Not only are there the MGSE "training wheels" for GNOME 3, so to speak, but users who aren't ready to adopt the new desktop at all have the option of using MATE, a fork of the old, familiar GNOME 2 desktop that's designed to look and feel just like the real thing. MATE is included on the DVD edition of Linux Mint 12, and users of the CD edition can install it via the mint-meta-mate package.
4. No Unity in Sight
Linux Mint 12 is based on the new Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot," but that distribution's highly divisive Unity desktop is nowhere to be seen. That seems likely to be a big selling point among countless disgruntled Ubuntu users.
5. A Polite Search Engine
Rather than Google or one of the big-name search engines out there, Linux Mint has formed a partnership with DuckDuckGo, which is built on open source software and rich in features. Now default in Mint, DuckDuckGo is especially distinctive for the fact that it doesn't track users--no personal information is collected, shared, or used to customize individual users' search results. With DuckDuckGo, all searchers on a particular term will get the same results. Of course, if you have a favorite search engine you'd prefer instead, you can still easily install it.
6. Newly Refreshed Artwork
I've always thought Mint was one of the nicer-looking distributions out there, and version 12 spruces up that appearance even more with new themes and original artwork.
7. An Application Powerhouse
Along with Linux Mint comes a wide array of application software including Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, GIMP, and the Totem movie player.
8. Strength Under the Hood
Linux kernel 3.0 is the core that powers Linux Mint 12 along with Ubuntu 11.10 and Gnome 3.2.
9. Strength in Numbers
As I've noted before, Linux Mint is now ranked as the most popular Linux distribution on DistroWatch, usurping Ubuntu, which long held that leading position. Use Mint, and you're in good company. That, in turn, tends to mean better community support and advice, widely available tips and tricks, and ongoing improvement.
10. Safe and Reliable