New features in Linux Mint 19.2 Xfce
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.
Kernel support just got better:
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:
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.
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.
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.
The "System Reports" tool, mintreport, was given a new look and a better layout:
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.
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.
"Boot-Repair" was added to the installation ISO images. It's able to repair most boot configuration problems.
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.
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.
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.
Linux Mint 19.2 features Xfce 4.12, a Linux kernel 4.15 and an Ubuntu 18.04 package base.
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.