New features in Linux Mint 20.2 Cinnamon

Linux Mint 20.2 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2025. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable.


Linux Mint 20.2 "Uma" Cinnamon Edition

Update Manager

Cinnamon updates

The Update Manager now supports Cinnamon spice updates (i.e. updates for applets, desklets, themes and extensions).


Cinnamon spice updates in the Update Manager

Although they're technically different than APT updates, they are presented to you in a very similar manner. You can see the same kind of information for them, and enjoy the same features as you did already, such as the ability to blacklist a particular spice or a version of a spice.

You can also automate spice updates. In automatic mode spices are upgraded shortly after you log in and the desktop environment then gets refreshed. This is barely visible (Cinnamon restarts itself seamlessly, you just see the mouse cursor get reset on the screen when this happens) and a notification pops up to show you what was upgraded.


Automated Cinnamon Spice updates
Notifications

In the past, available updates were simply indicated by a little orange dot on the Update Manager's icon in the system tray and could go unnoticed for long periods of time. In Linux Mint 20.2 the Update Manager is now able to remember how long each update has been available for, how many days the computer was ON during that time and assess whether or not a notification would be welcome to remind you of available updates.


Updates notification

This new notification feature was designed to add comfort to the user experience, not remove any, so making sure it was a nice addition and not an annoying distraction was key. The way this is handled in other operating systems such as Windows or Mac for instance was an example Linux Mint did not want to follow.

For the notification to be welcomed and welcomed again it needs to happen for a reason, to be easy to dismiss if your are busy, to not come back constantly and to not come back at all for a long while after you apply the updates. When a notification is dismissed it is snoozed for 2 days. When updates are applied it goes away for a long time. The conditions for the notification to be shown in the first place are configurable.


Notification preferences

By default, the Update Manager shows a notification if a particular update has been available for more than 7 logged-in days or if it's older than 15 calendar days. These values can be configured all the way down to 2 days or all the way up to 3 months.

By default the Update Manager also only counts security and kernel updates as being relevant for notifications but you can change that in the preferences.

The last setting is a grace period. If any update has been applied on your computer in the last 30 days, whether it's via the Update Manager or via another APT software, no notifications will be shown.

On computers where updates are not wanted and 3 months is not enough there's no need to keep the Update Manager running in the background and it can be disabled entirely.

Other improvements

The Update Manager handles the automation of Flatpak updates. This was previously located in "Startup Applications".


Automated Flatpak updates

Unused Flatpak runtimes are automatically removed when this option is active.

The power source of the computer is now checked prior to the launch of automated updates to ensure they do not run when the computer is on battery.

Bulk File Renamer

A new application was implemented to add the ability to bulk rename files. This new application is called Bulky and it is installed by default in Linux Mint 20.2.


Renaming multiple files...

You can launch it from the application menu and then select files, or just select multiple files in your file manager, right-click and choose "Rename...".

Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes replaces GNote as the default application for taking notes.


Sticky Notes

Similar to GNote, Sticky is developed in GTK3, supports HiDPI and integrates very well in the desktop environment. In addition to the features which were present in GNote, Sticky also lets you place the notes on the desktop and quickly access them from the icon tray.


Sticky's tray icon

Notes can be of different colors and the text inside of them can be formatted.

Sticky also features a backup mechanism and can import your GNote notes.

Warpinator

With Warpinator you could already transfer files from computer to computer across the local network but thanks to a new Android app you can now also do so with your phone and tablet.


Warpinator running in Android

To install Warpinator on your Android device simply search for it in the play store, or use the link below:

The latest version of Warpinator features the ability to select which network interface you want to use. If you are connected to multiple interfaces (Wireless + ethernet for instance) this allows you to select which network you want to share files on.


Warpinator communicating with Android devices

A new optional compression setting is also available. Once enabled on both computers, compression can make transfers up to 3 times faster.

Cinnamon 5.0

Nemo

Nemo, the Cinnamon file manager, has a new search feature. Until now you could only search for files. In Nemo 5.0 you can combine file search and content search, i.e. files which are named a certain way and/or which contain particular words.


Content search in Nemo

Regular expressions and recursive folder searches are supported.

In dual-pane mode F6 toggles panes.

In the preferences, a new option lets you sort favorite files before other files.

Nemo actions can get active window xid and their activation can depend on a path not being present.

Performance and resource usage

5 memory leaks were fixed in Cinnamon 5 and a new monitor was implemented to detect, log and tackle cases where Cinnamon takes too much memory.

Using the system settings you can now limit the maximum amount of RAM Cinnamon can use:


Memory limit in Cinnamon 5.0

If that maximum amount is reached Cinnamon will restart itself. You won't lose your session or your windows, Cinnamon will just be unresponsive for about a second while it restarts itself internally. It will keep a log of such events so that you can see if this happens often and help the development team troubleshoot the issue.

The Cinnamon screensaver daemon used to run constantly in the background. In Cinnamon 5.0 it now only runs on-demand when the screensaver needs to be activated. This results in a net minimum gain of about 20MB RAM on lean specs and up to a few hundred MB of RAM on some computers.

Although it's technically more akin to a code change and not a resource usage optimization, the response time for quickly switching between two applications using Alt+Tab was improved, giving the impression of a snappier desktop environment.

Spice management

Cinnamon 5.0 provides a new CLI and a Python 3 module dedicated to spice updates.

The new command line utility is called "cinnamon-spice-updater". It lists available updates and is able to apply them. Linux distributions can also rely on the new Python 3 module to integrate Cinnamon updates within their Update Manager like it was done in Linux Mint 20.2.

In past Cinnamon versions there were differences between the installed tab and the download tab for applets, desklets and extensions.


Improved Spice Management

This was improved to ensure everything is properly translated and that all spices have the same name, icon and description whether they're installed or not.

More information was also added such as the author's name and the spice's unique ID.

Behind the curtain the validation and the translation process were reviewed and checks were added to Cinnamon's continuous integration.

Other improvements

In addition to locking the screen, the screensaver launches a new fallback window in a separate process. This is done to ensure the input is grabbed and the session is hidden even if the screensaver happened to crash.

Cinnamon 5.0 is better at detecting power state changes and better at reporting them (notifications, battery icons accuracy, filtering devices with no percentages).

In the window manager, improvements were made to focus-stealing, wine fullscreen applications and the restoration of window positions after a Cinnamon restart.

In the preferences, orca received better support and IPV6 DNS is now visible.

The menu applet respects natural dimensions and can switch categories on click rather than hover.

The sound applet is able to show the player, status, artist and tooltip in its tooltip.

Printing and Scanning improvements

HPLIP was upgraded to version 3.21.2 to bring the latest support for HP printers and scanner.

The latest versions of ipp-usb and sane-airscan were also backported and are available in the Linux Mint 20.2 repositories. Try them out if you can't get your printer or scanner to work with software drivers.

XApps improvements

The image viewer now supports .svgz images and its slideshow mode can be paused/resumed with the space bar.

In PDF files annotations now appear below the text and the document can be scrolled down using the space bar.

The text editor features new highlighting options for a variety of white spaces.

Other improvements

In addition to Intel, the NVIDIA Prime applet which was designed for Optimus laptops and which let's you switch between your onboard and discrete GPUs now also support AMD onboard chipsets.

The WebApp manager received support for incognito/private browsing.

System improvements

This release ships with linux-firmware 1.187 and the Linux kernel 5.4.

Artwork improvements

Linux Mint 20.2 features a superb collection of backgrounds from Aaron Thomas, Alexandre Chambon, Andy Holmes, Chase Baker, Chris Stenger, Danny Kidd, Daniel Lazar, Dan Smedley, Isaac Quesada, Kai Pilger, Malachi Brooks, Marita Kavelashvili, Maria Vojtovicova, Marek Piwnicki, Nadiya Ploschenko, Omar Ram, Robin Noguier, Tyler Duston, Vanessa Friedl, Zidhan Ibrahim and Zhang Kaiyv.


An overview of the new backgrounds

Main components

Linux Mint 20.2 features Cinnamon 5.0, a Linux kernel 5.4 and an Ubuntu 20.04 package base.

LTS strategy

Linux Mint 20.2 will receive security updates until 2025.

Until 2022, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 20.2, making it trivial for people to upgrade.

Until 2022, the development team won't start working on a new base and will be fully focused on this one.