Where Karmic Koala is better:
- Updates manager – After a fresh install and reboot, the first application that is launched on Ubuntu is the update manager, which brings up a list of all the applications that needs to be updated. And this is how it should be, how all distros should have their system configured out of the box. On Mint, the first application that is launched is mintWelcome. mintWelcome has it’s place, and has a number of good links on it, but nothing to prompt a user to update the system. In fact, if you do not launch mintUpdate from the Control Center, Mint will never inform you that their are updates that need to be applied to the system.
- Games – Ubuntu ships with the full set of games that is standard on GNOME-based distros. Mint does not install any by default. It’s a space saving measure, but worth pointing out. On both distros, you can install any game packages you want after the system is up and running.
- USB Startup Disk Creator – With this utility Ubuntu allows you to create a persistent Ubuntu image on a flash drive. Once created, this “Live USB” may be used to install Ubuntu on another computer or take Ubuntu out for a spin without installing it on your PC.
- Cloud service – Ubuntu comes with a cloud service dubbed Ubuntu One. With a Ubuntu One account, you create your own personal cloud service. A service you can use to “back up, store, sync and share your data with other Ubuntu One users.” I’m not a fan of cloud services like this, simply because I do not think it is a wise decision to upload your personal documents to a place (another computer) that you do not have complete physical access and control of. But that’s just me. I’m paranoid by nature. And as far as I am aware, this service is not encrypted.
What both distros lack and need to improve upon:
- Better installer – Ubuntu’s installer has a very clean interface, and it’s easy for anybody to use, point-and-click easy. But because it is lacking in features, you are robbed or denied the opportunity of configuring some of the standard features of the Linux kernel. Some people refer to these features as advanced, but I just consider them standard features. They should be made be made available to all.
- LVM, RAID and disk encryption – These three are some of the advanced features I referred to above. Though Ubuntu has the text installer edition, which has support for LVM, soft-RAID, and full disk encryption, it would be better to upgrade the main edition’s installer to incorporate all these features. If you use Ubuntu or any considering distro-hopping to Ubuntu, and need to use these features, your only option is to use the text installer edition.
Mint users are out of luck. There is no edition of Mint with support for setting up LVM, RAID and full disk encryption. Perhaps Mint developers should just write their own installer in much the same way that they been doing with their graphical administrative tools.
- A better graphical firewall client than Gufw, and one that is fully integrated with the network manager, just like the one on Mandriva.