Originally Posted by Plan9
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a Linux distro
literally just a Linux kernel with a distribution of software
? Named that way because different brands were essentially the same OS albeit with different software included. While different distros have grown into whole individual entities -some of which contrast significantly enough with some of the others that you could be forgiven for thinking they were (subtly) different OSs- if the term "distribution" is taken literally then all the Ubuntu variants are different distros (Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Mythbuntu, XBMC Live, Ubuntu Studio, etc) as well as Mint.
I think if you want to parametrise your question more accurately, you need to start evaluating when a variant becomes a fork and when a fork is no longer thought about as a fork. eg:
* Ubuntu -> Xubuntu == varient
* Debian -> Ubuntu == fork
* Softlanding Linux System -> Slackware == no longer a fork
Even quantifying as such, doesn't the original problem still exist? where does Linux Mint fall into those categories?
Originally Posted by Brutuz
And what happens when 11.04 comes out? That'd just be postponing the issue, picking up Mate was a great idea.
Mint is its own distro now IMO, when I install it, it looks and feels different to Ubuntu greatly. Ubuntu feels bloated and cruddy (Unless its the xubuntu varient) to me whereas Mint seems to have fixed up some, if not all, of that...That said, Arch ftw.
Well, 11.04 was the first ubuntu release that had Unity by default, but Gnome 2.x was still available as Ubuntu "classic", 11.10 is the first in the line, that Doesn't have a full "gnome 2.x", even tho unity still uses aspects of gnome 2.x (not a 100% sure on this, but I honestly think they moved to Gnome 3 stuff for unity tho...as nautilus in unity is the 3.2 version, and installing Gnome-shell in 11.10 is only like a 25 MB download where in 11.04 you had to add a ppa and it was around 200 MB and Unity was no longer able to be used after it was installed).
If they run the short term release cycle like jumping from 10.04->10.10->11.04->11.10, then they will have to suffer thru the consequences of such actions as changing software stack, if they had stuck with 10.04 which was Ubuntu's last LTS, they would have 3 years of backports/support for that Release, vs the 1 year on average you get with the short term releases (and have gnome 2.x).
Sticking with a LTS might not be ideal tho, as 3 years is an extremely long time to especially in the Open Source world, But is that not what people who are sticking with MATE doing? How much of a Fork is MATE really from 2.32? How long will it be supported, how many people will continue to support, when new fangled desktop things are being added all the time in XFCE/KDE/Gnome 3/Unity?
Yes it is a "stopgap", a hold over, "I need my blanky" step towards till gnome 3 or Unity might become acceptable to these folks. Even the Linux Mint creators have realized the futility of keeping to gnome 2.x as their default DE, and they Went Gnome 3, regulating "Gnome 2.x" as a installable option as "MATE"...
Even on my ancient laptop, I honestly don't notice the differences between any of the distro's when it comes to the "bloaty/cruddy feel of ubuntu" is said to have...so i will not comment much on that. and btw Viva La Ubuntu :).
But the original question was "is it a variant or its own distro?", as what choice of DE it chose to use wasn't even an argument my friend and I had, it was when I called it a "ubuntu variant".
Him and I discussed this again last night, this is the conclusion we basically "agreed" to come too:
"Linux Mint is a unofficial Ubuntu Variant, but well on its way to becoming a Fork, as long as they continue to making changes, and eventually adopt their own release cycle and maintain their own packages/patches/source repositories"
i know that isn't gonna be the defacto answer for everyone here, but for him and I it is enough to get around our little scuff :).