As some of us may know, I used to hop a lot. I was happy with my Gnome 2 on Ubuntu 11.04, when Canonical took the great decision of removing it. That wasn't good for my health. I started trying Gnome Shell on Fedora, in both 16 and 17 versions, and although I liked Fedora itself, Gnome Shell was and is a disaster.
Well, I hopped a lot. I tried KDE distros like Kubuntu or OpenSUSE. I tried XFCE distros such as Xubuntu (which I used for three months). I tried all the Ubuntu derivatives but Lubuntu, and still nothing. I tried an old LiveCD of Linux Mint 12 Lisa, which I had somehwere, and I didn't like it. Until August. Due to an user's post on a spanish completly non-linux foums, talking about how good Mint was, I decided to try it... And I used it since October.
On October, for some reason, I went back to Unity. Perhaps I was bored of the lack of stupid bugs. Then I started hopping again, going to OpenSUSE, Kubuntu and Xubuntu again, plus some other ones. I also hopped from Ubuntu 12.04 to 12.10 and vice-versa. Fedora again, too.
Finally, yesterday 1st of January I decided to remove everything but Xubuntu. I searched a LiveCD to use GParted, today, and... I used the Mint 12 one. I couldn' resist to that. Thanksfully, I removed Xubuntu and Ubuntu and let Linux Mint stay on the hard disk.
Why? Well, that's easy. Although this post won't be a review, I'll mention some of the things I like of Mint vs things I don't like of Canonical.
Let the user choiceCanonical decided to remove the loved Gnome Classic from Ubuntu 11.10 and replaced it with Unity, forcing the new users to use it. Of course you can just install gnome-panel (which is also a disaster) or xubuntu-desktop, but... Do you seriously think that a new user will do that? No, he'll accept the new desktop environment. That's not bad at all, but... Most of ex-Ubuntu users have the feeling that Canonical removed a bit of the Linux freedom of Ubuntu and replaced it with Amazon adware.
On Mint, the user can choice between MATE (Gnome 2, exactly as Mint <= 11 were) or Cinnamon (a shell for Gnome 3, with the same look that MATE/Gnome 2). On the front page of the Linux Mint website, there're also links to the XFCE and KDE editions (if they're not ready yet, there're links to the previous version's ones). I think this is more freedom of choice for the new user, while on Ubuntu website's the mentions to Xubuntu and other derivatives are a bit hidden.
Listen to the communityAgain, in my opinion, Canonical doesn't listen to the community enough. I'll quote something I read on the IRC:
Linux Mint listens to the community, while Canonical talks to the community.
—Unknown, at #linuxmint-chat
Using Mint, I feel like I felt before of the Gnome drama. I felt that the next release will be just a fix of bugs, and some minor change. But they won't remove me my lovely Cinnamon! If they do, I have MATE. If they do, I have the XFCE edition. If Linux Mint disappears, I'll use Lubuntu. If Lubuntu disappears, I'll use Xubuntu. If the whole Ubuntu family disappear, I'll use Linux Mint Debian Edition, or if it disappears too, Manjaro. If Manjaro disappears, I'll use openSUSE or whatever. But I don't think that any of this happens.
These are mainly my two cents about why I use Linux Mint instead of Ubuntu. A Linux Mint review will come soon, more reviews too, specially about Lubuntu, Puppy and/or more.