Monthly News – March 2016

Written by Clem on April 10th, 2016


We’ll talk a bit about development this month. It’s still too early to talk about some of the big things we’re working on (vertical panels and multiple backgrounds in Cinnamon, new icon and GTK themes) but some cool changes landed already so I’ll try to give you a little overview.

Before we get to that though, I’d like to thank all the people who fund us. We’re able to be where we are and to do what we do thanks to our partners, sponsors and the many people who send us donations. Our user base grew again since the release of Linux Mint 17.3 and we received more donations than usual in February and March, probably as a solidarity response to the attacks led against our project. Despite the important downtime in February and the fact that people couldn’t donate during the attacks, we recorded more than 600 donations and more than $14,000 at the end of the month. That’s really amazing.

Another piece of good news is that we’ll soon announce a new partnership with our friends at Sucuri, who are about to become our third biggest sponsor.

Improvements in the Update Manager

As many other tools in Linux Mint 18, the Update Manager was given HiDPI support and ported to more recent toolkits and libraries. It is now coded in Python 3 and it nows uses GTK3 and GSettings.

The main screen and the preferences screen now use stack widgets and subtle animations. And the user interface was slightly improved to better work with alternative themes (toolbar icons are now compatible with dark themes, application and status icons are now themeable and dimmed text is now rendered with dynamic colors).

Two new settings were added to let you see and select kernel updates. Even though these aren’t really updates, but the availability of packages for newer kernels, the manager is now able to detect them and to present them for installation to you as a traditional update. These are level 5 updates but the new settings let you configure them independently.

A lot of work was done on showing better information and raising the awareness of the user when it comes to applying updates and choosing a kernel.

The kernel selection window was completely revamped and is now preceded with an information screen which explains what kernels are, how to select them at boot time, what happens to DKMS modules when multiple kernels are installed etc etc..

Linux Mint no longer ships lists of fixes and lists of regressions specific to particular kernels. With so many kernel revisions, so many fixes and so many regressions happening sometimes on a daily basis, this information was extremely hard to gather. Instead, it was replaced with links to relevant sources of informations. For instance, if you select a particular kernel you can now quickly access its changelog and see all the bug reports marked against it.

Finally, the Update Manager was already configurable but it wasn’t clear how to configure it, and why. In particular, the concepts of regressions, stability and security weren’t clearly explained and users had to acquire these online. To raise awareness around these concepts and show more information, a new screen welcomes users to their update manager and asks them to select an update policy.

This screen is complemented with a help section which explains what’s at play and what to consider when choosing a policy.

Although this screen is only showed once and its main purpose is to present information to users, it can also be used as a quick way to switch between sets of preferences and it can launched from the Edit->Update Policy menu.

Better touchpad support in Cinnamon and MATE

Up until now, you could choose a scrolling method for your touchpad, between edge-scrolling (which was the default), or two-finger-scrolling, or no scrolling at all.

As more and more touchpads support the ability to scroll with two fingers, we wanted this to work out of the box in Linux Mint and without the need to configure anything. So we looked into that and we separated this into two different settings.

This was implemented in Cinnamon 3.0 and MATE 1.14. By default, both edge-scrolling and two-finger-scrolling will now be enabled and you’ll be able to disable these two features independently.

The “Natural scrolling” setting was also renamed “Reverse scrolling direction” (this will happen in version 1.16 for MATE) and enabled by default (This is in line with the way people ‘grab’ content in iOS and Android, and it was changed earlier in other popular operating systems, since Mac OS X Lion, or Windows 8. It’s configurable of course, but its default should please as many people as possible, and with all major OSes adopting this direction, it makes sense for our environments to do so as well).

New Cinnamon sound module

The Sound configuration module which was previously written in C, was completely rewritten in Python, into a brand new cinnamon-settings module.

Although the benefits of this migration aren’t directly visible to users, cinnamon-settings modules are amongst the easiest components to write for and to maintain. Python is a rapid language and the cinnamon-settings code and architecture are extremely nice to work with. Fixing bugs or troubleshooting is a breeze, adding a setting usually just means adding a single line of code…etc, etc.

Of the 33 configuration modules present in Cinnamon, only 4 remain C modules inherited from gnome-control-center: Networking, Display, Colors and Wacom tablets.

Look and feel

It’s too early to talk about the new icon and GTK themes we’re working on (even the name “Mint-Y”, for those who follow our work on github, isn’t final). I can share a few things already though:

  • Both Mint-X and the new theme will ship with Linux Mint 18.
  • The new theme is based on another popular GTK theme called “Arc”.
  • Application icons in the new icon theme come from a popular icon theme called “Moka”.

The screenshots in this blog post use this new theme. Although the theme isn’t final (colors/tints/contrast in particular are likely to change) it already gives us an idea of what the final result could be like. If you like or dislike this new theme, don’t hesitate to tell us why in the comments sections. And please tell us why so we can react to your feedback and use it to improve the theme.


Linux Mint is proudly sponsored by:

Platinum Sponsors:
Private Internet Access
Gold Sponsors:
Linux VPS Hosting
Silver Sponsors:
Bronze Sponsors:
Vault Networks *
AYKsolutions Server & Cloud Hosting
7L Networks Toronto Colocation *
BGASoft Inc
David Salvo
Milton Security Group
Sysnova Information Systems
Community Sponsors:

Donations in February:

A total of $14546 was raised thanks to the generous contributions of 655 donors:

$400, SecureNym
$322 (6th donation), Frederic L. aka “”nofrog””
$250, Ian B.
$168, Pierre V.
$161 (2nd donation), Jean-luc V.
$123.45 (2nd donation), Brett H. R. aka “Brett-n-Jeanne in AK, USA”
$112 (3rd donation), Hans-georg T.
$112, Alexander R.
$107 (2nd donation), DeMus aka “DeMus”
$100 (55th donation), Ronald W.
$100 (12th donation), Jon Espenschied aka “xeno”
$100 (11th donation), Anonymous
$100 (4th donation), Ross W. aka “Roscoe_Oz”
$100 (3rd donation), Don C.
$100 (2nd donation), anonymous
$100, Don Gates
$100, Douglas G.
$100, Michael F.
$100, sector0 networks
$100, Mark A.
$100, Robert R.
$100, Larry P.
$100, John Tiller Software, Inc.
$100, Matthew S.
$100, Tony Ricciotti aka “Tony”
$100, Jeffrey M. T. aka “JayBird707”
$100, Lars E. S.
$100, Frank T. D.
$80, Sam E.
$76 (2nd donation), Jacques P.
$64, Roark S.
$60 (2nd donation), Stephen B.
$56, Ingo L.
$56, Victor L. F.
$54 (3rd donation), Torben C.
$54 (2nd donation), Jerry L.
$54 (2nd donation), Jan-albert V.
$54 (2nd donation), Matthias Z.
$54, Baudouin M.
$54, Dominik W.
$54, Jonathan H.
$54, Declan K.
$54, Giles H.
$50 (8th donation), Anthony C. aka “ciak”
$50 (5th donation), David B.
$50 (5th donation), jmro3006
$50 (5th donation), Roy B.
$50 (3rd donation), Kirby S.
$50 (3rd donation), Adam H.
$50 (2nd donation), Avis H.
$50 (2nd donation), Terrence P.
$50 (2nd donation), Hans J.
$50 (2nd donation), Mark S.
$50 (2nd donation), Jason Graun
$50 (2nd donation), Steve D. aka “taosld”
$50 (2nd donation), Stephen T.
$50, Charlie A.
$50, Thomas S.
$50, Ketil M.
$50, Greg C.
$50, Joshua R.
$50, Derek L.
$50, Derek B.
$50, Kenneth S.
$50, Iskar E.
$50, Stephen C.
$50, Elaine S.
$50, Henry W.
$50, Ludwig K.
$50, Daniel S.
$50, Richard R.
$50, Gary E.
$50, Normand D.
$50, David W.
$50, Mark R.
$50, Edward B.
$50, Richard P. aka “peetbog”
$50, Gene B.
$50, John P.
$50, Karl B.
$50, Robert G.
$50, Michele L.
$50, Joseph M.
$50, John M.
$50, Raja aka “Raja Raja”
$50, Ralph B.
$50, Noah D. aka “Darkk”
$45, Jean-marie C.
$45, Tako IJ.
$43 (2nd donation), Vesa K.
$43 (2nd donation), Zoran D.
$43, Sergio O.
$40, Marion C.
$40, Aritz Beobide-Cardinal aka “ARitz Cracker
$38, Han S.
$35 (14th donation), Robert H.
$34 (72th donation), Olli K.
$32 (2nd donation), Hermann W.
$32 (2nd donation), Lee C.
$32, Martin A.
$32, KaloSkate
$32, Miguel V.
$32, Hans-Lothar T.
$32, David L. aka “tenfoot”
$30 (6th donation), Julie H. aka “Kjokkenutstyr
$30 (6th donation), Steve Guard
$30 (2nd donation), Charles F.
$30 (2nd donation), James P.
$30, Carmelo M.
$30, David S.
$30, Ciprian R.
$30, Alexandre F.
$30, James P.
$30, Rickard H.
$30, Brian M.
$28, Sevinc K.
$28, Franciscus A. G. H.
$28, Sebastian S.
$28, Bernhard S. E.
$27 (2nd donation), Rolf S.
$27 (2nd donation), Frank M.
$27, Damien B.
$27, Slavoljub M.
$27, John J.
$27, Nico R.
$27, Sebastian P.
$27, Chris V.
$27, Glenn G.
$27, John A. J.
$25 (54th donation), Ronald W.
$25 (3rd donation), Robert B.
$25 (3rd donation), Robert D. aka “Wilbobob”
$25 (2nd donation), Allan C.
$25 (2nd donation), 1455 Group LLC
$25 (2nd donation), Nelson I.
$25 (2nd donation), Nicholas W.
$25 (2nd donation), Charles W.
$25, Alan P.
$25, Jeremy G.
$25, Dave B.
$25, Roberta H.
$25, Kevin D.
$25, James W.
$25, Jack C.
$25, Philip H.
$25, Kyle G.
$25, Richard S.
$25, Music Together of Greater Richmond, LLC
$25, George R. W. I.
$25, Carl J.
$25, Frederick S.
$25, Andrew W.
$25, Eric W. aka “powerwagon75”
$25, Margaret W.
$25, Edward R.
$25, Desktop Computer Support
$25, Jon C. S.
$25, Klaartje B.
$25, Bruce G.
$25, Patrick J.
$25, Carol M.
$25, Dominic D.
$25, Trevor H.
$25, Dwight D.
$25, TryThat
$25, Daryl D.
$25, Jay M.
$25, Donald M.
$25, Kumar S.
$25, Charles M.
$25, Anthony C.
$25, Karen J.
$25, Fidel Cashflow
$25, Eric D.
$25, Warren G.
$25, Arshad R.
$25, Dmitriy Z.
$25, Joseph C.
$25, Christopher S.
$24, Joerg P.
$23 (5th donation), Hans P.
$22 (5th donation), Pentti T.
$22 (4th donation), Kari Y.
$22, M. B. L. aka “MBL
$22, Andrea M.
$22, Robert F.
$22, Ron F.
$22, Robert L.
$22, Cornee T.
$22, Ian P.
$22, Lennart P.
$21 (6th donation), Ross M aka “ro55mo”
$21 (4th donation), Brandon W.
$21 (4th donation), Stefan A.
$21 (4th donation), Janne S.
$21 (3rd donation), Stefan K.
$21 (2nd donation), Tom Sturm
$21 (2nd donation), Janne K.
$21, Marc A.
$21, Peter K.
$21, George Velim
$21, Eugene T.
$21, Stefan H.
$21, Nicolas M.
$21, Philipp S.
$21, TC Lo
$21, Saad S.
$21, Robert S.
$21, Matthias W.
$21, Matthew B.
$21, Vivien C.
$21, Zahari D. K.
$21, Michel J.
$21, Walter H.
$21, Anthony R.
$21, Daniel J.
$21, Lars N.
$21, Klaus S. aka “northcup
$20 (8th donation), Thomas M.
$20 (6th donation), Matsufuji H.
$20 (5th donation), Dave I.
$20 (5th donation), Stefan A.
$20 (5th donation), Peter J.
$20 (3rd donation), Oblong Software Products
$20 (3rd donation), Craig W.
$20 (3rd donation), John C.
$20 (3rd donation), Brent S. aka “AFineMan”
$20 (3rd donation), Alexandre A.
$20 (2nd donation), Paul K.
$20 (2nd donation), Jose T. G. T.
$20 (2nd donation), Arunas A.
$20 (2nd donation), James F.
$20 (2nd donation), Bruce N.
$20 (2nd donation), Rod Hassler
$20 (2nd donation), Todd
$20 (2nd donation), Jim P
$20 (2nd donation), Robin P.
$20 (2nd donation), Stuart H.
$20 (2nd donation), Patrick Moran aka “Cynyster
$20, Solent Web Design
$20, John V.
$20, Jacqueline T.
$20, Herb F.
$20, Christopher J.
$20, Marco M.
$20, Richard F.
$20, Edward B.
$20, Daniel O.
$20, Michael N.
$20, Patrick C.
$20, Jorge A.
$20, Gilles L.
$20, Travis H.
$20, Jarmo K.
$20, Giuseppe C.
$20, Tim P.
$20, Corey H.
$20, Jeffrey C.
$20, Немихин И.
$20, John M.
$20, Lindsay B.
$20, Darin W.
$20, Ann-katrin W.
$20, Roslyn S.
$20, James M.
$20, Stephen C.
$20, T. aka “DeadLock”
$20, Graham G.
$20, Robert Nunnally aka “Gurdonark
$20, Thomas A. L.
$20, Kane S.
$20, Boris B.
$20, Хан П.
$20, Murray C.
$20, Cemil B.
$20, Patrick M.
$20, Martin C.
$20, William A.
$20, Shaun D.
$20, Mohit K.
$20, Bill P.
$20, Larry J.
$20, David P.
$20, Caroline C.
$20, Michael L.
$20, Scott S.
$20, Ronald H.
$20, Vernice V.
$20, Derek B.
$20, Matthew W.
$20, Brian H.
$17.6 (3rd donation), Nathan B.
$17.3 (3rd donation), Anton W. aka “redant
$17 (3rd donation), Alan B.
$17, Tom S.
$17, Kevin S.
$16 (6th donation), Isidro P. A.
$16 (5th donation), Isidro P. A.
$16 (3rd donation), T. Ng.
$16 (2nd donation), Ivan S.
$16 (2nd donation), Oliver S.
$16, Oleksandr C.
$16, Arnaud B.
$16, Marco L.
$16, Nemanja S.
$16, Meijvis A.
$16, Christof S.
$15 (5th donation), Michel C.
$15 (4th donation), James A.
$15 (3rd donation), Marek G.
$15 (3rd donation), Peter Chivers
$15 (3rd donation), Steve Sharp
$15 (2nd donation), Dirk Köhler
$15 (2nd donation), Seng T.
$15, Shaul L.
$15, Sam R.
$15, Daniel G.
$15, Sean Y.
$15, Blemtop LTD
$15, Daye G.
$15, Programmatic Conquest
$15, Nicolas G.
$15, Gary T.
$15, James M.
$15, Kevin L.
$15, Raymond A.
$15, Larry S.
$15, Jan Sanders aka “Jasabor”
$15, Dan H.
$15, Sara E.
$15, Conrad M.
$15, Martin V.
$14.99 (4th donation), qwaqwa68
$12 (59th donation), Tony C. aka “S. LaRocca”
$11 (26th donation), Raymond E.
$11 (24th donation), Mark W.
$11 (6th donation), Doriano G. M.
$11 (5th donation), Andreas S.
$11 (5th donation), Jon Marks aka “ESL Materials Writer
$11 (4th donation), Theis F. Hinz
$11 (3rd donation), Marc V. K.
$11 (3rd donation), Juan T.
$11 (3rd donation), Joshua R.
$11 (2nd donation), Mladen P.
$11 (2nd donation), Bartosz W.
$11 (2nd donation), Peter V.
$11 (2nd donation), Heinrich S.
$11, Peter E.
$11, Finn H.
$11, Martin M.
$11, Axel B.
$11, Joachim S.
$11, Juan R. Gavilanes aka “janrax
$11, Kari H.
$11, Borderstone
$11, Daniel G. C.
$11, Albert S. S.
$11, Günther G.
$11, Patrick T.
$11, Daniel H.
$11, Boris T.
$11, Koen D. B.
$11, Sebastian N.
$11, Juan C. I. D. C.
$11, Simone M.
$11, John G.
$11, Alexander H.
$11, Erkko R.
$11, Ochal C.
$11, Kay S.
$11, Daniele D. R.
$11, Andreas P.
$11, Jukka K.
$11, Richard Z.
$11, Jürgen R.
$11, Andreas B.
$11, Kevin T.
$11, Jörg S.
$11, Marcello C.
$11, Odoardo Z.
$11, Luc D.
$11, Neil H.
$11, Silvestre J.
$11, Daniel C.
$11, Diego A. R.
$11, Sven K.
$11, Andreas B.
$11, Antonio P.
$11, Maurice K. S.
$11, Giulio T.
$11, Marc B.
$11, Stefan B.
$11, Lutz H.
$11, C H. H.
$11, Luís F.
$11, Walter D.
$10 (49th donation), Tsuguo S.
$10 (14th donation), Dan J
$10 (7th donation), Uncle Geek
$10 (6th donation), Kulistov V. aka “Q_List”
$10 (5th donation), aka “Caturix
$10 (3rd donation), Andrew M.
$10 (3rd donation), Brynley F.
$10 (3rd donation), Joseph V.
$10 (3rd donation), James N.
$10 (3rd donation), Andreas S.
$10 (2nd donation), Debora G.
$10 (2nd donation), Robert M.
$10 (2nd donation), Thomas C.
$10 (2nd donation), Bill B.
$10 (2nd donation), Carlos V. M.
$10 (2nd donation), Rolf V.
$10 (2nd donation), Tyler K. M.
$10 (2nd donation), Ray P.
$10 (2nd donation), Graham W.
$10 (2nd donation), Gurahamu
$10 (2nd donation), Yijun X.
$10 (2nd donation), 末次 英.
$10 (2nd donation), Doug Byfield aka “Doug B.”
$10 (2nd donation), Tony W.
$10, Esseid N.
$10, mikecolley aka “mikecolley”
$10, Sam K.
$10, Michael G.
$10, Catalin A.
$10, Sharon T.
$10, Emil V.
$10, Milford H.
$10, Flemming B.
$10, Bill C.
$10, Mark G.
$10, Susan L.
$10, Sam A.
$10, Mehmet Ö. B.
$10, Philippe S.
$10, John B.
$10, Sven V.
$10, Sheliak T.
$10, Vasile C.
$10, Paweł
$10, Donald C. R. S.
$10, Michael C.
$10, David F.
$10, Wallye R.
$10, Manuel J.
$10, Leopoldo G.
$10, Roberto M.
$10, Jeffrey B.
$10, Michael R.
$10, Cesar M.
$10, Nicholas M.
$10, Sonia S. P.
$10, Felipe Vargas
$10, Heera
$10, Patrick J.
$10, Wendong Z.
$10, Yakovlev P.
$10, Glenn C.
$10, Edsil W.
$10, LFDS Ltd
$10, Alex J.
$10, Kamil M.
$10, Christina M.
$10, John G.
$10, Lucinda G.
$10, Ronald C.
$10, Andres V.
$10, Jesse N.
$10, Joseph S. B.
$10, Joshua S.
$10, Максимов Н.
$10, James B.
$10, Yaroslav S.
$10, Michael M.
$10, Adler H.
$10, Joseph S.
$10, Marjorie C.
$10, Willie O.
$10, Georgi B.
$9 (2nd donation), Mark J.
$9, Alexander P.
$8 (2nd donation), Javier S. D. F. aka “jserranofr
$7, Zsolt M.
$7, Daniel G.
$6.66 (3rd donation), Aizuddin aka “ak47suk1
$6 (4th donation), Rafael B. M.
$6 (3rd donation), Robert M.
$6 (2nd donation), Wayne O.
$6 (2nd donation), Dawid W.
$6, Javier S. S.
$6, Jean-françois N.
$6, Franck G.
$6, Andimovies
$6, Rashdan R.
$6, Stefan D.
$6, Matthew G.
$6, Sabine L.
$6, Jeroen V. D. B.
$6, Исаев А.
$6, Giacomo F.
$5.1, Hans Westerman
$5 (23rd donation), LM aka “LinuxMint
$5 (13th donation), Libertad Tecnologica
$5 (12th donation), Paul B. aka “Dude”
$5 (11th donation), Jt Spratley aka “Go Live Lively
$5 (10th donation), Jens-uwe R.
$5 (10th donation), Nicholas S.
$5 (9th donation), Kevin O. aka “Kev”
$5 (6th donation), Hakim
$5 (6th donation), Jack H.
$5 (6th donation), Arvis Lacis aka “arvislacis
$5 (5th donation), Mauricio Hernández aka “Wicho”
$5 (5th donation), Jack H.
$5 (4th donation), Todd A aka “thobin”
$5 (4th donation), Donald H.
$5 (4th donation), Merchant Hubs
$5 (3rd donation), Edgar T.
$5 (3rd donation), Luis D.
$5 (3rd donation), Alfons B.
$5 (3rd donation), Elad Hen aka “eladhen
$5 (3rd donation), Cody X.
$5 (3rd donation), Andrea B.
$5 (3rd donation), Michel B.
$5 (2nd donation), Marcial B.
$5 (2nd donation), Antonio C. D. N. N.
$5 (2nd donation), Dominic R.
$5 (2nd donation), German Heberto Duran
$5 (2nd donation), Godfrey H.
$5 (2nd donation), Wayne C.
$5 (2nd donation), David H.
$5 (2nd donation), Irmantas R.
$5 (2nd donation), Florian G.
$5 (2nd donation), Artur T.
$5 (2nd donation), Vedran S.
$5 (2nd donation), Patrik R.
$5, Maciej D.
$5, Maximilian S.
$5, Ellert H.
$5, Gabriel R. S.
$5, John J.
$5, Adil E. H.
$5, Deborah M.
$5, Daryl A.
$5, Sylwester K.
$5, Sahasrabuddhe M. V.
$5, Mahesh C Patra aka “Mahi”
$5, Josemari D.
$5, Bargain M.
$5, David L.
$5, Мальков Е. aka “Vaska Pupkin”
$5, Ron B.
$5, Norbert W.
$5, Hasan
$5, Maysi2k
$5, Uwe R.
$5, Harshal P.
$5, Geoffrey T.
$5, Yannick S.
$5, Bhushan Y.
$5, Michele C.
$5, Shaoteng W.
$5, Ken R. S.
$5, Daniel L.
$5, Bernie B.
$5, Hintariu D.
$5, David L.
$5, James OC
$5, David B. T.
$5, Plan Panda
$5, Mark J.
$5, James M.
$5, Dawid M.
$5, David G.
$5, Mike K.
$5, Alfonso M.
$5, Giovanni Z.
$5, Shoua T.
$5, Jason S.
$5, Jamie P.
$5, Richard M.
$5, Michael D.
$5, Ronny G.
$5, Denis C.
$5, Malte K.
$5, Christopher R.
$5, Замураев Л. aka “Leo (Saint-P)”
$5, Jason C.
$5, Hostgator Coupon 2016
$5, Andreas Z.
$5, Fangxin J.
$5, Peter M.
$5, George H.
$5, Manoj M.
$5, Gert D. P.
$5, Andrew P.
$5, Jose J. A.
$5, Bryon S.
$5, Arie de J.
$5, Krzysztof N.
$5, Florian M.
$5, Marco T.
$5, Umman Ş.
$5, Joseph L.
$4 (6th donation),
$3.55, Christopher H.
$3 (12th donation), RoDi – správa IT
$3 (4th donation), safe-scripts
$3 (4th donation), patrick p.
$3 (2nd donation), Jofre P. C.
$3 (2nd donation), Tomasz U.
$3, 顾 世.
$3, Mico M.
$3, Ml P.
$3, Man And A Van
$3, Erdal A.
$3, Niko K.
$2.25, David Y.
$46.25 from 37 smaller donations

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Changes to password policies

Written by Clem on March 8th, 2016

In reaction to the recent attacks on Linux Mint, policies were changed on the forums and community websites, to only accept complex passwords:

  • With a minimum length of 10 characters
  • Which include both lower and upper case characters
  • And which include digits and symbols

Note: This post was edited on March 16th. The ability to set custom passwords on the community website was initially removed and it is now available again. Many thanks for your feedback.


Monthly News – February 2016

Written by Clem on March 1st, 2016


The attacks

Since that Saturday night on February 20th, all our efforts went towards protecting our project and our community. After the despicable attacks on our website and the deliberate attempts at hurting our users, we had to react fast and efficiently. The compromised server was shut down, all ongoing projects were stopped and all our time, efforts and resources were used to address the situation.

We had to work really hard, day and night for more than a week on this. We had to learn a lot too, fortunately we weren’t alone. We received help, we purchased new resources, we made new friends and we acquired help and expertise.

I’d like to thank the phpBB team and Automattic (the company behind for reaching out to us to see if and how they could help.

I’d like to thank Avast for working with us on this. They contacted us and offered to help analyze the fake ISO. We gave them a copy of it and all the info we already had. A day later they came back with a full malware analysis and we were able to issue an update to warn people who might still be affected by it. Avast also pushed updates towards their own users and they were able to block access to the Bulgarian servers used by the hackers. Finally, the addresses the malware was connecting to were either shut down or blocked by Kaspersky’s DNS sinkhole. I’ve been really impressed by Avast and the awesome work they did, it really helped us react quicker.

I’d like to thank our friends at eUKhost and AYKsolutions. Whenever we needed help, they were there.

I’d like to thank the people who first detected and reported the attack, the people who helped us scan for vulnerabilities and the various people who gave us security advice and challenged us in checking more and more security aspects as the week progressed.

I’d like to thank everyone at Sucuri and their leader Daniel Cid in particular for how awesome they have been with us. They had a great reputation and so we naturally went towards them to get our servers scanned for malware and cleaned up. Our servers are now monitored by Sucuri and protected by their firewall. We’ll be entering a partnership with them and it’s a real pleasure not just to benefit from the protection and the range of services they’re offering us but also to have that close relationship with security experts and to be able to quickly get in touch with them whenever our project needs it.

And finally, I want to thank you. When things go bad and somebody’s hurt we see all sorts of reactions. You’ve been great and that also really helped us. We always had a special relationship with you, we see it every month with your donations, your comments and your support. After the attacks, you were worried and you needed answers but you were also extremely patient and supportive. We tried to answer as many people as possible, it was hard in the middle of all the work we had to get done, but we kept getting taps on the back, we started to see people within the community step up and answer queries, reply to others and generally help in various different ways. We already knew what a great community we had. It was really put to the test here and it didn’t disappoint. We’re really proud to be working for you and we can’t wait to get back to work on the distribution itself.

New security aspects

Aspects directly related to these attacks:

To protect ourselves and reduce the risk of future attacks, many restrictions were placed on our servers. This might affect some of the websites a bit. If you find yourself unable to comment, to upload or to do something that worked well before, please let us know.

Aspects which could be used in future attacks:

To protect you and reduce the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks, almost all websites moved to HTTPs so you’re guaranteed you’re looking at the real Linux Mint server and the communication between you and us is encrypted. These measures protect you against local attacks (somebody listening to your local network, somebody maliciously opening up free Wifi to capture passwords being typed in a public place, or even on a greater scale.. fake DNS resolution pointing you to malicious servers). Note: The blog is yet to switch to HTTPS, we’re working on that still.

To make ISO verification more accurate we’ll communicate SHA256 sums and GPG information more prominently going forward. MD5 was displayed as the primary mean of verification, with SHA256 and GPG being available for people who wanted them. We’ll review the way this information is shown and try to make more people use SHA256 and hopefully also GPG by default.

Aspects which relate to the operating system:

We’re considering re-adding Gufw to the default software selection. What happened was very uncommon but as our project and Linux in general are getting more and more popular, our operating system is becoming more and more of a target. We cannot ignore the threat of malware and think that it only affects Windows. The centralization of our software and the better practices of our users who rarely directly install 3rd party packages or binaries are an asset, but they can also be a vulnerability. A malicious PPA archive could affect Ubuntu and Linux Mint users, it could offer legitimate packages for months and then suddenly spread malware that would be immediately accepted by thousands of users. It’s important to understand that the reason we’ve been so safe until now is because we’re smaller and because we therefore represent a much less interesting target. We can’t just protect ourselves from attacks, we also need to think of how we can react to them after they’ve taken place. We need scanners, and we’ll look into that as well, and we need something people can use to quickly and easily configure outgoing traffic and review applications communicating with their network, and Gufw does that very well.

One of the key advantages of Linux Mint is its stability vs security policy, the level of information shown and the fact that update management is configurable. It puts power in the hand of the user, which is something that is lacking in many other operating systems. For that power to be an asset though, users need to understand what’s at play. We’ve seen times and times again now, so-called experts and developers alike who were really struggling to understand the core of the problem itself. This isn’t something they’re learning from and this isn’t something which is properly documented. I think we need to do a better job when it comes to presenting the problem, raising awareness around it and making it easier for people to form their own strategy and have the operating system follow it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this. The key is configuration, but to rely on the user, we need the user to have access to better information and easier management. We’ve worked on this in almost every releases, and we’ll continue to improve it.

Donations and development

Many thanks to all the people who donated to us and to all our sponsors. We feel a bit guilty this month because the attacks took all our focus and we didn’t work on Linux Mint as much we’d want. There are some really cool things going on within the development team, there are now 4 X-Apps projects (xed, xreader, xplayer and xviewer), most of the Mint tools were migrated to python3/GTK3/gsettings and given better HiDPI support, we’re looking at better out of the box touchpad support in Cinnamon (which should probably go into MATE also) and the possibility to set different backgrounds on each workspace…etc. It’s a bit too soon to give any details though, so we’ll wait until we’re done working on security aspects and we’ll then start to cover improvements and new features on the Segfault blog and in the next monthly news.


Thank you to all of you.



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$360, Teach English Abroad
$200, Adam M.
$173 (14th donation), Andreas Schmidt
$143, Andreas und Carsten Mahr
$112, Salvador P. C. B.
$112, Bogdan S.
$112, Jack B.
$112, Carsten S.
$112, Heltyca Srls
$112, Roland L.
$100 (3rd donation), Timothy P.
$100, Kenneth P.
$100, Jim G.
$100, Charlie G.
$100, Jan-erik Ö.
$100, Kirk H.
$100, Robert H.
$100, James C.
$100, Colin S.
$100, Charlie E.
$100, Thomas K.
$100, Enetics Technologies Pty
$100, Brian S. J.
$100, Vincent W.
$77 (16th donation), Kouji K.
$71.84 (18th donation), Wolfgang P.
$70, Jhonatan V.
$64, Audio C.
$60, Scotland L.
$56 (2nd donation), Hans-georg T.
$56 (2nd donation), Paul A.
$56 (2nd donation), Christian D aka “zorbeck”
$56 (2nd donation), Oliver P.
$56, Nora V. W.
$56, Hans L.
$56, Udo W.
$56, Bruno D.
$56, Viviane S.
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$56, Crispin M.
$56, Klaus B.
$50 (68th donation), Matthew M.
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$50 (2nd donation), Forrest B.
$50 (2nd donation), Brian M.
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$50, Michael L.
$50, Thomas G.
$50, Dennis B.
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$50, David H.
$50, Thomas J.
$50, Laura H.
$50, Javon S.
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$50, David S.
$50, Joel Carlson aka “Fox7799
$45 (2nd donation), Nasser Bader aka “VIRUS
$45, Wolfgang K.
$45, J R. R.
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$43, Giuseppe V.
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$38 (2nd donation), Bernard R. aka “Beer4661”
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