I am very impressed with the newest version of Linux Mint. The Cinnamon desktop looks beautiful (all the nice themes you can fetch from the internet is great; I love the semi-transparent themes for the menu).
And it was really smart of Clem (head of Linux Mint) to stick with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) in order to have a stable foundation. [UPDATE 2013 May 20: Thanks Kirk M. for pointing out that this is actually wrong. I misread the Linux Mint blog: Clem (head of Linux Mint) considered but did not ultimately switch back to the old base, but went on ahead with Ubuntu 13.04]
(As much as I love Debian, and Debian is my favorite, Linux Mint Debian (LMDE) was kinda buggy.)
The install was quick, the system was quick once I installed it. Really, if I were to get my friends to try out (and hopefully convert to GNU/Linux), I would show off Linux Mint 15 with Cinnamon. It’s just so amazing. If they have old hardware, then I would probably stick with 32-bit Linux Mint MATE.
Really, with Linux Mint, GNU/Linux still has a serious chance at becoming very popular very soon with the mass market (though Microsoft’s monopolistic hold on the hardware vendors is difficult to overcome too quickly), and hopefully Linux Mint will contribute greatly to Microsoft’s downfall (though credit must go also to the disastrous Windows 8).
I was definitely tempted slightly to return to Linux Mint instead of Debian Testing (Jessie), as it really was beautiful. The themes were beautiful . . . and I do enjoy the fact that I have a desktop . . . (don’t really have one with Gnome 3). I mean, Linux Mint comes pre-bundled with Adobe Flash! But this convenience is also the very reason why I will still stick with Debian Testing: Debian is just more pure and less ethically tainted. While I have since succumbed and installed Google Chrome (with built-in Pepper/Adobe Flash) so I can watch Flash videos in my browser (instead of watching only up to 480p with Gnash), I still want to see HTML5 replace Adobe Flash (if there’s a company I hate more than Micro$oft or Apple, it’s Adobe). Adobe Flash is a cancer and the epitome of closed-source, monopolistic evilness (alternative: Adobe could also open-up the code, but then, it wouldn’t be Adobe Flash, now would it?)!
So, Linux Mint, congratulations on your amazing new release. I hope that you do well, as the future of widespread adoption of Linux falls in your hands (NOT Ubuntu’s, I don’t think, but I still appreciate Ubuntu’s work). You actually listen and respect your community, and you are user-friendly (so friendly that it took me a while to realize you have to turn on Advanced Mode to access the Monitors setting in System Settings . . . I couldn’t adjust my monitors for a while as it was hidden in Basic Mode . . .).
However, I must support Debian, as it may be less beautiful, but it still rocks and it really is the mother of so many distros, including Ubuntu and Linux Mint, and you can’t beat Debian’s social contract and its stance on free- and open-source software. May Linux Mint and Debian continue along their paths and offer alternatives to Micro$oft.