Should Linux Mint rebase to Debian? LMDE Discussion

DistroTube posed an interesting question recently on his channel - Should Linux Mint Debian Edition become the new standard edition? The stated purpose of LMDE is kind of a “just in case” proof of concept should something happen to Ubuntu that makes it no longer viable as a base for Mint, but I’m curious what the community thinks about just jumping ship to Debian now? What advantages does Ubuntu offer Mint in your opinion that necessitate using it over Debian for its base?


It was my understanding that LM has always had ties to both Debian and Ubuntu, so I’m not sure how much of change it will be. I’ll be interested to hear what others have to say.

My personal opinion is that I would prefer to keep commercial interests away. But, that does have both advantages and disadvantages.

Ubuntu is generally more modern so that would be most of the benefit there. You also have the usual Debian-isms such as locked root account, that you don’t have with the Ubuntu base. The installers are different. Apt on LM will automatically ask for the sudo password but Apt on LMDE requires you explicitly type sudo before every command. Most of the differences are the same differences between Ubuntu and Debian themselves I think.

Oh, the Ubuntu edition allows you to install new kernels very easily through the update manager. This is not a feature of LMDE.

Either way LMDE 5 is running pretty smoothly. The user base is much smaller and the beta testing had way fewer reported issues on github. Which could be for a lack of users or Debian is more stable in general, it’s hard to tell.

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When I first returned to Linux, must be close to ten years ago after a gap when the DE nonsense was occurring, Linux Mint was the distro I tried, the XFCE edition, which was the standard at that time, as I recall - I think Mate / Cinnamon were not as established then, but maybe I am forgetting. I found the system terribly bloated and wondered if LMDE would be better. I tried it, and didn’t care to look back at all. In fact it’s why I got rid of Linux Mint altogether and switched to vanilla Debian. Mint might be a great intro for newbies, but I don’t find it adds significant value when a little more experienced.

I know Canonical has done plenty for the community and is praised a lot, but I still prefer that Linux remains as free of corporate interest as possible, even if those corporations are “community friendly”. To that end, Debian is my preferred distro. Do I think LM should be based directly upon Debian and not on Ubuntu? I don’t see why not. I have no wish to use any Ubuntu base, or Linux Mint for that matter, but if I did use it, it would be LMDE, for definite.


The only catch for me is that LMDE is based on Debian stable.

If I was a Cinnamon fan and could run a perpetual LMDE based on Debian Testing that would be the sweet spot imho.


I tried to run LMDE off the sid repos. I made a thread about it in May of last year. The problem is that all the nice Mint applications are built with Python and at the time sid had python3.9 which deprecated some things and caused a lot of breakage. I dont know if testing would be any better…

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Always felt that LMDE ran a bit lighter then Linux Mint. Linux Mint on Ubuntu feels a bit heavy for me.

And if you don’t want to go the Snap route but prefer FlatPak I would think Debian would be easier, but if Linux Mint loves spending time removing all references to Snaps then it’s up to them.

Do think that if Linux Mint put more time into LMDE then they would take it past any perceived weaknesses it currently has.

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That’s one point DistroTube brought up - it seems Clement and the LM team spend a lot of their time de-Ubuntu-ing Ubuntu before they release Mint. At least from an outsider perspective it seems like a Debian base might save them some time.


I would think the Ubuntu base also gives them more third-party or proprietary app support. I know, for example, Docker has a repository for jammy (Ubuntu 22.04) already but probably won’t get one for bookworm (Debian 12) for a while.

(By “support” I mean the third-party app would probably find the things it’s looking for in the same spots Ubuntu puts them.)

Edit: Also I forgot about Debian’s policy that software must build on all first class architectures before it gets pushed out. That might be a good reason to stay on Ubuntu.

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Personally I would like to see the move to Debian but in general I do think it is better they stay with Ubuntu. Though I do not use Mint and I am an advanced user.

From my experience total newcomers are better-off with the Ubuntu base for a lot of reasons, some of them already mentioned here, like newer hardware support with more recent kernels (Debian has backports for it but does a new user know?), more third party software for Ubuntu, especially commercial or proprietary etc. Flatpaks can probably change that.

Btw, the root account is not needed in Debian and I think Mint uses sudo on its Debian base, too. That is at least how I configure my Debian systems at install time, just leave the root account password blank, the Debian installer already mentions that.
Of course Ubiquity is quicker in installing and easier to understand for beginners, especially when it comes to partitioning.

The advantages of Debian are that the system really runs lighter and there are not so many updates, could be good or bad. In the case of LMDE it is also a testing bed for newer Cinnamon releases, something that you do not get at all in Debian proper. As a matter of fact Cinnamon in Debian is “endangered” just like Plasma due to a lack of manpower and not that polished as in LMDE.

I think Debian users with an affinity to Mint or the Cinnamon desktop are probably more inclined to use LMDE than new users in general or some coming from Ubuntu to Mint.


Norbert Preining might not be the easiest person to work with but at least he made the effort.

Yep, I thought of him. He will be missed.

That’s fine but I just installed openvpn3 on LM 20.3 and sudo wasn’t enough. I had to use root to complete the setup.

As a long time linux mint user, i can be short. If it keeps working like it does now, i wouldn’t mind at all. Just don’t confuse new users too much. It’ll only discourage them in making the switch.


I think they should have done that after the snap fiasco. If you think Ubuntu can’t be trusted, base off something else. If not? Hypocritical at best, sad at least.