You'll notice something new in your system tray after you install Linux Mint 19.3. A little warning icon tries to catch your attention and indicates there are a few things for you to review.
In the past, we worked on improving documentation (such as the Installation Guide) and the welcome you get when you first log in (the first steps section of the Welcome Screen for instance).
In Linux Mint 19.3, we're going a step further and we're trying to detect potential issues in your computer.
If you're missing a language package, a multimedia codec, if a hardware driver or a new version of Linux Mint is available, this little icon will let you know and provide solutions.
In the documentation, the release notes and to some extent the welcome screen, we document broad issues which affect all users in general. With the system reports we're running a diagnostic which is specific to your computer and we're able to bring information which is relevant to you in particular.
HiDPI support is almost complete: It is supported in all Linux Mint 19.3 editions and, with the exception of Hexchat and Qt5Settings, by all the applications which are included by default.
Thanks to XappStatusIcon, system tray icons can look crisp.
Flags in the Language Settings and Software Sources tools are no longer blurry.
In Cinnamon, HiDPI support was fixed in the screensaver flags and the themes previews.
Celluloid replaces Xplayer as the default multimedia player.
Playing a movie on a laptop can rapidly deplete the battery. If the CPU goes too hot, the fans also kick on and the computer gets noisy. If the resolution is too high for the CPU to handle, the video gets choppy.
Xplayer is based on GStreamer/ClutterGST and can only render videos via the CPU.
Celluloid is based on the excellent MPV backend which provides much better performance and hardware accelerated playback. It can handle much larger resolutions than Xplayer on the same computer.
Gnote replaces Tomboy as the default application to take notes. With the exception of the tray icon, Gnote provides the same functionality as Tomboy but it is built on modern technology.
Tomboy was the last application in Linux Mint which depended on Mono and one of the very few remaining apps which didn't support HiDPI.
Gimp is an excellent application but it has a very steep learning curve and its user interface is quite intimidating for novice users.
In Linux Mint 19.3, Gimp was removed from the default software selection and replaced by a much simpler application called "Drawing".
This new application lets you draw but also modify, resize and crop pictures.
Each panel zone (left, center, right... or top, center and bottom if the panel is vertical) now has the ability to have its own text size and its own size for symbolic icons.
In the file manager preferences it is now possible to configure which actions should be visible in the context menu:
Version 1.6 of libxapp introduces a new system tray solution called XAppStatusIcon.
Here are its benefits compared to GtkStatusIcon:
It also provides the following benefits compared to AppIndicator:
Symbolic icons are separated from fullcolor icons to make the tray look even more polished. The icons look crisp in HiDPI and they are rendered by the panel applet directly.
Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce have applets for XAppStatusIcon. LibXApp 1.6 also provides an API which makes it very easy to write applets for other desktop environments.
In Linux Mint 19.3, all editions ship with an XAppStatusIcon applet. As in the past, support for libAppIndicator is disabled by default, but applications which use this library no longer default to GtkStatusIcon, they default to XAppStatusIcon instead.
The XAppIconChooser widget was improved to support a default icon and custom icon categories.
Among other places, this is used in by the menu applet to let you choose from a variety of Linux Mint logos:
Blueberry was given a visual overhaul.
Under the hood, it features better device detection, better error reporting and it supports more Bluetooth devices than before.
"Hardware Detection Tool" was added to the BIOS menu of the ISO images.
This release ships with linux-firmware 1.173.9 and the Linux kernel 5.0.
The Linux Mint logo was refined and simplified from a complex design which used gradients to a simple "LM" shape which can be embedded in a leaf, but also in a circle, a badge, or used on its own. This gives artists a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes to producing artwork and we're able to create symbolic icons and adapt to various colors much more easily than before.
The Plymouth splash screen now features what the team calls the "Washing Machine":
The boot menu was also redesigned:
Linux Mint 19.3 features a superb collection of backgrounds from Alberto Restifo, Andreas Gucklhorn, Andrey Andreyev, Arto Marttinen, Brady Bellini, Bruno Fantinatti, Dawid Zawila, Hoach Le Dinh, Jan Kaluza, Jenna Beekhuis, Juergen Donauer, Julius Rinke, Kevin Young, Olivier Miche, Rob Bates, Ryan Booth and Thomas Tucker.
Linux Mint 19.3 features Cinnamon 4.4, a Linux kernel 5.0 and an Ubuntu 18.04 package base.
Linux Mint 19.3 will receive security updates until 2023.
Until 2020, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 19.3, making it trivial for people to upgrade.
Until 2020, the development team won't start working on a new base and will be fully focused on this one.