Linux Mint team shares the first new features due in next version

Earlier this month, the team behind the popular Linux distribution, Mint, finally released Linux Mint 19.2 after a long development cycle. Clem Lefebvre, head of the project, said that Linux Mint 19.3 was planned for Christmas which will mean they have to work with a shorter development cycle. Linux Mint 19.3 will be the last big upgrade in the 19.x series so more effort will likely go into tidying up any rough edges.

In his announcement, Lefebvre pointed to the fact that the technology being used to display notifications was obsolete and wouldn’t be around in the future. Additionally, programs were responsible for rendering the widget rather than the panel applet. As an alternative to the outdated Gtk.StatusIcon software, the Linux Mint team have developed XApp.StatusIcon, which allows the applets to render the tray icon, tooltip, and optional label natively – this will fix any rendering issues and allow for good looking icons no matter their size.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the new icon tray rendering software will be the Update Manager which sometimes appears cropped on first boot. While the Mint Update icon will be fixed once XApp.StatusIcon rolls out, the team are also working on a workaround to fix the issue in the short term.

Another change coming in the update is extended HiDPI support. HiDPI support was included in Linux Mint 19.2 but several icons were still blurry. With Linux Mint 19.3, the team will update the flags in the Language Settings, flags in the Software Sources tool, flags in the Cinnamon screensaver program, and theme preview images in the Cinnamon theme settings. These refinements should make the distribution feel more professional.

The last change announced by Lefebvre was the ability to change your time format from the Language Settings menu; this will make any post-install configurations you need to make that much easier.

Clem also briefly mentioned the upcoming MintBox 3 from Compulab. The latter firm is still working on the hardware and no specifications have been shared yet, but they’re expected to feature Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA GPUs. They also have a diamond-cut aluminium logo on the faceplate to give the MintBox 3 a more premium feel. More news on Linux Mint 19.3 should be available this time next month.

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