One of the best Linux distros available these days, Linux Mint, has reached version 17.3 today. This update is significant as it features new versions of MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments. Both editions are available for download.
Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distro which adds several packages to the original Ubuntu package set and is focused on usability. These packages include the desktop environments mentioned above, artwork, icons and themes, and various configuration tools designed to make the OS more user friendly.
Starting with Mint 17, all Ubuntu-based distros of Mint are based only on LTS (Long Term Support) releases of Ubuntu. This means it will be more stable. Also, it means the support period will be very long. As of Linux Mint 17, these release versions will be supported till 2019.
Linux Mint offers the classic Desktop paradigm based on ideas of Gnome 2. It is ideal for users who can't accept the user interface of Unity or Gnome 3. Both Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments provide a similar experience with the traditional Desktop, icons, taskbar and the system tray. The applications menu is designed to look similar to the Start menu of Windows, which should make migration from Windows easier for novice users.
For those users who are familiar with Gnome 2 in its classic implementation, Mint have can classic Gnome 2's apps menu. Both, MATE and Cinnamon can be extended with add-ons and plugins.
Here are the key features of the new release of Mint:
- MATE 1.12
- Cinnamon 2.8
- Support for window managers in MATE now includes Marco, Metacity, Xfwm4 and the lightweight Openbox. You can switch between them on-the-fly. Two new commands, wm-detect and wm-recovery, provide the ability to show information about the current window manager and to restore the previously used one respectively.
- Composition can be enabled using Compiz and Compton software. The appropriate options were added to the configuration app.
- Software Sources can detect and suggest the fastest mirror for packages, reliability and the update status of repositories, compatibility of PPA repositories and many other improvements.
- Driver Manager now works much faster, highlights free/open drivers.
- LibreOffice 5.0
- Linux kernel 4.2.0
Upgrade instructions are as follows:
- To upgrade from the BETA, simply launch the Update Manager and install any Level 1 update available.
- To upgrade from Linux Mint 17, 17.1 or 17.2, please wait for a few days for a new version of the Update Manager. In the mean time, you do not need to download or reinstall anything.
Release notes: MATE, Cinnamon.
Download links can be found here: MATE edition, Cinnamon edition.
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