Short Bytes: The Linux Mint development team has shed light on a couple of improvements to the latest release of the popular open-source operating system, Linux Mint 18.2. The next release would include changes to the Bluetooth application, Xed text editor, and XPlayer, Xreader, Update Manager, etc. in the form of visual modifications and bug fixes.The Linux Mint development team has released the beta version of the next point release aka Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya which uses Ubuntu 16.04 as its base. MATE 1.18 and Cinnamon 3.4 are the two flavors that have arrived as a part of the beta release.
Linux Mint 18.2 Features
Some of the upcoming features of Linux Mint 18.2 were already briefed by the development team back in February. Now, the latest ISO builds upon those changes and includes more additions to Linux Mint 18.2 Beta which will likely make to its final release in the coming months.
Linux Kernel 4.8
The next point upgrade would be an LTS release, but Linux Mint 18.2 Beta still carries Linux Kernel 4.8 from the last point release. A lot of time has passed since the release of the Linux Kerne 4.9 LTS which was expected to find its way into Linux Mint 18.2.
New display manager
As already known, Mint has sacrificed MDM for the LightDM as the default display manager. LightDM is a cross-desktop lightweight display manager which offers support for different display servers including X, Wayland, etc. It doesn’t eat much memory on your system but this doesn’t mean it would cut down on performance.
LightDM is used in other famous distributions including Ubuntu, making the development and troubleshooting process easier.
LightDM powers the new greeter in Linux Mint 18.2 called Slick (a fork of Unity greeter) which comes with support for HiDPI displays. Also, Mint team is selling LightDM by its Guest Mode feature, enabled by default in LightDM Settings, which allows random users without a user account to operate a system.
In Linux Mint 18.2, the Blueberry application would feature a completely revamped user interface for its Bluetooth settings. Along with OBEX file transfer support, Blueberry will include an option to change your computer’s Bluetooth device name.
Earlier, this functionality was available via the command line. In addition to the Bluetooth tray icon, Blueberry would also feature a system tray status applet, similar to the battery and sounds applets.
In order to make the update process safer, the Mint team has updated filtering policies and levels according to the impact an update causes to the system.
Updates marked as Level 1 doesn’t make OS-level changes at all. Then comes the Level 2 which is carried by most of the update packages. Level 3 includes updates like desktop environments, toolkits, libraries, etc. which affect multiple applications. Similarly, sensitive updates and the ones affecting the kernel are marked as Level 4. Cases rare that the system would likely download update marked as Level 5, these mostly dangerous or broken.
Linux Mint 18.2 now includes support for Ubuntu HWE kernels in kernel updates.
The inclusion of a new CLI utility called miniupdate-tool makes it easier for the users to list, install, and schedule system updates by writing scripts, routines, and cron jobs. The tool supports regular update manager features like security updates, level selection, blacklisting, etc.
Another set of visual changes to the Linux Mint 18.2 is applied to the XPlayer application. To make the player look neat and clean, the controls and seek bar have been placed in line, along with the removal of the bottom status bar. Various bug fixes have been made including errors in the on-screen display.
In addition to various bug fixes, Xplayer now includes support for automatically adding subtitles but they are disabled by default and can be enabled by pressing S key.
Linux Mint 18.2 also brings changes to Xed text editor application. The ‘word wrap’ feature, earlier a part of editor’s Preferences, can now be seen in the Menu. Updated Xed also comes with an option to sort multiple selected lines using the F10 key.
Further, users can switch between the darker and lighter themes. If there are multiple tabs open in the text editor, switching is possible with the help of the mouse scroll wheel. The bars present on the bottom and side of the screen automatically adjust according to the content. Also, the search feature now supports regular expressions.
Xreader, Xviewer, Pix
The XReader application now comes with a redesigned toolbar and sidebar to achieve a cleaner look, accompanied by new buttons in the toolbar for faster switching between view modes. If you’re running a device with a touchscreen, Xreader now supports standard touch gestures.
The image viewer app in Linux Mint 18.2 also got some UI tweaks in the toolbar and support for the dark theme. The image browsing app Pix now comes with an improved set of mouse and keyboard shortcuts along with easier navigation and visual changes.
Multiple changes are also in the works for the Cinnamon Spices addons repo. These include updating authentication, rating system, and comments for better sync with Facebook and Google.
The team will maintain the Spices along with their original developers. They have kicked outdated themes and extensions from the repo and updated the popular ones to be compatible with Cinnamon 3.4. Also, the Cinnamon Spices website has been revamped as part of an effort towards quality.
Further, Linux Mint 18.2 includes a new set of high-quality desktop backgrounds. The default DVD burning utility doesn’t come along with the ISO but it can found in the repo if you need it at some point.
You can read our announcement post about the release of Linux Mint 18.2 Beta where you’ll find the download links.
This post was originally published on January 20, 2017. We’ll try to update this post with more information about Linux Mint 18.2 in the future.
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