Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa“ is close to its final version with the release of beta versions of its spins. So here’s what’s new!
Linux Mint has proven itself as perhaps the best Ubuntu derivative throughout the years, and the distro has established a large user base.
As a result, it is increasingly the preferred choice for a desktop system among Linux users at the expense of Ubuntu, which has implemented controversial solutions in its latest releases.
That’s why each new version of Linux Mint is widely anticipated, and the upcoming 21 release is no exception.
Not deviating from the tradition of naming their releases only with female names ending in the letter “a” Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” has entered its beta phase. It is now publicly available for download and testing. So let’s see what Linux Mint 21 has to offer.
Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” Highlights
Linux Mint 21 is based on Ubuntu 22.04 and will be a long-term support (LTS) release, with support lasting until 2027. It includes updated software, improvements, and new features to better your desktop experience.
Under the hood, the distro ships with the Linux kernel 5.15 LTS. Currently, the LTS period projects Linux kernel 5.15 LTS to reach End-of-Life in October 2023. However, as is usually the case, this can be extended by years, given enough industry support.
Now back to the topic. Linux Mint 21 beta is now available for testing in three of its most popular flavors: Cinnamon, Xfce, and MATE. Each includes the most recent version of your preferred desktop environment: Cinnamon 5.4, Xfce 4.16, and MATE 1.26.
Of course, the Linux Mint 21 Cinnamon edition piques our curiosity the most, including the brand new Cinnamon 5.4 desktop environment.
There are many novelties here, the most noteworthy of which is a major rebase of its window manager. More precisely, Muffin is now based on Mutter 3.36, and its codebase is significantly more close to upstream than it was previously.
On top of that, in Cinnamon 5.4, all windows, whether they contain a header bar or not, are now rendered with the GTK theme. In addition, themes for Metacity are no longer used, window animations are improved, and GTK antialiasing is now used on all windows.
The other two desktop environments, Xfce (4.16) and MATE (1.26), provide the most recent versions that are already well-known to all Linux users.
One of the new features to look for in the upcoming release involves Bluetooth connectivity, specifically the desktop app we use to manage our Bluetooth devices. The point is that Blueman has taken the place of the previously utilized Blueberry app. There is, of course, a reason for this.
Blueberry relied on
gnome-bluetooth, explicitly created for the GNOME desktop environment. On the other hand, Blueman is based on the standard Bluez stack, which works everywhere and may even be used or queried from the command line.
The next improvement relates to how the file manager in Linux Mint 21 visualizes the various file types. Associating them with the correct thumbnail previews improves the user experience significantly. At the same time, the lack of thumbnails for some commonly used file types was always annoying.
To help with this, Linux Mint 21 launched a project called xapp-thumbnailers, which is now integrated into the new release of the operating system. As a result, file formats such as AppImage, ePub, MP3 (album cover), RAW pictures (most formats), and Webp are now represented correctly in the file managers included in the various Linux Mint 21 editions.
Another popular app, Sticky Notes, has also been improved. It is now capable of duplicating notes. Additionally, when the app is instructed to choose different colors for newly created notes, it no longer does so at random. Instead, it cycles through the color palette to increase the probability that each note has a different color.
We won’t forget to highlight that a process monitor has been included in Linux Mint 21 to detect automated background updates and system snapshots. As a result, the monitor displays an icon in your system tray whenever an automatic task is running.
So, if your computer begins to function slower than usual or registers a high load, a quick look at the system tray area can provide an instant answer to what’s happening in the background.
Of course, Linux Mint 21 includes many additional minor improvements. For example, Xviewer and thumbnailers now support Webp image format. In addition, annotations can now be created directly from the document in Xreader by right-clicking selected text and selecting “Annotate.”
Moreover, the software source management and printing and scanning support have been improved, the Mint-X theme has been redesigned, and so on. For a complete list of changes, please refer to the official announcement.
Note that Linux Mint 21 will continue to receive security updates until 2027. As a result, until 2024, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 21, and the development team will not start work on a new base but will remain entirely focused on this one.
Anyone interested in testing this beta version can do so by freely downloading it from any of the mirrors listed at the end of the official announcement.
Finally, most Linux Mint users want to know when the final stable release will be available. Unfortunately, the developers have made no mention of this topic.
However, based on the time delay between beta releases and final releases in previous releases, we may reasonably predict that the final version of Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” will be completed and ready for download and use by the end of this month or by July at the latest.