Linux Mint broke the 6 year old record today by replacing Ubuntu as the most popular linux-based distro. Mint was in close competition with Ubuntu and was in the second spot for long. Today, Linux Mint sits on top with 2279 and Ubuntu went down to the second spot with 2098 rating.
The ratings does not reflect that there are more users with Linux Mint than with Ubuntu. It actually means that Linux Mint is gaining popularity among users and becomimg more visible among the linux user community. The users, primarily distro hunters, are clicking on Linux Mint page in Distro Watch more than they do for the Ubuntu page.
This, however, reflects the general feeling among many users who are not happy with the Ubuntu's switch to Unity desktop interface. After Ubuntu 11.10 release, many Ubuntu users have begun searching for how to get Classic Gnome Desktop back. The ratings on the Distro Watch does show the users dislike for a few changes in the Ubuntu's switch to Unity.
Linux Mint too have announced plans to switch to Gnome 3 in its upcoming release . But it will still include the Gnome 2 version.
Linux Mint's goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It also adds a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, and a web-based package installation interface. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories.