Linux Mint is undoubtedly one of the best beginner-friendly and tough competitors of the most famous Ubuntu Linux. One of the reasons can be credited to its upstream codebase. Since Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distro, it uses the codebase of the latest Ubuntu long term support version.
After ending 2019 with the release of Linux Mint 19.3, the Linux Mint team is ready to roll out its first version with long-term support in 2020. As already revealed in their monthly blog, the upcoming Linux Mint 20 will be based on the next Ubuntu 20.4 LTS. So, in this article, I’m going to discuss everything about the new changes and release date of Mint 20. (Update: It has been officially released)
Interesting Fact About Linux Mint Codename
Most of the Linux distros follow a particular pattern to give a codename for each version — for instance, Ubuntu uses a two-word adjective and animal name. Likewise, Linux Mint titles every release a female codename alphabetically. Therefore, starting with the Mint 1 “Ada” and the latest Mint 19.3 “Tricia,” Linux Mint 20 is dubbed “Ulyana.”
Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana”: New Features
Speaking of new changes and improvements, here I’m listing key features as revealed by the Linux Mint:
- Monitor frequency adjustment
- Fractional scaling
- New color for the Mint-Y theme
- Nemo file manager performance improvement
- Warpinator, Local network file sharing tool
- No 32-bit ISO for Linux Mint 20
- No Ubuntu Snaps or Snapd
- Linux Kernel 5.4
- Live resolution bump in Virtualbox
- Continuing home directory encryption
- Improved support for NVIDIA Optimus
1. Monitor frequency adjustment
Frequency modification of monitors is a long-sought demand by the Mint community. Consequently, Mint 20 now includes monitor frequency adjustment. This means you will be able to choose the frequency in the Cinnamon 4.6 display settings.
2. Fractional Scaling
Linux Mint 20 ships the Cinnamon 4.6 desktop environment that introduces fractional scaling. Hence, instead of either 100% (normal mode) or 200% (HiDPI mode) scaling for all monitors, you can now configure the scale value between 100% and 200% for each monitor independently. If you use high-resolution displays, it’ll be a big relief for you to have a better scaling option.
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3. Nemo performance improvement
Forked out from GNOME Files, Nemo is the default file manager for Cinnamon DE, which works fine. But sometimes, loading existing thumbnails for files degrades the performance of browsing content and directory navigation.
Hence, to enhance performance, Mint 20 changes the method of thumbnail handling. Instead of waiting to show a thumbnail, Nemo will now display generic icons for the content of the directory until the thumbnails load. This method also increases the file transfer of heavy input/output with external devices.
4. No 32-bit ISO
As the world is moving toward 64-bit rapidly, Linux Mint has decided to drop the development of 32-bit ISO images. As a result, the upcoming Mint 20 will only be available in 64-bit featuring three editions: Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce.
If you’re are wondering why there is no KDE, read why Linx Mint discontinued KDE edition.
5. No Ubuntu Snaps or Snapd
Like all previous releases, Mint 20 will not come with pre-installed snaps or snapd packaging tools. In a May blog update, the Mint team explained that in the Ubuntu 20.04 package base, the Chromium package is empty that acts without user consent, as a backdoor by connecting the computer to the Ubuntu Store.
It runs as root and installs itself without asking permission. Hence, in Linux Mint 20, Chromium won’t be an empty package that installs snapd behind your back and will also tell you why it’s empty (if it’s so) and where to look to get Chromium yourself.
Furthermore, APT in Mint 20 will restrict the installation of snapd by default. However, you will be able to install it following the specific guide.
6. Mint-Y Theme
“Themes” applet is one of the unique features of Linux Mint that allows you to choose or install new themes and icons. In addition to that, Linux Mint 20 introduced two new colors, Pink and Aqua, in the default Mint-Y theme.
Furthermore, the Mint-Y theme now has a brighter color than before. Here’s a comparison of some of the old colors (on the left) with some of the new ones (on the right):
7. Warpinator — Local Network File Sharing Tool
Another significant enhancement that Mint 20 includes is a new Warpinator tool. It is a new file sharing tool that makes it really easy to send and receive files across the local network. If you remember the old “Giver” tool featured in Mint 6, Warpinator is the reimplementation of the same app.
Among the latest updates, Warpinator now also encrypts communication on the network. If you want to give it a try, packages for both Mint 19.3 and LMDE 4 are available to download and install. So, if you’re using Linux Mint Debian Edition, download the package from here and then install it to run Warpinator.
But if you have Ubuntu-based Mint 19.3, you first need to install dependencies by adding the ‘clementlefebvre/grpc’ PPA from either ‘Software sources’ or command line:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:clementlefebvre/grpc
Once you finish, refresh your APT cache and then install the Warpinator package from here. However, you may find some glitches as Warpinator is still under development and is currently missing the language translation feature.
8. Improved Support For NVIDIA Optimus
With Mint 20, you can now view, select, and switch your GPU straight from the NVIDIA prime applet.
You can even just right-click and run your application with GPU as MATE and Cinnamon desktops now fully support NVIDIA ‘On-Demand’ profile.
For live mode without NVIDIA drivers, Mint 20 adds ‘nomodeset’ parameter to the ‘compatibility mode’ to avoid any black screen error and make booting easier.
9. Other Enhancements In Linux Mint 20
- Smooth Multi-monitor support
- Use of middle-click button in Cinnamon’s keyboard applet
- Better looking system tray
- A new user interface for Gdebi tool
Linux Mint 20 Release Date And ISO Download
The Mint team has now officially released a new long-term Linux Mint 20 that will be supported until 2025. ISO images of any of the three Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce edition are available to download from the official download page.