To the ends of additional UI flexibility, Mint comes in Gnome, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and Fluxbox desktop versions. This is perhaps one of the keys to flexibility in Mint, as you can migrate to it from about any angle of Linux desktop experience.
Linux Mint tries to keep up with all of the desktops and their changes. If you have a fleet of Linux Mint installed, there are almost daily updates. There are many packages, and if they're all installed, there's plenty of updating to do.
The roster of software is a long list, each with dependencies, and the Mint distributions go a long way towards ensuring dependencies are matched correctly, a partial discipline imposed by the Debian underpinnings.
There's a Software Manager. Mint uses the "apt-get" method of obtaining applications, but we found we could use Ubuntu resources with a tiny amount of work, too.
Linux Mint, along with every other distro based on Linux 2.8.38+, suffers from a bug that prevents CPUs and peripherals from going to power-saving sleep in certain popular chipset families. Linux Mint 12 can suffer from this, although a kernel patch may be available soon that fixes the largely Intel-based i7 systems excessive power consumption.
Mint prefers to be installed freshly, rather than upgraded from a prior distribution. You certainly can upgrade from prior versions, but it's more difficult to do and might create instabilities.
Linux Mint 12 uses a default search engine called DuckDuckGo. It's designed to be a non-privacy wrenching alternative to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines that leach privacy and build user profiles for ad searching and perceived analytics.
In sample searches compared to Google and Bing, DuckDuckGo delivered impressive, but abbreviated, results. It can be used in any browser and isn't confined in any way or augmented with use of Linux Mint 12.
Tech argument: Browser wars
However, revenue generated from DuckDuckGo is ostensibly shared with Linux Mint. Search engines with shared revenue still make us think immediately of Google. Yet we verified that no cookies are dropped by DuckDuckGo, and IP tracking is apparently not performed in our remedial tests; most referrals must therefore come from the browser's http_referrer when results are clicked by users of the engine. It's a novel revenue-making mechanism that's likely to be repeated in other distros.