Linux mint vs. elementary OS – Is one better than the other?

Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distro. The main focus of this operating system is on ease of use and abundance of other useful features. Linux mint has a perfect balance of a lightweight base, immaculate UI, and stable performance which puts it towards the top of the Linux distros hierarchy.

Elementary OS, on the other hand, is an aesthetic alternative to other operating systems. One of its key advantages is total privacy and the no-tracking environment. It is a relatively new addition to the Linux distro family but is quickly becoming one of the favorites. The design is cleaned up to make it more streamlined, especially for folks migrating from other operating systems.

In case, you want to understand difference between Linux mint vs Ubuntu, click to read.

While both are based on Linux, they vary in everything from goals, visual styles, and intended use. 

Linux Mint Vs. Elementary OS- differences


Linux Mint

Elementary OS

It is mostly driven by the dedicated Linux community.

It was founded by a group of specialists with a heavy focus on ease of use and user experience.

The base of Linux Mint is a mixture of Ubuntu and Debian.

It is mostly based on Ubuntu.

It is a general-purpose distro but works flawlessly in workstations and under heavy workloads.

It is a general-purpose distro as well, but it is more suitable for media consumption and other lightweight activities. It can be used in a workstation, but that isn’t recommended.

The third-party software support on it is excellent right out of the box. The repository also contains more than 30,000 useful packages.

Third-party software support is fairly decent but lacks a bit behind Mint, as it takes some time for the latest versions of software to become available. 

It contains all of the necessary drivers out of the box and has excellent support for older hardware.

Driver support is on par with Linux Mint, but it lacks in the department of support for hardware that’s a bit dated.

Resource usage is fairly minimal but still more than some extreme lightweight Linux distros.

Resource usage is a bit more than Linux Mint, but not by much.

The community is fairly active, and you can get good community support very quickly. The documentation on the OS is also adequate, especially for beginner users. 

It also has a community but a less active one due to the smaller user base. The documentation on the OS is extremely basic, even for a beginner. 

All necessary codecs and critical drivers are preinstalled on the system, and you get up and running fairly quickly. 

Elementary OS isn’t as complete after install, and some effort is required to get the best apps for basic functions.

It is extremely stable as stability is one of the main focuses of this OS.

It has some issues with stability, especially since most of the apps are in their early days.

It has a fixed release cycle. Users can expect to get updates once every month.

It doesn’t have pre-established release cycles, and updates can be sporadic.

comparison

Comparing Linux Mint and Elementary OS as a whole package is not really possible, as they both have very different development focus. What we can do, instead, is divide the comparison into sections, tackling factors that will ultimately affect the decision of someone choosing between these two.

Hardware requirements:

Last (on our list) but not least is the hardware power you need to be able to actually run the distro.

Mint isn’t very intensive on the hardware, and a computer with a minimum of 1GB RAM and an X86 32-bit processor can easily run it. However, it is recommended that you have 2GB or more ram for optimal performance.

Elementary OS looks amazing, but all those fancy GUI elements require more resources. The recommended size of RAM is around 4GB, and a dual-core 64-bit processor is a must-have.

Use-case:

Ultimately, you should be choosing the distro that best matches your requirements and the type of uses you need to get out of it.

  • The main goal of Linux Mint is to be as beginner-friendly as it. Everything works out of the box. All of the useful software is easily accessible, and the OS is extremely stable, so beginners don’t have to worry about complex troubleshooting.
  • Elementary OS is focused more on the aesthetics side of things. While Mint makes itself beginner-friendly by providing all of the essentials right out of the box, this does so by making the user interface pleasing to look at and easy to understand.
  • The target audience of Mint is very broad. It includes everyone that wants to use Linux on a convenient and stable distro.
  • The main target user base for Elementary is folks that are migrating from macOS to Linux. This is apparent in its GUI.
  • Mint is best used in workstations and heavy workload scenarios. You can set up a powerful and stable workstation without any additional hassle and quickly get help from its active community if you need to.
  • Elementary OS is better suited for lightweight home usage, including media consumption, internet browsing, and light gaming.

Software support:

What good is an operating system without useful applications and easily accessible utility software?

  • Mint has all of the important high-quality software preinstalled. In comparison, the other one comes with apps that are mediocre at best. So, if you want to have the best experience, you would have to install better apps on the system.
  • When it comes to app repository, Mint is clearly in a better position with over thirty thousand stable apps. The repo on Elementary is still in its early days and needs a lot of work before it becomes stable.

Hardware and driver support:

Many Linux distros have very distinct support for proprietary drivers and hardware components. This support also comes down to the manufacturer itself, especially for things like graphics cards.

  • Both distros have full official support for proprietary drivers. The only difference being that Mint defaults to proprietary ones out of the box, while Elementary prefers universal open-source ones. This can, however, be changed easily during the installation of the OS.
  • Both of these distros are based on Ubuntu (one of the most popular Linux distro in the world). Thus, they have excellent support for drivers from all of the key players in the industry, including Intel, AMD, and Nvidia.
  • Mint has official support for both 32-bit and 64-bit processors. So, you can easily run it on truly old hardware without any qualms.
  • Elementary does not support 32-bit systems at all, so you are limited only to modern hardware.

Linux expertise:

Linux has a lot of quirks and ways of doing things that are completely different from any other OS. But the amount of Linux expertise that is required depends heavily on the distro and its implementation.

  • Linux Mint has a huge community filled with people eager to help you with any issues that you might have. The distro itself is designed to be beginner-friendly. Although, a lack of premium paid support means that it isn’t the best fit for organizations.
  • Elementary has the same focus of usability and beginner friendliness. It is also based on Ubuntu, so a lot of the issues have the same solution as Mint.

Conclusion:

Linux Mint and Elementary OS might look similar on the surface, but they both have very different focus and usage scenarios. Sure, some of the features are similar, but the end-user experience has nothing in common. Hopefully, by reading the above-mentioned comparison, you were able to find the one that fits your use case.