Linux Mint, the OS distribution with an eye for beginners, is stepping out and offering a new edition for those who like Mint but want more frequent updates of its core apps. Based on Debian, LMDE is an interesting step forward.
Previous versions of Linux Mint were based on Ubuntu releases, and users had to wait until the improvements and changes in Ubuntu's new versions trickled their way "upstream" to Linux Mint. In the "Debian Edition", changes and updates to the system and apps will flow constantly so that users never really need to re-install their system.
Linux Mint's developers lay out the pros and cons in their blog post:
- You don't need to ever re-install the system. New versions of software and updates are continuously brought to you.
- It's faster and more responsive than Ubuntu-based editions.
- Although it's using Romeo for unstable packages, LMDE continuously changes as it receives updates and new software. Compared to a frozen version of Linux Mint which changes very little once it's publicly released, it's not as stable. Things are likely to break more often but fixes can also come quicker. For this reason, LMDE requires a deeper knowledge and experience with Linux, dpkg and APT.
- Debian is a less user-friendly/desktop-ready base than Ubuntu. Expect some rough edges.
In other words, the standard Ubuntu-based Linux Mint remains a great option for those just getting started with Linux, or those who don't like to (relatively) muck around too much, while the Debian Edition should satisfy those who like Mint for its looks and can handle a faster learning curve.