With Ada, Barbara, Bea, and Bianca the spark faded far too soon. Cassandra was my first love. Celena, Daryna, Elyssa, and Felicia were all good to me. Gloria? It could be love! A look at the latest Linux Mint release coming your way - Linux Mint 7 "Gloria"! (What did you think I was talking about?)
A Brief History of Linux Mint
Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and attempts to offer you all that Ubuntu does and more. With Linux Mint you will get an Ubuntu based system with a custom desktop, several Linux Mint specific configuration tools, a Linux Mint repository of additional software (as well as the ability to use the Ubuntu repositories), the addition of several non-free media codecs, support for DVD playback, and your most common browser plugins all pre-installed.
The first release of Linux Mint, code named ‘Ada’, was released in August 2006 by creator Clement “Clem" Lefebvre. Since then we’ve seen Barbara, Bea, Bianca, Cassandra, Celena, Daryna, Elyssa, Felicia, and now, not quite 3 years later, Gloria!
What’s New in Linux Mint “Gloria"?
Linux Mint 7 “Gloria" is a major release of the Linux Mint distribution, bringing many new changes and improvements. With this release we see some significant changes to the MintMenu, improvements to MintInstall, MintUpdate, and MintUpload, as well as changes to the overall look-and-feel of the distribution. Lets take a look at a few of these in more detail.
The biggest change to the MintMenu is the improvement of the “filter" or search box. This addition allows you to filter your installed applications as well as install new applications should the filter not give you any results.
Type, for example, Amarok into the filter box and the operating system will narrow your results based on what you have installed. Should Amarok not be installed the menu itself will allow you to check the repositories for the application and begin the install process.
This is an excellent addition to Linux Mint, allowing you to quickly and easily locate your applications, check the availability of applications in the repositories, and finally install the application in question should it not be on your system. This style of menu has served OpenSuse well in the past and Linux Mint has taken it one step further adding more functionality.
With MintInstall we see the addition of seamless screenshot downloads, an improved GUI (Graphical User Interface), and lastly the “Featured Applications" menu. I absolutely love the addition of the seamless screenshot downloads. Browse the available applications and, on the fly, get a close up look at the application (at least visually) before performing the actual install.
Next, the Linux Mint 7 development team has added the ability to browse a predefined list of ‘Featured Applications’. Clicking the ‘Featured Applications’ button will give you a list of popular applications you can install simply by selecting its radio button.
This is great for new and experienced users alike. New users can quickly see what is popular with other Linux Mint users while experienced users can easily install popular software shortly after a new system install.
The GUI for MintUpdate has had another column added, Download Size. This column lists the approximate download size of the updates you are about to install. While this is not a huge feature it does show that the Linux Mint 7 development team is paying attention to what the Linux Mint community wants, and is doing their best to implement it.
The Best of the Rest!
Other improvements to Linux Mint 7 include the addition of SCP/SFTP to MintUpload, a new login screen, a new default icon set (Gnome Colors), a new Gnome theme (Shiki-Mint), the signing of the repositories, and the replacement of Xchat-Gnome with Xchat. A complete list of What’s New in Linux Mint 7 can be found at the Official Linux Mint website.
Linux Mint 7 "Gloria" is a fantastic release from the Linux Mint team. They have shown once again that their user community does have a say in what goes into each release of Linux Mint. The improvements implemented in MintMenu, MintInstall, MintUpdate, and the addition of SCP/SFTP to MintUpload are all geared towards ensuring the best possible user experience for fans of Linux Mint. The addition of a secure way to transfer files in MintUpload in particular was a feature asked for frequently on the Linux Mint user forums. Ask and ye shall receive seems to be the philosophy of Clem and the development team. In terms of eye-candy, do I dare say, the look-and-feel of Linux Mint 7 is very comfortable and elegant? Keep up the good work Clem and everyone else who contributed to the latest release of Linux Mint!