I was wondering what is the difference between mint linux and ubuntu in regards to something other than the interface. When I look this up on google everything seems to be about Unity vs Cinnamon. What other major differences are there between ubuntu and mint?

3 Answers 3


Mint actually uses Ubuntu's repositories for most of the packages you'd install. So, outside of the things which Mint specifically overrides in their own repository, Mint is Ubuntu.

You can find what software Mint itself provides here: http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php?release=Rosa . As you can see, most of those packages are related to the display environment.

  • The official About page says: "[It is based] on Debian and Ubuntu".
    – Firelord
    Sep 17, 2015 at 7:10
  • Accurate, but Ubuntu is based on Debian, so it is somewhat inferred. They may also be referring to LMDE, which is a separate edition of Mint that is strictly based on Debian and doesn't use Ubuntu repos.
    – alienth
    Sep 17, 2015 at 7:14
  • Yes, that may the reason. Also, doing cat /etc/os-release throws only Ubuntu and Ubuntu... Name of Debian or Mint is nowhere to be found. Makes me wonder, is Mint only adding a new skin in the name of new distro?
    – Firelord
    Sep 17, 2015 at 7:19
  • 1
    Mint is more than a reskin, but less than a unique distro. The Mint devs have spun a decent number of modified and unique packages. I believe the Mint devs also do quite a bit of contribution to the MATE ecosystem of apps. Additionally, Cinnamon is far more than a reskin. It is a fork of much of the Gnome3 desktop environment, and it is developed by the Mint devs.
    – alienth
    Sep 17, 2015 at 7:25

The main difference that I see is that Ubuntu is owned by canonical. There is some paid developers in charge of packaging some programs when linux mint is supported by the community. As always community based project are less subject to bad direction that can be taken by a company...

  • 1
    Talk about primarily opinion-based, wheeeeeeewww Sep 17, 2015 at 8:38

Mint had more proprietary codecs installed for audio and video. I believe this is no longer true in modern versions. I think it still comes with more pre-installed software than Ubuntu. Also the Mint trademark is owned by the linux foundation, Ubuntu by a non-profit.

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