Ubuntu and Mint - I get tempted to peruse the extra features of the new kid in town. I really should settle.
Recently, with Ubuntu's opting for the Unity interface - I'm not a fan - I dabbled with Mint 14, and liked it. A lot. I prefer Ubuntu as the core system, so to avoid Unity I installed XFCE - effectively creating my own Xubuntu distro - and I'd say this *just* pips Mint 14 as an all-round perfect environment.
I lose the 'bells and whistles' that Unity has - but if I wanted prettyness I'd buy a Mac. What I gain is sheer balls-to-the-wall performance. And with a sort-of Dark Mac theme(ish) my desktops are pretty anyway.
So I've ended up with Ubuntu's power, Xubuntu's interface, Mint's user-friendliness and a Dark Mac-ish look.
That's the power of Linux - you put a little work in, you get what you want.
But for others, especially those new to Linux, the choice between the two is close - very close. The always interesting Lifehacker site recently compared the two from the point of view of a 'Linux newbie' - here's their verdict ...
Ubuntu vs. Mint: Which Linux Distro Is Better for Beginners?
Tech-Savvy Beginners: Go With Mint ...
"If you're a tech head looking to try out Linux for the first time, I highly recommend Mint. It has a lot more room for customization than Ubuntu, so even if there are things you don't love about the interface, you can change them. Mint has also become very popular, so it has a forum full of users to help you take your first steps in learning all about Linux."
"After giving both distributions to a few beginners, it's hard to pick one as the "best." I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of Unity, and I originally thought Mint was going to beat Ubuntu hands down, but the Ubuntu team has put together something pretty good. We Linux users may not like it, but beginners are a different story."The full review is here.