Monthly News – July 2014


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  • Distrowatch (popularity ranking): 3186 (1st)
  • Alexa (website ranking): 5313rd

News and summary:

  • Many thanks to all the people who have sent us donations and to all our sponsors.
  • New features for Linux Mint 17.1 are being developed and described on the Segfault blog as they near completion. Lately, the Update Manager received an improved kernel selection screen as well as richer and localized package descriptions.
  • After a long reflection and many discussions the decision was made to switch Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) from its current snapshot cycle to a Debian Stable package base. The transition from Update Pack 8 to Debian Jessie should be smooth and similar to a traditional UP upgrade, in sync with the upstream Jessie freeze planned for November this year.


  1. Thanks for the LMDE info Clem. If I understand correctly, UP9 will happen just after freeze, and from then on, we will get regular updates as Jessie is updated between freeze and release? Or after UP9, will there be no updates until Jessie release and then effectively UP10 to gain parity with Jessie?

    Edit by Clem: Hi Mike, there won’t be any UP9 or UP10, these were snapshots, update packs. We’ll move from UP8 to Jessie, after that the base will be the same as in Debian. In terms of release management we’ll have to make sure things continue to work for both bases for a while and people can make the jump when it suits them, so at some stage we’ll have UP8 as you know it now and a set of repositories ready for you to jump to (probably very similar to how it works in Mint, with a Jessie set on and a Debian Jessie base). On top of Jessie, we’ll be doing something similar to what we’re doing with Trusty… i.e. you’ll get security updates and bug fixes from upstream on an ongoing basis with the same filter/policy as in mintupdate and we’ll backport popular apps, DEs and Mint tools. Based on the popularity of LMDE we’ll need to decide a few additional details when it comes to release strategy (namely multi-tracking and the ability to opt-in between point releases).

  2. Clem: how is the popularity of LMDE determined?

    obviously it is less than mainstream Mint… is it downloads of the ISO, or update server hits, or?

  3. Will this be able to be integrated into the current version of LMDE or
    will this take a total reload??

  4. My last three non PayPal contributions have not appeared on your lists but the previous PayPal triggered SCAMs have stopped.
    I applaud ‘the team’ decisions as ever, as keeping track of the intermediate releases must have been a real nightmare, although it’s taking time for new users to understand the change significance.
    Meanwhile, Mint17, especially the 32bit MATE V2 is much improved with at last Kaffeine for DVB-T working without unexpected lock-ups of sound and video, so thank you for that alone, whilst its version of Users and Groups allows easy ownership transfer of ‘Mint on a Stick’.

  5. Glad to hear of LMDE’s based on stable. Looking forward to Cinnamon 2.2 finding it’s way into LMDE also. Clem you and the dev’s keep up the good work. 🙂

  6. You switched LMDE to Debian [i]Old[/i]? Oh well, you already did away with the XFCE version, so I wasn’t using it. But I’d been thinking about trying it with whatever non-XFCE DE you were including in it, to see if I might like the non-Ubuntu version of Mint.

    Thanks for keeping me from using a disc, lol.

    I’ll check back from time to time. I hope to one day see that you’ve upgraded LMDE to Debian “no longer at least a couple of years out of date” (and hopefully started relaying an XFCE version, but I could deal with that).

    In any event, thanks for expending the effort to produce two different major Mint versions.

  7. I’m pleased to see that LMDE will be based on Debian Stable.

    LMDE should offer an LXDE edition. LMDE with LXDE would work very well on 10-year-old computers and be as lightweight on memory as CrunchBang Linux, antiX Linux, and Puppy Linux. LXDE is substantially lighter than Xfce, which is lighter than MATE and Cinnamon. The Linux Mint brand already leads the high end of the Linux distro market, and LMDE with LXDE could also lead the low end of the market as well. This would help FreeGeek, as LMDE with LXDE would work on many computers that are too slow for Ubuntu-based distros.

  8. I realize that offering LMDE with LXDE would mean more work for the development team. If this requires discontinuing other editions, the KDE and Xfce versions of Ubuntu-based Mint should be the ones to end. The Linux Mint team is in charge of MATE and Cinnamon, so there’s no need to hedge against the risk of either project pulling a GNOME3 or Ubuntu/Unity. KDE and Xfce were never the main DE for Linux Mint.

  9. Clem–

    As I run Mint on a netbook, I need all the help I can get. As of now, I’m running Mint 17 Xfce on an H-P 2133, with a 1.0 GHz Via processor…and before I forget: ETERNAL thanks for the ‘non-PAE’ support.

    Does Mint 17 KDE contain the old(er) KDE netbook desktop support?
    It went like this: one went to ‘System Settings / Workspace’, and selected ‘Netbook Desktop’. The result was a lighter desktop much more friendly to a netbook.

    If Mint 17 KDE supports this feature, I’d like to try it. Do you think it would be worth it?

    One more “…oh, before I forget…”:

    I think it’s amazing that you’re turning out a leading-edge product which works this well on a 2008, 32-bit machine. Many thanks to you and all the team.

    (I use only Mint on my other two laptops and my desktop machine.)

    Edit by Clem: Hi Jon. Yes, but afaik you need to install plasma-netbook.

  10. But… if LMDE is based on Debian stable, what is the point of LMDE? I always thought that the main benefit of LMDE was to have an always updated release with better control and stability than plain Debian testing. If you then switch to stable Debian, which is already rock solid from this point of view, why one should choose LMDE?
    Isn’t the outdated package base of a Debian stable release inappropriate for a modern desktop distribution like LMDE?

    Edit by Clem: The purpose of LMDE, originally, is to experiment implementing Mint without Ubuntu, on top of a different base. This, strategically, is still important now that we know it works, in case Ubuntu vanishes or is no longer suitable. After that there’s a demand also, from users, to run Debian and not Ubuntu underneath Mint. We’re not diversifying with LMDE in an attempt to corner different audiences and a larger share of the desktop market. We made it public, it got popular, so we committed to maintain it. With that in mind, the goal of LMDE isn’t to be different than Mint, quite the opposite.. it has to meet the same expectations and quality but on top of Debian. On the Mint side, we assessed that stability was way more important than bleeding edge and we managed to not only stabilize the product but also free resources to develop new features and backport software packages by freezing the base. This is something that makes even more sense in LMDE, because not only does it suffer from getting lower resources than Mint in the first place, but it’s also slightly behind in the quality of the base.

  11. I thought that the main benefit of LMDE is to provide a more lightweight alternative to Ubuntu-based Mint. A few years ago, I found that LMDE with GNOME 2 and 512 MB of memory in VirtualBox was faster than Ubuntu-based Mint (even with LXDE instead of GNOME) with 2 GB of memory in VirtualBox on the very same host computer and OS.

    Another benefit of LMDE is a hedge against Ubuntu issues. If Canonical decides to discontinue Ubuntu or make controversial changes that render a Ubuntu base incompatible with the goals of Linux Mint, LMDE can take over as the main edition.

  12. Congratulations, Cleam & The Team, for your achievements and your commitment to make Mint a *remarkable* distro. Yes, I use it. Everyday.

    @Clem (& The Team):

    I am quite glad about the decision to switch LMDE to a Debian Stable package base. It means stability, which has been the main Mint trademark (newer versions of Mint are comitteed to bug fixing and not to release dates, right?). In my opinion, it is *excellent*. I prefer stability than latest versions.

    Good luck on the project, count me in for anything 😉
    And *congratulations*, Clem & The Team. Your work is *remarkable* 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. @rhY: there’s standard Mint already to get a good desktop distribution out of the box. Being based on Ubuntu, standard Mint will always be much more updated from a hardware support and application points of view, which are essential factors for a good desktop experience. LMDE was interesting because it was a semi-rolling distribution, which won’t be any more if it switches to stable package base. So, if a user will still deliberately choose a Debian based rather than an Ubuntu based distribution, I really doubt that he/she will be scared by just some configuration things to make his desktop experience better, so once again I’m not sure why a user should decide to choose LMDE.

  14. Greetings,
    I just installed LM 17 Qiana Cinnamon 64bit.
    My HP Officejet Pro L7680 All-In-One does not work on it. I went to the printers section and it did not show up. Tried the troubleshoot feature, it listed the printer, selected forward and the reply was “no obvious solution”. It is frustrating to be new at this and not have a critical feature not worked out and not being able to be productive.

    Edit by Clem: Hi Steve, make sure you’ve got hplip installed, or check

  15. @10 Mauro:

    Perhaps to be prepared for when Ubuntu becomes impossible to use as a base. I understand that every new Ubuntu version is more and more geared towards Unity and Mark Shuttleworth’s ‘vision’, thus making them progressively harder to adapt to other distros.

  16. Clem & the team,
    I welcome the move to Debian stable, because it allows you to focus on the reasons why some of us moved to Mint, that is the DE on top of the base, be it Debian or Ubuntu.

    It’s amazing to have the choice of different DE, long may it last. Its because they are each so good, that making the choice between them is difficult.

    I find it’s the stupid little pedantic things that can matter when choosing. For example, when I want to disconnect my external hard drive, XFCE allows me to Unmount, then Eject,and it stops my hard drive running without unplugging. In Cinnamon, I only get an option to Unmount, no eject, so I have to get up and physically unplug it.

    In KDE, I find is so easy to create a keyboard shortcut for say Firefox, you can right click on the program name in the Menu, and select Properties etc and input in your shortcut. But in Cinnamon, to my (albeit limited) knowledge, you have to open Menu, then Preferences then Keyboard, select Keyboard shortcuts, followed by selecting custom shortcuts, followed by “Add a Custom Shortcut”. Then put in program name Firefox, then select “None” beside Command, and browse to the binary file /usr/lib/firefox/ Then of course the binary file for Chrome is not easy to track down…

    As I said, only stupid pedantic things, but I’m loving the progress. I hope you and the team can keep up the hard work.

  17. I agree with Gerry about the desirability of being able to set keyboard shortcuts from the menu. It would be nice, also, to have all reasonable keys available for setting shortcuts. This is not currently true of the ‘menu’ key.

    Incidentally, a nice feature of the Application Finder menu in xfce, (but not the Whisker Menu) is being able to hover over an item and get the associated command and file name displayed.

    I also agree with Gerry that Mint has made great progress. Thanks Clem and team!

  18. Is there any way to get my LMDE to track testing instead of stable? I’d prefer not to be stuck on years-old software…

  19. Good idea to provide a stable LMDE !
    But why not keeping both: LMDE stable and LMDE rolling ?

    Having 2 stable Mint distro is pointless. Keeping only a debian base, and dropping Ubuntu base, may be the good direction ?

    Debian is not going to collapse soon, and is a safer option to work on… Doing the same job for 2 base distro is losing time.

    If you need more time to complete your projects (very good indeed), I suggest removing some DE, instead of dropping LMDE cutting edge release!


  20. Hello All, I’ve got a question. When I mount my MP3 player to LM 17 I got this message: Could not mount MTP-apparatus ‘[usb:002,004]’ (its translated from Dutch)

    However in LM13 this was no problem. How can I make it possible to mount my MP3 player to LM17?

    Kind regards,

  21. I am running the Linux Mint 16 Xfce and I have had no updates for several weeks, either through apt-get or the Update Manager. Very unusual, as previously I had to install updates at the least every week. Is this Ok or may there be some issue why I am not getting any updates? thanks

    Edit by Clem: Linux Mint 16 is not an LTS and it reached EOL. You can switch to Linux Mint 17 which will receive security updates until 2019 and act as the main development platform, thus receiving new features and backports for at least 2 years.

  22. Clem, I’ll ask the question again since I didn’t get an answer. Will the
    change to stable take a full reload or will it go in much as a UP??


    Edit by Clem: It’s hard to predict if it will be rough and how rough it will be, because that will depend on technical choices related to systemd, gtk and the like. With that said, I can already say that there will be an upgrade path and it will be possible to upgrade from the last UP. That UP was after all a snapshot of Jessie, and Debian Stable will also be a snapshot of that same release, so all in all, it’s pretty similar to a UP upgrade, there might be a few metapackages to install and some APT sources to modify but other than that it’s business as usual. We’ll document all that and make sure existing users can upgrade easily to the new base.

  23. I read people asking for their predilect DE, Debian variant, etc. concerning LMDE or to keep it semi-rolling (which happened every six months or so and not without much trouble) and stuff like that and I can only think one thing: Guys, I’m sure Clem is making a very well reasoned decision here.

    Even now, you can install pure Debian or any derivative and it will not feel and act the same as LMDE. Same goes for LM main edition vs Ubuntu. It’s the fine details of the released iso that makes me (us) adore Linux Mint. For instance, I’ve tried to customise my own Debian+Cinnamon or Mint+LXDE but was never satisfied with the result.

    My point is: You want Mint? Let Clem and his team implement their magic. Then we can help them iron out the finer details. You want bleeding edge, a particular DE, a new appearance, logo, initial wallpaper etc.? There are many more Debian-based distros in the sea and I’m sure there will be one that meets your expectations.

    Of course, Clem being so nice listens to every single demand but, guys, let’s be reasonable in our requests. I’ve always loved Mint and LMDE and now I am certain that the new LMDE will be awesome, This change is very exciting: I’m looking forward to trying it out!

  24. Thanks for the info Clem!

    Sad to hear that LMDE will now be based on stable – I switched to LMDE to get newer packages etc. back then. And the rolling release. May switch back to the main edition or let’s see.

    Anyhow, I see most people are happy about it and from a maintenance stand point I can totally see the point of doing so. Thanks for Linux Mint!

  25. So, after LMDE goes to Debian stable, I guess one could just change the sources to testing rather than stable? You’d risk wrecking the DE etc, but I guess this could be limited if Cinnamon & MATE base was taken from Debian, then just skinned using mint repos. That way, it’ll only be the mint stuff that breaks, where the actual DE would still function.

    In some ways though, it’s a bit weird to produce Cinnamon, to ship it to Debian for packaging into testing, to obtain it from there rather than your own repo!

  26. Great decision. Rolling update was only thing keeping me back from Mint. I am using still Squeeze and planning for switch to Jessie, when ready. But still was not sure, what DE(+apps) to use. So nicely packed Jessie with modern green desktop sounds perfect.

  27. I’d like to know: with the debian stable base

    1) do i get the same versions of applications as with pure debian stable or are at least some applications backported and consequently newer in LMDE?

    2) in comparison with Mint (Ubuntu LTS based): Do i have newer applications in Mint or is there the same backporting strategy in LMDE so that i have the same app versions in both systems?

    Edit by Clem: 1) There’s some 60k packages out there and for the most part they’ll be the same as in Debian Jessie. On top of that we’ll backport what matters most to people, i.e. popular applications and desktop environments. 2) Although the repositories will be distinct, the backports are likely to be similar.

  28. As ever, Clem, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, the best that you can hope for is to please most of them most of the time which so far you have achieved.
    Ubuntu-derived Version 2 of Mint17 MATE edition is proving to be the best yet in my opinion, whilst Debian Testing based LMDE has proved better for older platforms.
    So, I look forward to trying out a Debian Stable based LMDE, hopefully on a wider range of platforms.
    Meanwhile I see that there are a lot of folk who don’t really understand the advantages of an LTS focused strategy, but long may it continue.

  29. Hi I like the Xfce Linux Mint 17. I used Ubuntu 13.10 and changed from it because I wanted something more ethical and more secure. I like the layout of Xfce its very smooth and easy to use for beginners. Which makes it a nice and easy to suggest to other people, it installed with out a hitch. Thank you to all of you who have helped contributed and made this possible.
    So is this Linux Mint 17 Xfce a open or free operating system as a security issues goes, please make it secure for all. Of course on the Richard Stallman rating? If people feel safe with this they will stay, if not they will slowly move on and I think you guys have a nice operating system.

  30. I’m really pleased to hear that LMDE will be based on Debian Stable rather than testing. Stability and reliability are the most important things to the average user. If this gives Mint developers more time to work on writing software that is a great bonus.

  31. First of all, i’m still on Mint 13 Maya. A rocksolid, super snappy running system without any problems over the years. I appreciate the LTS-Strategy. It’s a really refreashing decision against this hysterical hype about the newest at any cost. Thank you very much.

    But i think, the message from clem, that the backports are likely to be similar (compairing LMDE with Mint) is even more amazing, because that means i can switch to a debian base, (almost?) without compromises. I think in both repositories i can find more or less the same apps, and with a similar backporting strategy i even get the same versions, if i’am right.

    All in all linuxmint makes also a big step towards independence from Ubuntu imho.

  32. I’ll happily give an XFCE version a stroll on a bunch of hardware once it comes out. The current “rolling” system seemed wonky at best. Great job team!

  33. LMDE switch to Debian Stable base: fantastic news in my opinion. By keeping in sync with the Debian repositories, you gain full benefit from their work, particularly with the security updates that will directly arrive in this future LMDE. With the UPs, you needed additional work after Debian Testing’s work.

    I recently moved from Xubuntu to Debian stable, I am very happy with it although I miss some tools that make life easier, like an automated updates checker. I can live without these tools (I could use cron to automate updates check myself), but these are clearly a plus. The quality of Debian Stable coupled with the ease of use of Mint, that sounds like a very , very nice system, for me and for less experienced relatives as well (people I would NOT recommend Debian to!).

    I like where Mint is going in general. Although the main Ubuntu based edition and the future Debian Stable based LMDE might overlap more in terms of audience, switching to LTS only for the former and to Debian Stable for the latter sounds like both projects will see even more improvement in their quality and usability. Congratulations and thank you for your work 🙂

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