The recent popularity and growth of Linux Mint Debian Edition as well as the migration and planned migration of some of the alternate desktop environment based editions (Fluxbox and XFCE so far) has strummed up questions about the future of the main Linux Mint edition which is based on Ubuntu and Gnome.
To help answer these growing questions, Linux Mint’s founder and project lead, Clement Lefebvre has created an easy to miss F.A.Q. nestled at the end of the Linux Mint XFCE announcement.
Some of the provided answers in the F.A.Q. include how to quickly distinguish Debian Testing based versus Ubuntu based Linux Mint editions. Ubuntu based editions are fixed and thus have a version number (Linux Mint 10, Linux Mint 10 LXDE). Debian Testing based editions are rolling releases and have no such version number (Linux Mint Debian Edition, Linux Mint XFCE).
The big news is that the Main edition will continue to be based on Gnome (without Gnome Shell) and Ubuntu and will continue to be the flagship edition for the Linux Mint project. With Ubuntu switching from Gnome to Unity, and eventually pushing for Wayland over X, as well as the Gnome project’s releasing of Gnome Shell, Linux Mint will have some definite hurdles to overcome in the future. However, it seems to be their intention to maintain a consistent Gnome and Ubuntu based platform as their main edition unless some insurmountable circumstance comes about.
With that said, Linux Mint is a community based edition. The Linux Mint team recently polled their user base with a large survey and as a direct result of the data they collected through that, the decision to switch XFCE to a Debian Testing basis was made. If you have questions or concerns about the future of Linux Mint, be sure to follow the Linux Mint Blog (RSS) to keep apprised of any future surveys or other opportunities to provide feedback to the project leaders!