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Kendall Weaver worked on an LXDE edition of Linux Mint and his latest ISO was approved for a release by Exploder. It’s currently waiting my approval and the team and I are discussing what our strategy should be in regards to “Community Editions”. These editions are tested and released in the exact same way as the main edition and they meet the same quality requirements. According to reviews and the general feedback we’re getting about them they’re quite popular. The label “community” undermines them though, not that “community” is pejorative or anything, but it makes them look “non-official”. The only significant difference between the main edition and the community editions is simply the fact that their maintainers are benevolent volunteers who work on them in their spare time. As a consequence they’re often released late in the release cycle and sometimes they may not be released at all (The Fluxbox edition for instance missed the Linux Mint 7 cycle). There are different things we can do about this, we can introduce money within the team, we can prioritize some editions and define our strategy in terms of how late an edition can and should be… and I’m sure we’ll come with improvements, but the important thing at this stage is that we’re aware of the problem and we’re trying to strip these editions from their “community” label. So a big reflexion about this is ongoing and if we decide to go ahead with an LXDE edition, it should come out pretty quickly.

Merlwiz79 submitted a version of Linux Mint 8 Xfce to the team and it just got approved for a release by Exploder. You can expect this edition to be released this week.

Development started on Linux Mint 9. The menu will allow you to edit the shortcuts directly, to add them to the panel and to add them to the desktop. An option was also added to make the menu always start with the favorites. The update manager is getting new icons (the locks are replaced with white shields), it doesn’t consider it an error when it’s unable to know the availability of updates (the broken lock appearing when another APT application was open, or when connection to the Internet was lost, was irritating a lot of people) and it generally feels less intrusive. The software manager is being completely rewritten. It’s taking the best features of mintinstall, Ubuntu Software Center and Gnome App Installer. The graphical interface looks much slicker, using webkit to render HTML parts, a single-click navigation and a navigation bar. It also uses an APT daemon to queue up installation and removal of applications in real time. Your actions can be monitored as you go along, canceled, and you can close and open the software manager at any stage without any incidence on the queue. We’re abandoning .mint files to go back to raw  .deb support and as a consequence the software manager won’t deal with 300+ applications, but about 30,000.


  1. Those updates for Mint 9 sound amazing! Going to improve some important parts of the OS.

    Maybe the current community editions could have their own timescale introduced, such as 3/4 months after the official? That way people would know when to expect the next version to come out but give the maintainers adequate time so as not to overload them. Although I only (currently) use the main edition, I admire what these guys do immensely!

  2. Menu always start as favorites is a very good idea,as that niggles me having to click the back button.

    also editing shortcuts directly sounds cool, cant wait for Mint 9 ..


  3. Great to hear that you abandon the .mint format. I really wouldn’t like to see as many formats as there are distros. Having 2 formats (deb and rpm) is more than enough already for a typical user.

  4. Why don’t you allow other to download the pre-alphas and alphas of upcoming releases so we can look at them at test them and help point out issues and maybe submit fixes? For instance allowing us to get a daily build of LM9.

  5. The Changes/Additions for Mint 9 almost sound too good to be true.

    I feel like a kid in the backseat going on a trip.

    Is it May yet? Is it May yet? Is it May yet???

  6. While your at it. Don’t make an always open with favourites but a set of three radiobuttons:
    ¤ Open with the last used
    # Always open Favourites
    # Always open All Applications

    And try to make the menu resizeable, cheers for Isadora!

  7. @Eiver
    For Mint, it makes sense to use the package format of the *compatible* upstream distro (Ubuntu), but since .deb is meant to represent a *Debian* package, I feel that the *buntu distros should change their package format to .ubu or something similar. Yes, RPM and DEB packages are somewhat confusing now, but the fact that RPMs for Red Hat will not install on Fedora, why does it make any sense for them to share the file extension (since that is arbetrary to the package contents). For this same reason, I think that Ubuntu really should consider changing to .ubu to specify their packages and branding, and to help Debian to do the same. And, hence, Mint would also use that new .ubu format, since it is compatible with Ubuntu.

    All said, it sounds like a nice plan to include the Community editions into the main fold. The Mint 8 KDE seemed rather nice when I recently installed it for a friend to dual-boot. Mint 9 sounds like it will be even nicer!

  8. I didn’t really understand how important the ability to easily modify shortcuts were until I tried out Gentoo with a vanilla Gnome install. The Mint Menu is one of the things that sets this distro apart and the new changes sound even better. Also, thanks for dropping .mint.

  9. Good work and I appreciate the continued innovation with Linux Mint. Having access to more applications will be great!
    Thank you

  10. I want to thank you, Clem, for Mint and the excellent focus you put on the desktop experience! I’m looked for the perfect desktop and founded the KDE CE that is the perfect desktop for me. I’m so enthusiast with it to start promote it to my friends that are windows newbie users.
    I started to create wiki to simplify their approach to linux from win. I want to thank the team, exploder, husse and the other, more of all to the KDE CE mens.

  11. It Looks like you’ve decided to work mainly on interface, great, improvements are always welcome. I really like mint and do not think will move to another distro, but why lose and not improve different unique aspects developed for mint till now.
    What will make mint a distro and not just another derivative of either Debian or Ubuntu ?

  12. Oh. How cool.
    But I think It is very important for LXDE. In my country / area almost all persons computer are low config. So for them No LXDE – No linux. So I was working for LXDE. But can’t find a fully working LXDE distro yet.
    Can anyone send me the mint-lxde iso please ????

  13. I really expect Mint 9, but are there any expected improvements in the Ubuntu core, which is the base of Mint. Any thinning and fixing of different Ubuntu errors which influence Mint’s user experience ?

  14. For what its worth I think its only correct you label the other editions ‘community’. I think it is right that one edition (the official/original gnome one) be seen as the default and the others be seen as more niche products. Making them all equal will only confuse and distract from the flagship product, the main official release. Plus, the community editions don’t have a strict timeline and as you commented sometimes miss releases altogether. Keeping them community is the right thing to do IMO.

  15. I agree ‘Community’ is a poor choice to describe other desktop versions. Unlike Ubuntu you do work with the other editions from that group to create our existing Editions. I’m not even sure we need a Default if there is going to be so much more work on all editions. My suggestion would be call them by the desktop name (Gnome, KDE, Xfce, etc.) and add 32 bit or 64 bit to designate the type of computer it is meant to run on.

  16. I feel that the “Community” label takes away from the hard work that went into these releases. Team Members build these releases in their spare time after working all day at their regular jobs. I was very irritated when I listened to a very popular pod cast when the host did not even know that we have a KDE release!

    Some of our releases are totally custom built, the Fluxbox and LXDE editions have no similar Ubuntu builds to work from, these editions are very customized to reach the level of usability you would expect to see in a Mint release.

    The KDE releases are updated far beyond the original base to have a solid working KDE 4 system. The Xfce edition has custom built tools that are not found in any other distribution.

    I could see release times being an issue if we had a full time team of developers but that is a long ways off. I am for removing the CE label.

  17. Kendall Weaver
    Guy how you work. Congratulations
    Now we’ll have an edition of Mint LXDE 8 “Helena”

    Merlwiz79 despite his personal problems
    you will be able to launch XFCE CE 8 – “Helena”

    Good changes to the Linux Mint LTS “Isadora”

    *** I agree with exploder for removing the CE label
    Just Linux Mint KDE (32/64bit) – Xfce – Fluxbox – LXDE

    Clem, save the label for the Main Edition
    Linux Mint Gnome Main Edition – 32 and 64 bit

  18. Great review in distrowatch this past week. Keep up the good work with Mint. My search for a windows replacement is OVER!!!

  19. Suggest that Linux Mint provides a base/minimum install and the rest of the team provides A SCRIPT to add packages to change the minimum install into the various editions.

    Better still, if the script is available in the base install CD (like netinst for Debian), then selecting the desktop environment selection will be performed during the base installation. This would be the perfect way.

    Of course, the means the release of Linux Mint will be more frequent e.g.
    Linux Mint 8 (with only Gnome as the DE), then
    Linux Mint 8.1 (with maybe fluxbox when the dev submitted the script),
    Linux Mint 8.2 (when the KDE dev submits the script ) etc.

    The installation will then be centralized and more controlled.

  20. All the changes sound great, (except the menu, but then I am a minimalist menu type guy..) something to look forward to. I agree with doing away with the community label and just going with the desktop environment name, or maybe a suffix, Mint.G, Mint.K, Mint.X, and Mint.L

  21. My proposition is unlike making a salad of denominations, K.I.S.S; Linux Mint 9, Linux Mint 9 KDE, Linux Mint 9 XFCE, etc, maybe adding 32bits or 64bits if needed in the context. The plain name implies Gnome AND PERIOD, no more questions about not specifying it. Fact is Gnome is Mint’s choice.

  22. Mint 9 sounds great. Thanks (in advance)!

    But why is there no DVD ISO (I mean a full 4GB DVD ISO instead of the existing 1G or 1.2G for Universal and KDE), at least for LTS realeases with way more apps so that you don’t need an internet connection to install them (many other distros do that)… even if it would be against some €€€€ — well, not too much though! 😉

    As for the C.E.s, I do not think that it does matter much that they are released later than “Main”. The most important thing is that they are released when they are READY and work fine out of the box. After all that is what all users expect, I think. What is the point of releasing a distro (I will not quote any…) that needs 150 updates or more, when it is released when testing it 3 or 4 more weeks would have made it?

    One more thing that would also be interesting is to allow Wubi to point to the CE Editions too…

    And last but not least 🙂 , why not offer a single ISO on a dvd with all the Main and CEs gathered all in one (that is with Gnome, KDE, Fluxbox, Xfce and Lxde environments), and allow the user to choose from the different desktop environments at install time with default settings (the same way Mandriva Free does), and if there is some spare room why not add more available apps — yes! I’m still at it;-)

    Thank You All Mint Team (official or not) for your hard work!!!

  23. First I would like to applaude all those willing to work on mint, excellent job and a very well done.Now what I wish to say next isnt mint spacific but in general for any linux,as said any software enviorment is dependent equally on hardware, we have all had this frustrateing fact happen get new linux distro and nice works well but try get a sound card, modem, printer or your choice to work, either it intails hours of finding files or just haveing to give up or buy new hardware only after you do install the software to see if the hardware you have works or what sucsess is the p.c symbol why not every linux user on earth contact every hardware seller and say hey want my money you write the drivers for linux and yes a linux symbol would be nice. is it so hard is the code hidden, and no im not niave I know the big m word has hardware companys locked up but any company I know would find a way around if it came to loseing market share, just because one of its dependencys was greedy and dishonest like the big m. so please lets start a thread and get the best brains and find a soloution such as a universal driver initiative where all hard ware is required to have a base code any one could build off of for a given software inviorment , hmmm sound familliar open source people , hint hint, thanks doc

  24. I just tried the Lubuntu 10.04 alpha 3 on my netbook and I must say I’m impressed tremendously by LXDE, which I had never tried before. But Lubuntu is still kind of rough around the edges, to say the least, so I’ll have to give the Mint LXDE edition a try!

    As for the naming, I think you guys need to keep it simple and you need to make sure that people know that the GNOME version is indeed the standard. Since Linux Mint is often recommended to new users, and GNOME is arguably the best desktop environment for new users, I think that’s especially important. Maybe just drop Community and say, e.g., Linux Mint Fluxbox Edition?

  25. By the way, please don’t let the number of “community editions” deter you guys from releasing the LXDE one, as long as it’s quality is good. I want a nice, lightweight Mint, but don’t like Fluxbox and have heard LXDE is much lighter than XFCE. LXDE’s also very user friendly, I’m finding, so it would be a great distro to get owners of low-end rigs into the Linux Mint community. Pleassssse release it!

  26. If the mintupdate icons are going to be white please make sure that there is some sort of outline or even an alternate colour scheme so that they are easily visible on white panels.

  27. Lxde and xfce, i’m in love!
    Thanks Mint, this is a happy day for me.
    Thanks Clem, Kendall and Merlwiz79, Congratulations from Romania.

  28. Oh, goodie, goodie, goodie! I was thinking of going back to the more “serious/sober” Ubuntu (for Mint is like Candy!), now I am not so sure. Going all-out with .deb and resisting the urge to restrict yourself to .mint for packaging is the best choice. It helps respect the “Open” in “Open Source” philosophy. I now always promote Mint to Windows Refugees, though that means leaving distro-hopping behind. Desktop environment-hopping?
    A mini-net-install CD, with a choice of either LTS and current version, and a choice of DEs (LXDE is essential to me, and Compiz is irresistible: how to chose?) would be very useful for always installing uptodate versions (of everything; or with apt-on-cd).

    Oh, and I too would like to add my own recommendations in the software manager.

    Well, I am so glad I found you, Mint, you’d make Darwin very proud.

  29. That’s great news Clem, I have been waiting for a Mint LXDE, Even though I use KDEx64 as my main distro, I think an LXDE ver of Mint will be greatly welcome by a lot of users. Good to here that improvements are planned for all the CE’s. Thanks for the info & thanks too all that make these distros possible !

  30. I would love LXDE for netbooks and older computers. Though I personally like Fluxbox a lot I have found that with my wife and other users fluxbox is just a little ” too techy” for comfortable use. To the less Linuxy types LXDE doesn’t seem daunting.

  31. Whoo! Helena XFCE!

    Can’t. Wait. For. XFCE.

    Oh, and other news about Linux Mint a great as well.

    Good Job Linux MInt Team 🙂

  32. I’m waiting for an LXDE flavour for quite some time. Finally, some serious hope on the subject. LXDE is simply the best light-weight desktop environment. They even have their own display manager nowadays and PCManFM has been rewritten to feature several improvements. By the time Mint 9 will get in the picture LXDE will be an even better choice for the older computers. I’d love to see LXDE out very soon. 🙂 I keep my hopes up. I even put Fluxbox on wait for LXDE. 😀

    Regarding the other news… I’m confident Mint will evolve very nice. I welcome the changes about .mint, “community”, mintMenu, Software Manager and the others. Thank you very much for you hard work, guys! You deserve as much funding as required to support all developers so you can all work full-time on this project because you are certainly capable of doing an outstanding job. Hats off to you!

  33. I lost my password in now I’m not able to do anything. Is their way I can reset my password on my computer. Please help me!

  34. I live in the Philippines and it has been over 8months since I started with ubuntu and 4months since I switched to Mint.

    This blog news is truly promising and I hope that the release of Isadora will fully support usb modem devices of ZTE out of the box.

    I couldn’t support you guys except for giving out free copies of Linux Mint to my students in college.

    Thank you for making a linux n00b friendly distro, even linux mid-level users can appreciate your hard work.

    Love Mint!

  35. I’m very excited about the xfce release. I’m new to linux mint and when I saw that the Xfce CE was the only one not to have released and version 8 I went with the main edition and installed xfce myself. I’m sure that a fully integrated version would be much better, and am looking forward to it.

  36. I’m running Linux Mint KDE 8 as my main OS and I believe is about choice regardless if its named CE or not. However I also agree to put all editions to the same level as main since they all have the same Mint quality. I would say, keep things simple if you want to change the naming of the editions.

    I don’t know much about development but I have my doubts the practicality of having new releases every 6 months following the path of Ubuntu. Is this a benefit or an annoyance? I have the feeling of having the wheel reinvented too often. Wouldn’t be better to spent the time on improving things instead of spending time and resources fixing what is broken in Ubuntu? Should Mint move to “MINT” stable based on the previous release and take it from there? I would like to know your comments.


  37. It’s all very well for Ubuntu to move the OS goalposts every 6 months. But think- how long has XP been out? Did I upgrade to Vista? No. To ‘Seven”? No. Will I? No. I still run Xp on my main machine – with software I paid good money for. The OS is something that should remain, relatively unchanged, for years. If the Linux (Mint, Ubuntu, any) update can seamlessly shift me along (like XP Service Packs), great, I will go along gladly. Mr Shuttleski should read this little post of mine, and learn.
    I am super impressed by Mint, but 6 is headed out of support soon. Ubuntu really screwed up, allowing grub2 into their distro – unfinished, and missing many features that keep things that were working still working. That is the purpose of patches and progress.
    I have Helena 8 on an old box, to itself. I am eager to see Isadora 9 as it is LTS (Long Term Support), so will be around and maintained for a bit longer. I cannot afford to shift my main computing over to any Linux and then have to basically re-install the entire box every 6-18 months because the entire OS warped off to the next version. That is fine for the kiddos who have nothing to do between beers, but for photo editing or something serious, no. Time down is big money, and if a distro screws up, going ‘back’ is even more time wasted.

  38. [Kendall Weaver worked on an LXDE edition of Linux Mint and his latest ISO was approved for a release by Exploder. It’s currently waiting my approval]

    Oh you tease!!! We netbook owners are dying to try this out! Can you hurry the approval process please? Or at least let us have a RC version to play with?

  39. manny, I understand that you would like a more stable environment. However, you should consider the fact that Ubuntu (Mint’s base) is pretty much an update on what’s going on in the open source world of Linux. If we would stick to a “stable” environment we could as well stay with Debian, which is OK for such usage. However, if you want the latest Firefox, Thunderbird, and about all other applications, then you have to use a different software base.

    I agree with you that a lot of time and effort are spent on each transition but a part of it is inevitable considering every release needs to be properly tested and fixed before we actually use it. What’s being almost constantly reinvented here is how the desktop looks. The other activity is just a normal evolution of the distro itself. At least I know the long way mintInstall has put up and it’s still a work in progress because there are still many things it can do better.

    Mint *is* constantly improving so that goal is achieved. Regarding the effort to make a different desktop, I think that’s OK once in 6 months. I haven’t changed the default wallpaper since Gloria, but still, I’ve had two wallpapers – the one in Mint 7 and now Mint 8. This is enough for me not to get bored by it, but others change it anyway, so its questionable if it’s an expensive effort or not.

  40. Kneekoo, thanks for the explanation, I understand now the philosophy behind Mint. You guys doing a great job and I’m promoting Mint at the first opportunity I have; proudly I made a few converts already.

    My comment was based mainly in the huge difference between Mint KDE and Kubuntu, they are like day and night. Based in this comparison, my logic was KDE 9 based on KDE 8 with all the latest apps updates and bleeding edge technology, instead of having Kubuntu 10.4 as a reference which I believe is far behind the Mint distro on every aspect. Thanks any way for your reply. Mint Rocks!

  41. One other thought, would it be possible to put up a sign up list to notify the users when a particular distro is ready for download? That would eliminate problems like Boo had with his timely updates being interrupted by people with problems to solve. I know the answer should be people don’t add problems to notifications, but, people being what they are, this does not seem to work.

  42. Shit man that is simply awesome, my dreams are coming true! About the only thing that would make Mint unstoppable would be to have a DVD release as others have suggested with the choice at install time to select your desktop environment i.e. gnome, kde ect similar to maybe OpenSuse. Going to .deb will be the best thing you have ever done. so simple wonder why it took so long! If Mint 9 comes out with that mentioned and the above i’m going to drop a fat donation. This is the only linux project i feel like i actually want to donate to.

    I seriously cannot wait!!!

  43. I am very happy to know that the lxde mint distro is on its way cause lxde is by far the “friendlyest” lightweight interface, not to mention that it’s beautiful.

  44. Clem, I think you should set some guidelines for screenshots. No larger than 1024×768(?) should be enforced with few exceptions if necessary. This would allow us to have a more consistent/standard screenshot base and at the same time keep the file sizes at a fair amount so we don’t overkill the server(s).

    You should also encourage people to make as many screenshots as possible from the default Linux Mint GUIs, so we can properly identify the look and feel of each of them. That would be sweet! 🙂 And if uploading screenshots will be easy/fast (maybe via Mint’s Upload Manager as a pre-defined service?), I might as well be among people helping around with screenshots.

    1. kneeko: The priority right now is to have as many screenshots as possible, so let’s not add yet another restriction. Also, once we have a large pool of screenshots, if size, coherence and performance become an issue we can simply resize all of them in batch with one simple command, so that won’t be a problem.

  45. I feel a bit left out of these community editions. I have been running Mint 7 LXDE for 6 months now, and am yet to see any calls for ideas or help regarding a CE. Am I missing something here, or is Community Edition a misnomer? I know another poster on the forum posted up a similar comment to Kendell when he hinted at a LXDE CE… Is there a process to get more involved or what? I hope this doesn’t sound ungrateful or anything, I do really appreciate the work and effort that goes into EVERY aspect of this distro, but ignoring the community in the development of community editions seems odd! By the by I have moved over to Mint 7 Gloria with Openbox instead of Compiz as my distro of choice. Runs on anything 1Ghz and above with all the Main Edition beauty and integrations… Can I submit a Mint 7 Retro Openbox CE??? Thanks guys, I hope I haven’t ranted too hard!

  46. Excellent. I always wondered what the point of .mint files was – glad to see their gone. And an LXDE edition would be sweet. Everything you’ve said is in fact BRILLIANT.

  47. I am an absolute Linux Mint diehard since Daryna (4) and can’t wait until May. Mint always keeps improving so much I think it could take over the Linux world entirely..well, except one thing seems to be holding it back..Ubuntu itself. I would love to see all fututre Mints based on Debian rather than Ubuntu, but of course I am severely disgruntled concerning the bad karma of the Koala. I actually had to go back to Mint 7 because of all the issues with Karmic so I am very excited for Mint 9 and the Lynx to come out (hopefully it will be worthy enough to put Mint on)

  48. @Pariah,

    if Linux Mint will be to base on Debian, then you will see a sudden surge of new Mint users, especially those who prefer Debian but looking for something more user friendly.

    in another words, Mint will be on the same platform (no more a derivative of) as Ubuntu.

    If that happens, most of us here will probably switch from Debian to Mint 😀

  49. I tried Mint 7 and 8 on my 1005HAB EeePC but had a definite trouble with the wireless-drivers. I switched to UNR, which is OK. But if I may make a choice for the future: a MintNetbookRemix-LXDE would do fine, I would certainly download it and try it, and I guess I would stick with it.

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