|Company / developer||Clement Lefebvre, Jamie Boo Birse, Kendall Weaver, and community|
|Source model||Free and open-source software and proprietary software|
|Initial release||27 August 2006|
|Latest release||Linux Mint 17 ("Qiana") (May 31, 2014[±])|
|Update method||APT (+ mintUpdate, Synaptic)|
|Supported platforms||i486, x86-64|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|Default user interface||1.0: KDE
2.0-9: GNOME 2 / LXDE (also for some versions)
12: GNOME 3 with MGSE
|License||Mainly GNU GPL and various other free software licenses|
Linux Mint is a 32- and 64-bit Linux distribution for desktop computers, based on either Ubuntu or Debian. 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".
New versions of Linux Mint are released 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 supported for five years, ending in April 2019.
- 1 History
- 2 Features
- 3 Editions
- 4 System requirements
- 5 Development
- 6 Reception
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2013)|
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."
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.
There are 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.
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. New releases are announced, with much other material, on the Linux Mint blog. The Cinnamon and MATE ISO images of v17 initially released had some problems, and "v2 ISO respins", with "v2" in the filename, were released.
|Version||Code name||Release date||Support status|
|Old version, no longer supported: 1.0 beta||Ada||2006-08-27||Obsolete since April 2008.Unstable.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 2.0||Barbara||2006-11-13||Obsolete since April 2008.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 2.1||Bea||2006-12-20||Obsolete since April 2008.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 2.2||Bianca||2007-02-20||Obsolete since April 2008.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 3.0||Cassandra||2007-05-30||Obsolete since October 2008.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 3.1||Celena||2007-09-24||Obsolete since October 2008.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 4.0||Daryna||2007-10-15||Obsolete since April 2009.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 5 LTS||Elyssa||2008-06-08||Long-term support release (LTS), obsolete since April 2011.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 6||Felicia||2008-12-15||Obsolete since April 2010.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 7||Gloria||2009-05-26||Obsolete since October 2010.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 8||Helena||2009-11-29||Obsolete since April 2011.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 9 LTS||Isadora||2010-05-18||Long-term support release (LTS), obsolete since April 2013.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 10||Julia||2010-11-12||Obsolete since April 2012.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 11||Katya||2011-05-26||Obsolete since October 2012.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 12||Lisa||2011-11-26||Obsolete since April 2013.|
|Older version, yet still supported: 13 LTS||Maya||2012-05-23||Long-term support release (LTS), supported until April 2017.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 14||Nadia||2012-11-20||Obsolete since May 2014.|
|Old version, no longer supported: 15||Olivia||2013-05-29||Obsolete since January 2014.|
|Older version, yet still supported: 16||Petra||2013-11-30||Supported until July 2014.|
|Current stable version: 17 LTS||Qiana||2014-05-31 
v2 "respin" 2014-06-29
|Long-term support release (LTS), supported until April 2019.|
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. 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. 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.
Software developed by Linux Mint
- Cinnamon: A fork of GNOME Shell based on the innovations made in Mint Gnome Shell Extensions (MGSE). Released as an add-on for Linux Mint 12 and available as a default desktop environment since Linux Mint 13.
- Software Manager (mintInstall): Runs .mint files, which are files containing instructions to install packages. As of Linux Mint 6, this tool has been revamped, and now enables viewing of all the applications on the Mint Software Portal offline, provided an Internet connection is available to download the information first. Also enables installation of any of the programs listed directly from the desktop, instead of going to the site. The option to use the old mintInstall program is available; from the Ubuntu Repositories or the GetDeb.net website may be searched.
- Update Manager (mintUpdate): Designed to prevent inexperienced users from installing updates that are unnecessary or require a certain level of knowledge to configure properly. It assigns updates a safety-level (from 1 to 5), based on the stability and necessity of the update. Updates can be set to notify users (as is normal), be listed but not notify, or be hidden by default. In addition to including updates specifically for the Linux Mint distribution, the development team tests all package-wide updates.
- Main Menu (mintMenu): An advanced menu, featuring filtering, installation and removal of software, system and places links, favorites, session management, editable items, custom places and many configuration options. Also ported to MATE in Linux Mint 12 (Lisa).
- Backup tool (mintBackup): Enables the user to back up and restore data, as well as upgrade to newer releases by performing fresh installations.
- Upload Manager (mintUpload): Defines upload services for FTP, SFTP and SCP servers. Services are then available in the system tray and provide zones where they may be automatically uploaded to their corresponding destinations.
- Domain Blocker (mintNanny): A basic domain blocking parental control tool. Enables the user to manually add domains to be blocked system wide. This tool was introduced with the release of Linux Mint 6.
- Desktop Settings: A desktop configuration tool for easy configuration of the desktop.
- Welcome screen (mintWelcome): Introduced in Linux Mint 7, an application that starts on the first login of any new account. It shows a dialogue window welcoming the user to Linux Mint, and providing links to the Linux Mint website, user guide and community website.
- Remastering tool (mintConstructor): A tool for remastering Linux Mint. It is not installed by default in any Linux Mint edition, but is included in the repositories and used by the developers for creating ISO files. Users interested in creating their own distribution based on Linux Mint can make use of this tool to do so.
- Mint Gnome Shell Extensions (MGSE): A desktop layer on top of GNOME 3 to make it feel like GNOME 2. Includes a bottom panel, an application menu, the window list, task-centric desktop (i.e. switches between windows, not applications) and system tray icons. It is designed to give users a traditional desktop environment. This was included in Linux Mint in version 12 (Lisa).
Linux Mint can be run without installation from a Live CD; 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. 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.
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:
- Do nothing. It is suggested that a system working satisfactorily need not be upgraded.
- Back up data and installed programs using mintBackup, overwrite the existing installation with the latest Mint, restore backups. Customisation must be redone, and any software not from the repositories must be reinstalled (e.g., settings in /etc and software in /opt and /usr/local). This is said to be safe, fast, reliable, and easy. The resulting system may differ in appearance or behaviour from the earlier one. If there are new hardware incompatibility or other issues, the previous version can be reinstalled.
- Pointing the Synaptic Package Manager (APT front-end) at the repositories of the newer release and performing a full upgrade. Compared to a backup and full reinstall this is slow, less reliable (depending upon changes from original state that have been made to the installed system), and may bring package conflicts and complex dependencies that must be resolved. The process is automatic; the end result is a system that looks and behaves as it did before. While backup is not required as part of the procedure, upgrading without backing up can cause loss of data in case of problems.
- Install the latest version from the CD into the same directory as the existing one, with some minor adjustments. Settings and standard software will be preserved; any installed PPA (Ubuntu Personal Package Archive) or other special repository software will have to be reinstalled.
Linux Mint has multiple versions that are based upon Ubuntu, with various desktop environments available. Linux Mint also has a version based upon Debian. The table below shows the default environments, not those available.
|Linux Mint 16 (Petra)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Older release||Older release||No||Older release||No|
|- No Codecs version||Yes||Yes||No||No||Older release||No||No|
|- OEM version||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Older release||No||No|
|Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE)||Yes||Yes||No||Older release||Older release||No||No|
|Windows Installer||Older release||Older release||Older release||Older release||No||No||No|
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.
The distribution provides an OEM version for manufacturers to use.
No Codecs version
The distribution provides a "No Codecs" version, previously known as the "Universal Edition", 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. 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
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. LMDE is available with the MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments.
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.
LMDE lists its advantages and disadvantages over the Ubuntu-based distribution:
- Installing Update Packs keeps LMDE current, without the need to reinstall the system every 6 months as with Ubuntu-based distros. LMDE has its own package repositories; it is also possible to track the Debian Testing (Jessie as of April 2014[update]) or Unstable (Sid) repos directly, at user's risk.
- LMDE is faster and more responsive than Ubuntu-based editions.
- LMDE requires a deeper knowledge and experience with Linux, dpkg and APT.
- Debian is less user-friendly and desktop-ready than Ubuntu, with some rough edges.
Linux Mint 16 "Petra" has the following system requirements:
|Cinnamon||MATE||Xfce||KDE||LMDE (version 201403)|
|Processor (x86)||700 MHz||700 MHz||700 MHz||700 MHz||700 MHz|
|Memory||512 MB||512 MB||384 MB||1 GB||1 GB|
|Hard Drive (free space)||5 GB||5 GB||5 GB||8 GB||5 GB|
Individual users and companies using the operating system act as donors, sponsors and partners 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.
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.
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.
Linux Mint divides its software repositories into four main channels that reflect differences in their nature and in their origin.
- Provides only software that is developed by Linux Mint.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Linux Mint has been praised for focusing on desktop users.
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."
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