Monthly News – March 2024

Hi everyone,

We’ve got a lot to talk about this month, but first and foremost I’d like to thank our donors, our sponsors and all the people who support us.

Many thanks to you all.

Localization

Improvements were made for Linux Mint 22 installations to be better localized and to use less disk space than before.

Preinstalled packages for languages other than English and the one you select will be removed at the end of the installation. This was not optimized in previous Linux Mint releases. The removal of these packages in Linux Mint 22 will save a significant amount of disk space post-installation.

If you’re connected to the Internet during the installation, language packs for your selected language will be downloaded.

In addition, the following languages won’t require an Internet connections since their language packs will be present on the ISO image: English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese, Dutch and Italian.

Deb822 support

The Software Sources tool will feature support for the new Deb822 format.

Pipewire

The default sound server in Linux Mint 22 will be Pipewire.

JXL support in Pix

The next version of Pix will support JXL images.

Kernels Series

To prioritize stability our 21.x releases shipped with Ubuntu LTS kernels (5.15). EDGE ISOs were made available, with HWE kernels, to bring support for new hardware.

Ubuntu 22.04.x releases used HWE kernels, and version 24.04 is set to use kernel 6.8.

During the last two years we didn’t observe significant differences in terms of stability between LTS and HWE series. Both were pretty stable. A growing number of users with new laptops/chipsets relied on EDGE images to be able to install Linux Mint though.

Linux Mint 22 will follow Ubuntu going forward and ship with new kernel series release after release.

XAPP Thumbnailer Gimp

A new thumbnailer for Gimp files was implemented.

It will be available in xapp-thumbnailers 1.2.4.

Online Accounts

GNOME Online Accounts, aka “GOA”, is a project which allows users to connect to their data in the cloud. This project was only designed for GNOME though so it doesn’t provide any front-end. It only provides libraries (namely libgoa and libgoa-backend).

Other than GNOME, many desktop environments integrated a front-end to these libraries in their control center: Cinnamon, Budgie, Unity, etc.

This project is important because it doesn’t just connect a desktop to the cloud, it’s used by many applications and libraries. Among other things you might use it to connect the Calendar application, the Thunderbird email program or the file browser to your online data.

With GNOME 46, libgoa/libgoa-backend 3.50 moved to GTK4. It can no longer be used by GTK3 applications.

To solve this problem a new XApp called GNOME Online Account GTK was created. As any XApp its goal is to work for everybody, in any desktop environment and in any Linux distribution.

This app makes it possible for Cinnamon/Budgie/Unity users to continue to use this functionality. It also provides it to any desktop that didn’t have access to it before (for instance: MATE and Xfce editions in Linux Mint).

It features two versions: One in GTK4 to support distributions which ship the new libgoa 3.50, and one in GTK3 for distributions which ship older versions of libgoa.

Thunderbird

In Ubuntu 24.04, Thunderbird was moved to a Snap.

Since we don’t want to ship with Snaps we had to choose between removing Thunderbird from the default software selection or packaging it. We decided to package it.

Thunderbird will continue to be available in Linux Mint 22 as a native .deb package.

Jargonaut

Work continues on the Chat Room application.

It received a new layout, a tray icon, image thumbnails, channel events, nickserv authentication, text formatting, /me commands, scrolling/catch-up support, auto-completion, spell-check…etc.

Package repositories

Our package repositories were tuned last month to accept a larger number of concurrent connections. Although this helped address some of the issues we had, they’re still really slow when the traffic is high.

We’re currently working on a new partnership with Fastly.

Fastly provides a global CDN with load balancing, TLS encryption and a powerful programmable cache engine called Varnish.

Their solution has the potential to significantly and consistently increase the speed of our repositories.

It also opens the door to better fault tolerance, better monitoring and logging.

We’re hoping to have more news on this soon. We’re really excited about it, the testing so far has been very promising.

Editions Stats

We also started experimenting with observability and monitoring solutions.

We don’t have news on this yet, but as part of our experiments we measured the popularity of the Linux Mint editions.

Note: This chart is based on the traffic on our website.

Cinnamon (also represented by EDGE and LMDE 6) represents 2/3 of our audience. Xfce is a solid second with a 1/5 share. MATE sits in third at 13%.

Advertising

Advertisement on our websites was drastically reduced.

No more popups, no more overlays.

Sponsorships:

Linux Mint is proudly sponsored by:

Gold Sponsors:
Linux VPS Hosting
Silver Sponsors:
Sucuri
ThinkPenguin: For Everything Freedom
Bronze Sponsors:
Vault Networks *
AYKsolutions Server & Cloud Hosting
hSo
Agile.Coach
BGASoft Inc
C0MPLÉX1 SEO
DeepTide, LLC
HamoniKR
VANT

Donations in February:

$270, Oliver H.
$250 (15th donation), Tomasz E.
$213 (6th donation), Andreas S.
$200 (3rd donation), Timothy R.
$119 (5th donation), Oliver G.
$115 (4th donation), Philip W.
$108 (9th donation), Mimi
$108 (2nd donation), Daniel M.
$108 (2nd donation), Jessica R.
$108 (2nd donation), Ueli H.
$108, Anna S.
$100 (20th donation), Philip W.
$100 (4th donation), Neil F.
$100 (2nd donation), Dan
$100 (2nd donation), Soren K.
$100, Carl J.
$100, Craig D.
$100, Harlan K.
$100, HO-HUM ENTERPRISES
$100, Michael T.
$100, Randolph L.
$100, Stephen H.
$80 (2nd donation), Timothy R.
$70 (4th donation), Vincent F.
$69, Jeffrey C.
$65 (2nd donation), Klaus S.
$55 (6th donation), John Mc
$55 (4th donation), Olivia C.
$54 (21st donation), Naoise G. aka “Gaff”
$54 (20th donation), Bjarne K.
$54 (12th donation), Adam H.
$54 (4th donation), Ivan Y.
$54 (4th donation), Nicolas S.
$54 (4th donation), Rainer Werner B.
$54 (4th donation), Richard H.
$54 (4th donation), Stephan Tietz
$54 (3rd donation), Guillaume
$54 (3rd donation), Jyrki A.
$54 (3rd donation), Rolf H.
$54 (2nd donation), Boris G.
$54 (2nd donation), Chris B.
$54 (2nd donation), Goran N.
$54, António Salsinha – Graphic Designer
$54, Armin S.
$54, Christopher A.
$54, Dominic H.
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$54, Georg P.
$54, Gioele V.
$54, Holger H.
$54, Johan R.
$54, Johannes A.
$54, Miquel Lluís B.
$54, Uwe S.
$54, Willibald S.
$51, Joan F.
$50 (81th donation), Anthony C. aka “ciak”
$50 (60th donation), Michael R.
$50 (9th donation), Greg C.
$50 (6th donation), Ray W.
$50 (4th donation), Alan R.
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$50 (2nd donation), Patrick S.
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$50, James M.
$50, James N.
$50, Jeremy E.
$50, John R.
$50, John W.
$50, Matthew G.
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$50, William B.
$43 (4th donation), Wielant B.
$42 (7th donation), Martin K.
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$40 (5th donation), Clark R.
$40, Ethan H.
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$33, Cesar G.
$32 (9th donation), Alexander M.
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$32 (2nd donation), Lukas P.
$32, Enrico D.
$32, Fernando M.
$32, Jaroslaw C.
$32, Joerg B. aka “minerson”
$32, Steve E.
$30 (3rd donation), Birger M.
$30 (3rd donation), Kevin H.
$29 (2nd donation), Timothy L.
$27 (7th donation), Jonathan. H
$27 (6th donation), Niklas
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$27, Dries
$27, Franz R.
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$24, Khalid A.
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$22 (8th donation), Jorge R. R.
$22 (8th donation), Marek S. [LMDE SUPPORTER]
$22 (7th donation), Benjamin W.
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$22 (5th donation), Riccardo C.
$22 (4th donation), Andreas M. aka “AnMe2k22”
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$22, Han M.
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$22, Karl Felix K.
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$20 (40th donation), John D.
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$20, Ivan N.
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$11, John van den Bosch aka “Jovadebo
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$10 (95th donation), Thomas C.
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$8 (4th donation), Matthew Gracie aka “Nethound”
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$132 from 46 smaller donations

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47 comments

    1. I value Flatpak for its ability to provide extra software and/or newer versions. It’s a nice complement to our base, especially since we’re using an LTS frozen package base. It doesn’t/shouldn’t replace that base though. Not only are base packages native, they benefit from three levels of maintenance and are patch-able by Debian, Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

      When you use a Flatpak you use a 3rd party application, one we’ve no control over, one we don’t patch/fix/maintain in any way. Flathub itself is 3rd party to us, we couldn’t ship with Flatpaks by default, it would basically mean we’re shipping something we’re not really committing to support.

      Note: There’s something I didn’t mention in these news, because it wasn’t completely ready. We’re adding badges in the Software Manager to indicate when a Flatpak isn’t verified by Flathub.

  1. Not a Linux nerd here and I can’t say I understand all the details above, but thumbs up for your Thunderbird solution and the new Gnome accounts. I hope I may use Gnome accounts on my Xfce edition. By the way, I didn’t think Xfce might be so popular though it’s fantastic indeed.

    1. Sorry, some of it might be a bit technical. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications on anything posted in the news.

      We noticed Xfce’s popularity for a while now in a few places. The torrents activity comes to mind.

      It’s nice to be able to continue to ship with Online Accounts and Thunderbird. GNOME and Ubuntu follow their own plans, we can’t blame them but it doesn’t always suit us. Sometimes we need to work just so we don’t lose features. This is the case here. I’m glad this was done.

  2. And XAPPs need to have a more complete implementation in debian (xfce4-xapp-status-plugin).

    Thanks!

  3. I wait for your blogs like it’s Christmas. I enjoy reading these very much, and I am delighted to see you’re continuing to focus on what matters unlike the other distros.

    Just a suggestion: can you please remove the subtitles in newer CSD apps? Subtitles are for showing state, not describing the app, that is what .desktop descriptions and about menus are for.

    1. Hi Vlad,

      Thanks for the feedback on subtitles. It’s an interesting take on it, it’s the first time I hear that but it makes sense. I’m not sure I agree with it though. I think it complements the app title, the same way it does in the Applications menu. We usually don’t need to show state, when we do we use an infobar, a stack page or a statusbar.

  4. Thanks for the news about the upcoming version. It’s good to hear that you are continuing to exclude snaps from Mint and I agree that Flatpaks should not be part of the base installation. One enhancement that I would like to see in Software Manager would be an option to hide all Flatpaks.

  5. Hi Clem
    Lots of exciting news here!! The localization and kernel news is particularly welcome, and the tie up with Fastly sounds great if it comes to fruition.
    Mint continues to just get better and better! Many thanks to you and the team for all your hard work

  6. Clem, please move to a new default wallpaper for the live desktop/fresh install.
    LinuxMint is arguably *the* Linux Desktop experience and new users shouldn’t be faced with a dark theme + dark wallpaper for their first experience of Mint. Admittedly, I don’t care for the trend in dark themes these days but I could deal with that if the wallpaper is bright.
    A new user’s first experience of Linux Mint should be an explosion of promise, a tantalizing temptation of all that is possible in Mint rather than looking into the abyss. Linux Mint is a celebration of desktop Linux where all roads converge: freedom; stability; ease of use; practical implementation.
    Perhaps in the future, a competition for the default wallpaper could be held and the top three or so are chosen for the main and point releases?

  7. Great that the kernel policy will be improved! I presume that this means that from Mint 22 onward, the Edge ISO will disappear?

    1. Yes. Unless we need to address a special case, if the minor releases pick the latest HWE there shouldn’t be a need for EDGE ISOs.

    1. Thanks for bringing this my attention. I think you found a new bug though (not the one mentioned in the github report).

      The picture of GOA you’re seeing is a picture which was modified to have an extra shadow around it. Looking at the original the corners are transparent (indicating gnome-screenshot captured the window via muffin/cinnamon’s screenshot capability properly) but not fully transparent. I think what’s happening here is that part of the muffin shadow is captured around these corners, leading to dark semi-transparent triangles.

      We should be able to get that fixed by instructing muffin/cinnamon not to include shadows at all.

    2. @Clem: The extra shadow should be done via CSS – no need to add extra bytes to the screenshots, which only slows down content loading and burdens the storage with larger cache.

      filter: drop-shadow(…)

  8. Clem, I have a question about Mint using the HWE kernel by default. On my laptop, I have to compile a driver for controlling my keyboard’s backlight color and brightness. When I use the LTS kernel, it compiles and runs fine. when I use any of the HWE kernels, the driver refuses to compile and complains that there is a mismatch in the GCC version between the kernel and the installed GCC (even though there really isn’t, it’s just a slight GCC package naming difference that it complains about). So I always have to use the LTS kernel. I’m assuming this change will mean I will have to do extra steps to undo the installation of the HWE kernel after new Mint version upgrades. Is there a way to cancel the updating of the kernel during the upgrade, or will I just have to do the extra steps?

    1. Hi Mike,

      The kernel 24.04 will ship with isn’t LTS upstream so I’m not sure Ubuntu will continue an LTS kernel series. This might be good news though as it might make issues like the one you mentioned get more visibility from either Ubuntu or your driver supplier.

    2. Thanks for the info, Clem! It seems like this issue will either get totally fixed, or become infinitely more difficult. Hopefully the issue will be dealt with and fixed, otherwise it may be time to switch over to LMDE instead of Ubuntu.

  9. Glad to see you continually working on more XApps to benefit everyone, not just you. I wish Cinnamon and XApps were used more broadly and got the recognition they deserve – I truly think they’re a lifesaver for new Linux users !

    1. Thanks. Cross-distribution and cross-desktop compatibility are extremely important. There used to be a time where people made “Linux” apps, not apps for a dedicated distribution and/or desktop environment. GNOME apps used to work and integrate everywhere in fact. I hope distributions and desktops will embrace this initiative. I’d also love to see more initiatives like this one from other projects and upstream developers open their software to as wide an audience as possible.

    2. @Clem: A dedicated XAPPs page on the main site with succint details would make it easy for people to learn what these apps have to offer and how they work. Maybe even show an example of integration, as trivial as it sounds for those know just know.

  10. Dear Clem, I want to thank you and your entire team for your great work. I wanted to inform you and your team of the following error in Nemo: when you download several files from Outlook email, they are downloaded as compressed files and when you unzip them, you cannot see the thumbnails of any of the files, whether text, spreadsheet calculation, presentations, images or PDF. In order to see the icons I must deactivate the thumbnail view, the curious thing is that the problem fixes itself after three hours where the thumbnails can be seen normally, this problem affects me because in my job as a teacher at the university use outlook as email. On the other hand, I had one more request, if it’s not a bother, it would be good to add a button to Nemo to divide the panel like Dolphin or Thunar has to be able to access that function more easily.

    1. I would love to send the report, unfortunately I don’t know how to do it through Gibhub, is there another way to send you the complete information, in Linux Mint there should be an application where users can easily send error reports without having to use Gibhub , I tried to do it and I didn’t understand how to send the Nemo error report.

  11. Small but effective suggestion for Hot Corners:
    If you are working with two monitors, it happens quite often that you activate a hot corner unintentionally while moving the cursor between the screens. At work, I am using macOS and even deactivated the hot corners because it started to annoy me.

    Recently, I’ve learned that you can add a “modifier key” (Command, Shift, Option or Control key) and click the modifier key while moving the mouse into a corner on macOS.

    It sounds so trivial and tiny but it had such a positive impact on my workflow. I would be really happy to have this option in LM, as well. Currently, the only way to alleviate unintended hot corners is to increase the activation delay but it’s less efficient than using an additional modifier key.

  12. Dear Clem, I wanted to mention that I have an Honor Magicbook X15 laptop with a corei3 10110u processor,
    (this brand is famous for having compatibility problems with Linux) the only distro that recognizes my sound card is Linux Mint based on Ubuntu, be it cinnamon, xfce or mate, but when trying Linux Lmde6 I was surprised that it did not It recognizes the sound card, there I realized the importance of maintaining the Ubuntu base (I also tried Ubuntu and all its flavors and it doesn’t recognize the sound card either).

    1. looks like you have an issue with pipewire not recognizing that soundcard, not exactly an Ubuntu vs. Debian issue… in this announcement Clem mentioned Mint will also move to Pipewire as their default… there is a million reasons why this is generally better, but may hurt your usecase in the new major version

  13. Pleasant news! . The location issue was something I was looking forward to.
    I have recently tested Jargonaut, it seems to work correctly, I would just like to suggest adding an automatic reconnection option, because when you lose the connection you have to restart the app so you lose the previous messages.
    Finally, I would like to ask if you are going to continue getting the Flatpak package from the respective Ubuntu repositories (LTS) or if you intend to update them to a more current version?. (LM 21.3 brings version 1.12.7, and the current one is 1.14.5)
    Kind regards

  14. I have been using Linux Mint Mate as my primary distribution since shortly after it was first shipped, and everything I see convinces me to keep using it. Thanks!!!

    One little thing: the Chat Room subtitle should read “each other”, not “each others.”

  15. Nunca habrá las suficientes gracias a clem y a todo su equipo por tener una distribución tan completa , segura y eficiente con los recursos hardware de millones de usuarios de mint.
    Ese es el camino seguridad eficiencia e innovación y privacidad , nunca a costa del usurio si no al reves pensando en el.
    Clem puede estar orgulloso de mint , como cuando un padre ama a su hijo y lo cuida frente a todo mal !
    Gracias a todo el team de Mint !

  16. As always, I appreciate the updates and I am looking forward to Mint 22. I don’t use Thunderbird or Gnome Online Accounts but I’m glad you’ve found a way to make them work for those who do.

  17. To be honest, I thought that you were going to drop GOA due to the situation that this is being written entirely in GTK4 but you amazed me, I never thought that the libraries needed didn’t require any particular GNOME dependency so I guess that is a win for you

    Regarding the changes, it is good to know about them and how you can make them to integrate even more with the changes that GNOME/GTK4 is doing along with other apps that you might start packaging, I hope that you can continue the effort needed for it (and now there is only libadwaita and theming missing)

    1. libAdwaita is specifically designed to make GNOME apps. GTK4 looks incomplete to us, it’s not something we want to use at the moment, if ever. It’s a bit too soon to touch on this. I think we’ll be a much better position to assess this after GNOME 46 apps and libs are released, but our intuition for now is that we want to stick with GTK3 apps, with proper theming.

  18. Clem, also on the Light theme could you add some color or something in there to make it less blindingly bright? Look at some of the old school light themes from 10-15 years ago.
    I am very excited about your changes and additions to Mint 22 especially the HWE kernels since I have new(ish) hardware and the older kernels just never worked as well on those computers. I am very excited about Mint finally getting the latest kernels which will allow the newer hardware to run well, and help save power on the laptops. Great Job!

  19. It would be nice to know a command that on Mint 21 (and Mint 22, after an upgrade from Mint 21?) would remove the language-packs that one does not need.

  20. Happy April, Clem and all Linux Mint developers and users!!!

    Congratulations on another exciting monthly update, Clem. As others have indicated, I appreciate this continuous level of detail and look forward to Linux Mint’s continuing bright future.

    –Dylan

  21. Thank you for continuing to ship without Snaps. These are not being vetted correctly and some malicious code has been issued. Only now, are Canonical “humanly” looking at the code of submissions. Although Flatpaks are also 3rd party, I have more faith in them, but I do much prefer repository .deb software offerings.
    Thanks to all for the hard work on Linux Mint.

  22. Lots of exciting news for the upcoming release!
    Nice Job folks!
    Small concern about pipewire since I am not sure wether this is adressed upstream already:
    I have been using the pipewire/wireplumber combination on LMint/Cinnamon for some time now and there was a small but annoying out of the box problem: LightDM does not seem wireplumber aware and since the greeter-user always logs in before the actual user session, hardware sound volume for usb-soundcards in alsa was always reset to about 40% each login(because it considered it a new source) and needed to be manually set to the desired value in alsa-mixer. I managed to fix this by disabling and hiding ‘pipewire.service pipewire.socket wireplumber.service wireplumber.socket’ for the LightDM user so that wireplumber restores the last settings of the actual user session instead of the ones of the greeter session. Since usb- soundcards/headphones are not an uncommon setup I just wanted to make sure you guys are aware of this issue and have a workaround/fix planed.
    Looking forward to the new release!

    1. Hi Brian,

      This doesn’t look like a bug with Hypnotix, it looks like an issue with the provider or access to a channel which is blocked by geoip.

  23. Many thanks for working towards disc space reductions, it is much appreciated in a world where bloat and bigger seems the norm. I especially value decisions like packaging Thunderbird as .deb. Much appreciated!

  24. Updated all lm21.3 to the new kernel 5.15.102 today April 8, 2024. Problem: df says Resource temporarily unavailable. This has happened before and IIRC it was an issue with gvfs and permissions. It mounts my remote datasets even though df does not show them.

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