What's new in Linux Mint 9 Isadora?

Based on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, Linux 2.6.32, Gnome 2.30 and Xorg 7.4, Linux Mint 9 "Isadora" features a lot of improvements and the latest software from the Open Source World.

Linux Mint 9 "Isadora"

Featured improvements in this release: 30,000 applications catalogued and reviewable both online and in the new software manager, brand new incremental backup tool for both data and software selection, menu transparency and editable items, USB and Windows installers, 3 years support, look & feel improvements.

Quick links:

New Software Manager

The Software Manager was rewritten from scratch. It features the best ideas from the original Software Manager, Gnome App-Install and the new Ubuntu Software Center. It’s also much more efficient than the previous version, handling 30,000+ packages and asynchronous installation/removal of applications in less than 1,000 lines of code.

Number of packages: The Software Manager now features all the packages available on your system. That’s about 30,000 packages to choose from, compared to around 300 in the previous version.

All your packages are featured in the new Software Manager

User reviews: When you launch the Software Manager it updates itself with all the software reviews contributed by other users. The software is sorted by score, so that you always see the most popular applications at the top of the list. You can review applications too, either from the Linux Mint Community Website or directly within the Software Manager. When you review an application, your review immediately appears on the website, and other users can see it in their Software Manager an hour later.

The community provides reviews and the overall score for each application

Apt daemon: When you install software, you don't have to wait for the installation to finish. You can browse through the Software Manager for other applications, or you can simply close the manager. The installation continues in the background. If you decide to open the Software Manager again, it will track any ongoing installation happening in the background and inform you about its progress. At any time you can cancel an installation and monitor the progress of ongoing operations.

Visual improvements: The new graphical interface is inspired from the Ubuntu Software Center and it uses the Webkit engine to render some of the screens in HTML/CSS. It uses a single-click navigation system and lets you browse categories, applications, screenshots and even websites from the comfort of a single window.

New Backup Tool

The Backup Tool was also rewritten from scratch. Linux Mint needed a solid backup tool that would allow you to easily perform fresh installations without losing what's important to you: Not only your data, but the selection of software you installed. With this new tool you can upgrade to new versions of Linux Mint by performing fresh installations from the CD, you end up with a clean system containing your data, your preferences and even the software you previously installed.

An easy and powerful tool to easily backup and restore your system

Software selection: The Backup Tool can identify the software you installed in Linux Mint and save this selection as a list. It can also restore that selection of software on a different computer or after the installation of a new version of Linux Mint.

The Backup Tool identifies the software you added to Linux Mint

Incremental backups and compression: The new Backup Tool can check differences between files in a variety of ways and perform incremental backups and restorations. It can also archive and compress on the fly.

Integrity check: Thanks to an integrity check, the Backup Tool verifies each file after it's been backed up (this check can be disabled to make the backup faster).

Documentation: A full tutorial on how to use this Backup Tool guides you through the process of upgrading Linux Mint to a newer release.

Menu improvements

The Linux Mint Menu received additional options and usability improvements.

Editable items: You can now right-click on any application in the menu and select "Edit properties" to change its name, icon, comment or even the command it executes.

You can edit any item straight from the menu

Transparent menu: You can now define the opacity of the menu and make it look semi-transparent (Note: This feature is only available if you activated the 3D effects).

You can define the level of transparency of the menu

Option to always start with favorites: By default, the menu shows what you were looking at last. A new option is available in the preferences to make the menu always start with the favorites.

Panel and Desktop shortcuts: By right-clicking on applications you can now add them to the panel and to the desktop.

Desktop Settings

The Desktop Settings tool was rewritten from scratch. It comes with usability improvements, a better look and feel and additional options.

The new desktop settings tool looks better, applies changes immediately and offers more options

Changes take effect immediately: You had to validate and close the tool for changes to take effect. This is no longer the case, any change you make now takes effect immediately.

Additional options: Among other new options, you can now choose to have your window buttons on the right (Traditional style) or on the left (Mac style), and you can define whether menus and buttons should show icons (original Gnome style) or not (new Gnome style).

Better look and feel

Backgrounds: The production of artwork for Linux Mint 9 was outsourced to provide this release with a choice of quality backgrounds. The default background is unbranded to give the desktop a more elegant look and you'll find quality alternative backgrounds installed by default. Additional backgrounds made especially for Linux Mint 9 were packaged in "mint-wallpapers-extra" and previous backgrounds were packaged in "mint-wallpapers-previous-releases". These packages are available in the repositories and installed on the DVD version of Linux Mint 9.

Linux Mint 9 comes with quality backgrounds for you to choose from and additional ones available in the repositories

Welcome screen: The welcome screen is now rendered in HTML. It links to the same important resources as before (how to know more about Linux Mint, where to get help and how to contribute) and it adds links to the most important parts of the new Linux Mint Community Website, its collection of tutorials, its idea pool, its software portal and its hardware database.

The new welcome screen is rendered in HTML to give the desktop a more welcoming look.

Update Manager: The Update Manager uses a new icon set that integrates better with the desktop. It also distinguishes between more error scenarios than before and doesn't consider it an error when it cannot assess the state of available updates anymore. In previous versions of Linux Mint, users would see a broken lock when Synaptic was open, or when the connection to the Internet was down. In Linux Mint 9 the Update Manager only show errors when something is actually wrong and requires action.

The Update Manager uses a new icon set and detects errors more accurately

System improvements

Windows Installer: After a brief disappearance in the previous release, "mint4win", the Windows installer based on Wubi is back in Linux Mint.

This installer allows you to install Linux Mint as a program on your Windows C:\ drive, without touching your partitions.

Husse Quotes: In memory of our regretted friend and team member Mats Geier, aka "Husse", we packaged a collection of his best forum quotes and added them to the set of fortunes that randomly appear in the terminal.

Husse quotes randomly appear in the terminal

Usb-creator: The Ubuntu "Startup Disk Creator" was rebranded and added by default. With this tool you can easily export Linux Mint to a USB stick.

Put Linux Mint on a USB stick

Default software selection: P7zip, Gwibber, apturl and Startup Manager are now installed by default.

Local repository and Gnome-ppp: Linux Mint now includes a local repository activated by default. This repository is located in /usr/share/local-repository and it contains firmware for Broadcom wireless adapters and Gnome-PPP. You can also add packages to it and update the repository by running the ./update-repository script in /usr/share/local-repository.

Apt hold/held/unhold commands: New functions were added to the Linux Mint "apt" command. "apt hold", "apt unhold" and "apt held" are shortcuts to "dpkg --get-selection" and "dpkg --set-selections" which let you easily hold updates for selected packages.

Project changes

Community Website: The Linux Mint distribution started a huge project and published a new website dedicated to its community. Users can contribute and find ideas, tutorial, software and hardware reviews, and they can vote and comments each others' contributions. Through this website you can easily get in touch with people who share similar hardware, see how they made it work, find what works best with a particular release, read tutorials, contribute your ideas to improve the distribution, see what software people like the most... and many other things. This is a place made by and for the community and a website where users can interact with each others to improve their experience with the distribution.

If there's one website a Linux Mint user should visit, it's this one!

CD & DVD: Linux Mint is now available both as a liveCD and a liveDVD. The DVD simply contains a few more packages which could not fit on the CD, such as Sun Java, Samba and ttf-DejaVu.

Community Editions: The KDE, Xfce, LXDE and Fluxbox editions are now considered official and no longer use the "Community" label.

OEM installation disks: Linux Mint now provides dedicated OEM ISOs. This installation method was confusing for home users and dedicated ISOs allow us to tailor the disk more specifically for resellers and manufacturers.

USA/Japan Distributors disks: The Universal edition was replaced by a new set of ISOs specifically designed for countries where distributors are vulnerable to software patents. These ISOs come as 32 & 64-bit liveCDs with patented and proprietary technologies removed. A menu item allows users to add the missing technologies with a single click. These ISOs allow magazines and distributors to easily provide Linux Mint to their audience in countries such as the USA and Japan.

32 & 64-bit: The Gnome and KDE editions of Linux Mint come in 32 & 64-bit, with ISOs for both architectures released at the same time.

Upstream Improvements

Upstream, Gnome 2.30 and Thunderbird 3 come with noticeable improvements.

Ubuntu 10.04 brings faster boot speeds, a better looking installer, and "Long Term Support" (3 years of security updates).