New features in Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon
Linux Mint 18.2 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use.
One of the most notable improvements in Cinnamon 3.4 is the handling of desktop icons.
Icons can now be automatically aligned on a grid, either in lines or in columns.
They can also be automatically sorted in various ways: By name, by size, by type or by modified date.
You can also change desktop icon sizes with a click of a button, and desktop icons are now handled in their own separate process, which isn't tied to other nemo windows.
The various plugins of the settings daemon also now run in their own separate processes and are independent of each others. It is therefore now much easier to identify which plugin might be responsible for high memory or CPU usage, and when a plugin crashes it no longer affects the rest of the Cinnamon backend.
You can add themes, applets, desklets and extensions to your Cinnamon desktop. These add-ons are known as "spices" and they are maintained by 3rd party artists and 3rd party developers.
The Cinnamon Spices website was rewritten from scratch.
The goal wasn't only to make it look better. This is part of a huge project to make spices more secure than before and to guarantee better quality and better compatibility with the Cinnamon desktop.
The site supports oauth authentication via Google, Facebook and Github to let visitors comment and like their favorite spices. As a consequence, it no longer stores passwords.
The maintenance of the spices themselves was moved to Github and every single change is now reviewed by the Linux Mint team to guarantee spices cannot be used for malicious purposes.
The development workflow was changed to allow anyone to provide bug fixes and translations to Cinnamon spices.
Along with spices authors, the Linux Mint team is now directly involved in the maintenance of all Cinnamon spices. Many spices were removed, many were fixed, many were updated and the team is now able to add support to spices not only for current versions of Cinnamon but even for upcoming ones.
Overall, this is a huge improvement for Cinnamon because the quality of the spices has an impact on how the desktop is perceived. We're getting closer and closer to a situation where everything "just works", where quality spices are easy to find and where they work in your language.
Bluetooth support is much improved in Linux Mint 18.2.
Here is what the new Blueberry user interface looks like:
A stack switcher was added in the toolbar and new settings were added to the application:
OBEX file transfers are now supported out of the box, so you can send files very easily over Bluetooth to your computer from any remote device.
An option was added also to make it easier to change the Bluetooth name of your computer.
Last but not least, in addition to its cross-desktop system tray, Blueberry now provides a Cinnamon applet which uses symbolic icons and looks similar to other status applets, such as the power, sound or network applets. When this applet is present, the tray icon is automatically hidden.
A lot of work went into Xed, the generic text editor.
The user interface features really exciting visual improvements. For instance, it comes with smart side and bottom bars which automatically adjust to the loaded content and which you can hide or show with a click of a button.
The ability to prefer dark themes was added, so if you’re using Mint-Y-Darker for instance, you can select whether your text editor should be light or dark.
“Word wrap” was made more accessible and added to the menu, so you can enable/disable that function straight from the menus, without going in the preferences.
You can also select a few lines and sort them by pressing F10, or by using “Edit -> Sort Lines”.
You can now zoom in and out with the menu, keyboard shortcuts or even the mouse wheel to modify the size of the text.
The search now supports regular expressions.
You can now switch between tabs with the mouse wheel.
Libpeas Python extensions are now supported so porting Gedit 3 extensions to Xed is now very easy.
The media player, Xplayer, also received improvements to its user interface.
All the controls and the seeker bar were placed on the same line and the statusbar was removed to make the application more compact.
You can now control the playback speed with the same keyboard shortcuts as in MPV, so you can make your own slow motion replays, or watch lengthy matches in about half the time it would take.
Subtitles files are now loaded automatically but subtitles are also now hidden by default. You can switch them ON or OFF, or cycle through subtitles tracks by pressing “S” on the keyboard.
You can also cycle through audio/language tracks by pressing “L” on the keyboard.
The OSD (on-screen display) was fixed and now shows the audio track or subtitle track or playback speed you selected, or your position in the movie when seeking forward or backward.
Many bugs were fixed and just like in Xed, the ability to prefer dark themes was added.
It's now much easier to navigate in Pix. Keyboard and mouse shortcuts were reviewed and largely improved. They are more intuitive and more consistent with other applications such as Xviewer.
Attention was also given to the user interface:
Toolbar and menu icons were switch to symbolic to improve support for dark themes.
The Xreader PDF and document viewer received many bug fixes and improvements.
The toolbars and sidebars were redesigned to make the application look cleaner.
Buttons were added to the toolbar to quickly switch between different view modes.
The application now also supports dark themes and symbolic icons.
Touchscreen support was added. You can now swipe your finger across the document to browse through its pages, or pinch it to zoom in and out.
Just like Xreader and Pix, Xviewer's toolbar was also redesigned and it received support for dark themes.
The Update Manager received many improvements.
It still has the same mission and tackles the same issues as before (keeping your computer safe, providing bug fixes and protecting you from regressions) but it presents things slightly differently.
Policies and level definitions were refined to better filter updates depending on their level of impact on the operating system and without worrying about their origin. Most updates are now level 2. Application updates which do not impact the OS are level 1. Toolkits and desktop environments or libraries which affect multiple applications are level 3. Kernels and sensitive system updates are level 4.
Level 5 is extremely rare and not used by default. This level is dedicated to flagging dangerous or broken updates.
The Update Manager insists on staging and reviewing updates depending on their level. The notions of security, bug fixes, backports, updates and software regressions are central and these core concepts are better explained. A large help section now ships with the Update Manager and goes much more in details than before.
A lot more information was added on kernels. The help section now features explanations on how kernels are installed, how to summon the grub menu, how to check the DKMS status and how to revert to a previous kernel.
Support was added for Ubuntu HWE kernels in kernel updates and the kernel selection window was improved.
Many keyboard shortcuts and menu options were added to the main window to make it easier to perform common tasks, such as reloading, selecting updates of particular levels or applying updates.
Last but not least, advanced Linux users can now automate updates by writing scripts, routines or cron jobs thanks to a new CLI called “mintupdate-tool”. This tool supports all the features available in the UI, including level selection, security updates, kernel updates and blacklisting. You can use "mintupdate-tool" both to list and to apply updates.
To get started with mintupdate-tool, type "
Foreign packages are packages which are not provided by any repository or which version differs from the one provided in the repositories.
To make it easier to remove or to downgrade these packages, new "Select All" buttons were added in appropriate places within the "Software Sources" configuration tool.
Linux Mint 18.2 features a brand new login screen. It uses the LightDM display manager by default along with the "Slick" greeter and the "LightDM Settings" configuration tool.
The "Slick" greeter supports HiDPI and provides the computer with a beautiful login screen:
It is also highly configurable:
LightDM provides excellent support for NVIDIA prime and multiple monitors and a smooth integration with various components used during the boot and shutdown sequences.
It's also a modern display manager, used in many distributions, so it's easy to maintain and to troubleshoot.
One of the key features added by LightDM is called "guest sessions". It allows visitors and guests to use your computer without an account. When a guest logs in from the login screen, a temporary guest account is created on the fly. Guest accounts use default settings and have no access to the home directory of traditional users on the computer.
Guest sessions are particularly useful for kids, or for public computers in places like libraries or schools where guests need the ability to use the computer but administrators do not want them to modify the system in any way. They are enabled by default in Linux Mint 18.2, but they can easily be disabled from the "LightDM Settings" configuration tool.
Brasero is still available in the repositories, but no longer installed by default.
The root account is now locked by default. You can use sudo with your own password to become root with "
Apt now supports the "markauto" and "markmanual" commands to mark packages as being installed respectively automatically or manually.
This release ships with linux-firmware 1.157.10 and the Linux kernel 4.8.0-53.
Linux Mint 18.2 features a superb collection of backgrounds from Ashim D'Silva, Eric Kilby, Guy Bowden, Grant McCurdy, Harald Hoyer, Jan Kaluza, Jeremy Bishop, Jens Enemark, Jason Leem, Jakob Owens, Luca Bravo, Matheus Bandoch, N. Feans, Robert Lukeman, Stanley Dai, Sezgin Mendil, Shontz Photography and srslyguys.
Linux Mint 18.2 features Cinnamon 3.4, a Linux kernel 4.8 and an Ubuntu 16.04 package base.
Linux Mint 18.2 will receive security updates until 2021.
Until 2018, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 18, making it trivial for people to upgrade.
Until 2018, the development team won't start working on a new base and will be fully focused on this one.