News update

This is just a brief news update about what is going on at the moment:

  • Release date: The latest ISO is passing all my tests and I’m approving it for an RC release. It still needs to go through Exploder’s testing and it requires his approval before it can go out publicly.
  • Windows installer: Mint4Win is back and it’s fully functional. The version that comes with the CD installs what’s on the CD. We’re also considering to maintain a standalone version which would be able to download and install editions of Linux Mint as we release them.
  • Translations: The RC release will come without full localization. In particular, the installation slides are only in English and for some of the new tools (the new software and backup managers for instance) most of what is on the screen will appear in English. We’ll ask the community to give us a hand on this and we’ll wait until all major languages are fully supported to release the stable version of Linux Mint 9, but we decided not to hold the release of the RC in the meantime.
  • Java: The decision was made to remove Java. This allows us to keep large applications such as Gimp and Pidgin on the CD. Java was taking 122MB of data (compared to 48MB for Gimp, 28MB for Pidgin, 31MB for Mono/Giver/Moonlight/Tomboy) and was only used by the OpenOffice database application (openoffice.org-base) and the applet plugin (sun-java6-plugin). The decision was based on the fact that few people needed the database application and that most online gaming websites use Flash nowadays. Edit: The RC will come as a liveCD without Java. The stable release will provide both a CD and a DVD image. The DVD image will include Java, OpenOffice.org-base and a few extra (Thanks to all the people who provided feedback on this).
  • Moonlight: The moonlight plugin was removed because of a bug that made Firefox unstable. The browser would crash, sometimes immediately after being launched.
  • New software: Gwibber, Startup Manager and p7zip were added to the default selection. A new local repository was also set up, containing the same packages as found on the Ubuntu CD as well as GnomePPP.
  • Community Editions: No more references will be made to “CE”s. These editions will now become official and efforts will be made for them to be released as early in the release cycle as possible.
  • x64 edition: Linux Mint used to have a Main and an x64 edition. We’re trying to remove the gap between the two and to brand them identically.. a single edition, available in both architectures. Our goal this time around is also to release their stable versions at the same time.
  • OEM disks: A dedicated OEM CD will be made available with the stable release. We’ve encountered a lot of people who were wondering why their username was “oem” after they installed Linux Mint. OEM installations are for a very particular audience and can confuse a lot of users.
  • Universal edition: Two things were missing with the universal edition; it was only available as a DVD and only in 32bits. This was a significant problem for magazines and distributors in the USA as they could not distribute Linux Mint in 64bit. We’re going back to CDs and we’ll do it for both architectures. Further down the release cycle, we’ll also provide a remastering tool which will allow you to transform a Linux Mint ISO into a fully localized Linux Mint ISO booting in the language of your choice and including the necessary language packs.

Feel free to give us your comments, questions and reactions on this. In the days to come we’ll see the public release of the RC. We’ll work closely with the community to eradicate any bugs you may find and to make sure everything is fully localized. If we have time we’ll also talk about the new features and see how you feel about them, or maybe this will happen through discussions after we get our first reviews. For now, I just wanted to let you know about these things so I can start collecting your thoughts on it and so you can have a better idea of when to expect the public release of Linux Mint 9 RC.

Thank you for your patience.

Note about the picture:  The Talento design background was selected as default. Tomboy is still installed in Linux Mint but it isn’t featured in the panel by default. Update Manager uses a new set of icons and the sound applet was replaced by the new Ubuntu Indicator applet.