I abandoned XP about a year ago and opted for Linux Mint 17.0 on the basis of reviews but with no experience of Unix or its derivatives. After trading Cinnamon for xfce I have stayed put other than upgrading to 17.1 then 17.2.

I admit to some ignorance but so far as I can see, Mint is 95% Ubuntu and its ancestors. I have found the solutions to most of my problems in the Ubuntu forums and the Mint forums are very quiet. Presumably this is because others have had the same experience. Sometimes I am drawn to a forum where the issue is raised but fail to find a solution there. When I solve the problem, I like to post the solution in case it can help others.

Unfortunately, although I have found many solutions here I have had a cold reception, I think, because I am using Mint. In this forum, I have been advised variously:

  • to post but not to mention Mint,
  • not to post, Mint is different,
  • to post but to make it clear that the issue is to do with Ubuntu

As Mint represents a large percentage of the current Ubuntu distributions I think someone (with more reputations than me) needs to propose a better defined policy. Suggestions:

  • If you are running Mint, do not post here (and suggest a suitable alternative forum).
  • If you are running Mint, please post here but only if you are posting about software from the Ubuntu repositories, always use the Mint tag and give the mint version as well as the Ubuntu version.

I like Mint and it's rather more conservative policy was good for an XP refugee entering an uncharted waters. You can't like Mint without liking Ubuntu. I am aware that there is some hostility here towards Mint. I think either the reasons should be made clear or members and moderators should be discouraged from showing it. The open source model is vulnerable to free-loaders but this should be a matter of public campaigning rather than private resentment.

EDIT: I have just been alerted to a question that I missed in my search for Mint Why are questions about (specifically) Ubuntu based distros off-limits?. The accepted answer provides a very good explanation of the policy and why it exists but it doesn't address the problem of How do Mint users end up here?.

What I am asking is whether it isn't time to review the policy and, at least, to make it more specific. Mint, for all its good point, is just the froth on top of the Ubuntu I am using. Mint users end up here because this is where their operating system is discussed.

  • 6
    You're speaking as if every other Ask Ubuntu user is actually using Mint. An unbiased source puts Mint at less than half a percentage of all Ubuntu users (inc all derivatives).
    – Oli Mod
    Oct 8, 2015 at 12:58
  • 3
    Personally, I completely agree with you. There are very, very, very few cases where an issue will affect Mint and not Ubuntu. However, the community here has a pretty clear stance against Mint. Completely unjustified in my opinion but clear nevertheless: Mint is off topic. The vast majority of Ask Ubuntu users use Ubuntu, not Mint, and there is some kind of strange resentment towards Mint. Trying to change that will be a losing battle, I think the best solution would be for you to ask either on Super User or on Unix & Linux and forget about Ask Ubuntu.
    – terdon
    Oct 8, 2015 at 13:05
  • I rather like Mint although I do not use it very much, in fact, if it could I would like for it to be accepted as an official Ubuntu derivative, however, it is not so because Mint may be based on Ubuntu but it is not Ubuntu. And currently this forum is only for Ubuntu and its official derivatives, things may change, but it doesn't look to be any time soon.
    – user364819
    Oct 8, 2015 at 13:47
  • @Oli, I suspect the most Mint users appear here as "Ubuntu" as that is the operating system they have used. I note that the survey you linked has been discontinued. If Mint users are so few, they are as noisy as an army and perhaps need to be considered an that basis.
    – Gannet
    Oct 8, 2015 at 13:51
  • Terdon, thanks for your comment. If I don't get any more positive, I'll leave it and stop posting. I don't know how many of the forum users run Mint. I can't see where else they would be as the Mint forums are quiet. They probably know not to mention the fact as admitting it would get them down-voted. It's a shame as it's a good forum.
    – Gannet
    Oct 8, 2015 at 14:12
  • 1
    +1 for having the courage to ask this here.
    – user23573
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:07
  • Thank you Bogdan. It's not so much that I want Mint welcomed here. Just that it should considered and a much clearer policy implemented. At the moment, it seems that Mint users are using this forum but under a cloud of shame and denial. If we were positively driven out, the Mint forums would become more active and it would be worth posting there. It just seems daft that we post here without declaring so that such differences as do exist can cause extra confusion.
    – Gannet
    Oct 8, 2015 at 20:11
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    If there are so many Mint users that we should welcome them as an army, then they should go start their own Stack Exchange the way elementary OS did.
    – muru
    Oct 8, 2015 at 21:29
  • Muru. Wouldn't you prefer the army with you and helping your cause?
    – Gannet
    Oct 9, 2015 at 10:17
  • @Gannet Oh, they can help plenty on Unix & Linux. But most refuse to. Please tag users you're responding to with @ so that they get notified.
    – muru
    Oct 9, 2015 at 10:24
  • Hi @muru, sorry about that. If I was to install Install Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS from the Ubuntu website then separately install xfce and the Mint updater. Would I then be welcome? How would my installation be different to what I have?
    – Gannet
    Oct 9, 2015 at 12:17
  • @Gannet that you would know exactly what you changed and how you changed it. Note that installing xfce is not a problem, Xubuntu is perfectly supported. But nothing from the Mint repositories.
    – muru
    Oct 9, 2015 at 13:15
  • @Oli I'm not sure about this, but it seems to be based on requests to Wikipedia. I don't know about you guys, but personally, I've never been on a Wikipedia page for either Linux Mint or Ubuntu or Gentoo or any other distro I've used. Wikipedia hits != popularity IMHO. Wikipedia is the third option on a google search, and I'm sure lots of people like me prefer reviews instead of straight facts when checking out distros. Go see distrowatch ;-) Mint is #1 Dec 12, 2015 at 13:40
  • @WilhelmErasmus It's not based on the views of the pages about those distributions (like Distrowatch's stats), it's based on the hits to every page (and the user-agent that requested them). It's as fair and unbiased a statistic for operating system share as you'll ever find.
    – Oli Mod
    Dec 12, 2015 at 16:16
  • @Oli so it uses referrers? Sorry, I totally missed that facepalm Dec 12, 2015 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


No, it's not time to review the Ask Ubuntu policy about Linux Mint and we do sympathize, but basically you're barking up the wrong tree...

Long answer:

Until recently (April 2015) Linux Mate was in the same category as Linux Mint: based on Ubuntu, but not Ubuntu. The developers of Linux Mate went through a lot of changes to their internal development and distribution process and are now officially Ubuntu Mate!

So basically, here on Ask Ubuntu, we all use a ton of flavours of Ubuntu and also support them. As some Linux Mint users end up here, in my personal case, I'm always polite and always leave a nice comment below Mint questions:

We're sorry, but this site is all about Ubuntu and its official derivatives as posted on https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases so Mint is off-topic here as well. However, on Unix&Linux, a sister site to Ask Ubuntu, they're very good at all varieties of Linux and Unix, so you might be better off there. ;-)

As we do for:

  • Kali
  • Debian
  • Zorin OS
  • elementary
  • OSX
  • Android
  • Windows (Yes, we do get Windows questions as well!)
  • And many more...

So if you want to change things: talk to the Linux Mint developers to have them adhere to the Ubuntu standards and become Ubuntu Mint!

Last note: To put things in perspective: we can't support everything so have to draw the line somewhere:

Ubuntu Family tree

And the above information is from 2013...

  • 1
    That graphic is very interesting indeed. However it does not make a difference between a distro like Kubuntu and Mint. The former is an officially supported Ubuntu derivate where Mint is actually a fork. that is based on Ubuntu
    – user23573
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:13
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    @BogdanWilli: They ran out of shades of orange to be able to clearly display the difference between derivatives and forks quite a while ago! ;-)
    – Fabby
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:16
  • Hi Bogdan. I am showing my ignorance here. Isn't a fork where someone takes the source code from an existing distro and starts developing it in a new direction? Mint uses the Ububtu repositories and have just added a few extra bits. The controversial one is the update manager because it means Mint versions don't stay up to date in the same way.
    – Gannet
    Oct 9, 2015 at 8:58
  • Hi Fabby. You've provided some more useful information but you haven't actually answered the question. It's clear to me that the policy DOES need to be reviewed. When Mint users arrive at the site they should either be welcomed and given instructions on how to post or told firmly that this is the wrong forum and provide a link back to the existing Mint forum. I think you are underestimating the number of Mint users here and creating confusion by allowing them to post here without making it clear that they are using Mint.
    – Gannet
    Oct 9, 2015 at 9:08
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    @Gannet I doubt that will make much difference. I have seen many users outright lie that they're using Ubuntu, often editing out references to other distros after they have been told to post on Unix & Linux.
    – muru
    Oct 9, 2015 at 10:06
  • @muru. I can't speak for others but if there was a clear policy to exclude Mint I would honour it. I think most would. Mint is 95% Ubuntu so this is the obvious place to post and I personally think that you would lose rather than gain. My post was intended to get the senior forum members to discuss, vote on and apply a more definite policy so that we could either post here openly or build up a body of knowledge in our own forum.
    – Gannet
    Oct 9, 2015 at 11:24
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    @Gannet how much clearer a policy do you need? The help section says outright that Mint is offtopic. Do you want a banner on every page as well? Personally, I think Mint users should post on Unix & Linux.
    – muru
    Oct 9, 2015 at 11:28
  • @Gannet: I agree 100% with Muru. Mint is off-topic here and we enforce it as politely but firmly as possible without resorting to auto-detecting the OS before you're allowed to post here... Answer edited as I, apparently, wasn't clear enough
    – Fabby
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:41
  • OK, I get the message. Sorry for stirring.
    – Gannet
    Oct 10, 2015 at 0:23
  • @Gannet: No apologies needed: for a non-technical person all this turf stuff of what is Ubuntu and what is not might seem ridiculous, but it's not... Personally, I run nemo and wouldn't mind having Mint application questions here, and other users here do run Mint and wouldn't mind OS questions here, but the policy is clear: it's up to the Mint developers to merge their code base back into Ubuntu (including the update manager) and then it'll be supported here. Having said all that, you could start a Linux Mint stack exchange site yourself on area51.stackexchange.com
    – Fabby
    Oct 10, 2015 at 14:35
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    @Fabby, thank you for that. I can't see much point in creating another Mint forum as there already is one with not much activity (given the user base). I think, perhaps, I need to go there and start asking why they don't do the necessary to become "official". If they don't, perhaps a group from Canonical could take their code and create v ... thinks ... Ubuntu XXP? for the many XP refugees who need something which they can download and use without having to fiddle too much. When I get the chance, I'll try out Xubuntu on one of my machines.
    – Gannet
    Oct 10, 2015 at 15:19

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