Over the course of more than a week, I subjected myself to the punishment of using every desktop environment I could come into contact with, and on multiple Linux distributions. The Cinnamon desktop environment on Linux Mint is the one I prefer above all others.
Every stable version of Debian inspires updated derivatives. Ubuntu and all the Ubuntu Flavors follow certain cycles. Linux Mint usually trails Ubuntu because it’s based on Ubuntu, not Debian (other than LMDE, that is, which is actually based on Debian).
Debian 10 was released in July 2019, but the latest point release (4) came out in May 2020. The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS flavors were released around April 23, 2020. Linux Mint 20 was released in June 2020. I jumped the gun and decided to test the latest Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix as well as the latest Cinnamon edition of Manjaro. Neither one worked for me as well as Linux Mint.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Cinnamon desktop environment was designed for Linux Mint. The fact that it works as well as it does on other distributions is a testament to the developers. There are ways to make the other distributions look exactly like the Linux Mint version. I really don’t understand why they skimped on the themes and icons like they did.
Some desktop environments are better than others, but none of those I tested were better than Cinnamon. Not for me anyway. I couldn’t find a way to set up favorites on Lubuntu (LXQt) and I couldn’t figure out how to easily create desktop bookmarks.
Using Manjaro, based on Arch Linux, was a mistake. I’m used to the way things are done with Debian and Debian derivatives and learning new ways of doing things in the terminal isn’t something I look forward to. I’ll skip the learning curve when I can. Manjaro would have to be light years ahead of Linux Mint for me to consider switching.
Although I was impressed with KDE Plasma, the interface wasn’t enough to sway me. I always prefer functionality to aesthetics. Linux Mint gives me the functionality I crave. The applets, desklets and extensions cover just about every base.
I recently upgraded my laptop computer. I replaced four gigabytes of memory with 16. The DVD writer was replaced by a solid-state drive in a drive caddy. My goal was to make things better and faster than they were before. As far as hardware goes, that’s exactly what happened. Not so much with the software.
As long as I have things set up properly and have adequate memory and drive space, Linux is pretty efficient already. Beefing up the hardware didn’t seem to affect the software much. Not the way I use the software anyway. There are a few benefits and the main one is that I haven’t seen swap being used at all. I used to see it being used all the time before the upgrade.
I started testing other distributions and desktop environments in an effort to find one more responsive than what I was already using. Failure ensued. Not even the speed of Slax or Puppy Linux could impress me enough to give either of them a place in my daily routine. No, I’ll stick with Linux Mint 20 until its end of life date in 2025. I’ll probably examine other distributions and other desktop environments again when it’s no longer supported.