Mint is pretty nice. Isn't there a an Ubuntu community and archive that would be happy to have your Nord front-end? I've had a three year Nord subscription for about a year now, but I run it on Windows. Have not given Bill any money for a long time: Got my Win 7 with a used machine, and just upgraded it to Win 10 for free. Seems to work fine.
Used linux a lot when I was working. It was all embedded stuff, so linux was a natural for tiny boards with ARM processors. A lot of those boards come with linux in flash.