Linux Mint can be described as a community-driven distribution of Linux based on Ubuntu, bundled with a range of open-source and free applications. It can offer complete out-of-the-box multimedia support for those selected, including proprietary software, like multimedia codecs. This project was developed by Clement Lefebvre, and it is actively handled by the Linux Mint community and team.
History of Linux Mint
Linux Mint was started in 2006 with the 1.0 beta version, based on Kubuntu, code named "Ada". The 2.0 "Barbara" version of Linux Mint was the first release to utilize Ubuntu as the codebase. It had some users until the publication of the 3.0 version of Linux Mint called "Cassandra".
The 2.0 version of Linux Mint was based on the 6.10 version of Ubuntu, using the package repositories of Ubuntu and using it as the codebase. Then, it followed its codebase, making all releases from the older one but continuing to use the latest Ubuntu version package repositories. It made the bases of the two systems almost identical, ensuring full compatibility among them instead of needing Mint to be a fork.
Linux Mint published LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) in 2010. LMDE was a rolling release, directly based on Debian, and did not depend on Ubuntu packages or release schedule, unlike many Ubuntu-based editions. It was revealed on 27 May 2015 that the team of Linux Mint would no longer support the actual rolling release LMDE version after 1 January 2016. The 2 'Betsy' version of LMDE was an LTS release that was Debian Jessie-based. When LMDE 2 was published, it was revealed that every LMDE user would be upgraded to new releases of new desktop environments and MintTools software before they were published into the main Linux Mint edition.
The website of Linux Mint was breached by some unknown hackers who substituted download links briefly for a Linux Mint version with a changed version having malware on 20 February 2016. Also, the hackers breached the user forum database of the website. Linux Mint instantly took its server offline and operated increased security configuration for its forum and website.
Releases of Linux Mint
All the Linux Mint versions are provided a version number and also code-named along with the first name completing in 'a' and starting with an alphabet letter that is enhanced with all major revisions. The 18 version broke the pattern with the "Sarah" name. Hence, in English, it keeps a similar final vowel sound to every other release.
There were initially two releases of Linux Mint per year. Pursuing the Linux Mint 5 release in 2008, all fourth releases were labeled an LTS (long-term support) version, representing that it was supported for longer than classical releases. Versions 9 and 5 had three support years, and every LTS version pursuing received five support years.
Features of Linux Mint
Primarily, Linux Mint uses open-source and free software. Before the 18 version, a few proprietary software, like Codecs, Adobe Flash Player, and device drivers, for DVD-Video and MP3 playback, were bundled with the operating system. The 18 version doesn't install proprietary software. The installer gives an option for installing proprietary, third-party software starting with the 18.1 version.
This operating system is available with several desktop environments to select from, including the Xfce, MATE, and the default Cinnamon desktop. Other Desktop Environments can be downloaded by the custom Mint Software Manager, Synaptic, or APT.
Linux Mint operates Mandatory Access Control using AppArmor to increase security by default and limits the default network-facing processes. Actively, Linux Mint develops software for the OS. Most of the development is implemented in Python, and the source code is present on GitHub.
Linux Mint Software
This desktop environment is a GNOME Shell fork based on the modernization established in MGSE (Mint GNOME Shell Extensions). It was published as an add-on for the 12 version of Linux Mint and has been present as a default desktop environment since the 13 version of Linux Mint.
Installation of Linux Mint
Linux Mint can be started and run by a USB flash drive on a PC capable of starting with a USB drive, along with the option for saving settings on the flash drive. The USB creator program is present to download on Ubuntu Live Linux Mint on any USB drive. The Linux Mint ISO can alternatively be burned to any DVD to start from.
Mint4Win (Windows installer) permits Linux Mint to be installed within Microsoft Windows, the same as the Wubi installer of Ubuntu. Then, the operating system could be deleted with the Windows Control Panel as with other Windows software. This method needs no hard drive partitioning. Only it is helpful for Windows users and isn't meant for stable installations as it acquires a slight performance loss.
The installer was added to the Live DVD until the 16 version of Linux Mint but deleted in the 16 "Petra" version of Linux Mint because the Live DVD image's size would have eclipsed what the software could handle reliably. The installation provides its support for an LVM (Logical Volume Manager) with only automatic partitioning and disk encryption since the 15 version of Linux Mint. The default character encoding, UTF-8, supports a range of non-Roman scripts.
Editions of Linux Mint
Linux Mint contains multiple editions that are Ubuntu-based with several desktop environments. Also, it has a Debian-based release.
As of the 13 version of Linux Mint, there are two primary editions designed with Ubuntu and the core development team as a base. One adds Cinnamon of Linux Mint as a desktop environment, while the other utilizes MATE. By default, there is an edition with the Xfce desktop environment as well. The three editions have been published simultaneously since the 19 Tara version release in June 2018.
Cinnamon (Edge) edition
Sometimes, Linux Mint offers an ISO image, i.e., "edge" for its modern release, in addition to the regular ISO images. This image ports with new components to support the latest hardware devices and chipsets.
No codecs edition
The distribution offered a "No Codecs" edition for distributors, companies, and magazines in Japan, the United States, and countries in which the legislation permits distribution and patents to apply to software of limited technologies that may need third-party license acquisition. Although, it was discontinued with the 18 "Sarah" version. Now, users have the option of whether or not to install any multimedia codec at the time of the installation. Multimedia codecs can additionally be installed by a link any time after the installation process on the Mint Welcome Screen.
The distribution offered an OEM edition for manufacturers. However, it was discontinued with the 18 "Sarah" version release to reduce the ISO images that were required to be maintained. All manufacturers wanting to implement an OEM install have the option to select within the Live CD boot menu.
LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) utilizes Debian Stable as a software source base instead of Ubuntu. Originally, LMDE was based on Debian's Testing Branch directly but was developed to offer the same look, feel, and functionality as the Ubuntu-based versions. LMDE contains its package repositories.
The actual LMDE (often now called LMDE 1) included a development model, i.e., semi-rolling release, which introduced update packs periodically.
LMDE 2, or 'Betsy', was published on 10 April 2015. It was Debian Stable-based but got automatic updates to the modern MintTools versions and the installed desktop environment before they were published into the Mint Main version.
LMDE 3, or "Cindy", is 'very likely' to finish the switch from sysvinit to systemd. It is Debian Stretch-based and was published on 31 August 2018, shipping as one version with Cinnamon. Now, it is not supported as of 1 July 2020.
LMDE 4, or "Debbie", is Debian Buster-based (the 10 version) and was published on 20 March 2020. This version ports as one version with Cinnamon.
LMDE 5, or "Elsie", is Debian Bullseye-based (the 11 version) and was published on 20 March 2022. This version ships using the Cinnamon DE and supports both i386 and amd64 architectures.
Development of Linux Mint
Individual companies and users with OS act as partners, sponsors, and donors of the distribution. Linux Mint depends on user feedback for making decisions and increasing its development. Often, the official blog provides discussions in which users are prompted to give their opinion of the latest aspects or decisions operated for upcoming versions. Ideas can be rated by, commented upon, and submitted by users using the Linux Mint Community Website.