In the continuation of our Best Linux Distributions 2018. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at Linux Mint 18. This distribution has been ranked the best Linux distribution for general purpose – Be it Development, Media, Workstation, Gaming, Browsing e.t.c.
Linux Mint 18 – Introduction
It has been known that most users who switch from other operating systems such as windows to Linux almost always choose Linux Mint to begin with. This is majorly because Mint has many user friendly tools and a good look that will cause them to feel comfortable pretty fast.
Now Mint is a distribution that is based on Ubuntu as the base. The new Linux Mint 18 will be receiving security updates till 2021 because it is a Long Term Support edition. Not only does Mint 18 have Cinnamon, it is also available in MATE editions. It also includes both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds at your disposal.
Apart from the updates and additions, since UEFI can longer be ignored, Mint 18 support it though it will not work with Secure Boot enabled. Users are urged to disable secure boot facility before going ahead with the installation. Personal Package Archive (PPA) repositories can be added and removed from the command line as well as through the project’s graphical repository manager.
Linux Mint 18 features Cinnamon 3.0, MDM 2.0, a Linux kernel 4.4 and an all the package base for Ubuntu 16.04. Any package that runs on Ubuntu 16.04 will definitely run on Linux Mint 18.
Linux Mint 18 – What’s new?
Let’s now look at new things in Linux Mint 18.
Linux Mint 18 – X-Apps
What to note with attention is the introduction of X-Apps by Mint developers. This is after they noted that some of the GNOME applications they have worked with produce weird designs of the interface and thus will fail to work well with other desktop environments. For this reason, the developers use the GNOME applications but they tweak their interfaces to befit the non-GNOME environment that Mint 18 runs on.
This sounds quite good since they are always serious about the aesthetic value of the Operating System. In fact, new Linux users get attracted by the kind of work the developers have done since it honestly looks beautiful to look at.
The core ideas for X-Apps are:
- To use modern toolkits and technologies (GTK3 for HiDPI support, gsettings etc..)
- To use traditional user interfaces (titlebars, menubars)
- To work everywhere (to be generic, desktop-agnostic and distro-agnostic)
- To provide the functionality users already enjoy.
- To be backward-compatible (in order to work on as many distributions as possible)
Looking at the default applications on X-Apps, we can see that:
- Xed is the default text editor. It is based on Pluma.
- Pix is the default application to organize your photos. It is based on gThumb
- Xviewer is the default image viewer – It is based on Eye of GNOME
- Xreader is the default Document reader and PDF reader. This is based on Atril
- Xplayer is the default media player for player for music and videos based on Totem.
Linux Mint 18 – New Mint-Y Theme
Linux Mint now ships with a good looking theme called Mint-Y. This is a successor to Mint-X which has been around since 2010. Mint-Y is a brand new theme based on the very popular Arc theme from horst3180 and Sam Hewitt‘s beautiful set of Moka icons.
Mint-Y comes in three variants, light, dark and a mix of the two. This theme looks clean, modern and professional. It embraces the new trends, but without looking too “flat” or minimalistic.
Linux Mint 18- Update Manager and Kernel Improvements
The update manager received a number of improvements and update. Both on the side of functionalities, new features and look. The preferences screen now use stack widgets and subtle animations which support dark themes. You can as well theme the application and status icons.
There was also the addition of a feature to let you view the availability of packages for newer kernels that are installable. It also gives you relevant information regarding DKMS modules when multiple kernels are installed.
Linux Mint 18 – Package Management
For package management, the apt package management tool continues to receive new features and improvements. Some changes which came with Mint 18 include:
- There is a progress bar now for both “apt install” and “apt remove” commands.
- The command apt full-upgrade now has the same effect as the apt dist-upgrade commands.
- The command “apt edit-sources” works same as “apt sources” and
- The “apt showhold” works same as “apt held“.
- The add-apt-repository command now supports the “–remove” argument, making it possible to remove PPA from the command line.
Linux Mint 18 – File system improvements
The Btrfs and the exFAT file systems are now supported out of the box. You can do an installation with /home or /root partition being a btrfs file system and get all its cool features on your system.
Linux Mint 18 – Software center
For this part, Mint 18 developers found it suitable to provides two graphical package managers known as Software Manager and synaptic. Both of them are just APT front ends and hence the command line apt is yet another interface one can use to update, install and uninstall packages. Synaptic is plain text while software center in GUI enabled.
Linux Mint 18 – Installation
The installation of Linux Mint is like any other traditional Linux distribution. Since this is GUI based, anyone can do it by following the next model. The only thing that you may need some experience with is the creation of different partitions like /, /home, swap, /var, /tmp and the use of LVM. If you are new to Linux, just have everything under / and it should work fine. You can later re-install it with better hierarchy depending on your requirements. I’ll cover its installation, step by step and update the link here.
Linux Mint has been an operating system for new Linux users, mostly those coming from Windows environment, and experienced Linux users, developers e.t.c. It has a better look as compared to its related distributions like Ubuntu. The fact that you can run all major Ubuntu applications on Linux Mint, eliminates the need to have Ubuntu on any of your boxes.