Linux Mint 19.1 BETA is available for download

Today, the team behind the popular Linux Mint  distro is releasing ISO images for the version Linux Mint 19.1 BETA. The user can download Cinnamon, MATE, and XFCE editions to try out Mint 19.1 "Tessa". Let's see what it offers to the end user.

Linux Mint 19.1 comes with Cinnamon 4.0, which brings tons of various interesting changes, including a new panel layout, Nemo 4.0 with performance and usability improvements, an updated Update Manager app, new shared components of XApps, and more.

Cinnamon 4.0

Cinnamon 4.0

The official announcement say the following:

Cinnamon 4.0 will look more modern thanks to a new panel layout. Whether you enjoy the new look or prefer the old one, we want everyone to feel at home in their operating system, so you’ll have the option to embrace the change or to click a button to make Cinnamon look just like it did before. The idea of a larger and darker panel had been in the roadmap for a while.

Mint 19.1 Welcome Screen

The user will be able to choose between the traditional panel and a modern window list applet with window grouping and window previews. The modern version of the panel includes the following features:

  • 40px icons
  • 24px icons in the system tray
  • Windows that are grouped by application

Users were given the ability to define a different icon size for each of the three panel zones (left, center and right for horizontal panels, or top, center and bottom for vertical ones). Each panel zone can now have a crisp icon size such as 16, 22, 24, 32, 48 or 64px or it can be made to scale either exactly (to fit the panel size) or optimally (to scale down to the largest crisp icon size which fits in the panel).

Screen tearing reduction, performance improvements

In Cinnamon 3.8, vertical syncrhonization is set to VBlank. It has changed in Cinnamon 4.0.

Although Vsync prevents screen tearing from happening, it also has a performance cost. That cost is visible in Cinnamon when dragging a window with the mouse. As you move the mouse cursor left and right, you can notice that the window which is dragged under it doesn’t move exactly “with it”, but with a slight delay, as if there was some sort of elastic band between the cursor and the window it’s holding.

Removing Vsync removes that delay. Window drags are then immediate and fully responsive. FPS measures also seem to confirm this observation and higher FPS figures lead the developer team to believe this could have other positive impacts on Cinnamon’s performance.

Input lag was reduced on NVIDIA cards and the window manager feels more responsive when moving windows. You now can disable VSYNC in the System Settings. This basically delegates VSYNC to your GPU driver (which needs to handle it otherwise you get screen tearing) and if that driver performs well, it can eliminate input lag and boost performance.

The following improvements were backported from Gnome 3:

  • Similar to Mutter, Muffin now uses its own embedded version of COGL and Clutter, which received most of the patches applied to the one in GNOME.
  • Many Mutter performance improvements were applied to Muffin.
  • CJS received many commits from GNOME’s GJS, including improvements to its garbage collection.

Mint-Y improvements

Due to the changes done to the theme, its contrast was increased, making icons and text more readable.

Mint Y Contrast

The changes also make it easier to visually identify the focused window:

Mint Y Contrast Active Window

The foreground colors were darkened (this is particularly visible here in the symbolic toolbar icons). The titlebar label is more pronounced as well, and the frame and contour of some of the widgets appear more clearly within the user interface.

Also, Linux Mint 19.1 features monochrome status icons.

Update Manager

The Update Manager app is now able to show the list of mainline kernels with their support status. Also, there is a new button to remove unused kernels.

Thumb Mintupdate
Mintupdate2

Xapps

Xreader comes with a number of improvements made to the look and feel of the document viewer. Thumbnails and page borders in particular look more crisp.

Thumb Xreader

Xed now uses libpeas, python3 and the MESON build system. Its statusbar was reworked. It now indicates whether the document is in tabs or spaces mode and highlight modes are searchable.

Xed

LibXApp includes four new widgets. 

XAppStackSidebar makes it easy to create icon sidebars, such as the ones used in the Welcome Screen or the Software Sources.

XAppPreferencesWindow provides a multi-page preference window with a built-in icon sidebar. This component is used to display application preferences in Xed, Xreader and Nemo.

There is a new icon chooser dialog added to the XApp library. It will be used by Xapps when it is required to select an icon or specify its path.

Xapp Icon Chooser

Software Sources

The Software Sources tool has received a new look. Similar to the welcome screen, it’s now using an Xapp sidebar and a header bar.

Mintsources 191

The optional sources section was also simplified and developers are planning to add a new option to make it easy to add debug repositories (to adapt to Debian’s decision to move debug symbols to dbgsym packages/repositories).

System requirements

  • 1GB RAM (2GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • 15GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
  • 1024×768 resolution (on lower resolutions, press ALT to drag windows with the mouse if they don’t fit in the screen).

Notes:

  • The 64-bit ISO can boot with BIOS or UEFI.
  • The 32-bit ISO can only boot with BIOS.
  • The 64-bit ISO is recommended for all modern computers (Almost all computers sold since 2007 are equipped with 64-bit processors).

Upgrade instructions

  • This BETA release might contain critical bugs, please only use it for testing purposes and to help the Linux Mint team fix issues prior to the stable release.
  • It will be possible to upgrade from this BETA to the stable release.
  • It will also be possible to upgrade from Linux Mint 19. Upgrade instructions will be published after the stable release of Linux Mint 19.1.

You can get the ISO images by visiting the official announcement.

That's it.

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