maandag 26 maart 2012

LMDE Update Pack 4 and alternatives to Gnome 2

LMDE Update Pack 4 is being prepared and tested at the moment.
Among other important updates this new update pack features:
  • Linux 3.2 kernel
  • MATE 1.2 (with mintMenu and mintDesktop now fully ported to MATE)
  • Cinnamon 1.4
  • KDE 4.7.4
  • Gnome Shell 3.2.2
  • Xfce 4.8
The one thing it’s missing is Gnome 2.
Gnome 2 is, by far, the most used and popular Linux desktop. It’s also the environment we’ve been improving and polishing since we started in 2006 and it’s been a core component of the Linux Mint desktop. Gnome 3 carries the same name but the similarities stop there. It’s a new and radically different desktop and it has very little in common with it.
As you probably know, Gnome 3 conflicts with Gnome 2 and so most distributions lost Gnome 2 about a year ago. Linux Mint 12 lost it in November and LMDE is about to lose it as well with this update pack.
As more and more Gnome 2 users couldn’t use it anymore, many people migrated to other existing desktops such as KDE, Xfce or LXDE. Some people used Gnome Fallback (a Gnome 3 environment which looks like Gnome 2 but which lacks support for Gnome 2 applets and is meant to disappear) and others migrated to a distribution which still had Gnome 2 (Linux Mint 11 or LMDE for instance).
Since that happened, we’ve been worried about the lack of satisfactory alternatives to Gnome 2. Looking towards the future of LMDE and the upcoming Linux Mint 13 release, our top priority was to get to the stage where we can provide our users with something most people would find as good or better than Gnome 2.
We worked extremely hard on Linux Mint 12 and provided an early release of MATE 1.0 and a set of extensions to Gnome Shell called MGSE.
LMDE was frozen at Update Pack 3 with a Gnome 2 desktop until we reached the point we are at today, where both MATE  and Cinnamon are ready.
MATE is basically Gnome 2 renamed. The more the Mate team works on it, the more stable it gets. What it looks like and how it behaves is exactly like Gnome 2. So for most people, this is probably the best alternative.
Cinnamon is a brand new desktop which looks modern (like Shell and Unity) but which works in a similar way than Gnome and Compiz. It’s also a desktop we develop ourselves, which is tailored to the vision we have and so which fits the purpose of Linux Mint perfectly. For this reason Cinnamon is both extremely innovative in the features and polish it gets and very traditional in its layouts and paradigms.
Like Gnome Shell, Cinnamon uses Clutter and needs 3D acceleration. It’s stable and full-featured but it might not work well for you, depending on your graphics card.
With Update Pack 4 LMDE users will gain access to new versions of KDE, Xfce and LXDE, but also for the first time to Gnome Shell, MATE and Cinnamon.
We’re delighted with the current state of these desktops. It’s still too soon to predict which of MATE or Cinnamon will become the most popular desktop in the future, but they both, and in a very different way, represent viable and quality alternatives to Gnome 2.
Last but not least, if you’re still not convinced by the alternatives you can freeze your LMDE system and avoid Update Pack 4 (thus keeping Update Pack 3 and Gnome 2), by pointing to the following repositories:
deb debian main upstream import
deb-src debian main upstream import
deb testing main contrib non-free
deb testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb testing main non-free
We hate to put people in a position where they can’t choose, so we will maintain these repositories for a little while, but please consider your options going forward as Gnome 2 will eventually completely disappear.

donderdag 15 maart 2012

Cinnamon 1.4 released

On behalf of the team and all the developers who contributed to this build, I am proud to announce the release of Cinnamon 1.4!
It’s been a month since the 1.3.x releases and we’ve been reading your feedback with a lot of attention. Most of the things you’ve asked made it to this release and today we’re extremely proud to release another major update to the Cinnamon desktop.
Cinnamon 1.4 features a total of 267 commits. Read below for a brief overview of the new features and major improvements.
Have a lot of fun with this new release and don’t hesitate to give us some feedback! Enjoy ;)

The new “Expo” overview

This is something we announced before. We weren’t happy with workspace management and the overview and so we completely changed the way it works. Cinnamon 1.4 comes with two “overview” modes: “Scale” and “Expo”.
“Scale” was present in previous Cinnamon releases and looks like the Compiz Scale plugin, it shows all the windows from your current workspace on the screen and easily allows you to select the one you’re interested in.
The "Scale" overview allows you to select a window
“Expo” is new in Cinnamon 1.4. It zooms out of your current workspace and shows you all the workspaces on your system. From there you can switch to the workspace you want, or even drag and drop windows from one workspace to another. As such, it looks and behaves like the Compiz Expo plugin (from which it gets its name).
The "Expo" overview allows you to manage your workspaces
Expo also introduces a new feature: workspace management. Workspace management is fixed in Compiz (done via configuration) and missing in Gnome Shell (automated by the desktop). In Cinnamon you’re the one who decides how many workspaces you need, when you want to create new ones and when you want to remove the ones you don’t use. If you need a new workspace, just go to Expo and click the button to create a new one. If you want to remove a workspace just click the close button on the workspace and it’s gone…. and whatever you do things don’t change on your behalf. Say you create 5 workspaces, then your Cinnamon has 5 workspaces, whether you use them or not, whether you restart Cinnamon or not, whether you even reboot your computer or not… you’re in charge of your workspace management now.
Note: In future releases you’ll also be able to “name” your workspaces.
By default:
  • CTRL+ALT+UP goes to Expo
  • CTRL+ALT+DOWN goes to Scale
  • The hot corner is on the top-left and calls Expo
  • CTRL+ALT+LEFT/RIGHT switches to the LEFT/RIGHT adjacent workspace
  • CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+LEFT/RIGHT moves the active window to the LEFT/RIGHT adjacent workspace
You can now also configure the location of the hot corner and whether you want it to call Expo or Scale.

New “Settings applet” and “Panel Edit Mode”

The introduction of drag & drop support and movable applets in Cinnamon 1.3 confused a lot of people. Some applets such as the workspace switcher, the window list and the panel launchers, due to their internal design and their user interface, made it extremely hard for people to move them around.
Cinnamon 1.4 introduces a brand new applet called the “Settings applet”.
The new "Settings" applet makes your life a little easier ;)
This applet features:
  • Troubleshooting options (restart cinnamon, looking glass, restore settings to default)
  • Panel Edit Mode
  • Quick access to settings
The quick access to the settings and the troubleshooting options make it easier for novice users to perform complex yet sometimes necessary tasks (restarting Cinnamon without restarting the session, restoring the default settings etc..).
The “Panel Edit Mode” is a new concept in Cinnamon. Applets are not movable anymore. If you want to change their position you need to activate the “Panel Edit Mode”. When this mode is on, the zones of the panel (left, center and right) appear in different colors and all applets are easy to drag & drop. Applets such as the window list, the panel launchers or the workspace switchers, which were hard to move in previous releases, now detect the panel mode and behave differently in Panel Edit Mode to ensure you can move them around with ease.


Cinnamon is now localized. If you want to monitor or participate in the translation effort, please visit
Cinnamon 1.4 comes with support for 39 languages and features significant improvements for RTL (right-to-left) languages.
A screenshot of Cinnamon in Arabic. This release is localized in 39 languages and features improved RTL support.

New configuration options

Cinnamon 1.4 adds the following new options:
  • “Only use workspaces on primary monitor”
  • Configurable hot corner position and behaviour
  • Menu hover delay
  • Draggable panel launchers

Menu improvements

The menu received two significant improvements: full drag & drop support, and edition.
You can use drag & drop to:
    • Add applications to the panel launchers from the menu
    • To add/remove applications to/from your favorites
    • To reorder your favorites
By right-clicking the menu and selecting “Edit menu” you can launch a brand new menu editor. “Alacarte” was made compatible with Cinnamon and got fully integrated with the desktop. Using this embedded menu editor you can fine-tune how applications and categories are shown within the menu.
Cinnamon now features a menu editor (forked from Alacarte and fully integrated within Cinnamon)
Other improvements made to the menu:
    • It’s now possible for the menu button to have no icon
    • The menu height was fixed for certain screen resolutions
    • The menu now scrolls when showing the context menu if the menu

Window list improvements

The window list is an essential part of your desktop. In Cinnamon 1.4 we introduced some handy features:
    • You can now reorder windows in the window list via drag & drop.
    • If you drag-over a file on a window in the window list, the window comes to focus (this feature was present in Cinnamon 1.0 and lost along the way, so it’s nice to have it back).
    • You can simply right click any window in the window list and send it to other workspaces, or have it shown on all workspaces.

Applets improvements

Other applets and the applets API itself received the following improvements:
  • Keyboard applet: now has an option to launch the character table
  • Network applet: shows its status in the tooltip
  • Calendar applet: better layout and year selector
  • Sound applet: added limited support for gmusicbrowser
  • Workspace Switcher applet: Mouse scroll support
  • All applets:
    • Use symbolic icons for common applets (better look and feel)
    • More consistent margins and spacing between applets and tray icons (better look and feel)
    • Panel settings and “Add/remove applet” option added in applets context menu
    • Fixed applets menus orientation after moving from one panel to the other

Cinnamon Settings improvements:

  • UUIDs are now visible for applets and extensions
  • Extensions and applets are now sorted by name
  • Allow search on applets

Other notable improvements

  • Context menus now appear on top of the panels and are clickable
  • Fixed a bug which made Cinnamon crash when windows returned NULL as their name (happened when a window was opened and closed very quickly)
  • Fixed a bug which made the Menu label appear as “Me…”
  • Systray icons don’t disappear anymore when applets are moved around
  • Fix for applets getting “shuffled” after drag & drop
  • Remove useless notification when adding/removing favorites
  • A couple of memory leaks fixed
  • Changed default animations and effects (more subtle)

Notes to applet developers

You can now give your applet a custom icon by placing it within your applet. Make sure it’s called “icon.png” and its dimensions are 32x32px. Alternatively you can continue to use the “icon” field in metadata.json to specify a name for the icon, in which case Cinnamon Settings gets the icon from the theme itself.

Notes to extension developers

For all extensions, you need to change the version of Cinnamon in the metadata.json file to “1.4.0″.
If you encounter any problems, please log in the IRC and ask us for help at #linuxmint-dev on

Notes to themes artists

For your theme to fully work with Cinnamon 1.4 you need to add styles for the buttons in “Expo”. Click on the links below to see how this was done in the default theme:
You can also improve your theme by adding some of the improvements the default theme received in 1.4.
This link shows all the changes made to the default theme (cinamon.css) :
Changes made between Cinnamon 1.3.1 and Cinnamon 1.4 include all commits (i.e. changes to the code) made on the 21st of February, as well as 1st, 2nd and 5th of March 2012. If you click on a “commit”, you can see exactly what was changed. As a theme artist, you’re only interested in changes done to “cinnamon.css”.
The following commits in particular are noteworthy:
If you encounter any problems, please log in the IRC and ask us for help at #linuxmint-dev on

vrijdag 9 maart 2012

Linux Mint 12 LXDE released!

The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 12 LXDE.

Linux Mint 12 LXDE
New features at a glance:
For a complete overview and to see screenshots of the new features, visit: “What’s new in Linux Mint 12 LXDE“.
Release notes:
  • Moonlight
  • Upstream issues
To get more information about these issues and their solution, read the “Release notes”.
System requirements:
  • x86 processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 3 GB of disk space
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution
  • CD/DVD drive or USB port
Upgrade instructions:
  • To upgrade from a previous version of Linux Mint follow these instructions.
  • To upgrade from Linux Mint 12 LXDE RC, simply apply any level 1 and 2 updates (if any) available in the Update Manager.
Md5 sum: 2b54938b8e2f14a5fbca8abc6da86f6a
HTTP Mirrors:
We look forward to receiving your feedback. Thank you for using Linux Mint and have a lot of fun with this new release!

maandag 5 maart 2012


Update Pack 4 is ready for you to test ;)


deb testing main contrib non-free
deb testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb testing main non-free


- This thread is for users of the Linux Mint Debian Incoming repository only.
- This thread is for users of the Linux Mint Debian Incoming repository to report problems to the team, so that the team can relay them towards all LMDE users via the Update Manager.
- If you're pointing to the Debian repositories, do not post in here.
- If you're looking for support, answers or information, do not post in here.

When posting about a regression or tricky upgrade, please include the following:

- The package update which is problematic.
- If you can, analyse the cause of the problem and why it is happening.
- If you solved it or found a workaround, please post it as well.
- Include any information you think might help the team solve the problem for others, or that might help others to work around the problem.

Any post not following these rules will be deleted.

The Update Pack repositories were created to help people help each others identify regressions coming from Debian Testing and to give the team the opportunity to fix things at regular intervals. I'd like to thank all the people who will somehow act as guinea pigs while using the Incoming update-packs and thanks to whom users of the Latest update-packs will have an easier life.

Important updates in this Update Pack:

- Gnome 2 is no longer available and replaced with Gnome Shell
- Cinnamon 1.3.1 is being made available from the Linux Mint repositories
- MATE 1.2 is being made available from the Linux Mint repositories
- There's a new Kernel in town (3.2)
- New versions of xorg and impacts on dkms

The purpose of this thread is to do the following:

- Establish whether or not what's in incoming is "stable" enough for us to push it to "latest". So if you find critical problems, do let us know here.
- Gather information about workarounds and tricks so that we can document these and ensure "latest" users have a smoother upgrade than you did with "incoming".

Good luck. Thanks for choosing Mint and thanks for helping out!