Preview : What’s new in Linux Mint 18 Sarah (New xapps & Mint-Y flat theme)

Everybody knows the new Linux Mint 18 named as Sarah and based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. on May 06, 2016 Linux Mint team updated on their blog what’s new in Linux Mint 18 Sarah. Linnux Mint 18 ported with Cinnamon 3.0 and MATE 1.14 (Mate 1.16 will be featured with Linux Mint 18.1). Developed & added new Application which will work over, all kind of desktops (Cinnamon, Gnome, etc) & Linux Distributions.

1) New components

As part of the xapps initiative, the below 4 applications will be featured as default in Linux Mint 18 which will replace totem, gedit, pluma, eog, eom, evince, atril and possibly ristretto..

  • xplayer : media player based on totem
  • xed : text editor based on pluma
  • xviewer : picture viewer based on eog
  • xreader : document reader based on atril

2) Changes in release management

Recently, a lot of work was done to improve and simplify release management and the production of our ISO images. based on that they have changed the ISO image release cycle policy. Till last release of Linux Mint 17.3 consisted in the production and testing of 18 ISO images (4 Beta, 8 Stable, 2 OEM and 4 NoCodecs) and 5 separate events (Beta, Cinnamon/MATE Stable, OEM/NoCodec, Upgrade path, Xfce/KDE). Upgrade paths which were introduced in Linux Mint 17.1 are also very appreciated.

From now, Linux Mint 18 OEM installation disks and NoCodec images will no longer be released separately. Similar to other distributions, images will ship without codecs and will support both traditional and OEM installations. This will reduce release cycle to 4 separate events and the production and testing of 12 ISO images.

Multimedia codecs can be installed easily three ways.

  • In welcome screen, by clicking on Multimedia Codecs
  • Main menu, by clicking on Menu->Sound and Video->Install Multimedia Codecs
  • during the installation process, by clicking a checkbox option

3) Updated package base

Linux Mint 18 based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, latest Ubuntu release which synced most of the packages from the Debian unstable repositories. So we will get all the latest version of software’s, new system and hardware stacks, a newer version of Xorg and newer kernels and drivers.

In previous release Linux Mint 17.x they made many of the lower-level fixes and corrections and they are challenging no longer needed in Linux Mint 18.

Hardware support is also much improved. Tested hardware issues with Asus laptops & Apple MacBook Pro, everything works out of the box but they didn’t finished with hardware testing yet, but things look good so far as per the above testing.

The operating system wouldn’t run without “nomodeset” and the touchpad wasn’t properly recognized. touchpad works fine, the driver manager installs the NVIDIA & Broadcom drivers works as well as before. the newer Linux 4.4 kernel brings support for more hardware devices and components.

4) New Theme

Now a days Flat themes are become very famous and Linux Mint team also decided to join the new trend. They developed a new “flat” theme called Mint-Y, based on the very popular “Arc” and “Moka” themes. While developing the theme, we decided not to be bold and so rather than a brutal change.

Both themes will be installed by default in Linux Mint 18, and the theme used by default will be “Mint-X”, giving Linux Mint 18 the exact same default look at Linux Mint 17 because We want to know how much users like it. Not just by looking at screenshots, but by using it, for 6 months, for a year. We don’t want to change styles just because we think it might “look” better.

When majority users feel better on new flat theme, then we’ll make it the new flat theme as a default. it works fine and there are only a couple of known issues and we’ll continue to work on the “Mint-Y” theme after Linux Mint 18 release. Some of the area icons not satisfied such as (app icons look pretty good, places, mimes, status icons are still largely undecided).

Title bars can be either light or dark, and controls can be either light, dark or using a mix of the two like in the screenshot below, where tool bars and menu bars are dark but the rest of the window is light. Some of the Moka icons used for applications, and the Paper icons used for directories.

Light Variant
linux-mint-18-mint-y-theme-light

Dark Variant
linux-mint-18-mint-y-theme-dark

5) HiDPI support

Many of the application ported with GTK3/Python3/Gsettings and improving their HiDPI support. Included Mint tools, Xapps & Firefox.

6) Schedule

The BETA release for Linux Mint 18 is expected in June. No particular dates will be given and the ISOs will come out “when ready”.

I’m eagerly waiting for Linux Mint 18 final release because i’m facing so many problem on recent release of Ubuntu 16.04 and plan to change Mint.. Enjoy…)

Magesh Maruthamuthu

Love to play with all Linux distribution

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