Linux Mint 21.1 is in beta, should arrive by Christmas • The Register

The first Mint 21.1 beta is now available for download, and the flagship Cinnamon desktop edition includes the biggest change with a new version of the desktop.

Cinnamon 5.6 from Mint 21.1 looks the same as before. If you choose the "modern" Look, there's just an inconspicuous Show Desktop rectangle at the end of the taskbar.

Cinnamon 5.6 from Mint 21.1 looks the same as before (click to enlarge). If you go for the “modern” look, there’s just an unobtrusive show desktop rectangle at the end of the taskbar

The latest post on the Linux Mint blog states that the upcoming Mint version 21.1 has entered beta and downloads for all three editions are available on the project’s mirrors. (Find your nearest mirror and then look in it testing folder.)

As since 2014, Mint releases are based on the LTS versions of its upstream parent Ubuntu. Since Mint 17, the project has stopped making versions based on the near-term releases of Ubuntu. So Mint 21.1 is still based on the current Ubuntu LTS: this is now 22.04.1. This isn’t a huge change, so don’t expect it to be significantly different from version 21, which we reviewed in August. The big differences to Ubuntu remain the same: native Debian-packaged Firefox, no Snap support, Flatpak instead – but by default without Flatpaks installed.

All three desktops share the same themes and look consistent, which many other distributions fail to do. This is Xfce showing Mint's handy standalone regional settings applet.

All three desktops share the same themes and look consistent, which many other distributions fail to do. This is Xfce showing Mint’s handy standalone regional settings applet

As hinted at in the project’s previous blog post, the big feature is a new version of the Cinnamon desktop environment. Mint 21.1 ships with Cinnamon 5.6, replacing Mint 21’s Cinnamon 5.4. The beta has Cinnamon 5.6.4, but the new features are pretty modest. The Show Desktop button next to the Start Menu button on the taskbar has been replaced with a separator because there is a new Show Desktop area at the end of the taskbar.

This looks and works similar to the analog feature at the bottom of the Windows 7 taskbar. It’s easier to hit in the corner. Unlike Windows, it can be customized with a right-click, and you can drop files on it to place them right on the desktop. The Nemo file manager has new, more colorful icons and no longer highlights the files’ icons when they are selected, only their names.

Most other changes apply to all editions. The MATE version comes with version 1.26.2 and the Xfce edition with Xfce 4.16.4. All three have updated icon and cursor themes with new brighter yellow folder icons and sleek tailless cursors. By default there are no desktop icons, although you can re-enable them if you wish.

The MATE desktop also looks very similar. Don't forget to check if your language packs are fully installed.

The MATE desktop also looks very similar. Don’t forget to check if your language packs are fully installed

Mint replaces Ubuntu’s “Software & Updates” program with separate tools for managing software sources and device drivers. Both have been improved in this version; For example, the Driver Manager app can now be run without entering your password – although we still found that it didn’t detect when the distribution was running in VM, nor did it offer to install Guest Additions. The Update Manager app now also handles updating Flatpaks .deb Packages. The Software Manager has its own screen for managing authentication keys for external repositories, as well as the old Troubleshooting and Repair Tools tab. A new graphical right-click ISO file integrity check tool is helpful, as is a USB stick writing tool.

Just like Ubuntu, the installer will geolocate your region and set the time, date, and currency formats there, which may be what you want. If this is not the case, the language tool makes the change easier: we recommend making sure that all three settings match. After setup, as is usual with Ubuntu, all regional support may not be fully installed, but the system reporting tool will let you know and fix it for you as well.

Mint generally improves Ubuntu in several places, and as you might expect from a point release, the changes in 21.1 aren’t dramatic, but they’re welcome nonetheless. As this is only a point release, we expect that upgraders shouldn’t have any problems – but if you’re on version 21, we recommend waiting for the final release version. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/05/mint_211_enters_beta/ Linux Mint 21.1 is in beta, should arrive by Christmas • The Register

Rick Schindler

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