The release of Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal last month was a big deal, since Ubuntu has for some time now been regarded as the “friendliest” Linux distribution. It is certainly the most well-publicized in the consumer space. Its Debian-based roots give it access to a thriving and well-maintained set of package repositories. Its breadth of supported hardware and easy (well, usually easy) installer means it works just about anywhere. Canonical has put a tremendous amount of effort (both in programming and branding!) into making Ubuntu a powerful and full-featured desktop operating system.

However, many of Canonical’s choices have rankled the broader Linux community, particularly its decision to go with Unity as the main graphical shell over a traditional Linux shell like GNOME. It has also included store listings in search results, leading to comical awfulness like this:

Enlarge / In Ubuntu 12.10, searching for “updates” yields this. Wrong on so many levels.

Canonical shows no intention of changing course, so alternatives to Ubuntu are becoming increasingly popular. The most mature at this point is Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, keeping its parent’s flexibility and compatibility while taking a more traditional direction with its interface choices. The Mint developers have just released their latest version, Linux Mint 14, codenamed “Nadia,” and it has a lot of nice things going for it.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab