open SUSE, Fedora, Debian GNU/Linux and Mageia can be classified as good "middle-road" distributions.

After soliciting feedback from the visitors on his web site, he proceeded with building what many refer to today as an "improved Ubuntu" or "Ubuntu done right".

But Linux Mint is not just an Ubuntu with a new set of applications and an updated desktop theme.

Since its beginnings, the developers have been adding a variety of graphical "mint" tools for enhanced usability; this includes mint Desktop - a utility for configuring the desktop environment, mint Menu - a new and elegant menu structure for easier navigation, mint Install - an easy-to-use software installer, and mint Update - a software updater, just to mention a few more prominent ones among several other tools and hundreds of additional improvements. Mint's reputation for ease of use has been further enhanced by the inclusion of proprietary and patent-encumbered multimedia codecs that are often absent from larger distributions due to potential legal threats.

Perhaps one of the best features of Linux Mint is the fact that the developers listen to the users and are always fast in implementing good suggestions.

While Linux Mint is available as a free download, the project generates revenue from donations, advertising and professional support services.

It doesn't have a fixed release schedule or a list of planned features, but one can expect a new version of Linux Mint several weeks after each Ubuntu long term support release.

Besides Mint's two "Main" editions which feature the MATE and Cinnamon desktops, the project also builds editions with alternative desktops, including KDE and Xfce.

The bewildering choice and the ever increasing number of Linux distributions can be confusing for those who are new to Linux. It lists 10 Linux distributions (plus an honourable mention of Free BSD, by far the most popular of all of the BSDs), which are generally considered as most widely-used by Linux users around the world.

There are no figures to back it up and there are many other distributions that might suit your particular purpose better, but as a general rule, all of these are popular and have very active forums or mailing lists where you can ask questions if you get stuck.