Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” is now available, the latest version of the well-known Ubuntu derivative that is for many the best entrance door to the varied universe of GNU/Linux, mainly thanks to its easy control panels and the default inclusion of the Cinnamon desktop environment, which represents a balance point against other environments and has a similar layout to the Windows desktop.
Linux Mint 19.3 is based on Ubuntu 18.04, from which it takes the repositories and all the base software and adds its own implementations of the different desktop environments along with some tools of its own that are generally more friendly and better self-explanatory than those included in its mother distribution.
This time, at a general level, you can start by highlighting the inclusion of a reporting system
Which is in charge of detecting problems, providing system information and reporting crashes and failures. In case a codec is missing, a language pack or a new version of a third party driver or Linux Mint is available, the user will see in the system tray an icon indicating the lack or update.
This comes in handy to provide more unattended and automated support, making the user only have to open the corresponding tool and run an installation/upgrade process.
Although this is a minor change, the fact that in the language configuration it is now possible to select the date and time format of a given country helps to facilitate the experience with the system, and that not everyone handles these data in the same order, as we Spanish speakers know well against English speakers.
HiDPI monitors are a point where GNU/Linux still needs to improve, a situation that is further complicated by the existence of the many desktop environments, which also rely on different technologies. Linux Mint 19.3 is improving in that sense in all its editions (Cinnamon, XFCE and MATE).
In fact, the distribution managers say that “HiDPI support is almost complete: all editions of Linux Mint 19.3 are supported and, with the exception of Hexchat and Qt5Settings, all applications are included by default”. Focusing on more specific aspects, HiDPI support has been fixed “in screen saver indicators and theme previews.
The default video player has changed from XPlayer to Celluloid
The former is supported by GStreamer and CluttterGST and can only play videos on CPU, while the latter uses MPV as a backend, offering much higher performance and hardware-accelerated playback. Knowing that MPV has become a powerful and mature video playback engine, the change sounds even logical. Other changes have been Tomboy by Gnote as the default note-taking application and Gimp by Drawing as the default image manipulation application.
Going into specific details of the desktops, each area of the Cinnamon panel now has the ability to have its own text size and its own size for symbolic links, in the Nemo preferences (file manager) you can configure the actions that should be visible from the context menu, improvements in the configuration of the animations.
Cinnamon can now be restarted without using a third party mechanism
improved speed of applet menu and theme settings, inclusion of silent notifications, simplified window settings, remodeled menu and settings panel, HiDPI settings have been moved to the display module and an option has been included to disable the touchpad when a mouse is connected, among other things.
From XFCE, the inclusion of vertical sync in the window manager can be highlighted, reducing or even eliminating screen flicker. HiDPI support has been introduced as a legacy of XFCE 4.14 and GLX support has been improved with the official NVIDIA driver, as the Santa Clara Giant’s driver gives more headaches than desirable, especially when the desktop environment is not GNOME. The MATE edition inherits the migration to GTK3 and HiDPI support (yes, that seems to be an important point in this release).
Obviously, there is much more to discover about Linux Mint 19.3, which apparently is based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 by including the Linux 5.0 kernel by default. Those who want to know all the details can consult the release notes for the Cinnamon, XFCE and MATE editions, upgrade from the previous version by following these instructions and download the system from the official website or through the links below:
- Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon 64-bit.
- Linux Mint 19.3 XFCE 64-bit.
- Linux Mint 19.3 MATE 64-bit.