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 MATE
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 "Tara" MATE Edition
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 MATE 1.20, 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.