History of Mint
Linux Mint is a relatively new distribution spun off from Ubuntu in 2006. It is available from the official Mint website at www.linuxmint.com.
The first GNOME version of Mint, christened ‘Bea’, was spun off from Ubuntu Edgy Eft in November 2006. Some rapid development followed: by October 2007 versions Bea, Bianca, Cassandra, and Celena had come and gone, and the version ‘Daryna’, numbered 4.0, was based on the code for Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon. Development has slowed since then, with a new version ‘Elyssa’ (based on Ubuntu Hardy Heron) appearing in June 2008, and the current version ‘Felicia’ in December 2008, based on Intrepid Ibex. Linux Mint is currently seventh in DistroWatch’s web-based list of most popular distros (distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major).
Linux Mint is also available with other interfaces. The KDE version has a slightly longer history than GNOME, first appearing as ‘Ada’ in August 2006. An XFCE version has been available since August 2007. KDE and XFCE versions of Felicia are yet to appear at the time of this writing in January 2009. I will look here at the GNOME version of Felicia.
The Linux Mint development team is relatively small and compact – small enough, in fact, for a complete list of personnel and their details to be given on the official website. Heading up the team is Clement Lefebvre, a thirty-year-old Java developer working for a telecom company in Ireland. Linuxmint.com began as the name of Lefebvre’s personal website, and the initial distribution was largely his own work, but the success of the distribution has attracted other developers from a range of locations, and the team currently includes people from Australia, Germany and the US. Carlos Porto, a US-based web designer and artist, has contributed a great deal to the Mint look and feel.