Ubuntu is derived from Debian and Linux Mint is itself a fork of Ubuntu – currently based on Ubuntu 16.4 LTS code but with some Mint magic added , regular updates and the Cinnamon desktop. Ubuntu 18.4 LTS is currently under development leaving LinuxMint with its 16.4 origins – reliable perhaps as it has been out for some time, but not necessarily compatible with the latest hardware or Linux Kernel updates and security patches. I therefore decided to give Ubuntu another look.
As previously mentioned, Ubuntu 17.10 works better with the Dell Inspiron 13 :5000 touch screen supporting touch and auto-rotate when the device is in tablet mode. Ubuntu can use either Wayland or the more traditional X11 display manager – which may offer performance enhancements but is currently less well supported, particularly conflicting with some graphics and video editing applications. One issue with Wayland is that it does not provide a GUI for root – ie you can’t copy files to root folders such as opt using the filemanager Nautilus – ability to use basic terminal commands is required for this.. This can make things a bit more tricky for the newbie but is not too much of an issue as I was to discover.
Setting up Ubuntu to meet my needs required a bit more effort than with Cinnamon. Ubuntu moved away from the Unity desktop for a customised version of Gnome 3, and as a result is quite different from Cinnamon or other designs more akin to Windows or the Mac OS. After a fresh installation Ubuntu has a fairly minimalist top panel and a dock spanning the left screen border. The default theme and icon set is not to my liking. Fortunately, just about everything can be custmised with a bit of help from the Gnome Tweak tool and Gnome extras.
To be continued