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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.