".. pursue its own efforts like the homegrown Cinnamon and MATE desktops, ..."
The Mint people did develop Cinnamon as a 'homegrown' desktop manager but the MATE desktop manager was developed by another group and was adopted by Mint at an early stage.
Due to their FOSSiness and being popular in use, they are both available as options on many recent distributions.
The update to MATE 1.16 seems to have finally fixed the 'roaming panel icon' problem that I'd experienced often. The previous update to 1.14 had fixed the hyperextending drawer problem, which was a total pain in the backside when it happened. Now, MATE just works nicely.
The Mint 18.x series are LTS until early 2021 so it's a good OS to settle down with for a while. Mint 19 should be out in mid 2018 and Mint 20 in mid 2020, in keeping with the usual upstream Ubuntu release cycle.