Last week, Clem Lefebvre took to the Linux Mint blog to announce that the beta releases of the upcoming Linux Mint 18 release were “just around the corner.” Just under a week after that announcement, Lefebvre has made good on his promise, publishing download links to the Mint 18 beta.
The Cinnamon release comes in at 1.6 GB while the MATE release is an even larger 1.7 GB, which is strange considering MATE is supposed to be the more conservative, lighter-weight version of the two. In the Cinnamon edition, the desktop has been upgraded to version 3.0; you can see an overview of its features in the Linux Scoop video below. Meanwhile, MATE was bumped to version 1.14.
Some highlights of MATE 1.14 include:
- Improved GTK3 support.
- Touchpad configuration now supports edge and two-finger scrolling independently.
- Python extensions in Caja (file manager) can now be managed separately.
- All three window focus modes are selectable.
- The panel now has the ability change icon sizes for menubar and menu items.
- The volume and brightness OSD can now be enabled/disabled.
- Updated translations.
Other main additions to both releases include the new Mint-Y theme, which will not ship by default because it is still being improved - it'll become the default later on in the Mint 18 cycle. The second major addition to both releases is the inclusion of X-Apps. The goal of X-Apps is to “produce generic applications for traditional GTK desktop environments,” the X-Apps shipping in this release are:
- Xed – a text editor.
- Xviewer – an image viewer.
- Xreader – a document and PDF reader.
- Xplayer – a media player which supports music and video playback.
- Pix – a photo manager.
Several other tweaks have been made to the system around the update manager. Popular apps (Steam, Spotify, Dropbox, Minecraft and others) have been included by default in the Software Manager for easier installation, and new wallpapers have been added. Mint 18 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 and runs the fairly new Linux 4.4 kernel. Mint 18 betas of other desktop environment editions, such as KDE and XFCE, have yet to be released, if they will be at all.