Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint

Hey,

I want to install ubuntu or mint as an OS on my secondary computer. I will be using it for C++ coding, Matlab, statistics software and probably some surfing.

I was wondering if some of the Linux users in here can recommend either of them for that type of work. I've read a couple of reviews but most of them are about the design and features about the design etc.

Please share your experiences with those OS
 
I'm using Gentoo myself, but you can take a look at DistroWatch: http://distrowatch.com/
If you're unwilling to build the newest GCC yourself (quite useful for testing the C++11 features for which the support is still being added), then you can compare the versions offered by a given distro, how often are they being updated, etc.:
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=mint
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=ubuntu
Thanks, that's a great site... Gentoo looks interesting too - havn't heard about it before now. Is it difficult to customize the OS? it looks very flexible with regard to ones needs - so I was wondering if this comes with complexity too?
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
The downside of Gentoo is you build literally everything from source. That is also the upside - source builds can be more optimized for a specific architecture.
 
I used Ubuntu in the past and it has become a mainstream distro which means you can find a lot of support and answer to any questions you have.
The reviews of 12.04 are very good.. people also seems to mention that Qt is very good for c/c++ programming - it shoudl be available on all linux distros
 
Thanks, that's a great site... Gentoo looks interesting too - havn't heard about it before now. Is it difficult to customize the OS? it looks very flexible with regard to ones needs - so I was wondering if this comes with complexity too?

Sure! Gentoo is quite customizable, indeed, and Portage is awesome :)
That being said, it's a two-edged sword (as Yike Lu noted) -- for a beginner the choices may be a bit too overwhelming. If you're the kind of person who likes to learn stuff by taking things apart and putting them back together (tuning them up in the process), and already have some experience with POSIX, chances are you'll love it :) If the very thought horrifies you and/or this is your first distro, it may be somewhat sub-optimal... ;]
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
Sure! Gentoo is quite customizable, indeed, and Portage is awesome :)
That being said, it's a two-edged sword (as Yike Lu noted) -- for a beginner the choices may be a bit too overwhelming. If you're the kind of person who likes to learn stuff by taking things apart and putting them back together (tuning them up in the process), and already have some experience with POSIX, chances are you'll love it :) If the very thought horrifies you and/or this is your first distro, it may be somewhat sub-optimal... ;]

I have to say that a nice middle road for which you can get going more quickly is Arch Linux.

You only install what you want/need, but you get to avoid compiling from source, which can take forever (believe me, I once tried creating a Gentoo prefix bootstrap).

And I heartily second Tom's sentiment about using a Virtual Machine to experiment.
 
Note, the officially recommended stage3 installation doesn't require bootstrapping. In general, you don't have to always compile from the source for Gentoo, there are precompiled binaries available for some apps (e.g., you can use libreoffice-bin instead of libreoffice); of course there are usual trade-offs involved in building a fine-tuned, optimized version vs. just getting generic binaries (with the associated frequency of the updates) -- if you find generic binaries preferable, then I suppose neither Gentoo nor Arch might be suitable to your preference.

A Cooperative Virtual Machine (CVM), like Cooperative Linux (coLinux), might be an interesting alternative to a VM:
http://www.colinux.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_Linux
 
Thanks.. I'll try the most used distros on the virtual machine and try something else later.

Do you have any suggestions a good C++ editor?
 
I am just curious why so many people use/like Ubuntu. My favourite distribution is Slackware, but as someone already noted that if you do not know how and what to do, it may be better to start with more "user-friendly" distro, but why Ubuntu? Why not Suse or Centos/rhel/Fedora? Those are also very easy to install and get started. Moreover, you are gaining skills that you can sell to get a job. I havent heard of any company running Ubuntu as enterprise OS.

As for C/C++ compilers, there are gcc/g++ and many others - just Google.
Code::Blocks is good gui, for text editors the best (IMHO) is emacs.
 
See how your post is quickly turning into a passionate debate :)

I've used Ubuntu for two years since version 10.04 Lucid Lynx and that's what I'd recommend you to use (current version 12.04.1) with classic GNOME. It's the most popular distribution with a great support, most of the questions are answered within minutes on their forum - you cannot beat that even with a paid support. I also did not have any trouble installing Ubuntu on my laptop, Ubuntu supported all the hardware out of the box - camera, mic, display port, etc. - everything. However, Ubuntu made an unfortunate turn towards using its own UI environment Unity. New GNOME 3 is not any good either for multitasking but you can install GNOME classic.

As a first time Linux user forget about other distros for awhile. Ubuntu will do the job you described. At my understanding you want Linux for work and not for tinkering with an endless list of distros. I've tried few other Linuxes so I can tell:

gentoo - you need to compile apps from the sources, it gets tricky with missing dependencies and generally time consuming.

Someone recommended Centos/rhel/Fedora. Fedora is never stable, it crashes, it's a sort of a pilot release for RHEL. I have latest CentOS 6.2 on a dual boot on my laptop (free flavor of RHEL), it's not a desktop OS, it's meant primarily for servers, it means it does not look that nice as Ubuntu such as fonts and etc. Also some of the apps are not available in the repository so you'd have to build those yourself from the source. However CentOS/RHEL are super stable with 7 years of support, NYSE runs on RedHat.

gcc/g++ is great, with C++11 support; QtCreator is a very polished IDE with great support, you can use it with your own makefiles to develop any sorts of apps not just Qt.
 
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