Linux is about choice, but I'd rather be provided with reasonable defaults so that the needed customization is minimal.
Having heard about Linux Mint before, I decided to give it a try.
TL;DR: Mint has a good De-facto installation. Many applications which don't come with other distros (mostly because of patent and licensing issues), are already installed out of the box. But, beside not needing an install-fest, I didn't find anything special in Mint. Cinnamon was slick, the community seemed to be passionate and active, but nothing extra ordinary.
What I did NOT install in Linux Mint (which Ubuntu used to need):
- Codec: So you used to installed VLC and Mplayer and all those codecs? You won't need to do it anymore.
- JRE: Java Runtime Environment needed for running any Java application. A must-have.
- Pidgin: I used to do
apt-get purge empathy; apt-get install pidgin, this time I didn't.
- Flash Plugin: Many scruffy-smelly-bad-guys on the web are flash-aholics.
- Nautilus Extensions: Believe it or not, I couldn't live without nautilus's "Open In Terminal" and "Open as root". They are installed out of the box, on Mint. Kudas!
- Synaptic Package Manger: You know what? I used to think that Canonical guys were idiots because of removing Synaptic from the default installation, and I still do.
/etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20archive: Haha. Who needs periodical cache cleanup? Mint has it disabled by default.
What follows is a list of configurations and customizations I did after a fresh installation. This is NOT intended to be anyhow general. Actually, it's more of a personal TODO-list-after-you-install-Mint, but I thought one might find something useful amongst these.
ssh: I expect my machine to be controllable if accessible.
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: Many websites use uglysoft-specific fonts. God, I hate them, but need them.
ttf-freefarsi ttf-farsiweb: Some extra persian fonts.
mc byobu curl lynx: some nifty CLI tools.
build-essential automake git-all mercurial subversion python-setuptools nodejs npm ruby rubygems: my development tools
gtalk-shared-status: So, Pidgin doesn't support invisible status in GTalk? Go use gtalk-shared-status then!