Are there enough users for Linux Mint Debian Edition to survive?

In today's open source roundup: Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 has been released. Are there enough users for it to survive? Plus: Take screenshot tours of LMDE 201403 Cinnamon and MATE

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Linux, linux mint

The Linux Mint blog is reporting that Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 has been released. LMDE is a semi-rolling distro that is based on Debian Testing. It is a good alternative for those who want the features of Linux Mint without having to use Ubuntu as its base.

Highlights:
Update Pack 8
Cinnamon 2.0
MATE 1.6
Latest Mint tools and improvements
Support for EFI and GPT

System requirements:
x86 processor (LMDE 64-bit requires a 64-bit processor. LMDE 32-bit supports all x86 processors, non-PAE included).
1GB RAM
5 GB of disk space
Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution
DVD drive or USB port

Torrent downloads:
Cinnamon 32-bit
Cinnamon 64-bit
MATE 32-bit
MATE 64-bit

More at Linux Mint

Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403
Image credit: Linux Mint

Linux Mint Debian Edition is one of my favorite distributions. I highly recommend checking it out if you want a blend of Linux Mint's features with the goodness of Debian. Don't get me wrong, the Ubuntu versions are also still quite good but there are folks out there who prefer not to have anything to do with Ubuntu, so LMDE is a great alternative for them.

As I was browsing the comments in the announcement, I noticed a disturbing post by Clement Lefebvre that surprised me (it's in comment #27 in the thread):

I really enjoy working with Debian and I’m really happy with the quality of LMDE. I can see a few things which are better on the Ubuntu side, but also things that are better here with Debian. Overall I’d say they’re pretty much on par at this stage, with a little advantage going to Ubuntu because it’s frozen, thus doesn’t require people to read/understand the problematics related to APT upgrades.

The big difference though is popularity and adoption. LMDE started as an R&D project, it was successful and so we continued it. Nowadays it’s as popular as one of our DE editions, but it requires maintaining on a different base, testing UPs and it is declined into two DEs. That’s a lot of extra work compared to a MATE, Xfce or KDE edition.

It would have to become more popular and gather wider adoption from the community for us to put more resources into it. We’re giving it our best shot each time and we hope people will enjoy it, but at the end of the day our focus needs to reflect what the majority of our users want. LMDE is special, it’s extremely exciting to work on, it holds strategic interests (in the eventuality of a complete departure from Ubuntu for instance) and it keeps getting better. But it does need more adoption and we do spend too much resources on it already with the current level of adoption.

I admire the Linux Mint developers for doing LMDE, but Clem's comment does make me wonder if a day will come when it has to be cut in favor of the Ubuntu versions. It's a bit disheartening to read that the Linux Mint developers can't put any more resources into it until its popularity increases.

I wonder if it's the chicken and egg thing again: Should they put more resources into it to try to increase its popularity, or should they wait until it's more popular before giving it more resources? I really don't know.

I'm glad to read that it's at least on par in usage with some of the other versions of Linux Mint, but I'd thought it would have become the most popular version of Linux Mint some time ago. I guess I was way, way off base on that.

The Ubuntu developers have alienated some Linux users with their decisions so it seemed reasonable to me to think that a significant number of Linux Mint users might have dumped the Ubuntu versions and moved to LMDE. But I guess that just hasn't happened yet.

It will be very interesting to see if this changes in the future or if Linux Mint Debian Edition either stagnates or ultimately declines in terms of usage. I think it will be a very sad day for users if the Linux Mint developers ever decide to shut down development of LMDE.

Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 Cinnamon screenshot tour
Linux Screenshots has a tour of LMDE 201403 with the Cinnamon desktop.

More at Linux Screenshots

Linux Mint Debian Cinnamon 201403 Screenshot Tour
Image credit: Linux Screenshots

Linux Mint Debian Edition Edition 201403 MATE screenshot tour
Last but certainly not least is the screenshot tour of LMDE 201403 MATE.

More at Linux Screenshots

Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 MATE Screenshot Tour
Image credit: Linux Screenshots

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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