Linux Mint 4.0 Debian Edition

Now.. you’re probably wondering what this is about? 🙂

As Linux Mint is becoming stable and as we’re coming to a point where we have achieved our main goals on the desktop we’re slowing down the release frequency (no Linux Mint 4.1 is planned for instance) and we’re spending more time on other editions. Coming up in the next few months we have 5 community-driven projects:

– KDE/mini KDE Edition
– XFCE Edition
– E17 Edition
– Fluxbox Edition
– miniCD Edition

So far, only two editions are officially maintained (Main and Light) and that freed our hands to invest a bit of time in R&D. So here we are now and here is what we’ll be looking at in the near future:

– Debian Edition
– Fedora Edition
– 64bit Main Edition

We started with the Debian Edition. The first reason was to show that the technology we develop is distinct from the upstream components it sits on top of and that, the same way we can change Evolution to Thunderbird, we can change Ubuntu to Debian or to Fedora and still make a great desktop. The second reason is simply that we did try most alternative components and that our selection was driven and justified by the tests we made.. so we could, for instance, appreciate the pros and cons of including Amarok instead of Rhythmbox and decide which solution was the most appropriate. This is true to a certain extent, and although we decided on Ubuntu to be our base, this decision was made without experimenting other bases. We do not plan to make our own base and do not plan to change our base to Debian or Fedora, but experimenting with these new bases will give us a better appreciation of the pros and cons related to using Ubuntu and eventually a better idea of what can be achieved in the long term or in case Ubuntu goes towards a direction we do not want to follow. And finally, the third reason was simply because we’re nerds and when we see the two brilliant distributions that Debian and Fedora are… we just can’t help ourselves to start building on top of them 🙂

So where are we at the moment with the Debian based edition?

– We have a liveCD.
– It’s based on Debian Testing
– It runs mintUpdate, mintDesktop and mintMenu
– We’re currently adding an installer to it… Ubiquity, Anaconda.. something else.. we’re having fun and experimenting 🙂

When we’re finished with this we don’t want people to use that as their main OS, but we’d like to get feedback and see how the desktop develops after a few months and how it follows the constant flow of updates brought by Debian.

Already we can tell you that much: It’s missing a lot of Ubuntu innovations (well you would have guessed that…) but oh my God … it’s so much faster!

So here we go, a little edition just to make a point, to us and to others, 100% R&D for the nerdiest of our beloved users 😉

Note: And this might come out faster than you think…



  1. Well, I believe that this the right way to go. I’m not a Linux developer, I’m even a pc specialist, but the last 6 months I found out about Mint and I loved every release ever since. I have little spare time (I’m an Orthopaedic Surgeon) and sometimes I can’t find what is missing for a distro to work out in my hardware. I find very interesting the idea to base Mint on Debian and even more interesting on Fedora. I would definetely like to see your new fruits. Great news, indeed…

  2. Man, if you get to have Fedora or a Fedora-like distro running flawlessly on my dektop, you’ll be the best developer in the whole world!!!
    I tried Fedora 3 times (different versions), everytime I gave up due to problems with sound, video, updates taking a LONG (REALLY long) time to complete and so on. But I like the concept, I like Anaconda, I like the innovations, I like its beauty.
    I’m waiting…..

  3. Count me in as wanting to test the Debian edition. It may be just the thing to get my home file server off of Win2k.

    Upgraded to Mint 4.0 yesterday and found it to be another excellent release. Congrats (and thanks) to all involved.

  4. Fluxbox is a good window manager and recently it is growing strongly.
    But it is not a desktop environment… so
    1)+ Xfce like Wolvix
    2)+ Rox like Fluxbuntu?
    I do not know… the second seems too no-frills, because its goal is
    to run on very old hardware. On this segment the competition is hard:
    Damn Small, Puppy…
    I suggest something in the midle: standard Xfce with fluxbox option
    as second windows manager. Also if it is possible to install fluxbox
    from the repositaries, it is better a default configuration.

  5. I’m a debian user. Kanotix in fact. It is the best distro I have ever used. Solid & Stable. I also like the look of Mint and have been following it since inception. Have also installed Celena. But I personally don’t like gnome or the ubuntu way of doing things. So a Mint based on Debian would be very interesting. I would definately give it a go.

    Kano from Kanotix is a genius. If I was looking for some tips on how to get debian and KDE working great He would be the man to ask. (Hope he doesn’t mind me saying that). Anyway keep up the good work. Have a Minty day>

  6. Clem
    Looks like this debian edition could be a winner,much faster than ubuntu base as well.I am more than happy with the current performance in
    Daryna so this would be something to get very excited about.

    Are we likely to see this development version before christmas do you think?

    Here`s Hoping


  7. … but Fedora means rpm… will it not be
    hard to carry all the mint-structure on a
    rpm-base distribution? In any case I like
    Fedora: it was my distribution for 4 years.
    The unic weak point is the total control
    center: there is not!! From this point of
    view Suse is better. But Mint will supply
    something better, I am sure 🙂

  8. You guys are doing again same mistake did by other Linux guys. why do you want another distribution at this moment? we already had plenty of distributions and no Linux user want any more. if you have free time then whey don’t you consider tuning MINT to further level? Ordinary Linux user don’t want to have so many distributions instead he want one distribution with all the necessary features and easiness to use. if you still think Linux is for child’s play and not for serious use in production, please go ahead with you plans

  9. Clem,

    Rather than releasing a derivative distribution, might not it be better for Mint to maintain a repository comprising packages unavailable either via the official Fedora repositories or Livna, such as a bytecode interpreter-enabled version of Freetype?



  10. Mint debian is an excellent idea, and Debian is in need of the edition. I don’t count Ubuntu desktop for debian based edition, because there is a slight deviation from debian way of doing it.

    Currently Debian lacks a desktop edition to deliver latest application releases, because they sleep in the test for some time, and wait for debian to release after consolidating all test applications.

    I believe Mint update + Mint install for Debian will do a good testing ground and bring the latest applications to the End user.

    keep up the good work.
    By the way, if you could provide the Version no. , release date, and website link, and if possible release notes, then it will be easier for cautious user to verify the version and changes before installing the application.

    Have a minty day!

  11. I sure would like to lay may hands on a Debian based Mint 😀
    Where and when can we get the alphas?

    I wouldn’t mess with fedora, rpm = hell!

  12. I think a Debian based Mint would be a great idea. Ubuntu is straying further from the Debian base (which is NOT a bad thing – they are developing and adding features) but still lack the stability of Debian. Those of us who prefer stability over the latest version of everything would love to see a version of Mint based on Debian.

    I have machines that have been running Debian since Woody and have upgraded through Sarge and now to Etch without needing to reinstall. Ubuntu has never reached that milestone in my own humble experience.

  13. My mistake, Clem. I’ve just checked and Livna’s got around their rule of not duplicating existing Fedora packages by distributing one called “freetype-freeworld”, which “transparently overrides” the freetype package proper 🙂

  14. BL wrote:

    > I wouldn’t mess with fedora, rpm = hell!

    If this were 2003, when RPM was still only associated with a package processing system (cf. Debian’s dpkg), then you still might have a point.

    Since then, with the development of apt4rpm, yum and Smart, RPM-based distros now have package management systems easily the equivalent of APT.

  15. It was around that time I start using Debian (or debian-based distros) 🙂
    Good to know that nobody has to live in hell anymore 😉

  16. There *is* a case for saying that Debian and Ubuntu protect their users from dependency hell better than Fedora, for instance. But that’s because Debian and Ubuntu’s stable releases take more care to ensure that all dependencies are matched within the officially maintained repositories.

    Thus, mixing various unofficial Ubuntu repositories (Medibuntu’s and Automatix’s, for example) can lead to problems, and running Debian Unstable can sometimes entail broken dependencies.

    If you can get hold of a copy, take a look at Martin F. Krafft’s ‘The Debian System: Concepts and Techniques’, which not only debunks the myth that DEB’s technically superior to RPM, but also shows how a package’s journey from Unstable to Testing to Stable is mainly to do with ensuring that all the necessary dependencies are in place.

  17. I am so impressed with Mint!

    I’m sort of a Geek kind of guy, and try everything. Sites, videos, and recently Blogs.

    I’ve played with all the recent Linux distros i.e. SuSe, Ubuntu, Protech One, and others. But. came back to Mint.

    I love that “software” portal, and how did you find “Second Life” to add to the Distro?

    Guys, I do love this distro!

    Phoenix, Arizona

  18. I love your distibution. I recommend it to everyone I know who is tired of Windows. I have Mint on all my 32 bit machines. I use Mepis, Sabayon, Ubuntu on my 64 bit machines. I’d love to see Mint in a 64 bit distro, Debian or Ubuntu based. Mepis 7 recently went to Debian from Ubuntu. The updates are not as easy. Debian with your software portal would really be something. The Daryna 4.0 based on Ubuntu 7.10 is awesome too. Do what you think is best, it WILL be best.

    Thank you for what you’ve given to the world.

    Tucson, Arizona

  19. Have been playing with Mint Debian for the last few houres.
    Most impressive. Give Fedora a miss. Go straight to Redhat, or better still Centos. What the Linux community needs is an enterprise grade desktop that simple works. Thanks to everyone who gives there time to make mint the best of the best.

  20. > Give Fedora a miss.

    The common wisdom among Fedora veterans is to wait six weeks after the launch for them to iron out any release-critical bugs 😉

    Seriously, even though they’ve a reputation for premature releases, if you hang around long enough for Fedora Unity to issue a “Re-Spin” ( you honestly can’t go far wrong with Fedora as a general-purpose desktop OS (assuming that you’ve enabled the Livna repository!).

  21. 1000 versions of Linux + one more? So, if you started with Ubuntu, why do you think that Fedora or Debian versions will be better or more popular? Cardinal mistake for all Linux developers is that they experiment too much in the wrong way…

  22. I’m not a linux pro just a retired guy who switches linux os’s a few times a week, I’m running OpenGEU this week but it has a streaming radio problem.. WSM nashville is not possible.
    Wireless is my thing, I just want to have it working so I found that Fedora, Menpis and Debian all have wireless issues.. all are great hard wired. I would hope that when Mint designers are working with those sys that they add a restricted driver manager just like mint has.

  23. I have taken somewhat of an interest in the Fluxbox CE. I have an old laptop (pIII) that I would like to use a light weight WM instead of a DE. I saw no mention of Wifi or restricted drivers mention for the other editions.

    PS: Currently running Gnome version of Mint; tis nice. 🙂

  24. Install an installer 😀 into the liveCD, I am seroius, if you want to get it on your PC, install from the liveCD.

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