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Home » » Linux Mint is an elegant, easy to use, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux distribution.

Linux Mint is an elegant, easy to use, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux distribution.

Linux Mint is a Linux-based operating system for computers. Linux Mint is available in several editions with different codebases, all of which are ultimately based on Ubuntu except for LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) and Linux Mint Xfce which are based on Debian. Linux Mint focuses on usability and ease of installation, particularly for users with no previous Linux experience.

Linux Mint is composed of many software packages, of which the vast majority are distributed under a free software license (also known as open source). The main license used is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) which, along with the GNU Lesser General Public License (GNU LGPL), explicitly declares that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change, develop and improve the software. Linux Mint also includes some proprietary software, such as the Adobe Flash plugin, and uses a Linux kernel that contains binary blobs. Linux Mint is funded by its community of users. Individual users and companies using the operating system act as donors, sponsors and partners[6] of the distribution.
Origin and development process

Linux Mint uses primarily free (libre) software, making an exception only for some proprietary hardware drivers and some other widely used software, such as Adobe's Flash plugin and RAR. Unlike many other Linux distributions, Linux Mint strives not to restrict itself to FLOSS but to prefer free software to proprietary alternatives.

Linux Mint started in 2006 with a beta release called 1.0 "Ada". The project wasn't well known at the time and this version was never released as stable. With the release of 2.0 "Barbara" a few months later, the distribution caught the attention of many people within the Linux community and started to build an audience. Using the feedback given from its new community, the distribution released a quick succession of releases between 2006 and 2008. 5 versions were released that way: 2.1 "Bea", 2.2 "Bianca", 3.0 "Cassandra", 3.1 "Celena" and 4.0 "Daryna".

Version 2.0 "Barbara" was based on Ubuntu 6.10, using its package repositories and using it as a codebase. From there, Linux Mint followed its own codebase, building each release from its previous one but it continued to use the package repositories from the latest Ubuntu release. As such the distribution never really forked. This resulted in making the base between the two systems almost identical and it guaranteed full compatibility between the two operating systems.

In 2008, Linux Mint adopted the same release cycle as Ubuntu and dropped its minor version number before releasing version 5 "Elyssa". The same year, in an effort to increase the compatibility between the two systems, Linux Mint decided to abandon its code-base and changed the way it built its releases. Starting with version 6 "Felicia" each release was now completely based on the latest Ubuntu release, built directly from it, timed for approximately one month after the corresponding Ubuntu release (i.e. usually in May and November).

In 2010 Linux Mint released a Debian Edition.Unlike the other Ubuntu-based editions, this is based directly on Debian, and hence is not tied to Ubuntu packages or release schedule.

Linux Mint focuses on usability. The Ubiquity installer allows Linux Mint to be installed to the hard disk from within the Live CD environment, without the need for restarting the computer prior to installation. Linux Mint also emphasizes accessibility and internationalization to reach as many people as possible. UTF-8 is the default character encoding and allows for support of a variety of non-Roman scripts. As a security feature, the sudo tool is used to assign temporary privileges for performing administrative tasks, allowing users to administer the system without using the root account.


Installation of Linux Mint is generally performed with the Live CD. The Linux Mint OS can be run directly from the CD (albeit with a significant performance loss), allowing a user to "test-drive" the OS for hardware compatibility and driver support. The CD also contains the Ubiquity installer, which then can guide the user through the permanent installation process. CD images of all current and past versions are available for download at the Linux Mint web site. Installing from the CD requires a minimum of 512 MB RAM.

Users can download a disk image (.iso) of the CD, which can then either be written to a physical medium (CD or DVD), or optionally run directly from a hard drive (via UNetbootin or GRUB). The main edition of Linux Mint is available in 32 and 64-bit.

Installation CDs can be purchased from 3rd party vendors.

A Microsoft Windows migration tool, called Migration Assistant (introduced in April 2007), can be used to import bookmarks, desktop background (wallpaper), and various settings from an existing MS Windows installation into a new Linux Mint installation.

Linux Mint can be booted and run from a USB Flash drive (as long as the BIOS supports booting from USB), with the option of saving settings to the flashdrive. This allows a portable installation that can be run on any PC which is capable of booting from a USB drive. In newer versions of Linux Mint, the USB creator program is available to install Linux Mint on a USB drive (with or without a LiveCD disc).

Package classification and support

Linux Mint divides its software repositories into four components to reflect differences in their nature and in their origin.

* main
component only includes software that is developed by Linux Mint.

* upstream
component includes software which is present in Ubuntu but patched or modified by Linux Mint. As a result, the software present in this component behaves differently in each distribution. Notable examples are Grub, Plymouth, Ubiquity, Xchat, USB Creator and Yelp (the help system).

* import
component includes software that is not available in Ubuntu or for which no recent versions are available in Ubuntu. Notable examples are Opera, Picasa, Skype, Songbird, the 64-bit Adobe Flash plugin and Frostwire.

* romeo
component is not enabled by default. It is used by Linux Mint to test packages before they are included in other components. As such it represents the unstable branch of Linux Mint.

In addition to the above, there is a "backport" component in the Linux Mint repositories. This component is there to port newer software to older releases without affecting the other components. It is not enabled by default.


Linux Mint uses GNOME as its main desktop. Editions are also available for the following desktops:

* KDE Software Compilation
* Xfce
* Fluxbox
* Debian Edition

GNOME, KDE Software Compilation, and Xfce editions of Linux Mint are available in both 32 and 64-bit. LXDE and Fluxbox editions are only available in 32-bit.

The distribution also provides an "OEM Edition"(previously called the "Universal Edition"[15]) which is targeted at distributors and companies operating in countries where the legislation allows patents to apply to software (The USA, Japan and to a lesser extent, Australia and the UK). which does not include patented technologies, such as DVD playback.

Starting with Linux Mint 9 "Isadora", the distribution will provide liveCD, liveDVD, OEM and US/Japan installation images for its main edition in both 32 and 64-bit.

On September 7, 2010, the Linux Mint Debian Edition was announced. The goal of this edition is to be as close to the main (Gnome) edition as possible, but based on Debian (as opposed to Ubuntu). Another notable difference is the rolling release distribution cycle.
Ubuntu-based editions.

Linux Mint's Ubuntu-based editions have much in common with their parent Ubuntu releases, from the software repositories of which they build.For instance, release 6 (“Felicia”) uses the package pools of Ubuntu “Intrepid Ibex” (8.10).
Linux Mint has a stated focus on elegance, and it includes a number of applications that are not available in Ubuntu, and vice versa. Mint has a number of design differences from Ubuntu, including:
  • A distinct user interface, including a custom main menu.
  • A different approach to update management.
  • A collection of system applications designed to make system management and administration easier for end users.
  • A different software selection installed by default and a number of differences in the configuration of the system.
The Main version of Linux Mint has often been cited as a better beginner's Linux distribution than Ubuntu, due to the out-of-box readiness created by its default application choices and inclusion of restricted codecs (such as MP3 support and Flash).
From a project point of view, the main differences are:
  • Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint does not communicate release dates. Releases are announced "when ready"; they can be released early when the distribution is ahead of schedule or late when critical bugs are found.
  • Unlike Ubuntu, the philosophy of the Linux Mint project is compatible with the use of proprietary software. Linux Mint favors Open Source technology but also considers proprietary alternatives, the user experience of the desktop being the main concern with licensing coming second. For instance, most editions of Linux Mint come with Adobe's Flash plug-in installed by default.
  • Ubuntu and Linux Mint adopt radically different update strategies. Ubuntu recommends its users update all packages and upgrade to newer versions using an APT-based upgrade method. Resulting problems and regressions are regarded as temporary issues that can be fixed by further updates. In comparison, Linux Mint recommends not to update packages that can affect the stability of the system and recommends the use of its Backup Tool and fresh installations to upgrade computers to newer releases.

Release history.

Colour Meaning
Red Release no longer supported
Green Release still supported
Blue Future release
Version Codename Edition Code Base Compatible repository Default desktop environment Release date
1.0 Ada Main Kubuntu 6.06 Kubuntu 6.06 KDE 27 August 2006
2.0 Barbara Main Ubuntu 6.10 Ubuntu 6.10 GNOME 13 November 2006
2.1 Bea Main Ubuntu 6.10 Ubuntu 6.10 GNOME 20 December 2006
2.2 Bianca Main Ubuntu 6.10 Ubuntu 6.10 GNOME 20 February 2007
Light Ubuntu 6.10 Ubuntu 6.10 GNOME 29 March 2007
KDE CE Kubuntu 6.10 Kubuntu 6.10 KDE 20 April 2007
3.0 Cassandra Main Bianca 2.2 Ubuntu 7.04 GNOME 30 May 2007
Light Bianca 2.2 Ubuntu 7.04 GNOME 15 June 2007
KDE CE Bianca 2.2 Kubuntu 7.04 KDE 14 August 2007
MiniKDE CE Bianca 2.2 Kubuntu 7.04 KDE 14 August 2007
Xfce CE Cassandra 3.0 Xubuntu 7.04 Xfce 7 August 2007
3.1 Celena Main Bianca 2.2 Ubuntu 7.04 GNOME 24 September 2007
Light Bianca 2.2 Ubuntu 7.04 GNOME 1 October 2007
4.0 Daryna Main Celena 3.1 Ubuntu 7.10 GNOME 15 October 2007
Light Celena 3.1 Ubuntu 7.10 GNOME 15 October 2007
KDE CE Cassandra 3.0 Kubuntu 7.10 KDE 3 March 2008
5 Elyssa Main Daryna 4.0 Ubuntu 8.04 GNOME 8 June 2008
Light Daryna 4.0 Ubuntu 8.04 GNOME 8 June 2008
x64 Ubuntu 8.04 Ubuntu 8.04 GNOME 18 October 2008
KDE CE Daryna 4.0 Kubuntu 8.04 KDE 15 September 2008
Xfce CE Daryna 4.0 Xubuntu 8.04 Xfce 8 September 2008
Fluxbox CE Ubuntu 8.04 Ubuntu 8.04 Fluxbox 21 October 2008
6 Felicia Main Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10 GNOME 15 December 2008
Universal (Light) Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10 GNOME 15 December 2008
x64 Ubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10 GNOME 6 February 2009
KDE CE Elyssa 5 Kubuntu 8.10 KDE 8 April 2009
Xfce CE Xubuntu 8.10 Xubuntu 8.10 Xfce 24 February 2009
Fluxbox CE Xubuntu 8.10 Ubuntu 8.10 Fluxbox 7 April 2009
7 Gloria Main Ubuntu 9.04 Ubuntu 9.04 GNOME 26 May 2009
Universal (Light) Ubuntu 9.04 Ubuntu 9.04 GNOME 26 May 2009
x64 Ubuntu 9.04 Ubuntu 9.04 GNOME 24 June 2009
KDE CE Kubuntu 9.04 Kubuntu 9.04 KDE 3 August 2009
Xfce CE Xubuntu 9.04 Xubuntu 9.04 Xfce 13 September 2009
8 Helena Main Ubuntu 9.10 Ubuntu 9.10 GNOME 28 November 2009
Universal (Light) Ubuntu 9.10 Ubuntu 9.10 GNOME 28 November 2009
Gnome x64 Ubuntu 9.10 Ubuntu 9.10 GNOME 14 December 2009
KDE Kubuntu 9.10 Kubuntu 9.10 KDE 6 February 2010
KDE x64 Kubuntu 9.10 Kubuntu 9.10 KDE 12 February 2010
Fluxbox Helena Main Ubuntu 9.10 Fluxbox 12 February 2010
Xfce Xubuntu 9.10 Xubuntu 9.10 Xfce 31 March 2010
LXDE Helena Main Ubuntu 9.10 LXDE 31 March 2010
9 Isadora Main Ubuntu 10.04 Ubuntu 10.04 GNOME 18 May 2010
Gnome x64 Ubuntu 10.04 Ubuntu 10.04 GNOME 18 May 2010
LXDE Lubuntu 10.04 Lubuntu 10.04 LXDE 18 July 2010
KDE Kubuntu 10.04 Kubuntu 10.04 KDE 27 July 2010
KDE x64 Kubuntu 10.04 Kubuntu 10.04 KDE 27 July 2010
Xfce Xubuntu 10.04 Xubuntu 10.04 Xfce 24 August 2010
Fluxbox Lubuntu 10.04 Lubuntu 10.04 Fluxbox 6 September 2010
10 Julia Main Ubuntu 10.10 Ubuntu 10.10 GNOME 12 November 2010
Gnome x64 Ubuntu 10.10 Ubuntu 10.10 GNOME 12 November 2010
LXDE Lubuntu 10.10 Lubuntu 10.10 LXDE 16 March 2011
KDE Kubuntu 10.10 Kubuntu 10.10 KDE 23 February 2011
KDE x64 Kubuntu 10.10 Kubuntu 10.10 KDE 23 February 2011
Xfce Xubuntu 10.10 Xubuntu 10.10 Xfce 06 April 2011
Fluxbox Lubuntu 10.10 Lubuntu 10.10 Fluxbox

Updates (via Distrowatch):

Linux Mint Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 201104 "Xfce" edition, a Debian-based rolling-release distribution: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint Xfce. Linux Mint Xfce is rolling on top of a Debian 'Testing' package base and uses the same repositories as Linux Mint Debian edition. This offers the following advantages to Linux Mint Xfce: a huge performance boost; a continuous flow of updates which allows users to keep their system up to date without waiting for new releases; a more mainstream desktop and software selection; an easier maintenance for the team which makes it easier to release in both 32-bit and 64-bit with every Linux Mint Debian edition release." See the release announcement for full details.
Download (SHA256): linuxmint-xfce-201104-dvd-32bit.iso (958MB, torrent), linuxmint-xfce-201104-dvd-64bit.iso (943MB, torrent).

Recent releases:

  • 2011-04-06: Distribution Release: Linux Mint 201104 "Xfce"
 • 2011-03-16: Distribution Release: Linux Mint 10 "LXDE"
 • 2011-02-23: Distribution Release: Linux Mint 10 "KDE"
 • 2010-12-24: Distribution Release: Linux Mint 201012 "Debian"
 • 2010-11-12: Distribution Release: Linux Mint 10
 • 2010-10-18: Development Release: Linux Mint 10 RC


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