Linux Mint

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Linux Mint
Linux Mint logo and wordmark.svg
Linux Mint 17 MATE.png Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) Cinnamon.png
Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) running MATE 1.8 (top) and Cinnamon 2.2 (bottom)
Company / developerClement Lefebvre, Jamie Boo Birse, Kendall Weaver, and community[1]
OS familyLinux
Working stateActive
Source modelFree and open-source software and proprietary software
Initial release27 August 2006; 7 years ago (2006-08-27)
Latest releaseLinux Mint 17 ("Qiana") (May 31, 2014; 2 months ago (2014-05-31)) [±]
Available inMultilingual[2]
Update methodAPT (+ mintUpdate, Synaptic)
Package managerdpkg
Platformsi486, x86-64
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
UserlandGNU
Default user interface1.0: KDE
2.0-9: GNOME 2 / LXDE (also for some versions)
12: GNOME 3 with MGSE
13-17: Cinnamon/MATE/KDE/Xfce[3]
LicenseMainly GNU GPL and various other free software licenses
Official websitelinuxmint.com
 
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Linux Mint
Linux Mint logo and wordmark.svg
Linux Mint 17 MATE.png Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) Cinnamon.png
Linux Mint 17 (Qiana) running MATE 1.8 (top) and Cinnamon 2.2 (bottom)
Company / developerClement Lefebvre, Jamie Boo Birse, Kendall Weaver, and community[1]
OS familyLinux
Working stateActive
Source modelFree and open-source software and proprietary software
Initial release27 August 2006; 7 years ago (2006-08-27)
Latest releaseLinux Mint 17 ("Qiana") (May 31, 2014; 2 months ago (2014-05-31)) [±]
Available inMultilingual[2]
Update methodAPT (+ mintUpdate, Synaptic)
Package managerdpkg
Platformsi486, x86-64
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
UserlandGNU
Default user interface1.0: KDE
2.0-9: GNOME 2 / LXDE (also for some versions)
12: GNOME 3 with MGSE
13-17: Cinnamon/MATE/KDE/Xfce[3]
LicenseMainly GNU GPL and various other free software licenses
Official websitelinuxmint.com

Linux Mint is a 32- and 64-bit Linux distribution for desktop computers, based on either Ubuntu or Debian.[4] Its stated aim is to be a "modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use." Mint provides full out-of-the-box multimedia support by including some proprietary software such as Adobe Flash. Mint's motto is "from freedom came elegance".[5]

New versions of Linux Mint have been released approximately every six months. The first release, named "Ada", was released in 2006. The 17th release, "Qiana", was released on May 31, 2014. Support for older releases usually ends shortly after the next version is released, but there have been releases with long-term support, with v17.x supported for five years, ending in April 2019.

History[edit]

Linux Mint started in 2006 with a beta release of version 1.0, codenamed "Ada", based on Kubuntu. Following its release, version 2.0 "Barbara" was the first version to use Ubuntu as its codebase. Mint had few users from these early versions until the release of 3.0, "Cassandra."[6][7]

Version 2.0 was based on Ubuntu 6.10, using its package repositories and using it as a codebase. From there, Linux Mint followed its own codebase, building each release from its previous one but it continued to use the package repositories from the latest Ubuntu release. As such the distribution never really forked.This resulted in making the base between the two systems almost identical and it guaranteed full compatibility between the two operating systems.

In 2008, Linux Mint adopted the same release cycle as Ubuntu and dropped its minor version number before releasing version 5 "Elyssa". The same year, in an effort to increase the compatibility between the two systems, Linux Mint decided to abandon its code-base and changed the way it built its releases. Starting with version 6 "Felicia" each release was now completely based on the latest Ubuntu release, built directly from it, timed for approximately one month after the corresponding Ubuntu release (i.e. usually in May and November).

In 2010 Linux Mint released Linux Mint Debian Edition. Unlike the other Ubuntu-based editions, it is a rolling release based directly on Debian GNU/Linux and is not tied to Ubuntu packages or its release schedule.[7]

Releases[edit]

There have been two Linux Mint releases per year, generally timed one month after Ubuntu releases. Each version of Linux Mint is given an integer version number and is codenamed with a female first name ending in "a" and beginning with a letter of the alphabet that increases with every iteration.[7] Since the mid-2008 v5 every fourth release has been labeled a long-term support (LTS) version, indicating that it is supported (with updates) for longer, three years for v5 and v9, and five years thereafter.

Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" LTS was released on 31 May 2014, remaining current until the end of November 2014 and supported until April 2019.[7] In July 2014 it was announced that Linux Mint 17 LTS was the first release of the 17.x series, and that for two years applications would be backported to 17.x, with security updates until 2019. The next release was announced to be 17.1.[8]

Linux Mint does not communicate specific release dates, as new versions are published "when ready", meaning that they can be released early when the distribution is ahead of schedule or late when critical bugs are found.[9] New releases are announced, with much other material, on the Linux Mint blog.[10] The Cinnamon and MATE ISO images of v17 initially released had some problems,[11] and "v2 ISO respins", with "v2" in the filename, were released.

VersionCode nameRelease dateSupport status
Old version, no longer supported: 1.0 betaAda2006-08-27Obsolete since April 2008.[7]Unstable.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.0Barbara2006-11-13Obsolete since April 2008.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.1Bea2006-12-20Obsolete since April 2008.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.2Bianca2007-02-20Obsolete since April 2008.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.0Cassandra2007-05-30Obsolete since October 2008.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.1Celena2007-09-24[12]Obsolete since October 2008.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 4.0Daryna2007-10-15Obsolete since April 2009.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 5 LTSElyssa2008-06-08Long-term support release (LTS), obsolete since April 2011.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 6Felicia2008-12-15Obsolete since April 2010.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 7Gloria2009-05-26Obsolete since October 2010.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 8Helena2009-11-29Obsolete since April 2011.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 9 LTSIsadora2010-05-18[13]Long-term support release (LTS), obsolete since April 2013.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 10Julia2010-11-12[14]Obsolete since April 2012.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 11Katya2011-05-26[15]Obsolete since October 2012.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 12Lisa2011-11-26[16]Obsolete since April 2013.[7]
Older version, yet still supported: 13 LTSMaya2012-05-23[17]Long-term support release (LTS), supported until April 2017.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 14Nadia2012-11-20[18]Obsolete since May 2014.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 15Olivia2013-05-29[19]Obsolete since January 2014.[7]
Old version, no longer supported: 16Petra2013-11-30[20]Obsolete since July 2014.[7]
Current stable version: 17 LTSQiana2014-05-31 [21]

v2 "respin" 2014-06-29[11]

Long-term support release (LTS), supported until April 2019.
Future release: 17.1[8]First of 17.x series of releases
Legend:
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

Features[edit]

Linux Mint primarily utilizes free and open source software, making exceptions for some proprietary software, such as plug-ins and codecs that provide Adobe Flash, MP3, and DVD playback.[22][23][24] Linux Mint's inclusion of proprietary software is a bit unusual; many Linux distributions do not include proprietary software by default, as a common goal for Linux distributions is to adhere to the model of free and open source software.

Linux Mint comes with a wide range of software installed that includes LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, XChat, Pidgin, Transmission, GIMP, and Cheese. Additional software that is not installed by default can be downloaded using the package manager. Linux Mint allows networking ports to be closed using its firewall, with customized port selection available. The default Linux Mint desktop environments, MATE and Cinnamon, support many languages.[25][26] Linux Mint can also run many programs designed for Microsoft Windows (such as Microsoft Office), using the Wine Windows compatibility layer software for Linux, or virtualization software, including VMware Workstation and VirtualBox. As of version 16 there is an issue with multi-monitor support and Wine.

Linux Mint is available with a number of desktop environments to choose from, including the default Cinnamon desktop, MATE, KDE, and Xfce. Other desktop environments can be installed via APT, Synaptic, or via the custom Mint Software Manager.

Linux Mint actively develops software for its operating system. Most of the development is done in Python and the source code is available on GitHub.[27]

Software developed by Linux Mint[edit]

The Linux Mint Update Manager.
The Linux Mint Software Manager allows users to view and install programs from the Software Portal directly from their desktop.

Installation[edit]

Linux Mint can be run without installation from a Live CD;[32] it can also be installed onto a computer from the CD for a significant performance improvement, once confirmed compatible, using the provided Ubiquity installer.

Installation CD images can be downloaded without charge, or installation CDs purchased.[33][34] Linux Mint can be booted and run from a USB Flash drive on any PC capable of booting from a USB drive, with the option of saving settings to the flash drive. A USB creator program is available to install a Ubuntu (not LMDE) Live Linux Mint on a USB drive.

The Microsoft Windows Migration Assistant tool can be used to import bookmarks, desktop background (wallpaper), and various settings from an existing Windows installation into a new Linux Mint installation.

The Windows installer "Mint4Win" allows Linux Mint to be installed from within Microsoft Windows, much like the Wubi installer for Ubuntu. The operating system could then be removed, as with other Windows software, using the Windows Control Panel. This method requires no partitioning of the hard drive. It is only useful for Windows users, and is not meant for permanent installations because it incurs a slight performance loss. This installer was included on the Live CD until Linux Mint 16, but removed in the Linux Mint 16 "Petra" release because the size of the Live CD images would have exceeded what the software could reliably handle.

Installation supports a Logical Volume Manager (LVM) with automatic partitioning only, and disk encryption since Linux Mint 15.

UTF-8, the default character encoding, supports a variety of non-Roman scripts.

Upgrading[edit]

Updates to packages are frequently released. Linux Mint by default checks for updates and offers to install them.

When a complete new release of Linux Mint is issued, a user has several options:

Editions[edit]

Linux Mint has multiple editions that are based upon Ubuntu, with various desktop environments available. Linux Mint also has an edition based upon Debian. The table below shows the default environments, not those available.

Default desktop environments of Linux Mint 17 (2014) and LMDE 201403
CinnamonMATEKDEXfce
32-bit64-bit32-bit64-bit32-bit64-bit32-bit64-bit
Linux Mint 17 (Qiana)[7][37]YesYesYesYes
No Codecs edition[7][37]YesYesNoNo
OEM edition[7][37]NoYesNoYesNoNo
Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE)[38]YesYesNoNo
Windows Installer (mint4win)[7][39]NoOlder releaseNoOlder releaseNoNo

Ubuntu-based editions[edit]

As of Linux Mint 17 there are two main editions of Linux Mint, developed by the core development team and using Ubuntu as a base. One includes Mint's own Cinnamon as the desktop environment while the other uses MATE. Linux Mint also develops editions that feature the KDE and Xfce desktop environments by default, but these have secondary priority and are generally released somewhat later than the two main editions.[37]

Older releases, now obsoleted, included editions that featured GNOME, LXDE and Fluxbox desktop environments by default.

OEM version[edit]

The distribution provides an OEM version for manufacturers to use.[40][41]

No Codecs version[edit]

The distribution provides a "No Codecs" version for magazines, companies and distributors in the USA, Japan and countries where the legislation allows patents to apply to software and distribution of restricted technologies may require the acquisition of 3rd party licenses.[7][42][43] Multimedia codecs can be installed at any time via a link on the Mint Welcome Screen or a desktop launcher available for only No Codecs version.

Linux Mint Debian Edition[edit]

Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is based directly on Debian Testing, instead of Ubuntu, but is designed to provide the same functionality and look and feel as the Ubuntu-based edition.[44] LMDE is available with the MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments.[44]

LMDE has a semi-rolling release development model. Debian Testing is a "real" rolling release that constantly receives updates; LMDE periodically introduces “Update Packs” which are tested snapshots of Debian Testing.[44]

LMDE lists its advantages and disadvantages over the Ubuntu-based distribution:[45]

System requirements[edit]

Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" and LMDE have the following system requirements:[46]

CinnamonMATEXfceKDELMDE (v. 201403)
Processor (x86)700 MHz700 MHz700 MHz700 MHz700 MHz
Memory512 MB512 MB512 MBGBGB
Hard Drive (free space)GBGB10 GB10 GBGB
Monitor Resolution800×600800×600800×6001024×768800×600

32-bit Intel x86 and 64-bit AMD64 architectures are supported. A supported GPU is required for visual effects.

Development[edit]

Individual users and companies using the operating system act as donors,[47] sponsors[48] and partners[49] of the distribution. Linux Mint relies on user feedback to make decisions and orient its development. The official blog often features discussions where users are asked to voice their opinion about the latest features or decisions implemented for upcoming releases. Ideas can be submitted, commented upon and rated by users via the Linux Mint Community Website.[50]

The community of Linux Mint users use Launchpad to participate in the translation of the operating system and in reporting bugs.[51]

Most extraneous development is done in Python and organized on-line on GitHub, making it easy for developers to provide patches, to implement additional features or even to fork Linux Mint sub-projects (for example The Linux Mint menu was ported to Fedora). With each release, features are added that are developed by the community. In Linux Mint 9 for instance, the ability to edit menu items is a feature that was contributed by a Linux Mint user.[52]

The members of the development team are spread around the world and they communicate through private forums, emails and IRC.

Linux Mint reviews are tracked by the distribution and discussed by the development team and the community of users.[53]

Package classification[edit]

Linux Mint divides its software repositories into four main channels that reflect differences in their nature and in their origin.

main
Provides only software that is developed by Linux Mint.
upstream
Provides software which is present in Ubuntu but patched or modified by Linux Mint. As a result, the software provided by this channel behaves differently in each distribution. Notable examples are Grub, Plymouth, Ubiquity, Xchat, USB Creator and Yelp (the help system).
import
Provides software that is not available in Ubuntu or for which no recent versions are available in Ubuntu. Notable examples are Opera, Picasa, Skype, Songbird, the 64-bit Adobe Flash plugin and Frostwire.
romeo
Not enabled by default. Provides test packages before they are promoted to other (stable) channels. As such it represents the unstable branch of Linux Mint.

Additionally, there is a "backport" channel for ports of newer software to older releases without affecting the other channels. It is not enabled by default.

Reception[edit]

Linux Mint has been praised for focusing on desktop users.[54]

In 2012, Linux Mint surpassed Ubuntu as the most viewed distribution on DistroWatch.[55][56][57][58][59]

In a 2012 online poll at Lifehacker, Linux Mint was voted the best Linux distribution after Ubuntu, with around 16% of the votes.[60]

In Issue 162, Linux Format named Mint the best distro for 2012.

In Issue 128 (July 2013), Linux User and Developer gave Linux Mint 15 ("Olivia") a score of 5/5, stating "We haven't found a single problem with the distro… we're more than satisfied with the smooth, user-friendly experience that Linux Mint 15, and Cinnamon 1.8, provides for it to be our main distro for at least another 6 months."[61]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Linux Mint Teams - Linux Mint". 
  2. ^ "Linux Mint - Official Documentation". Retrieved May 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Download - Linux Mint". Linux Mint. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Linux Mint". Dtsrowatch. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Linux Mint - About". Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Happy birthday LinuxMint!". August 27, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Linux Mint Releases". Retrieved 17 July 2014.  Linux Mint Web site, download page linking to all Linux Mint versions, page updated as new versions are released
  8. ^ a b "The Linux Mint Blog » Monthly News – June 2014, News and summary". blog.linuxmint.com. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Ivan Jelic (June 10, 2009). "Linux Mint 7 "Gloria"". Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Linux Mint blog, with announcements of new releases and other information
  11. ^ a b Linux Mint blog: Qiana "v2" ISO respins, 29 June 2014
  12. ^ "Celena is out!". 
  13. ^ "Linux Mint 9 "Isadora" released!". 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Linux Mint 10 "Julia" released!". 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Linux Mint 11 "Katya"!". 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "Linux Mint 12 "Lisa"!". 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Linux Mint 13 "Maya"!". 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Linux Mint 14 "Nadia" released!". 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Linux Mint 15 "Olivia" released!". 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Linux Mint 16 "Petra" Cinnamon released!". 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  21. ^ "Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" released!". 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  22. ^ Linux Mint FAQ: What about proprietary software?
  23. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven (6 January 2012). "Fedora, Mint, openSUSE, Ubuntu: Which Linux desktop is for you? - Computerworld". Computerworld. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "DistroWatch.com: Linux Mint". 
  25. ^ "MATE Desktop Environment localization". Transifex. 
  26. ^ "Cinnamon 1.4 released". 
  27. ^ "The Linux Mint GitHub repository". Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  28. ^ "The Linux Mint Blog » Blog Archive » Introducing Cinnamon". blog.linuxmint.com. 2012-01-02. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  29. ^ "Misc. News". Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  30. ^ "The Linux Mint Blog » Blog Archive » Linux Mint 12 Preview". Blog.linuxmint.com. 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  31. ^ "New features in Linux Mint 12". Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  32. ^ "Installing Linux Mint". Happysysadm.com. 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  33. ^ "OSDisc.com". 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  34. ^ "On-Disk.com". 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  35. ^ a b c Linux Mint community: How to upgrade to a newer release. Produced when Linux Mint 9 was current, with much more recent discussion indicating it is of continuing relevance.
  36. ^ Discussion of upgrading from v16 to v17 on Linux mint Web site
  37. ^ a b c d "Editions for Linux Mint 17 "Qiana"". linuxmint.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  38. ^ "Download Linux Mint Debian". linuxmint.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  39. ^ "Release Notes for Linux Mint 13". linuxmint.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  40. ^ Lefebvre, Clement (May 31, 2014). "Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Cinnamon released!". The Linux Mint Blog. Retrieved August 20, 2014. "Manufacturers can pre-install Linux Mint on their computers using the OEM installation images." 
  41. ^ Lefebvre, Clement (May 31, 2014). "Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” MATE released!". The Linux Mint Blog. Retrieved August 20, 2014. "Manufacturers can pre-install Linux Mint on their computers using the OEM installation images." 
  42. ^ Lefebvre, Clement (May 31, 2014). "Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Cinnamon released!". The Linux Mint Blog. Retrieved August 20, 2014. "Distributors and magazines in Japan, USA and countries where distributing media codecs is problematic can use the “No Codecs” ISO images." 
  43. ^ Lefebvre, Clement (May 31, 2014). "Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” MATE released!". The Linux Mint Blog. Retrieved August 20, 2014. "Distributors and magazines in Japan, USA and countries where distributing media codecs is problematic can use the “No Codecs” ISO images." 
  44. ^ a b c Lefebvre, Clement (March 2, 2014). "Linux Mint Debian 201403 released!". The Linux Mint Blog. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Download Linux Mint Debian". linuxmint.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  46. ^ Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Cinnamon released! Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” MATE released! Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Xfce released! Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” KDE released! Linux Mint Debian 201403 released! Minimum System Requirements / Ubuntu Desktop Edition
  47. ^ "Linux Mint Donors". 
  48. ^ "Linux Mint Sponsors". 
  49. ^ "Linux Mint Partners". 
  50. ^ "Linux Mint Community Website - Idea module". 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  51. ^ "Linux Mint on Launchpad". 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  52. ^ "Example of a user-contributed feature". 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  53. ^ "Linux Mint reviews and discussions page". 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  54. ^ "How Mighty Mint became one of the most popular Linux distros". TechRadar. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  55. ^ Ubuntu Shows DistroWatch Decline as Mint Soars | PCWorld
  56. ^ Linux Mint Touches All Time High On DistroWatch, Will Ubuntu Recover? - Muktware
  57. ^ "Distrowatch: Page Hit Ranking". Distrowatch. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  58. ^ distrowatch.com. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  59. ^ Ubuntu popularity falls as Linux Mint flourishes - The Inquirer
  60. ^ Noyes, Katherine. "Which Linux Distro Is Fairest of Them All? Ubuntu, Survey Says". PCWorld. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  61. ^ Rob Zwetsloot (July 2013). "The Ultimate Linux Mint". Linux User and Developer (128) (Bournemouth, UK: Imagine Publishing). pp. 20–23. 

External links[edit]