Well, it didn't take nearly as long as I thought that it would. Hot on the heels of my post about Mint Debian and updates, new base release ISO images for both the Gnome and Xfce desktops were made available at the end of last week. I find the fact that they were released together to be particularly encouraging, because it appears that the Xfce distribution is being treated as an equal to the Gnome distribution, rather than as a poor step-child, the way some other distributions do it. As I suspect Xfce will be getting more interest in the near future because of the uncertainty and unhappiness about Gnome 3, this is good news.
Linux Mint has given up on the "700MB CD-R" size restriction with these releases, and they are each over 1GB in size. The images are compatible with the Unetbootin utility, so they can easily be converted to a bootable USB stick, or of course you can burn them to a DVD. Either way, downloading and installation are quick and easy, and in well under an hour you can have either (or both) versions installed and running.
The Gnome version uses the excellent Mint Menu system, so the basic desktop and Favorites menu look like this:
rest here