"Our recent article entitled Ubuntu As Intended drew in a fair
amount of discussion about the base software and configuration in
the default Ubuntu install. Some readers pointed out a few
alternatives that aim to take the standard Ubuntu desktop and give
it more polish than the original. Some of these projects just
include a few extra packages, some replace the standard software
suite, and others are complete makeovers. Today we aim to sift
through a few of the more popular Ubuntu variants to find the best
ones of the bunch, and see what they can offer.
"Linux Mint: Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Linux
Mint is an extremely popular Ubuntu variant, and for good reason.
Mint provides several desktop solutions including Gnome, KDE,
Fluxbox and XFCE, and what they all have in common is a solid
software base with several of Linux's "trickier" packages already
installed. This includes some non-free software so that you have
support for MP3, DVD, and Flash right out of the box."