Linux Mint and the Unity desktop are compatible, but the Unity interface is prone to freezing and it is nowhere as fast as the KDE 4.7.4 desktop that is a far superior interface that is more useful, you can use the KDE desktop just like the familiar Windows desktop that many computer users are familiar with even if they have used Windows 7. The Windows 8 distribution will not be as successful as the former release due to the Metro interface that makes no sense on a desktop machine at all. A Linux user may install any window manager they want to create their own workspace, but the Windows users will not have so many choices unless they install a Windows Explorer shell replacement like BBlean or Litestep.
Linux has Afterstep, Windowmaker, KDE or MATE. That is the strength of an open-source operating system like Linux. The FreeBSD UNIX operating system has the same range of window managers available and with the KMS support coming in FreeBSD 10, you will be able to use an accelerated desktop on an Intel i3 CPU using integrated graphics without having to put up with the insufferable VESA driver in Xorg. That will bring FreeBSD into the 21st century and will bring more users to this UNIX operating system that does deserve them. I hope that the Kernel Mode Setting support will allow a high resolution frame-buffer console that will run at the native resolution of your screen.
As I have said before, I would switch to FreeBSD if the KMS support is put into place. The Ubuntu 12.04 distribution has been released with mixed reviews, it is better to use Linux Mint at the moment, it just works better. The kubuntu-desktop release would be worth using as a worthwhile substitute for anything to do with Unity. Canonical are banking on their new tablet interface for desktop usage, but they have shot themselves in the foot. Any company that keeps changing the desktop interface over and over and will not let their customers keep a singular desktop interface that they can learn and become accustomed to is destined to not succeed in the future. The KDE desktop is maintaining the same style of interface that they had in the KDE 2.2 release.
Sure, the file-manager and other small things have changed; but it is still a usable desktop with none of the Windows 8 Metro silliness that Microsoft have perpetuated in the latest Windows release. Will the Windows 9 interface be Metro only? Maybe the Ubuntu 14.04 release will have a simplistic Idiocracy styled interface as shown in the screenshot to the right. That would suit Canonical just fine. Hopefully sense will prevail and the Canonical team will design something that is actually worth using. Of course, just typing sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop will fix all of the problems with the Ubuntu desktop. And using KDM instead of Lightdm or GDM is also a very good thing.
The Ubuntu 12.10 release is planned to have something named Gnome Flavor, I am not sure what that is, you can already install Gnome Shell on Ubuntu 12.04 if you do not want to use the Unity desktop. Install it by typing sudo apt-get install gnome-shell, then logout and select the GNOME option in Lightdm or GDM to use the Gnome Shell desktop. The screenshot to the left displays the Gnome Shell desktop on Ubuntu 12.04. Does this mean that Canonical will create an alternate Gnome desktop to augment the Ubuntu experience? We will have to wait and see when they release the Ubuntu 12.10 beta and we can try out the Gnome Flavor whatever it is and see what they can come up with. But as long as KDE is still offered in the Ubuntu repositories that will be the best option for a useful Linux desktop.