I just returned from the hospital for a day of X-rays and MRI's, so I must apologize for seeming ungrateful in not responding to all your suggestions. Spent much of the day naked. Wasn't a pretty sight I can assure you.
First of all, I assume that Ubuntu Linux is the ongoing OS "engine", and that:
1) Mint simply adds a "veneer" of multiple desktop choices and a bag full of ready-to-go drivers?
2) Same goes for Zorin OS?
To be honest, Mint and Ubuntu are functionally the same. The support provided on the Ubuntu Forums can answer questions for both distributions. The differences are minor. Ubuntu installs by the Unity desktop by default, which you will probably hate or perhaps mildly dislike. Mint gives you the option to install various desktop environments like Cinnamon, Mate, and XFCE by default. You can still run these desktops in Ubuntu, but you have to set them up post-installation.
OK, that raises the obvious question of just how does one go about selecting a desktop and customizing for one's own personal needs? My present Win 7 Desktop, for example, has a Taskbar
at the bottom with the icons I am most likely to use, then I have everything else labeled and grouped with "Fences
" (software program). I could really give a **** about Windows blessed Start Button, because I almost never use it anyway (only rarely for accessories, etc.).
4) I haven't looked into this but
Jocky (Automated driver discovery and installation wizard)
looks to be an absolute godsend.
Here for me is the Ultimate Question: Why can't I just install an LTS version of Ubuntu ---- and add a desktop/customize a desktop later?