Ubuntu vs. Mint: 5 Reasons to Use Ubuntu and Not Linux Mint

Ubuntu has an edge in several ways

Ubuntu desktop running on laptop

While many arguments can be made for using Linux Mint and not Ubuntu, there are counter-arguments for the opposite installation. Here are five reasons why you would use Ubuntu and not Linux Mint.

Unity Is Easier to Navigate than Cinnamon and Mate

Ubuntu Unity desktop

One argument for Mint over Unity is that Windows users would find Linux Mint more familiar because the Cinnamon desktop is much like the Windows desktop that has been used for the past 20 years.

However, time has moved on, and whether people like to admit it or not, Unity is a dream to navigate and use.

The launch bar down the left gives instant access to all of your favorite applications and any other application can be access from the Dash.

Unity is probably what Microsoft was aiming for when they came up with Windows 8. Unity does everything right that Windows 8 got so wrong.

There is nothing wrong with Cinnamon, and if you like the traditional desktop, it is perfect.

Ubuntu is breaking new ground and daring to try out new things and for those people who are yet to try Unity because they have heard bad things, give it one month and you will change your mind.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Unity keyboard shortcuts


One great thing about Unity is the keyboard shortcuts, and how easy it is to pull up a window showing what the keyboard shortcuts are.

Windows has loads of keyboard shortcuts and when you have learned them you will realize that it actually becomes quite usable. The trouble is that they aren't clearly documented.

With Unity, you can hold down the super key (Windows key) on your keyboard and a list of shortcuts appear.

This is a feature that every desktop environment should consider adding.

Desktop Integration

Multimedia integration on the Unity desktop

Another thing that Ubuntu does really well is to integrate audio, video, social media, photos, the internet, and social media into the desktop.

When you use Linux Mint each program is a stand-alone application.

Thanks to the way Unity works though it is possible to play music, watch videos, look at photos and view social media messages straight from the Dash.

This makes using Ubuntu a seamless experience and is another example of improvements being made to modern desktops.

One of the reasons to use Linux Mint over Ubuntu is that Ubuntu included shopping results as part of the search results.

The flip side to that argument, of course, is that some people probably like the shopping results. For instance, if you are searching for a song to listen to and you see an option to buy another track by the same artist, that is a good thing.

Scopes and Lenses

Using Lenses on the Unity desktop

Lenses provide a way to integrate different types of data such as documents, music, videos, and photos onto the desktop.

A number of lenses are provided as part of the default Unity setup but there are a number of custom lenses made by third-party developers which add to the Ubuntu experience.

Scopes make it possible to integrate the best of the web into your desktops such as Gmail and Reddit.

People probably spend as much time using online services as they do offline applications nowadays, so it makes sense to integrate online and offline results when searching for things on the desktop. 


Tile spacers look like crosses or plus signs.

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Ubuntu is the base for Linux Mint and therefore it is always one step ahead and the fact that Linux Mint has aligned itself with the LTS release of Ubuntu means that Ubuntu and Linux Mint are going to be very different by the time we get to the next LTS release.

Upgrading from one Ubuntu release to the next is fairly straightforward and has been that way for a number of years. Linux Mint however only lets you upgrade minor releases. 

The best way to find out which of these Linux distributions to use is obviously to try them both out.