New features in Linux Mint 16 Xfce

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of an Xfce 4.10 desktop.

Linux Mint 16 "Petra" Xfce Edition

Xfce 4.10

The highlight of this edition is the lightweight Xfce 4.10 desktop.

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly.

It embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that provide the full functionality one can expect of a modern desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick among the available packages to create the optimal personal working environment.

For a complete tour of Xfce 4.10, please visit

The menu was updated and brings the following new features:

  • An option to load menu hierarchy
  • An option to not include favorites in recently used items
  • Options to set custom commands
  • An option to show recently used items by default
  • An option to position the search entry next to the panel button
  • An option to position the command buttons next to the search entry

Pulse Audio

This release features better out of the box support for Pulse Audio but also the ability for users to switch back to ALSA.

The sound applet can work with either pavucontrol or xfce4-mixer depending on which mixer is installed:

  • To use PulseAudio, simply leave things as they are, with pavucontrol acting as the default mixer.
  • To switch back to Alsa, remove pavucontrol and install xfce4-mixer.

Login Screen

MDM 1.4 was designed to work perfectly with Linux Mint 16, not only to log in but also to let you switch between users easily.

The MDM configuration screen focused on important features and is far less intimidating than before

MDM received the following improvements:

  • Drastic speed improvements and an easier codebase to facilitate maintenance, bug fixing and innovation (niche features and some 24,500 lines of code were removed)
  • A streamlined user interface which focuses on important features
  • The ability for the last logged-in user to simply log in by entering his/her password
  • Num-Lock support
  • New theme techniques were also implemented and featured in the default theme. The animated background and the user selection will inspire other artists to create a new generation of MDM themes.

    The login screen features user pre-selection on top of an animated background

    LightDM (which was a popular alternative to MDM 1.2 in Linux Mint 15) was also improved. Unity-greeter was adapted to properly integrate with Linux Mint 16.

    USB Stick support

    A new tool was developed to easily format USB sticks to NTFS, FAT32 and ext4.

    A new tool to format USB sticks

    Performance improvements

    Linux Mint 16 focuses on the task at hand, it does less and does it better than before. It features many speed and performance improvements:

    • The boot and login sequence no longer scan your system for btrfs partitions.
    • The MDM display manager no longer listens or communicates over the network.
    • The Update Manager is now started with a delay to make it faster for the session to load.
    • The Software Manager features significant speed improvements.
    • The Linux Mint 16 ISO images are not as compressed as before. They take more space and are bigger to download but also easier on the system and faster to decompress during the live session.

    Software Manager

    The Software Manager received many bug fixes and performance improvements. It's faster to start, faster to search, and uses less memory than before.

    The Software Manager received many refinements and speed improvements

    Its interface was also refined and applications can now show multiple screenshots.

    Multiple screenshots make it easier to discover the best apps

    System improvements

    Under the hood, Linux Mint 16 introduces a lot of improvements:

    • Safer kernel updates.
    • Faster boot sequence and faster login.
    • Better EFI support.
    • Better support for Steam and its addition in the repositories and the featured section of the Software Manager.
    • Additional private/secure search engines in certain countries.
    • APT "recommends" disabled by default.
    • Better colors in terminal and the addition of "ll" as an alias to "ls -al".
    • Better help support.

    Artwork improvements

    Linux Mint 16 features a superb collection of gradient backgrounds from Rapciu, photographs from Arturo Donate, Bob Jagendorf and Kenny Louie as well as artwork from Omer Kavak.

    Linux Mint 16 features a beautiful collection of backgrounds

    The new Mint-X theme brings:

    • Better support for GTK3 and a more consistent look between GTK2 and GTK3 applications
    • New icons for several Mint tools and popular 3rd party applications (Handbrake, Tomahawk..etc)

    Main components

    Linux Mint 16 features Xfce 4.10, MDM 1.4, a Linux kernel 3.11 and an Ubuntu 13.10 package base.