New features in Linux Mint 19.3 Xfce
Linux Mint 19.3 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.
You'll notice something new in your system tray after you install Linux Mint 19.3. A little warning icon tries to catch your attention and indicates there are a few things for you to review.
In the past, we worked on improving documentation (such as the Installation Guide) and the welcome you get when you first log in (the first steps section of the Welcome Screen for instance).
In Linux Mint 19.3, we're going a step further and we're trying to detect potential issues in your computer.
If you're missing a language package, a multimedia codec, if a hardware driver or a new version of Linux Mint is available, this little icon will let you know and provide solutions.
In the documentation, the release notes and to some extent the welcome screen, we document broad issues which affect all users in general. With the system reports we're running a diagnostic which is specific to your computer and we're able to bring information which is relevant to you in particular.
Along with the locale and the region, the Language settings tool now let you set your time format.
HiDPI support is almost complete: It is supported in all Linux Mint 19.3 editions and, with the exception of Hexchat and Qt5Settings, by all the applications which are included by default.
Thanks to XappStatusIcon, system tray icons can look crisp.
Flags in the Language Settings and Software Sources tools are no longer blurry.
Celluloid replaces Xplayer as the default multimedia player.
Playing a movie on a laptop can rapidly deplete the battery. If the CPU goes too hot, the fans also kick on and the computer gets noisy. If the resolution is too high for the CPU to handle, the video gets choppy.
Xplayer is based on GStreamer/ClutterGST and can only render videos via the CPU.
Celluloid is based on the excellent MPV backend which provides much better performance and hardware accelerated playback. It can handle much larger resolutions than Xplayer on the same computer.
Gnote replaces Tomboy as the default application to take notes. With the exception of the tray icon, Gnote provides the same functionality as Tomboy but it is built on modern technology.
Tomboy was the last application in Linux Mint which depended on Mono and one of the very few remaining apps which didn't support HiDPI.
Gimp is an excellent application but it has a very steep learning curve and its user interface is quite intimidating for novice users.
In Linux Mint 19.3, Gimp was removed from the default software selection and replaced by a much simpler application called "Drawing".
This new application lets you draw but also modify, resize and crop pictures.
Linux Mint 19.3 ships with the latest Xfce 4.14, which features HiDPI support and many improvements.
The window manager received support for VSync (using either Present or OpenGL as backend) to reduce or remove display flickering, HiDPI support, improved GLX support with NVIDIA proprietary/closed source drivers, support for XInput2 and various compositor improvements.
The panel got support for RandR's primary monitor feature, improved window grouping in the tasklist plugin (better UX, visual group indicator etc), a per-panel "icon-size" setting, a new default clock format and clock format evaluator.
The desktop now has support for RandR's primary monitor feature, an orientation option for icon arrangement, a "Next Background" context menu option to advance the wallpaper and it now syncs the user's wallpaper selection to AccountsService.
A completely new settings dialog to manage color profiles has been created. For most users this means out of the box support for color-managed printing (through cupsd) and scanning (through saned). For monitor profiles you will have to install an additional service like xiccd.
In the display settings users are now able to save and (automatically) restore complete multi-display configurations, which is especially helpful for those who frequently connect their laptop to varying docking stations or setups. Furthermore a lot of time was spent on making the user interface more intuitive and a hidden option was added to support RandR display scaling (configured via Xfconf).
An option was added in the Appearance settings to enable Gtk window scaling.
The session manager received hybrid sleep support, improvements to the default session startup avoiding race conditions, a feature to add and edit autostart entries, a switch user button in the logout dialog and improved session chooser and settings dialogs (the latter with a new tab that shows saved sessions). Furthermore you can now run commands not only "autostart style" at login time, but also when your computer suspends, logs out etc. Finally Gtk applications are now session-managed over DBus and screensavers are also communicated with (e.g. inhibited) over DBus.
In Thunar, the pathbar was reworked, support for larger thumbnails as well as support for a "folder.jpg" file altering the folder's icon (e.g. for music album covers) was added. Power users will also notice the improved keyboard navigation (zooming, tab navigation). Thunar's volume manager has gained Bluray support.
Tumbler, the thumbnailing service, received a lot of fixes and support for the Fujifilm RAF format.
The application finder can now optionally be opened as a single window and can now be more easily navigated with the keyboard only.
The power manager received a lot of bugfixes and some smaller features, including support for the XF86Battery button and for the newly created xfce4-screensaver. The panel plugin also saw several improvements: it can now optionally show the remaining time and/or percentage and it now relies on UPower's standard icon names to work with more icon themes out of the box.
The notification service has gained support for persistence - in other words: notification logging - and a "Do Not Disturb" mode, which suppresses all notifications. A new panel plugin was created that shows missed notifications (especially helpful during "Do Not Disturb" mode) and gives quick access to toggling "Do Not Disturb" mode. Finally support for showing notifications on RandR's primary monitor was added.
The screenshooter now allows users to move the selection rectangle and at the same time displays its width and height. The imgur upload dialog was revamped and the command line allows for more flexibility.
The clipboard manager now has improved keyboard shortcut support (through a port to GtkApplication), improved and more consistent icon sizing as well as a new application icon.
The pulseaudio panel plugin received MPRIS2 support to be able to remotely control media players and desktop-wide multimedia key support.
The terminal emulator saw a huge amount of bug fixes and improvements since Xfce 4.12.
Version 1.6 of libxapp introduces a new system tray solution called XAppStatusIcon.
Here are its benefits compared to GtkStatusIcon:
- HiDPI support
- Support for dark themes and symbolic icons
- No rendering, sizing or cropping issues
- No dependency on obsolete GtkSocket/GtkPlug technology
It also provides the following benefits compared to AppIndicator:
- Support for any mouse click, button-press and button-release event
- Support for multiple menus
- Native menus
- Support for multiple trays
Symbolic icons are separated from fullcolor icons to make the tray look even more polished. The icons look crisp in HiDPI and they are rendered by the panel applet directly.
Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce have applets for XAppStatusIcon. LibXApp 1.6 also provides an API which makes it very easy to write applets for other desktop environments.
In Linux Mint 19.3, all editions ship with an XAppStatusIcon applet. As in the past, support for libAppIndicator is disabled by default, but applications which use this library no longer default to GtkStatusIcon, they default to XAppStatusIcon instead.
The XAppIconChooser widget was improved to support a default icon and custom icon categories.
Among other places, this is used in by the menu applet to let you choose from a variety of Linux Mint logos:
Blueberry was given a visual overhaul.
Under the hood, it features better device detection, better error reporting and it supports more Bluetooth devices than before.
- Pix: The the slideshow respects the zoom quality settings and the default quality was switched to High.
- Xed: You can now right-click links to visit them.
- Xreader: New annotation buttons were added to the sidebar.
- Xviewer: Ctrl+KP_0 (the keypad 0 key) resets the zoom level.
- LightDM Settings: You can now select a mouse pointer theme for the login screen.
"Hardware Detection Tool" was added to the BIOS menu of the ISO images.
This release ships with linux-firmware 1.173.9 and the Linux kernel 5.0.
The Linux Mint logo was refined and simplified from a complex design which used gradients to a simple "LM" shape which can be embedded in a leaf, but also in a circle, a badge, or used on its own. This gives artists a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes to producing artwork and we're able to create symbolic icons and adapt to various colors much more easily than before.
The Plymouth splash screen now features what the team calls the "Washing Machine":
The "Washing Machine"
The boot menu was also redesigned:
Linux Mint 19.3 features a superb collection of backgrounds from Alberto Restifo, Andreas Gucklhorn, Andrey Andreyev, Arto Marttinen, Brady Bellini, Bruno Fantinatti, Dawid Zawila, Hoach Le Dinh, Jan Kaluza, Jenna Beekhuis, Juergen Donauer, Julius Rinke, Kevin Young, Olivier Miche, Rob Bates, Ryan Booth and Thomas Tucker.
In Xfce, the default fonts were switched to the Ubuntu fonts and the titlebar buttons were darkened to give them more contrast.
Linux Mint 19.3 features Xfce 4.14, a Linux kernel 5.0 and an Ubuntu 18.04 package base.
Linux Mint 19.3 will receive security updates until 2023.
Until 2020, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 19.3, 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.