Linux Mint's purpose is to produce an elegant, up-to-date, and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop based on Ubuntu. Some of the reasons for the success of Linux Mint are:
It's one of the most community driven distributions
It is a Debian-based distribution and as such it is very solid and it comes with one of the greatest package managers
It is compatible with and uses Ubuntu repositories. This gives Linux Mint users access to a huge collection of packages and software.
It comes with a lot of desktop improvements which make it easier for the user to do common things
There is a strong focus on making things work out of the box (WiFi cards drivers in the file system, multimedia support, screen resolution, etc)
New features in Linux Mint 18.1 KDE
Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use.
KDE Plasma 5.8
This release ships with the KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment.
For an overview of this desktop and its new features, please watch the video below:
A new column is available to show where updates come from and sort them by origin.
Kernel updates in the main view are shown with more clarity than before and their version is made more prominent.
In the kernel window, kernels are now sorted by version and recommendations are given for both the most stable and the most secure kernels.
The list of updates is no longer refreshed if an update fails or if it is interrupted.
Changelogs are now cached and only downloaded when needed.
Name resolution (the name given by the update manager to a group of package updates) and support for special characters were improved.
The layout of the security policy screen was improved.
The version number of the update manager now appears in the "Help -> About" dialog window.
The Software Sources tool was given support for anycast IP global mirrors.
These mirrors provide multiple servers across the World and automatically redirect your requests to the appropriate server.
Unlike other mirrors which are located in a particular country, these mirrors are more or less "Worldwide" and available to all users.
This release ships with linux-firmware 1.157.5 and the Linux kernel 4.4.0-53.
Linux Mint 18.1 features a superb collection of backgrounds from Anders Jilden, Andres Nieto Porras, Alberto Restifo, Graziano Capelli, David Marcu, Dorin Vancea, Emma Hall, Eric Kilby, John Chavez, Joe Gardner, Juergen Donauer, Jan Vasek, Kace Rodriguez, Lionello DelPiccolo, Maxime Staudenmann, Petra Fischer, Philippe Wuyts, Robert Lukeman, Sylvain Guiheneuc, Stephen Radford and Sam Schooler.
Linux Mint 18.1 features KDE Plasma 5.8, a Linux kernel 4.4 and an Ubuntu 16.04 package base.
Linux Mint 18.1 will receive security updates until 2021.
Until 2018, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 18, making it trivial for people to upgrade.
Until 2018, the development team won't start working on a new base and will be fully focused on this one.