Way back in 2008 I tried Linux Mint for the first time. It was of course only initially released in 2006 but even by the time I had tried it I could tell something was distinctly different about this version of Linux... I never much cared for vanilla Ubuntu, but had stayed clear of Mint at first partly because the newcomers made it out to be a Linux for noobs. There are plenty of people who still make the case that Linux Mint is simply the defacto standard for newcomers, but as a Crunchbang Linux user I wasn't in any hurry to switch. The installer was dead simple to make and use, the standard options were good even then, and above all else Linux mint felt very much like the Linux I was using as it had a pre-selected list of programs nearly identical to what I'd install on my desktop on any Linux variant. Open office which is now replaced with Libre-Office vs whatever was on Ubuntu etc.
Linux Mint 19
Faster than it's predecessors and now somewhat friendlier regarding updates thanks to the central focus on Timeshift as a backups/snapshot system. Everything else still works like you expect but with a bit of performance boost thanks to improvements to the file manager system and window draw rates. I still immediately install Google Chrome as it runs Amazon video etc better than Mozilla (which was my go to for years until the whole widevine cdn thing.) *Widevine CDN is the main reason Google Chrome has faster and better looking video on any OS than Mozilla - arguably also why arm processors don't have wide support yet for Amazon video. Mint 19 now has new icons, and a fairly deep aesthetic overhaul that included some menu changes but anyone who used it prior to 19 will not be lost by any means.
Excellent driver mgmt system, Nvidia on my laptop took to the 304 driver quite well, and the libraries that became available were reflected immediately in the updates so I can't say anything aside from perfect. 5 out of 5
Everything seems primed for deep programming, pip works for python on any version, codeblocks seems to be flawless, all the IDE are there and configure correctly provided you have the right languages installed prior to trying to configure plugins. I haven't looked at the Java stuff yet but can't see any issues there either. I'll say again perfect 5 out of 5
I'm watching very intelligent processor use, no overloading of any specific core and while I can imagine scenarios where someone could cause freeze up with a Cinnamon desktop the system is set to allow unfreezing easily enough, (Cntrl, alt, Backspace vs Cntrl, alt, F4) By the way if you drop your graphics environment that way you can bring it back with control, alt, F7. My Cinnamon experience is generally flawless and while I don't go super intense with the extra options, whenever I've tested them they work fine with little if any noticeable slowdown. 5 out of 5
Best looking Cinnamon desktop design, and by far the best looking Linux. 5 out of 5
Ease Of Use
Simplicity itself - but not at all just for newcomers. Everything can be modified down the last detail with the right know how. The team at Linux Mint have thus far never disappointed us. The first desktop on Linux that didn't arbitrarily blank due to the xset (Cinnamon) was included early on... and has been a mainstay of the options on Linux Mint and they have made it consistently easy to use and impossible to outperform. 5 out of 5