It's clear to see how Ubuntu users arrive at the site. It's hard to Google for specific problem with "Ubuntu" in the query and not end up here. We're part of the documentation and we're featured (Ask!) on the Ubuntu bar that adorns most Ubuntu sites.

But how are Mint users landing here?

  • Is there Mint documentation that recommends us to Mint users?
  • Are we coming up as the result for searches that include "Mint" in the query?

One way that we have no control over is Mint users recommending us (through their searches). We feature on over a thousand posts on the Mint Forums and that's great.

But if there are other methods people are getting into the site (as above), we might be able to fix them. If we have pages that are stuffed with Mint-based keywords, we might be able to skew it to a bit more of an Ubuntu audience.

Similarly, if there's Mint documentation that's directly recommending us as a place to get their problems fixed, we should be able to politely request that changed to a better venue like [Unix.se].

I'd also like to hear from actual Mint users if they've ended up here. They might be able to help identify other routes into the site.

  • I think that the main reason is that most of the problems that Mint users face, they find solution with us. Also the fact that Mint is based with Ubuntu (IMO not anymore). There has been a bunch of chat trying to establish how mint users get here, and I remember a conversation where they pushed them to us for some weird behavior.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 15:50
  • 2
    What they need is an AskMint :=) Or if that is a too narrow user case an AskUbuntuUnofficialDerivative.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 15:52
  • 1
    Ah, btw, U&L questions about Mint somehow or another get tagged Ubuntu too... so maybe is something in the mind of the users.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 15:55
  • For the people wondering - at the time of writing - there are no proposed Q/A sites about Linux Mint at area51.stackexchange
    – blade19899
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 18:35
  • 5
    @blade19899 Fixed. area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/64098/linux-mint
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 20:58
  • 1
    Perhaps a warning should pop up when "mint" is contained in the question title or body. It wouldn't prevent the question from being asked but would say something like "Questions about Mint are off-topic here and will be closed." Similar to what we do for titles that contain "best." Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 23:54
  • 3
    If I'm Ubuntu and I remove unity and install cinnamon, I'd be Mint? I guess like 78 percent at least. Or perhaps 87 percent.
    – arsaKasra
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 22:11
  • How do Mint users end up here? They are lost.
    – don.joey
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 15:31

4 Answers 4


Two kind of Mint's users end up here:

  • Those who know that Mint is based on Ubuntu. Mint is more close to Ubuntu than Ubuntu is close to Debian. (Eliah Kagan has already pointed this out in a comment under the other answer.) That is why they frequently state in their questions that "I'm using Mint XXX which is based on Ubuntu XXX". And that is TRUE.

  • And those who google for an error message and google sends them here. (This is how Ubuntu users also end up on e.g. Arch linux forums.)

So a Mint user who ends up here knows that the users of this site are very likely able to answer his problem. So he asks it, because he has a problem and wants to solve it ASAP. They just don't read the help pages to get that Mint is off-topic here.

And there are those Mint users who do read the help pages, get the idea that Mint is off-topic, so they simply not mention that they are using Mint because this way they could get help here. And I have no problem with the latter behaviour as long as their problem doesn't come from a Mint specific thing. Good questions with good answers coming from any kind of user adds to the common knowledge and makes the site better.

And I'm sure we have also Mint users who don't ask but answer questions here.

  • 13
    Eminently sensible post. And I'm a Mint user at home, and an Ubuntu user at work: am I only allowed here during office hours? ;)
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 0:42
  • 1
    @David, what do you think?
    – user25656
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 3:40
  • Agreed, I use Ubuntu but I also come here for answers to my questions about Debian. It would be smart for mint users to phrase their questions as Ubuntu.
    – mchid
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 0:40
  • 1
    +1. I go to the Arch forums all the time for problems. If you are clever, you can get your problem solved.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 15:25
  • 1
    @mchid I use this site for questions, but I use Linux Mint Debian ;-) Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 13:36
  • @WilhelmErasmus Expect to have your questions voted as off topic if you phrase them as mint but answers to the same questions can really be helpful.
    – mchid
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 3:04
  • @mchid yup. Hope we mint fans get a site as well Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 12:29

I believe it comes straight from http://www.linuxmint.com/

On http://www.linuxmint.com/oldreleases.php It lists Ubuntu names directly corresponding to Mint releases.

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Page 6 of their "User Guide" http://www.linuxmint.com/documentation/user-guide/english_15.0.pdf

Linux Mint uses Ubuntu repositories (more on what this means later) and is fully compatible with it so most of the resources, articles, tutorials, and software made for Ubuntu also work for Linux Mint. If you can’t find help on a specific subject, make sure to search on the same subject for Ubuntu.

Telling users to search on the same subject for Ubuntu...
And software made for Ubuntu also work for Linux Mint...
also states: "fully compatible with it" a statement we have found many times not to be true.

Even on release notes on fixing UEFI Ubuntu is referenced:


Other issues Linux Mint 16 is based on Ubuntu 13.10. Make sure to read the Ubuntu release notes.

All this I believe falls directly in this statment:

(ii) any attempt to unfairly or confusingly capitalise on the goodwill of Canonical or Ubuntu.

So most people assume wrongly by association the we are basically the same, That the title suggesting they are simply a "flavor" i.e. the same brand of ice cream that just looks and tastes different...
some users still refer to Ubuntu as "vanilla"...

Intresting article ran into recently:

  • 8
    I disagree with your disparaging view of the way Mint explains its relationship to Ubuntu. "Fully compatible" is subjective. Is Ubuntu 13.10 fully compatible with 12.04 LTS? Are different Ubuntu systems of the same release, installed on different computers with different packages installed and different software sources, "fully compatible"? You can install Ubuntu packages on Mint; they're about as likely to work as they are to work on Ubuntu. The truth is, searching for "ubuntu" is a valuable technique for Mint users. What does sharing repos have to do with trademark law? Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 16:58
  • @EliahKagan that was a sentiment of users, many of which insist on this site about asking mint questions - not form "them" as a company - but heard many times from it's users - corrected not to be in quotes
    – Mateo
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 17:02
  • I'm sure they would but I don't go asking debian about ubuntu issues - even though it is well established the we are based on debian - their guide suggests a different level of relationship between ubuntu and mint
    – Mateo
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 17:11
  • 8
    But there is a different level of relationship between Ubuntu and Mint, at a technical level. It seems to me that Mint is significantly closer to Ubuntu than Ubuntu is to Debian. For example, as per your post, Mint and Ubuntu share many repositories. I think that, whether or not Mint's explanation of its relationship to Ubuntu is fully clear or ideal, it is rather silly to say Mint is actually attempting to unfairly/confusingly capitalize on Ubuntu's goodwill. It's undisputed that many Ubuntu benefits carry over to Mint, yet what Mint says is far less self-aggrandizing than even that. Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 17:16
  • 3
    +1 for citations... Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 21:47
  • 1
    I think the discussion should be widened. Here's what the Help Center has: This is not the right place for: Linux Mint, Backtrack, Gnome-Remix (prior to 13.04) and other Linux distributions (try our friends at Unix & Linux Stack Exchange).
    – user25656
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 3:20
  • 2
    @EliahKagan, as Mateo's answer stands now, "your disparaging view" is unwarranted.
    – user25656
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 3:38
  • @EliahKagan You're really splitting hairs here now.. The point is, like Ubuntu != Debian, Mint != Ubuntu although it is closer. If we accept Mint questions we now have to deal with all Mint problems, despite the fact that we are a Ubuntu site.
    – Seth
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 4:46
  • 7
    @Seth No, I am not splitting hairs. This answer is (still) an accusation that the Mint project violates Ubuntu trademarks. I think it is wrong to accuse people of breaking the law without clear and compelling evidence that it is so. I consider such an accusation an act of belligerence that is harmful to the relationship between Ubuntu and Mint communities. It does not speak for me, and I don't think it speaks for our community as a whole either. Mateo has concerns about what Mint says and I have concerns about what he says; my concerns don't contain any implied legal threat. Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 7:39
  • 2
    The point was not about the "trademark", the point is I think their users are capitalizing on Ask Ubuntu's good will - maybe not intentionally, but that is the point - not some kind of legal threat...
    – Mateo
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 10:05
  • 2
    @EliahKagan I checked out Mateo reviews and I haven't found references to trademarks or the like. He's just saying that Ubuntu's name is used in a way users interpret that they can ask Ubuntu guys for help instead of somewhere else. And from experience most of users that ask Mint questions says "because Mint is based on Ubuntu".
    – Braiam
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 12:17
  • What Braiam said.
    – Seth
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 18:31

It's my opinion that it's mostly related to the quality of the site. I can't tell you how many problems you can Google for and your first ten options for answers are on the stack network.

In my experience:

Specific Debian derived error messages mostly point here.

Really intelligently configured Google queries, about configuration issues, tend to end up here or at the arch-wiki.

Just a personal note:

The second subset of people that know it's a fork/derivative, should, probably, also understand without asking that there are very significant differences between an upstream distro and a forked distro. They just seem to ask anyway... Specifically when the entire GUI system is lopped off and replaced (like the Mint -> Ubuntu with Unity -> Debian with Gnome 3/KDE/some lightweight window manager).


All good answers here, I happened to find out today that kernel.org links here in their "contact us" page, as well. Which seems more likely to explain the occasional kali, debian, fedora, etc question that crops up.

  • 1
    I'd say this section could be extended (Fedora for example has ask.fedoraproject.org which doesn't belong to SE) but http://askubuntu.com/ - for users of Ubuntu Linux should be very clear that AU is for Ubuntu. Good digging though.
    – LiveWireBT
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 10:52

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