Clem Lefebvre has announced via the Linux Mint blog that beta ISO images of the upcoming Linux Mint 18 will be released early this month. With the beta release, the Mint team is hoping to receive lots of feedback so that it can push out a solid stable release afterwards.
As usual with Clem's blog posts, a lot of additional information is given by him when he responds to people leaving comments. This time, he revealed that after the initial stable ISO release, the Mint developers will work on an upgrade path for users of Linux Mint 17.3 so they can easily move to Linux Mint 18.
Linux Mint 18 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 - rather than Ubuntu 14.04, which the Linux Mint 17.x series was based on - therefore providing an upgrade path to Linux Mint 18 will be a bigger challenge than between incremental Linux Mint 17.x versions.
Responding to one commenter who told the Mint team to take their time with the Mint 18 release, citing continued stability, Clem replied saying:
“We did, and by the time we get to the BETA we'll have tested everything we planned to test, fixed everything we planned to fix and there'll be nothing left in the roadmap as outstanding known bugs or work items. That said, we're using a new base.. I'm sure we'll find new regressions and challenges to overcome, but to work on that we'll need your feedback, and that will start with the BETA phase.”
Linux Mint 18 will shake things up a little bit, as it sees the introduction of a new theme and icon set. The new theme represents the first major overhaul of the look and feel of Mint since the Mint-X theme was introduced in Linux Mint 10, which launched in November 2010. Linux Mint 18 will receive security updates for five years, meaning users will be able to use the OS well into 2021.