Linux Mint - the Ubuntu-based distro available with three (opens in new tab) different (opens in new tab) desktops (opens in new tab) - has been refreshed with a new LTS version, Mint 21, that's available to download now.
Named Vanessa, this distro is based on Ubuntu 22.04 (opens in new tab) and offers support until April 2027. Versions are available with Cinnamon, Gnome MATE, and the lightweight Xfce desktop environments. System requirements are low, with a minimum of 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended), 20GB of storage, and a 64-bit processor required for installation.
Some will be pleased to hear that Mint jettisons Canonical’s Snap app installation system in favor of Flatpak, though this isn’t a new feature in Mint 21. What you do get is a new Bluetooth applet — Blueman instead of the Gnome-centric Blueberry — new thumbnails for previously unsupported filetypes including Webp, and some love for the Notes app, which can now deal with duplicate content, has a restyled systray icon, and cycles through colors instead of picking them randomly. Driverless printing and scanning now communicates with devices without, well, you guessed it, and there's now a visible switch for hopping between graphics cards using Nvidia Prime.
This isn’t earthshaking stuff, and while things like a big update to the Muffin window manager in Cinnamon (bringing it to Mutter 3.36 after 11 years at 3.2) and new GTK antialiasing on all windows make the desktop look cleaner and more modern, the fact is Mint and Ubuntu are mature products that get a lot of things right.
With its green ‘go’ button in the bottom left corner exactly where Windows users expect to find it, Mint is a good choice for anyone with an old laptop they want to give a new lease of life, or for anyone interested in dabbling in the world of Linux, though sadly unlike Ubuntu you can’t install it on a Raspberry Pi (opens in new tab). An ISO of the Cinnamon version is a 2.4GB download from linuxmint.com (opens in new tab).