Linux Mint 11, codenamed “Katya” was released earlier this week. One of the main talking points of the release was not a new feature – rather the lack of it. Although Linux Mint is based on the recently released Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system and is powered by Linux kernel 2.6.38, X.Org 7.6 and classic GNOME 2.32 desktop.
Here are the release highlights:
- Linux Mint 11 comes with Linux kernel 2.6.38, Gnome 2.32, Xorg 7.6
- Many improvements to Software Manager and Update Manager
- Artwork improvements: a refreshed Mint-X theme, new backgrounds and overlay scrollbars by default
- Gwibber has been removed
- gThumb replaces F-Spot as default photo manager
- Banshee replaces Rhythmbox as default music player
- LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.org
It does not use Unity and it does not use GNOME Shell either – it still uses the classic GNOME 2 desktop. This makes Linux Mint a viable choice for the many people who do not like either Unity or GNOME Shell.
The Software Manager
The Software Manager in Linux Mint 11 has received a lot of improvements. Not only does the new Software Manager look good – it is also more functional. The applications are now given a more accurate description. This is important as most of the Linux Mint users are likely to be new to Linux and would not know all the applications available. The search feature has also been improved to give more accurate results.
The Update Manager
The Update Manager is faster than before. It used to check your Internet connection, update its rules and look for package updates. Thanks to some refactoring and code changes it now only looks for package updates. The rules (which define the safety level for each package) are now embedded within the Update Manager and no longer need to be downloaded. When a new version of the rules is available, a new version of the Update Manager is released. The Update Manager then ignores all other updates. Afer updating itself it is restarted, so you’re always using the latest Update Manager with the latest rules and it doesn’t need to check the rules every time it looks for updates. The result is a safer yet faster Update Manager.
- apt download: A new “apt download” command was introduced which downloads a .deb package locally along with all its dependencies.
- Adobe Flash: On 32-bit systems, the stable Flash 10.2 and Beta Flash 10.3 plugins can now be installed separately. To easily switch between them, simply type “sudo update-alternatives –config libflashplayer.so”. On 64-bit systems, the Adobe Flash “Square” plugin runs in native 64-bit.
As usual, Linux Mint 11 (Katya) is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, and it will be distributed as a Live GNOME CD and DVD, OEM edition, and a special CD for USA & Japan. Live KDE, LXDE, Fluxbox and Xfce editions will come soon!