Despite some shortcomings, I use Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) when I install Linux for other people. I disagree that LMDE is for “experienced users.” LMDE has potential as a “beginner’s” distro. Potential.
There are some quality assurance (QA) issues.
With the MATE version the default system menu has two Help options, one in Accessories and one in System. The former is a help file for Linux Mint and the latter is for MATE. There is no clue or hint in the menu which is which.
The Mint user guide includes instructions for installing. I wish distro maintainers would get past this speed bump. Any user locally reading the user guide already has the system installed.
Documentation is straightforward. Think in terms of bite-size information. Stop cramming every topic into a single mega-manual. Stop being lazy.
Create distinct guides:
- Installation Guide
- Quick Start Guide
- User Guide
- Administrator Guide
For the LMDE menu Help option, rather than a single Help option, create two *.desktop files and populate the menu with both the Quick Start Guide and User Guide. Install the Quick Start Guide on the desktop. Modify the upstream MATE Help menu option to be more specific. Then lump all Help menu options in the same menu category. Accessories menu? No, that makes no sense. Place all Help menu options into the System menu. Users would see something like this in the System menu:
Help - Mint Quick Start Guide
Help - Mint User Guide
Help - MATE Desktop User Guide
Another issue is the Mint Welcome Center. There is an overwhelming presumption of finding help only online. Non technical users find these options intimidating. They expect and want all help options to be available locally.
Related is the default installation of Hexchat, an IRC app, because of the expectation by Mint developers that all users can and will only contact them through IRC. Not going to happen with most non technical users. That the Mint developers resist from participating in the discussion forum — a place non technical users might feel comfortable seeking help — is a shame and somewhat a prima donna attitude, let alone a usability issue.
Then there is the inxi command. Browse the Mint user forums and notice how often gurus ask people to post specific inxi results. The problem? There is no GUI wrapper to inxi. Pointy-clicky is what non technical users expect and need.