Back to Linux Mint... 13
Yesterday, Thunderbird and Chrome kept repeatedly crashing until I logged out and back in again.
The entire computer hung at another point; I couldn't log in remotely, move the mouse, do anything with the keyboard (numlock etc).
At another point, the kernel reported some kind of error/crash/panic/something--can't remember as I was juggling several things at once.
And a few weeks ago, video was going wonky after waking from sleep (I believe they've gotten this known issue fixed since then)...
I fully expect all of these issues to be resolved in the coming months. Meanwhile, I really need two things. First, a stable Linux environment. Second, a supported environment so I can install and update packages, like Festival speech synthesis.
So Mint 17 is gone, replaced with Mint 13 LTS (Long Term Support), based on Ubuntu 12.04; it will be supported until April 2017.
Mint 13 appears to be rock solid so far, zero issues. There are some under-the-covers differences; I couldn't change desktop settings until I nuked the newer config directories. Minor issue. I may be stuck with older versions of some packages, we'll see. And Nemo file explorer didn't come out until Mint 14, but that's ok.
In another month or so I'll give Mint 17 another go and if it's not behaving better I'll try to spend some time reporting bugs.