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Linux Mint 16 "Petra", based on Ubuntu 13.10, was released recently and is available as usual in two editions: MATE and Cinnamon. Let's take a look at what's new.

Linux Mint 16 "Petra"

Changes shared between the two main Linux Mint editions: Cinnamon and MATE.

MDM, the default Linux Mint display manager has received drastic speed improvements, NumLock support, the ability to remember the last logged in user so he/she only has to enter the password, as well as a new default theme:

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots

Furthermore, users who prefer LightDM will find that Unity-greeter (not installed by default) was tweaked to properly integrate with Linux Mint 16.

With Linux Mint 16, a new USB Stick Formatter tool has been added by default, allowing users to easily format USB sticks as FAT32, NTFS or EXT4:

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots

Mint-X, the default Linux Mint GTK2/3 theme has been improved, receiving better support for GTK3 as well as a more consistent look between GTK2 and GTK3 applications:

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots

Other changes:
  • faster boot / startup:
    • 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 a refined interface, significant speed improvements and it uses less memory; also, now it can display multiple screenshots;
  • safer kernel updates;
  • better EFI support;
  • Steam has been added to the repositories;
  • more.

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots
Mint Software Manager

Default applications

The Cinnamon and MATE Linux Mint editions share most of the default applications (basically all except for the file manager and other desktop-specific components): Firefox 24 (version 25 is available as an update), Thunderbird 24.0 (24.1.1 update available), LibreOffice 4.1.2, GIMP 2.8.6, gThumb 3.0.2, Transmission 2.82, Pidgin 2.10.7, VLC 2.0.8, Totem 3.8.2, Banshee 2.6.1, Tomboy 1.15.2, Brasero 3.8.0, Synaptic 0.75, XChat 2.8.8, Mint Backup 2.1.1, Mint Software Sources 1.2.1, Mint Software Manager 7.5.1, MDM 1.4 and more.

Also, since Linux Mint 16 is based on Ubuntu 13.10, it uses the same Linux kernel: 3.11, Xorg server 1.14.3 and Mesa 9.2.1.

Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon edition

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots

Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon edition comes with the latest Cinnamon 2.0 which, according to its release announcement, is no longer a frontend on top of the GNOME desktop like Unity or GNOME Shell, but "an entire desktop environment". 

Cinnamon 2.0 is still built on GNOME technologies and uses GTK, but "it no longer requires GNOME itself to be installed" because it now communicates with its own backend services, libraries and daemons.

Changes in Cinnamon 2.0:
  • improved edge-tiling;
  • a new edge-snapping feature similar to edge-tiling, but with a difference: maximized windows do not cover snapped windows. To snap a window, drag a window with your mouse towards an edge while pressing the Control key;
  • configurable individual sound effects: you can configure sounds for events such as Cinnamon startup, switching workspace, closing, minimizing or maximizing windows and so on;
  • replaced GNOME "User Accounts" with new Cinnamon "Users and Groups". Users can access and modify their own info via the Account Details module;
  • added an User Applet which can be used to shutdown, restart or suspend the system, turn off the notifications, access the account details or System Settings. Furthermore, the applet supports MDM and LightDM user switching and LightDM guest user session;
  • cinnamon-bluetooth has replaced blueman;
  • more

Screenshots with some of the changes mentioned above:

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots
The new "HUD" tiling feature (see the hint at the top) / window snapping OSD

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots
Sound Effects configuration in Cinnamon 2.0

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots
New User Applet

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots
Users & Groups

Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon ships with 3 Cinnamon themes: the default Linux Mint theme, the upstream Cinnamon theme and a new theme that matches the default GTK3 theme (Mint-X):

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots
Cinnamon Mint-X theme (installed but not in use by default)

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots

Also, Nemo, the default Cinnamon file manager, has received an important number of improvements - to name just a few:
  • two new extensions were added - nemo-preview (for previewing files, fork of GNOME Sushi), and nemo-media-columns (adds various info to the Nautilus list view);
  • in list view, columns are now re-orderable by simple drag and drop method, without having to open a separate dialog;
  • in the List View, you can now right-click a column heading to add or remove visible columns quickly;
  • there is a new option in Preferences to always start in split-pane mode;
  • there is a new option in Preferences to ignore folder-specific metadata regarding zoom level, view type, and column layouts;
  • improved the Move/Copy To context menus - they now include a "Browse…" entry to pick your target folder, as well as options to include bookmarks and places in the menus;
  • improved the Open With dialog - you can now add custom mime-type handlers on the fly;
  • improved handling of the file operation progress dialog. You can now close the dialog entirely and it will turn into a dynamic icon in the system tray, showing overall progress with a circular icon. From that icon you can get additional information via the tooltip, and you can click the icon to restore the full progress dialog;

As a reminder, if you use Ubuntu you can install Nemo with Unity patches and without Cinnamon dependencies from our PPA.

Linux Mint 16 MATE edition

Linux Mint 16 Petra screenshots

Besides the shared changes mentioned above, there are no changes worth mentioning for Linux Mint 16 MATE edition because it continues to use MATE 1.6. For changes in MATE 1.6, see THIS article.

Download Linux Mint 16 "Petra"

Before installing Linux Mint 16, make sure you read the release notes / known issues: Cinnamon | MATE.

Did you install / upgrade to Linux Mint 16? What's your experience with it so far?