Mint offers its own software center, updater tool, domain restriction app, plus other related tools. Another popular feature is Mint’s welcome screen that comes up after a fresh installation of Linux Mint. From the menu, clicking any of the icons provided will provide you with instant access to community based support anytime you need it.
The reason why Linux Mint is successful is because they have always stuck to the KISS principle. KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid and when applied wisely, allows for a great deal of predictability.
When Ubuntu is about to provide a new release, there is always the off-chance that something fairly drastic may change. For example: Inclusion or removal of key features, Ubuntu One storage, Amazon results in the Unity Scope, and talk of new init systems or display servers like Mir. Even if some of these changes never take place, the fact is Ubuntu as a project takes the media hit for each decision.
Linux Mint learned early on to let Ubuntu take the punches. If something is successfully embraced on Ubuntu, a Mint version of it might be included with the latest version of Linux Mint – MintBackup for example. When Ubuntu switched away from Gnome 2 over to Unity, Mint waited until the time was right and released their own flag ship desktop environment called Cinnamon. In short, Linux Mint plays things safe and keeps drastic changes to the user experience to a minimum. By taking this approach, Mint is able to keep their user base happy and avoid unpleasantness in the media or in the user forums.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht