Linux Mint with Mate is working well. Very well. I couldn't have asked for a smoother transition from Max OS X to Linux. I've been really happy with the usability and performance of the Mint OS. However, as I began researching my new software and learning more, I started feeling like maybe Cinnamon was a desktop I was missing out on. Version 2 was just released and may prove to be a better experience than v1.8 had been with my initial test of the desktop environment. Plus, it was specifically developed for the Linux Mint OS, so maybe I had better give it another chance.
Last night I installed Cinnamon to run next to Mate. It's a setup where when I log out of my session I can switch between the two and use whichever environment I feel like using in the moment. So far, it's working great, and it's definitely a much richer desktop experience. It feels more on par with the Windows 7 or Mac OS in how it controls and organizes the various features of the machine and it's applications. I've decided to stick with Cinnamon for now and hopefully going forward. Mate was good for me, it helped me get my foot in the door and it's definitely still a solid choice and I'm glad it remains an option on my machine, but Cinnamon is the future of Linux Mint, and quite possibly other Linux distributions.
Since I'm running Cinnamon on my aluminium MacBook I feel it is only proper to leave you with a link to one of my favorite Decemberists songs, "Sons and Daughters."