Linux Mint

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Linux Mint is a desktop Linux distribution designed to be easy to use for users new to Linux. The main version is based variant on Ubuntu. There is also a Debian based version. Linux Mint is one of the most user-friendly distributions on the market - complete with a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, an easy to use Software Manager for installing and managing software, and a number of different editions. Perhaps most importantly, this is one project where the developers and users are in constant interaction, resulting in dramatic, user-driven improvements with every new release.

Architectures Supported

i386, x86_64

Desktop Environments


Release Cycle

Mint's release cycle loosely follows Ubuntu's release schedule but without any strict release dates. In the end this results in a 'more polished' release of something that was only pretty good to begin with.

The GNOME release is what comes out first, followed by x86_64 GNOME and then KDE, followed by the x86_64 KDE release. Efforts are being made to sync all Community editions such as XFCE, LXDE and Fluxbox so they are released more closely together. There has even been talk about un-branding the non-GNOME releases from their 'CE' (Community Edition) tag altogether, making them all official Linux Mint releases. Currently though, the KDE, XFCE, LXDE and Fluxbox editions are still community editions and release later than the official release.

Mint Software

The Mint developers offer more than just a re-release of a refined Ubuntu, they also develop a few user-friendly applications to accompany their releases which help add to the flavor of the distro.

Main Menu (formerly MintMenu)

Mint menu is a complete menu system which is intended to replace the most commonly used GNOME menu and GNOME custom menus. It is loosely based on something like kickstart for KDE, sporting a super-fast search function and has maturing customization features.

Backup Tool (formerly MintBackup)

Another matured piece of software which simplifies backup tasks. There is now support for file compression and incremental backups along with a completely new interface which also makes restoring easier too.

Update Manager

Update manager is a utility to assist in software upgrades. It takes a different approach to upgrading than Ubuntu. Each new upgrade is graded from 1 to 5. 1 being a very safe and tested upgrade and 5 being a very untested and possibly unstable upgrade. By default, the Mint update manager will only show (offer) upgrades graded from 1 to 3. This is an option which can be modified however, allowing the user to perform all upgrades. As a result of this 'safety feature', the 'Mark All Upgrades' option has been removed from Synaptic.

Domain Blocker (formerly MintNanny)

Is a parental tool used to block unwanted sites from being accessed by a user on the computer. Although something like this could be handled by a firewall, it is much more intuitive and easy to use for average people who want nothing to do with iptables and what not.

Upload Manager (formerly MintUpload)

Lets you define upload services for FTP, SFTP and SCP servers. Services are then available in the system tray and provide zones where you can drag and drop files for them to be automatically uploaded to their corresponding destinations.

Desktop Settings

A desktop configuration tool for easy configuration of the Gnome desktop.

Recent Releases

Mint Version Code Name LTS Ubuntu Equivalent End of Life
9 Isadora Yes 10.04 Lucid Lynx April 2013
8 Helena No 9.10 Karmic Koala April 2011
7 Gloria No 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope October 2010
6 Felicia No 8.10 Intrepid Ibex April 2010
5 Elyssa No 8.04 Hardy Heron April 2011

Next Release

The next Mint release will roughly coincide with the release of Ubuntu (10.10 aka Maverick Meerkat) in October 2010.