Linux Mint's purpose is to produce an elegant, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop distribution.
Is Linux Mint legal?
Yes. Linux Mint respects the GPL and it also respects the copyrights and licenses of the proprietary software it distributes (Flash for instance).
What about software patents?
95% of the countries do not recognize the legitimacy of software patents. If you're unlucky and live in a country which legislation does allow software patents to be enforced then there is a possibility Linux might be breaking some of the patents enforced by your country's legislation. Most if not all software applications in general are threatened by software patents. Debian, Ubuntu and even Microsoft Windows do break software patents. Linux Mint is not different. For more information read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent and as an example have a look at this patent on the use of "progress bars": http://v3.espacenet.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=US5301348
Why does Linux Mint include proprietary drivers?
It doesn't. If it did, it would be legally wrong (because it would violate the GPL) or ethically wrong (if some dirty trick was used for the user to link the code to the kernel for instance).
What about proprietary software?
We believe in open source and release all our work with the corresponding source code. We owe a lot to the Free Software movement and to the GPL but we also owe a lot to all the developers who contributed ideas and tools and who made software better and better throughout the years. Some of them released their source code as well and thus granted us more freedom and more flexibility. Others released their software with proprietary licenses and although this didn't give us the freedom we would have liked it still contributed to make software better. We like Software in general, Free Software even more, but we do not believe in boycotting Proprietary Software.
Is Linux Mint "Ubuntu + Multimedia Codecs"?
No. Linux Mint's purpose is to produce a great desktop operating system. The fact that it is based on Ubuntu or that it comes with multimedia codecs is just an aspect of it. Some projects like "Automatix", or "Ubuntu Ultimate Edition" already bring multimedia codecs and additional software to Ubuntu and such is their purpose. Our purpose has nothing to do with Ubuntu. Our purpose is to make a great desktop operating system. In that process we decided to use Ubuntu as our starting point because they represented the best alternative for us to start from. We have a very different structure than the one of Ubuntu and a very different vision of what a desktop should be. Ubuntu is a great distribution and so is Linux Mint, they are compatible and they will hopefully collaborate and learn from each others, but they are nonetheless different distributions and heading towards different directions.
Is Linux Mint suitable for companies?
Yes. Linux Mint offers paid commercial support to companies and individuals. Free community support is also available from the forums and the IRC channel. The main purpose of Linux Mint is to innovate and constantly bring the best desktop solutions to its users. For this reason, the release cycle is fast and a new version of Linux Mint can be released every month or every two months. All released version of Linux Mint are actively supported and some of the releases (possibly Bianca or Cassandra) will come with a Long Term Support guarantee (a guarantee that our Support Center will support these releases for the years to come).
Is Linux Mint suitable for individuals?
Yes, definitely. We believe Linux is the best operating system on the market. There are more than 300 active Linux distributions and we're working hard at becoming the best alternative for your desktop. This is a tough competition as there are other great desktop operating systems and distributions out there. We have faith in the quality of our desktop and a lot of great ideas. If your computer is a PC and you have more than 512MB RAM you should try Linux Mint and see what you think about it. If you're running a 5 years old non-free operating system such as Microsoft Windows XP you should definitely be impressed. We like hearing about your experience and taking your suggestions onboard so please give us your feedback.
Linux Mint and UbuntuLinux Mint is based on Ubuntu and compatible with it.
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