A new blog post on the official Linux Mint web site reveals the upcoming changes in Linux Mint 19.3. Its code name has also been revealed. Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" will include updates to Xfce, apps, and surprisingly will feature app replacements.
Celluloid instead of Xplayer
The most unexpected change to me is Xplayer and VLC being replaced with Celluloid. Celluloid is ф relatively new app, which is not a standalone player but a frontend for MPV, the feature-rich console player, a fork of the famous mplayer app. While I can understand why the team is excluding VLC from the default bundle, it is strange to see Xplayer not pre-installed. Xplayer is based on Totem 3.10, the player app for Gnome 3 DE. Developers have done great work on improving it and retaining its classic user interface and features. I would expect to see it as the default GUI player app in Mint. But things have changed.
Not that I miss Xplayer or VLC. I have never liked Totem/Xplayer, it was always too simplified for my needs. As for VLC, I ditched it for mpv with the SMPlayer frontend on both Linux and Windows for a long time ago. I don't like the way the user interface and settings are implemented in VLC. Also, it has playback issues on my computers, often giving me a picture consisting of squares.
Personally, I welcome this change. Celluloid has a beautiful, modern UI and does not look complicated for an average user (like SMPlayer does).
Gnote instead of Tomboy
Now, I am referring to sticky notes apps. Tomboy is sort of a non-native Linux app, which is built using .NET/Mono. Linux users commonly alienate Mono apps. Gnote is built using GTK 3, so it won't have scaling/HiDPI issues and it utilizes all the modern features of the GTK libraries.
Xfce in Linux Mint Xfce Edition will be updated to 4.14, bringing the GTK 3 version of this excellent DE to end users. On one hand, some users may argue that it consumes more resources than the good old GTK 2 version. But on the other hand, it has HiDPI support right from the beginning and better compatibility with modern apps. Also, it doesn't rely on its own theming engine any more. I use it here since its official release, and I didn't find any major issue with it. Everything I use is working properly.
To boost compatibility with modern hardware, Linux Mint 19.3 will ship with kernel 5.0 and Xorg 1.20.
The default date format was fixed in Cinnamon and MATE. It will now properly follow the locale set by LC_TIME, and this locale is configurable in the Language Settings.
Work on the XAppStatusIcon API is finished. Applets were added to Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. LibAppIndicator was patched. We’ll have crisp icons in all environments in 19.3, HiDPI compatible, with support for symbolic icons and without rendering issues.
New splash screens were made for Grub and Plymouth (boot logo).
Linux Mint 19.3 will be released for Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce in 32-bit and 64-bit just before Christmas.
So, what's your take on these changes? Do you welcome them? If you ask me, I am always enthusiastic about new Mint releases. They give me that nostalgic feeling I had several years ago when Microsoft was releasing really interesting Windows versions, each of those was like a new discovery.