Linux Mint's purpose is to produce an elegant, up-to-date, and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop based on Ubuntu. Some of the reasons for the success of Linux Mint are:
It's one of the most community driven distributions
It is a Debian-based distribution and as such it is very solid and it comes with one of the greatest package managers
It is compatible with and uses Ubuntu repositories. This gives Linux Mint users access to a huge collection of packages and software.
It comes with a lot of desktop improvements which make it easier for the user to do common things
There is a strong focus on making things work out of the box (WiFi cards drivers in the file system, multimedia support, screen resolution, etc)
New features in Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon
Linux Mint 19.1 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.
Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" Cinnamon Edition
New panel layout
As you go through the "First Steps" section of the Linux Mint 19.1 welcome screen, you’ll be asked to choose your favorite desktop layout:
Cinnamon 4.0 ships with a brand new panel layout and thus with a new workflow. With a click of a button you’ll be able to switch back and forth between old and new and choose whichever default look pleases you the most.
The new panel ships with a window list with app grouping and window preview, a feature which has become the norm in other major desktop operating systems, whether it's in the form of a dock (in Mac OS), a panel (in Windows) or a sidebar (in Ubuntu).
The panel looks more modern but it's also much more configurable than before.
You can define a different icon size for each of the three panel zones (left, center and right for horizontal panels, or top, center and bottom for vertical ones). Each panel zone can now have a crisp icon size such as 16, 22, 24, 32, 48 or 64px or it can be made to scale either exactly (to fit the panel size) or optimally (to scale down to the largest crisp icon size which fits in the panel).
The size of symbolic icons can also be adjusted to make your panel look exactly the way you want.
By default, Cinnamon features a dark large 40px panel, where icons look crisp everywhere, and where they scale in the left and center zones but are restricted to 24px on the right (where the system tray and status icons are).
This new look, along with the new workflow defined by the grouped window list, make Cinnamon feel much more modern than before.
And if you prefered the way it was before, the old look and its traditional worflow are still there, just a click away.
Nemo is three times faster than before. Its code was reviewed and optimized and the result is impressive. The file manager is lightning fast, it feels extremely light and browsing directories is a breeze. It’s never been that fast before and it’s immediately noticeable.
Desktop settings were revamped:
Visual improvements were made to icon sizes and spacing and Nemo now uses an XApp preferences window:
On supported filesystems (ext4, without home directory encryption), Nemo is now able to show file creation times.
You can configure Nemo to show thumbnails depending on the directory you are browsing. In this mode, a thumbnail toggle button appears in the toolbar and lets you decide whether or not show thumbnails for this particular directory.
Thumbnails can be enabled per-directory
Nemo-python and all Nemo python extensions were ported to Python 3.
Input lag was reduced on NVIDIA cards and the window manager feels more responsive when moving windows.
You now also have the possibility to turn off VSYNC in the System Settings. This basically delegates VSYNC to your GPU driver (which needs to handle it, otherwise you get screen tearing) and if that driver performs well, it can eliminate input lag and boost performance.
A huge number of upstream changes were ported from the GNOME project:
Cinnamon 4.0 rarely ventures past 250MB RAM on NVIDIA, it feels more responsive than 3.8 and some of the long standing rendering issues are a thing of the past.
The inhibit applet shows inhibitors.
You can choose which calculator application should be the default, in "Preferred Applications".
Support for XScreensaver hacks and webkit themes was removed from the Cinnamon screensaver.
Applets and desklets can now define custom widgets to use in their settings dialog.
The Update Manager is able to list mainline kernels and to show their support status:
Listing available kernels
A new button was added to make it easier to remove unused kernels:
Removing unused kernels
The Software Sources tool was given a new look. Similar to the welcome screen, it’s now using an Xapp sidebar and a headerbar.
When software crashes tools such as mintreport produce a stack trace our developers can look at to understand the cause of the crash. This is the first step towards fixing such a bug. For the stack trace to be meaningful, users need to have debug symbols installed. In an effort to reduce bandwidth for their mirrors, Debian decided to move debug symbols outside of the main repositories. This decision affected not only Debian and LMDE but also Ubuntu and Linux Mint and made it much more difficult for users to install these symbols. To simplify this process, support for debug symbols was added into the Software Sources tool. Adding debug symbol repositories can now be done with a click of the mouse.
A new button was also added within the “Maintenance” tab to remove duplicate entries in your repositories.
The Language Settings and the Input Methods are now two separate applications.
The user interface for the Input Methods tool was revamped. It uses an icon sidebar and now shows a dedicated page for each supported language.
Clear instructions are provided for each language to guide you through not only installing support packages but also selecting the right input method framework and the right input method.
Cinnamon 4.0 also received better Fcitx support. Its keyboard applet now hides when Fcitx is running.
Improvements were made to the look and feel of the document viewer. Thumbnails and page borders in particular look more crisp:
Xed, the text editor, moved to libpeas, python3 and the MESON build system.
Its statusbar was reworked. It now indicates whether the document is in tabs or spaces mode and highlight modes are searchable.
Four new widgets are available in libxapp:
XAppStackSidebar makes it easy to create icon sidebars, such as the ones used in the Welcome Screen or the Software Sources.
XAppPreferencesWindow provides a multi-page preference window with a built-in icon sidebar. This component is used to display application preferences in Xed, Xreader and Nemo.
An XAppPreferencesWindow in Xed
XAppIconChooserDialog provides a dialog which lets you choose an icon name or an icon path.
XAppIconChooserButton provides a button which shows an icon or an image, and lets you choose a new one when clicked.
An XAppIconChooserButton and its XAppIconChooserDialog
Firewall configuration was added to the "First Steps" section of the welcome screen.
To prevent you from typing your password into the wrong window (and sending it online by mistake), sudo now shows asterisks when you type your password.
This release ships with linux-firmware 1.173.2 and the Linux kernel 4.15.0-20.
Linux Mint 19.1 features a superb collection of backgrounds from Alessio Soggetti, Alex Ruban, Bruno Fantinatti, Drew Coffman, dking, Felix Haller, George Hiles, Ivan Bandura, Jan Kaluza, Kalen Emsley, Mark Tegethoff, Ricardo Gomez Angel, Sezgin Mendil, Stefan Kunze and Tom Grimbert.
An overview of the new backgrounds
The Mint-Y, Mint-Y-Dark and Mint-Y-Darker themes are now available in Aqua, Blue, Brown, Grey, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Sand and Teal.
An overview of the new color variations
Mint-Y themes were given more contrast:
Xed in Mint 19 (left) and in Mint 19.1 (right)
Labels look sharper and stand out more on top of their backgrounds. So do the icons which now look darker than before. As a result, it's easier to visually identify the focused window:
Focused terminal, in Mint 19 (top) and in Mint 19.1 (bottom)
To support both light and dark panels, Linux Mint 19.1 ships with symbolic status icons for Redshift, mate-volume-control-applet, onboard and network-manager-applet.
Linux Mint 19.1 features Cinnamon 4.0, a Linux kernel 4.15 and an Ubuntu 18.04 package base.
Linux Mint 19.1 will receive security updates until 2023.
Until 2020, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 19.1, 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.