New features in Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon

Linux Mint 19.2 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable.


Linux Mint 19.2 "Tina" Cinnamon Edition

Mint Tools

Update Manager

Kernel support just got better:


Improved kernel support in the Update Manager

The Update Manager now shows how long kernels are supported.

You no longer need to install or remove kernels one by one anymore, you can queue installations and removals and install and remove multiple kernels in one go.

A "Remove Kernels..." button was added to make it easier to remove obsolete kernels.

Support for kernel flavors was added. If you've got a non-generic kernel installed, the Update Manager will show a combobox so you can switch between flavors.

Preferences were simplified and now use the newly introduced Xapp Gsettings widgets:


Preferences in the Update Manager

It is now possible to blacklist specific versions (so you can blacklist a particular update for a package without blacklisting future versions of it).

The automatic refresh is now configurable.

In the automation preferences, you can ask the Update Manager to automatically remove kernels which are no longer needed.

Under the hood:

  • System shutdown/reboot is inhibited when automated tasks are performed.
  • The logs are now persistent and rotated in /var/log/mintupdate.log.
  • APT locks no longer make the manager fail, it simply waits and retries later.
  • The refresh mechanism uses timestamps instead of timeouts so that the manager is no longer affected by suspends or reboots and it can be configured to periods longer than the current session.
  • The checkAPT component which scans the list of updates no longer runs as root.
  • Level filtering and obsolete options were removed.
  • man pages were added for mintupdate and mintupdate-cli.

The user interface was also improved:

  • The list of updates refreshes automatically when the APT cache is changed.
  • The info dialog updates in real time.
  • A warning is shown if a reboot is required after a kernel update.
  • A warning is shown 90 days before your version of Linux Mint reaches End-Of-Life.
  • Infobars are shown together and easier to dismiss.
  • A spinner page is shown while the Update Manager refreshes the list of updates.
  • A dedicate page is used when a new version of the manager itself is available.

The Update Manager updating itself

Software Manager

In the Software Manager, a loading screen now shows up when the cache is being refreshed.

The cache used by the Software Manager was moved to mint-common, turned into a Python module and given the ability to recognize manually installed software. This is achieved by analyzing the installer logs coming from Ubiquity. As a consequence, the Backup Tool and the Software Manager are able to share the same cache and to list not only the applications which were installed via the Software Manager, but also the applications which were installed via other means.

Support for low resolution screens was improved.

Other improvements

Two new buttons are available in the "Maintenance" section of the "Software Sources" configuration tool:

  • "Add Missing Keys" scans your repositories and PPAs and downloads any key that might be missing.
  • "Remove duplicate sources" finds and fixes duplicated definitions in your sources configuration.

System Reports

The "System Reports" tool, mintreport, was given a new look and a better layout:


System Reports

A new page was added to show the system information and make it easy for users to copy it into the forums or upload it to a pastebin website.

Under the hood, mintreport was ported to systemd-coredump and no longer use Ubuntu's apport. This makes it compatible with LMDE and other distributions.

Cinnamon 4.2

Performance

Although the amount of RAM consumed by Cinnamon largely depends on the video driver, Cinnamon uses significantly less RAM than before. On a test Virtualbox virtual machine, Cinnamon 4.2 uses approximately 67MB RAM (compared to 95MB RAM for Cinnamon 4.0).

Many optimizations were done in the Muffin window manager. These changes aim to reduce input lag and make windows feel smoother and lighter.

The ability to switch VSYNC on or off no longer requires restarting Cinnamon. A combobox was added to the general preferences so you can choose your VSYNC method. This was done for the development team to gather feedback and get a better idea of each method's pros and cons on various hardware and conditions.

Internal components were reviewed and simplified. Appsys, DocInfo and the application menu in particular are lighter and more efficient than before.

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Menu

The application menu is faster and it now identifies and distinguishes duplicates. If two applications have the same name, the menu will show more information about them.

In your application menu, Xed is the "Text Editor". If you install Gedit, you no longer end up with two "Text Editor" entries. Instead, you'll see "Text Editor (Xed)" and "Text Editor (Gedit)".


Gedit and Xed in the app menu

The same goes for Flatpaks, if you install the Flatpak of an application you already have, the menu will distinguish between the two to let you know which one is the one from the repositories and which one is the Flatpak.


The repository version of Glade alongside its Flatpak cousin

Scrollbar settings

If you don't like overlay scrollbars or if you find them too thin, you can now configure the way they look in the System Settings:


Scrollbars are now configurable

Pinning files

If you find yourself always looking for the same files over and over again... just pin them.


Pinning files in Nemo

It's that easy. Pinned items show up on top and are easy to reach.

Sharing files

Samba support was improved in Cinnamon 4.2:

  • After Samba is installed, the appropriate UFW firewall rules are automatically added.
  • When a share is set up, permissions are checked not only on the directory itself but on its entire path, to make sure other users can access it.
  • When a share is set up within an encrypted home directory, the user is warned that the share won't be accessible without using "force user" in the Samba configuration.

Sharing files with Samba

By reporting these issues earlier we go from a situation where the user doesn't understand why Samba isn't working, to a situation where an explicit warning and a clue are given the minute an issue might require the user's attention.

Other improvements

  • The screensaver now has an on-screen keyboard.
  • A printer applet was added. Plug a printer and it should show up.
  • Recent documents are now enabled by default.
  • The option to choose your favorite PDF reader was added to "Preferred Applications".
  • The background slideshow applet shows the filename of the current background.
  • The session manager was ported to gdbus.
  • Inhibitors no longer prevent forced logouts.
  • Natural scrolling can be configured for mice (it could only be configured for touchpads in the past).
  • The screensaver fader was removed.
  • A new option was added in the Privacy Settings to toggle Internet connectivity checking.
  • The condition for nemo actions can now be an external script or command.

XApps improvements

Pix, along with the text editor, the document reader, the video player and the image viewer were reviewed and support was added to ensure users could use the traditional Ctrl+Q and Ctrl+W keyboard shortcuts.

The Blueberry systray menu now lets you connect or disconnect paired devices with a click of the mouse.

Xed, the default text editor, now supports toggling comments and comment blocks. This is a feature better known by developers. Select a few lines, press "Ctrl+/" and your selection is turned into a comment. You can quickly comment out code blocks this way while troubleshooting or turn back commented code into active code.

Xreader, the document reader, features a new default screen and a zoom selector can now be added to its toolbar, using the preferences.

A new option was added to the login screen configuration tool. It is now possible to specify a delay for automatic logins.

Configuration pages, sections and widgets which automatically sync with gsettings were developed early in Cinnamon and made writing and maintaining Cinnamon Settings a breeze. These widgets were moved to the Python Xapp module "python-xapp" and are now available outside of Cinnamon. As a result, preferences are easier to write and to maintain and their look and feel is more consistent than before.

System improvements

"Boot-Repair" was added to the installation ISO images. It's able to repair most boot configuration problems.


Boot-Repair is installed in the ISO

The colors used by the "search" command were modified to make the results more visible.

This release ships with linux-firmware 1.173.8 and the Linux kernel 4.15.0-54.

Artwork improvements

Linux Mint 19.2 features a superb collection of backgrounds from Alessandro Caproni, Ash Edmonds, Aniket Deole, Brady Bellini, Bruno Fantinatti, Dawid Zawila, Etienne Girardet, Ivan Bandura, Jan Kaluza, John Westrock, Nick Diamantidis, Sean O., Sezgin Mendil and Travis Hall.


An overview of the new backgrounds

All the color variations for the Mint-Y, Mint-Y-Dark and Mint-Y-Darker themes are now supported in Flatpak.

The theme contrast in Mint-Y went under heavy scrutiny:

  • The titlebar, menubar, headerbar and toolbars were darkened slightly (from #454545 to #404040).
  • The titlebar buttons for the active window were significantly darkened (from #909090 to #404040).
  • Some Mint 19.1 contrast improvements were found to only affect GTK3. They were ported to GTK2 (text for instance was darkened from #4f4f4f to #303030).
  • To look more consistent, table headers were changed from #202020 to #303030.
  • The terminal opacity was changed from 90% to 97%.
  • The main accent color kept the same hue but its saturation and value were increased slightly.
  • Dimmed labels were given 10% more opacity.
  • Progressbars were improved and their colors were tuned to increase contrast.
  • The Nemo sidebar was darkened.
  • Two sets of icons per color variation are now available: one light (for -dark and -darker themes) and one dark (for light themes).

The default fonts were switched from Noto to the Ubuntu fonts.

Here's Transmission as it looked in Linux Mint 19.1:


And here is what it looks like with these changes applied:


The identity of the theme is unchanged but the contrast is better overall. This is particularly visible in GTK2 applications (such as Gimp) or applications which use fullcolor action icons (like MATE applications or Transmission) and lack support for symbolic icons.

Main components

Linux Mint 19.2 features Cinnamon 4.2, a Linux kernel 4.15 and an Ubuntu 18.04 package base.

LTS strategy

Linux Mint 19.2 will receive security updates until 2023.

Until 2020, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 19.2, making it trivial for people to upgrade.

Until 2020, the development team won't start working on a new base and will be fully focused on this one.