Linux Mint 18 Final First Look

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 30, 2016
Updated • May 22, 2018
Linux, Linux Mint

Linux Mint 18 is the latest version of the popular Linux distribution that is a long term support release that is supported until 2021.

Linux Mint 18 is offered in two versions, Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon and Mate that feature different desktop environments. Basically, Cinnamon is more graphics intensive and some default programs may be different as well.

The release notes for both versions of Linux Mint are available already, but the official downloads of the ISO images are not yet. Some mirrors list the stable versions of Linux Mint already however.

Linux Mint 18 First Look

linux mint 18 first look

You can run Linux Mint as a live DVD without installation by booting it, and install the Linux distribution when it is started or keep on using the live variant exclusively.

Linux Mint Cinnamon ships with Cinnamon 3.0, an updated desktop environment that offers new features and improvements.

It offers window management improvements, options to disable favorites and system options in the menu applet, animation effects that are enabled by default, improved out-of-the-box touchpad support, new accessibility and sound settings, and more.


X-Apps is a new feature of Linux Mint (both versions) that can best be described as generic applications that work in multiple desktop environments.

linux mint x-apps

The basic idea is to give both desktop environments the same set of core applications which improves development but also the user experience.

The goal of the X-Apps is not to reinvent the wheel. Quite the opposite in fact, it's to guarantee the maintenance of applications we already enjoyed and to steer their development in a direction that benefits multiple desktop environments.

Examples of x-Apps on Linux Mint 18 are the default text editor Xed which is based on Pluma, the default image viewer Xviewer based on Eye of GNOME, the default document and PDF reader Xreader which is based on Atril, the default photo organizer Pix which ia based on gThumb, and the default media player Xplayer which is based on Totem.

The team notes that GNOME, MATE and Xfce apps that X-Apps replace are still available in the repositories, and that they can be installed side-by-side.

Update Manager

linux mint 18 update manager

The update manager of Linux Mint was updated visually and functionality-wise. It supports themes better, and the main screen uses stack widgets and animations.

A new start screen is displayed on first start that provides users with options to select one of three update policies:

  • Don't break my computer.
  • Optimize stability and security (default).
  • Always update everything.

Each policy is explained on the screen, and user recommendation are provided as well.

It features two new settings that let you see and select kernel updates. The Kernels window has been overhauled, and a new warning screen is displayed on launch which users can disable.

Another change is that the Kernels page does not list fixes and changes anymore, but links to the relevant bug reports and changelogs instead.

New Mint-Y theme


Linux Mint 18 introduces a new Mint-Y theme that is not enabled by default. Mint-Y is available as a dark, light and mixed version, and is based on the popular arc theme.

Mint-Y looks modern, clean and professional. It embraces the new trends, but without looking too "flat" or minimalistic.

Do the following to explore the new theme:

  1. Click on menu, enter theme, and select the  Themes from the results.
  2. Click on any of the items displayed on the themes screen, e.g. desktop, and select one of the Mint-Y variants to enable them.

System improvements

apt upgrade

Linux Mint 18 improves the apt command introduced in Linux Mint 3.1 in 2007. Apt continues to support all previous features, but benefits from improvements of the Debian apt command on top of that.

  1. Apt install and apt remove show progress now.
  2. New commands such as apt full-upgrade or apt edit-sources are introduced that do the same as apt dist-upgrade and apt sources.

The add-apt-repository command supports the remove parameter in Linux Mint 18 which you can use to remove items from the command line.

Other system improvements in Linux Minut 18 are support for exFAT file systems out of the box, reintroduction of Btrfs support, and a thermal sensor daemon Thermald which monitors the CPU temperature and prevents overheating.

Other improvements

linux mint 18 background images

The default theme of the login screen has been improved. Passwords can only be entered once a username has been typed or selected. This is done to prevent the accidental typing of the password in clear text.

A selection of new background images has been added to Linux Mint 18 which you can select in the following way:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and select change desktop background.
  2. Switch from Linux Mint to Sarah.
  3. Select a background image from the list of thumbnails.

Other improvements include better HiDPI support, easier installation of popular applications such as Steam or Dropbox, support for OEM installations in all versions, and the default installation of Gufw, the graphical firewall configuration tool.

Linux Mint 18 will receive security updates until 2021, and until 2018, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 18.

Now You: What's your take on Linux Mint 18?

Linux Mint 18 Final First Look
Article Name
Linux Mint 18 Final First Look
First Look at the stable version of Linux Mint 18, the newest version of the popular Linux distribution released June 30, 2016.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Tom said on July 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Nice article. I just loaded Mint 18 (fresh install over my previous 17.3). So far, I love it. I haven’t run into any issues with any programs I use. Even installed a few older games that run flawlessly (surprised the heck out of me), Printer and scanner installed without any issues. The only super small issue I’ve run across is the boot-time is increased because the system always waits to see if an alternate user wants to log on (didn’t have this pop up in 17.3). I’m sure there’s a way to get it to log directly into my account without pausing 5 seconds – someday I’ll dig deeper.

    1. A different Martin said on July 18, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      This is good to hear. A couple of days ago I read an article by a Linux guy decrying an apparent trend toward an increasing number of problems with new Linux releases over the past year or two. He mentioned several distros by name, including Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Linux Mint 18, and he provided specific examples of bugs and regressions. I got the impression that he was urging distro developers to pay more attention to “not breaking userspace” and less to adhering to a fixed update schedule or to implementing the latest and greatest kernel features as soon as possible, without adequately testing them first. (On the other hand, I seem to remember that he did most or all of his testing on a Lenovo G50 laptop, and maybe that particular model isn’t especially Linux-friendly. Or maybe his laptop had some iffy hardware, like my old R61’s first mainboard did.)

      At any rate, on my previous laptop, I had been running Linux Mint 17.x in VirtualBox and it struck me as pretty good. That virtual machine got borked by a bad update (I don’t remember whether it was a VirtualBox update or a Linux Mint update), and very shortly afterwards, the laptop screen’s CCFL backlight burned out. I haven’t gotten around to installing VirtualBox on my current laptop, but when I do, I’ll probably wait until Linux Mint 18.1, for the Snap support and (hopefully) for some of the wrinkles to be ironed out.

  2. intelligencia said on July 13, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    @Tom Hawack

    … as a current Linux Mint LOVER . . . thank you for the heads up on the link you shared!
    I cannot wait to read the article.

  3. Tom Hawack said on July 12, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Just read a rather laudatory article on Linux Mint 18 over at Infoword : Linux Mint 18 reviews roundup (

    For a newcomer to Linux such as myself the comments are certainly an incentive. Fast (faster than Ubuntu), complete and easy to use. Sounds nice.

  4. Don Gateley said on July 8, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I’m gonna be all over the first RPi version of this. My heart pounds with joy. My mouth is dry with anticipation.

  5. Owl said on July 8, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Tom: Have you checked out Linux Unix forum on Bleeping Computer? They are a very friendly lot, and many seem to be other os refugees. Also, Linux Mint Official Forum is good.

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 8, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Bleeping Computer is a darn good site I visit quite often, I’m registered on their forum but I haven’t posted for some time now. I wasn’t aware of their Linux forum, many thanks for the info. As soon as I have extra time I’ll go and have a look. I know, remember the place is friendly and not condescending towards newbies (even if I always understood a garage mechanic getting getting annoyed when the only failure is an empty reservoir!).

  6. Tom Hawack said on July 7, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I’m reading your advised comments regarding Linux and I do notice a consensus on latest Ubuntu 16.4 and Mint 18 versions. For a first experience moreover better to start with 17.3 (if Linux Mint), seems obvious and advised by those who have used both. Good to know, first time is so important! (not sure it’s that important, though!). Maybe a corrected Mint 18.1 will be available before I even switch to Linux which would be nice.

    I acknowledge Jason’s above comment and his “general piece of advice”. So true.

  7. Dave said on July 6, 2016 at 2:34 am

    I fixed my issues by creating a PC with an always-offline XP Pro, 32 bit and running all the old software I like, and using Mint 18 on a laptop that connects to the net, has LibreOffice and does eveything I need it to in the online world. I’m not in need of the “latest and greatest” and am not a gamer, so my setup works best for me in my world. Lots of tutorials on youtube on how to activate an offline XP system.

  8. Al Giacoio said on July 5, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Sloppy release as Ubuntu 16.04 and Linux Mint 18 created new bugs so supporting more hardware is BS. I have a MacBook Pro Retina 13 running Mint 17.3 exclusively and everything but the SD Card reader works. With 18 the wireless card drops whenever it wants and the system is unable to wake after suspend mode even though it worked perfectly in 17.3 – go figure! Oh yea and the SD Card Reader still does not work – really Linux how is that possible in this day and age! Windows and Mac OS don’t have these problems – Sloppy to introduce new bugs that previously didn’t exist.

    1. Jason said on July 7, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      In the last couple of sentences you blame Linux, but it sounds like your complaints should be directed to the manufacturer of your SD card reader. Hardware problems in Linux are almost always caused by poor Linux drivers from the manufacturer, rather than any inherent flaw in the Linux kernel itself. Have you looked for an open source alternative driver? Sometimes that helps.

      Regarding Ubuntu 16.04, this isn’t a particularly good release, and there are a lot of complaints about the network manager crashing. This may well have affected Linux Mint 18 as well, since it’s based on Ubuntu 16.04. My advice is to revert to Linux Mint 17.3 (based on Ubuntu 14.04) until Linux Mint 18.1 is available for you to try out.

      A more general piece of advice: if you don’t want to troubleshoot problems, avoid being the “first adopter” of any new operating system. You can see in the gHacks user comments how many people were screwed by Windows 10 when they installed it. It takes a few months to fix the bugs, and it’s usually the first major incremental upgrade (6 to 12 months later) when the system truly reaches its potential.

      1. Alex said on July 11, 2016 at 9:43 pm

        Jason, with all fairness, as a user, I couldn’t care less about who’s at fault here. I want a system that enabled me to work on my computer, and not waste time making it work. So it *is* a Linux shortcoming and is and will be a biggest issue of this OS – it is simply unreal to make it work properly with all devices out there.

        P.S. I am a user of Mint and I have already spent too much time dealing with OS glitches.

      2. Jason said on July 8, 2016 at 11:21 pm


        I understand what you’re saying, but keep in mind that regressions like the ones you describe are a normal part of business. They are usually due to conflicting requirements between old and new code, and/or the unwillingness of a hardware OEM to release an updated driver. Regressions are rarely due to “sloppiness” by the kernel developers. (Linus Torvalds himself is famous for his hatred of regressions and sloppy work.)

        Because of the wide range of hardware on which Linux is installed, the Linux Foundation always maintains multiple versions of the kernel at the same time. You are not expected to update blindly to the newest kernel (the way that would happen with Windows and Mac). Instead you are supposed to stay with what works for as long as it is supported – which is years. You will still get incremental security and performance updates within your kernel version, so unless you install new hardware, there is usually no reason to upgrade to a newer kernel.

        Regarding the SD card reader, I doubt it’s manufactured by Apple or that Apple writes the drivers. We are long past the days when Apple produced its own computer hardware. But anyway, that’s tangential to our discussion.

        (Sorry, you may know all of this already. Just pointing it out in case you do not.)

      3. Al Giacoio said on July 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        SD Card Manufacturer – well that would be Apple and MacOS and Windows 10 support it fine so Linux should too – thats a Kernel flaw as it is universally unsupported as per Clem.

        Ubuntu 16.04 – sloppy release and I have no problem trouble shooting as I have been doing for 5 years on Linux. I am not a newbie but also not a developer but I have never had so many problems with a new release as this with the introduction of NEW bugs that didn’t exist before, again SLOPPY plane and simple.

        General Advice – Thanks and I already stated I rolled back to 17.3 and waiting. Lots of people are having problems with the 16.04 & 18 and this is no way to promote the Linux Desktop as a Windows or Mac alternative if its not as good or worse and sloppy is worse.

        Conclusion – I am looking for a solution but thanks for the advise.

  9. Jozsef said on July 3, 2016 at 7:41 am

    I will be changing my ThinkPad from Mint 17.3 to 18 shortly. I’ve played around with Linux from the days of Redhat 6.1 (not HREL) onward but there was always a snag that prevented leaving Windows completely, much as I wanted to. In recent years I’ve had Ultimate Edition and Mint installed on something at all times and with MS and Apple competing to see who can alienate loyal users the fastest, minor obstacles in Linux seem smaller every day. I hasten to add that I’m a bit of a power user and like to customize things, otherwise these distros would present no issues.

    1. Alan Robertson said on July 3, 2016 at 8:46 am

      Customising is the best part of Linux – Cairo Dock, Grub Customiser with your own background at boot, Archey, Beebeep, Desklets, Conky, Java versions, XPad etc. and if you want a more up to date version of some software you can download .deb files or PPA’s or Snaps or good old fashioned compile and make. It’s very user orientated and flexible.

  10. NChewie said on July 2, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    I dual boot win7 and Mint17.3 as I am a belt and braces kind of guy. There is no doubt that Windows has more proprietory software available for specialised users, however Linux has all the day to day tools I use. In both systems I use Libreoffice, Veracrypt and firefox. Indeed, for my old printer, Linux has a driver but win7 does not!
    What turned me away from Windows was frequent issues with Winupdate getting stuck in a loop. As a lawyer, I could not sign up to the terms of the Win10 agreement… So that was a non starter!

  11. freakassoid said on June 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    love Linux but it is not Windows and can not play most good games

    a very good way to learn Linux is with Virtual Box if you have the room on the hard drive and a enough memory

    Virtual Box is a very good teacher for things like Linux

    and you can see if Linux is for you without installing it on your computer


  12. Maou said on June 30, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    It’s nice to see Ghaks tackling different topics, I was a Mint user for a time but got bored at the Ubuntu like release cycle.
    Anyway, nowadays I only use Rolling Release distro’s like Manjaro, Arch, etc.
    One thing is certain, Mint is a rock solid distro so I still recommend to friends.

    1. Tom Hawack said on June 30, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      I agree, it’s nice. I’ve read that Linux users represented something like 1.5% of all computers. From there on if you consider the articles in that ratio (which is I guess the scenario of a generalist technology site such as gHacks) then you shouldn’t expect as many articles on Linux as there are on Windows (though I’d bet more than 1.5% here).

      If the tend continues who knows what the market will be in, say, ten years. Maybe people searching for a computer will be asked “Windows, Linux?” when more and more of us will have shifted to “the other OS”. Maybe Microsoft is on the way to loosing its quasi monopoly on OSs? Tomorrow is often unpredictable, but anything leading to emancipation is interesting and I dare say worthy. It’s always the same point : education (in the general meaning of the word, knowledge) is a condition of liberty. And people are learning, faster as they learn more. This is a reason to be optimistic, IMO.

      1. Alan Robertson said on July 3, 2016 at 6:47 am

        I couldn’t agree with you more Tom – Linux brought back inspiration to the world of computing, Windows just sucks the life out of you.

  13. Alex said on June 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Is the ASUS pc issues with mint 17.3 fixed in mint 18 or not? I could not install 17.3 as both my ASUS pcs had issues with it and I always like to have the latest. So has the ASUS incompatibility issue been fixed in 18 and if yes, then I want to change from my current linux peppermint 6 64bit to mint 18 64bit.

    1. Jason said on July 3, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      I’m curious about your experiences, Alex and Intelligencia. I am thinking of buying an ASUS laptop in the near future, and I would be installing LM 18 on it. Can you provide some details of the problems you encountered? I have read nothing but positive reviews about Ubuntu + ASUS compatibility in general, so I naturally assumed this would apply to Mint + ASUS as well….

      1. A different Martin said on August 18, 2016 at 5:12 am

        @ intelligencia:

        Be careful not to get any Goo Gone (or any other solvent) on your laptop’s screen! If the screen has any kind of anti-glare / anti-reflective coating, the solvent could damage or strip it.

      2. intelligencia said on August 18, 2016 at 2:30 am

        I have never heard of Goo Gone but I am looking at to read up on it right now.
        Thank you for your suggestion!


      3. intelligencia said on July 4, 2016 at 4:09 pm

        Hello Jason.

        I love my two ASUS laptops: one I bought (last year) with Windows 10 pre-installed and my older one (purchased in October of 2010) which had Windows 7 on it until it crashed last year and so I installed Linux Mint on it. The reason being that I was unemployed and had NO money to buy another brand-new laptop – – Linux kernel is free to download/own.
        [on hindsight though, there was one problem I had with my older ASUS laptop. One day I noticed that my laptop camera Light suddenly came on with no prompting from me. The light indicated that the camera was in operation (you can ONLY imagine how unnerving that was to say the least)! Nevertheless, I ran an anti-malware check on the camera’s software and the check indicated that it was some kind of TROJAN!
        I immediately removed the software and no trace of the Trojan was found in the laptop.
        (I then for good measure I placed a piece of masking tape over the lens of the laptop’s camera which was a mistake for when I decided later on to remove the tape it left such residue on the lens that until this day I am unable to remove it!)

        I have had no issues running Mint until it was time to upgrade from the 17.2 version to 17.3.
        I don’t know what happened but it refused to automatically upgrade and so I had to completely re-install 17.3 from a usb flash drive that I had on hand – – and that worked!
        – – An important Lesson Learned: ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR FILES!!!

        Hope this helps!


    2. intelligencia said on July 2, 2016 at 4:34 am

      Hi Alex!

      I thought it was just me as well.
      I also tried to upgrade to Mint 17.3 but could NOT do it on my ASUS laptop!
      I had to do a Complete Re-installation to get 17.3
      (I failed to backup my files as I just knew that there would be no glitches. Needless to say I lost all of my files but thankfully I had backed up the same files on my Windows 10 laptop. I was able to seamlessly transfer the files from Windows to Linux using a usb flash drive (running the 32-Fat format).
      So before I take the plunge again I will wait a long while before I even attempt to upgrade my Linux laptop to Mint 18.
      [Nevertheless, I love Linux Mint and whole-heartedly recommend same to others and for older computers Linux Mint (version 17.1 XFCE) works very well!


      1. Danny said on August 17, 2016 at 3:22 am

        Have you tried using Goo Gone to remove the tape residue from your camera?

      2. Jason said on July 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm


        Thanks for your feedback. It actually eases my mind again about ASUS.

        Regarding masking tape over the camera lens – YES! Those mythical people who supposedly like to wear aluminum hats might have been right after all, because it turns out that aluminum foil wrapped around a credit card can actually prevent RFID data theft at very close distances. LOL.

  14. 420 said on June 30, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I still do not understand people with all this telemetry stuff in windows 10, you can put it on basic telemetry, tell it to never use cortana and disable the store and all the apps. In pro group edit. At that point I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I like linux it is almost there enough for me as I am a gamer, a little more gog love and I will probably switch too. I have tried all major iterations of linux. I really like Manjaro and the whole arch underneath. Just my 2 cents.

    1. Yuliya said on June 30, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      If only telemetry was the only bad aspect of Windows 10.. There’s too many bad things about that OS to be able to fix them as a simple user. I tried, even the Ent LTSB edition is a mess. For the most part it works, but that’s not enough. Not when 7 exists. And unfortunately 7 is not going to be supported by developers forever, so I have to find alternatives. And the alternative is not going to be something which only works for the most part, but falls flat on its face for everything else.

    2. Corky said on June 30, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      Sure disable all that stuff and have Microsoft re-enable it with the next update, or maybe the one after that, or maybe next week, month, year, or when ever they make their next “mistake”

    3. Max said on June 30, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      …And even if you do all that, it still sends back data to MS. And the license agreement still allows them to pick over your data and hand it over to other parties. And there’s the mandatory updates. Plenty to be fussed about.

  15. RG said on June 30, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Have been 99% of time Mint user for a couple of years now. Thanks Martin. Also thanks Henk for the list.
    There are some limitations, not necessarily major but still limitations compared to Windows, and by no means it is a bug free experience but overall it is very good.

  16. Lookmann said on June 30, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    I have ubuntu 14.04 on a Linux partition. Previously used cinnamon de on 12.04 . cant install cinnamon in 14.04 even after instructions from OMG Ubuntu .

    Zorin 11 , if it is based on 16.04 , is also a good option , I feel.

    LM 18 seems good . I will wait for some more time .

  17. Henk van Setten said on June 30, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Since last year I have been experimenting with Linux Mint 17 as the sole OS on one of my laptops. Basically it’s a good system, and I hope this new version will be even better.

    Still, there are many hurdles to take if you want to take this system to the heights of a full-fledged replacement for Microsoft Windows. My experience is that it’s not quite at that level yet, for two main reasons: intrinsic limitations and the lack of sufficient software equivalents.

    With “intrinsic limitations” I mean that as soon as you want to do (or set, or change) something out of the ordinary, the graphical UI does not always cover your options and you need to delve into all kinds of exotic terminal (that is, command-line) commands. From Linux people we always get to hear the optimistic assertion that you can run Linux perfectly well without any knowledge of terminal use. In real life, trying to adjust Linux Mint to my own needs, I found this to be simply untrue.

    As just one random example of several “intrinsic limitations” I ran into, try setting up a hard link in Linux Mint to a folder on an external harddisk. I struggled with this for hours before coming to the conclusion that apparently, it’s not possible at all (at least I couldn’t).

    The “lack of sufficient software equivalents” is even more obvious. FWIW, here is a brief excerpt from a tentative list I made when trying to fill Linux Mint with equivalents for my own Windows programs:

    (in Win) make system image backup = Redo Backup
    (in Win) work with restore points = TimeShift
    1by1 Player folder-based MP3 player = Clementine
    CCleaner leftover files cleaner = Bleachbit
    DFX audio quality enhancer = Pulseaudio-equalizer
    Dimscreen quick-access screen dimmer = DDCcontrol
    Ditto clipboard & snippets manager = CopyQ
    Dropbox client cloud file sync —— SAME
    Editpad Pro versatile text/code editor = NotepadQQ
    Everything filtered file searching = Catfish
    FastCopy fast file sync / backup = FreeFileSync
    Firefox browser —— SAME
    Glasswire network monitor = KNemo
    Opera browser —— SAME medium-level image editor = Pinta (too simple) or Gimp (horrible UI)
    Proxomitron incoming HTTP content filter = Privoxy
    Solitaire cardplay timewaster = AisleRiot
    Sticky Notes desktop reminders = Xpad
    Thunderbird email client —— SAME
    TomTom Connect maps updater for TomTom devices —– DOES NOT EXIST
    VLC allround media player —— SAME
    VeraCrypt encrypted file container —— SAME
    Vivaldi browser —— SAME
    WizTree disk usage visualizer = Baobab
    WordWeb offline dictionary/thesaurus = Artha
    Xplorer2 Pro multiple-pane file manager = Konqueror

    Can I say that, after allowing some time to get used to them, all such Linux equivalents do offer the same functionality and versatility as their Windows counterparts? To be honest, many of them I don’t find quite up to par. A few of those Linux alternatives must even simply be called inferior.

    I really would like to make the definitive switch from Windows 7 and 8.1 to Linux Mint on all my computers, as I will never install Windows 10. But based on my own subjective real-life experience with Linux Mint 17, I have to admit that Linux is not yet fully up to the task. I surely hope this will change in the next few years!

    In the meantime, my daily reality is that I now use my Linux laptop mainly for simple “consumer” tasks such as browsing or playing media. Shamefully, I admit that for many more complex or creative tasks, I still use a Windows computer.

    1. Az4x4 said on July 11, 2016 at 4:09 am

      “ daily reality is that I now use my Linux laptop mainly for simple ‘consumer’ tasks such as browsing or playing media. Shamefully, I admit that for many more complex or creative tasks, I still use a Windows computer.”

      I used to be where you are today, torn between Linux Mint and Windows. But that was years ago. For the past 7 years I’ve run nothing but Linux Mint on my machines, and nothing I need to do, from high end graphics to gaming to you name it, doesn’t work perfectly well in Linux Mint – even working with a couple of long time favorite Windows graphics apps. So I know your pain, and I understand how challenging it can be to learn to ‘think differently’ OS wise. Rest assured though that Linux Mint (I use the Mate’ desktop version) is tremendously capable in ways that aren’t always apparent. You can do things with it you never imagined you could coming from a Windows background. It takes awhile to learn how to get the absolute most out of Mint, but the journey is as exciting as the destination – if you simply stick with it. Besides, Mint offers so much that Windows 10 users will never have in the way of personal computing freedom, privacy and security that discovering how to get the most out of it is a very small cost to pay..

    2. Jason said on July 3, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      That’s a fair assessment of Linux, Henk. I would only correct your sentence “Linux is not yet fully up to the task” with “Linux applications are not yet fully up to the task”, because actually there is nothing about the Linux kernel itself that is preventing third-party developers from writing better software. It comes down to economics. Some users will not be able to find the software they need in Linux, although I would hasten to add that MOST users probably DO find the software they need.

      But also keep in mind that in some ways the Linux software experience can be superior to Windows. First of all it’s easier to find software, because most of it is in your repository and just waiting for you to try it out. Secondly software updates are handled better in Linux, so you can have feature upgrades at a faster pace than in Windows (and at no charge). Thirdly, it is infinitely easier to backup and restore software in Linux than in Windows (it takes hours to set up a new Windows installation with all your software installed, but you can do the same in 30-60 minutes in Linux). So there are lots of ways to look at this. :)

      1. Alex said on July 11, 2016 at 8:41 pm

        “Secondly software updates are handled better in Linux, so you can have feature upgrades at a faster pace than in Windows (and at no charge).”

        There are a lot of free applications in Windows. None of non-free app in Windows is free in Linux. Most of them are not even available.

        “Thirdly, it is infinitely easier to backup and restore software in Linux than in Windows (it takes hours to set up a new Windows installation with all your software installed, but you can do the same in 30-60 minutes in Linux).”

        Huh? Sorry, maybe my Linux experience is different from yours, but while it takes me hours to set up fully functional Windows machine with a lot of software, it took me days to get things going in Mint. Installing software is another misconception that Linux community is spreading around – Mint’s repos have very old and outdated version for lots of critical pieces (as an example – KeePass). In most cases one has to resort to using PPA, which are not official, random sources for software. This is not only a joke from security perspective, but also makes app discovery that much harder. As for KeePass – I actually had to spend *hours* figuring out how to build the damn thing from sources (!!!!) just to be able to run the latest version vs the version that was 10-15 iterations behind.

    3. Alan Robertson said on July 3, 2016 at 6:36 am

      Have you tried WINE with your Windows software? Photoshop, Bridge, Illustrator etc. all run under WINE. Not sure if it will run TomTom but it would be worth a shot. Or if you prefer, VMware or Virtualbox can run Windows virtually. If you view maps a lot then check out “Off Road” – it’s a port of OsmAnd. I also use AndroidX86 and run a lot of Android apps virtually in Linux.

      1. Alex said on July 11, 2016 at 8:42 pm

        “Have you tried WINE with your Windows software? Photoshop, Bridge, Illustrator etc. all run under WINE.”

        This is a very misleading statement: 1. nothing really latest from Adobe is stable under Wine; 2. It takes a lot of tinkering and knowledge to get all of this even going. 3. No-one in their right mind who uses Adobe for more than simple jpeg resizing will go into Linux+Wine.

        I’ve been trying out Linux Mint as my main platform for about 3-4 months. While it allows for basic tasks to be performed just fine, there are a lot of problems even with that. As an example – Mint Cinnamon 17.3 is crashing consistently for me due to some video driver issues (I’ve got ATI Radeon adapter) and what I have learned by now is to how to recover my computer from complete death of XServer. No-one on Mint forums even bothered replying to my requests for help on this subject. Same computer has never had a single issue with Windows 7 (and I would reboot it once every few months), but with Mint it goes into the Neverland every few days. I’m looking into other distributions now, but not sure if that will help.

        I’m still sticking with Mint, at least for now. But I must say, that Windows is, in reality, leaps ahead of desktop Linux in terms of polish, integration, stability and usability for anything past simple browsing. I do use Windows VMs for Office, dev work and I dual boot for any real graphical work.

        P.S. Also it seems that Mint 18 is having a lot of issues reported in forums. So the same is true – never switch to a new OS version and wait until a first point release.

    4. Corky said on June 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      “In real life, trying to adjust Linux Mint to my own needs, I found this to be simply untrue.”
      Maybe that’s because you’re not an average user, most people probably would even know what a hardlink is.

      AFAIK if you wanted to create a hardlink you’d use “Ln target_name link_name” (that L should be lower case, only made it upper for easier reading)

  18. Simon said on June 30, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you for giving Linux some coverage. I never thought I would be a Linux user but I have to thank this ugly business with Windows 10 for making one of me. I use Mint everyday now and I love it! Thanks Microsoft… errr, I mean to the Linux Mint Team. Good job!

  19. Joseph said on June 30, 2016 at 2:11 pm
  20. Dave said on June 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Is there still a Debian version? Debian Mint FTW

    1. Nilsenth said on June 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      @ Dave

      Is this what you are asking for?

      1. Dave said on June 30, 2016 at 10:39 pm

        Yeeaahhhhh! :-)

  21. Yuliya said on June 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I like it :) I currently have 17.3 in a VM. I’ve been keeping an eye on LMint since ‘Lisa’ which was the version I first saw at my university which had all the PCs dual boot in Windows 7 and Linux Mint.

  22. M W said on June 30, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    “Linux Mint 18 will receive security updates until 2021”

    It is a dam lie! Only core ubuntu packages in main have 5 years support, some 3 years and other none!!
    In terminal check with ubuntu-support-status –show-all

    Cinnamon still use old and unsupported webkit1 (libwebkitgtk) that have tones of unpatched exploits

    1. A different Martin said on July 3, 2016 at 2:54 am

      Is this an issue if you install your browsers as Snap packages?

      Snap packages are a new thing with Ubuntu 16.04, which Linux Mint 18 is based on. They’re sort of like official cross-distro portable installs and supposedly include all of the dependencies required for the program to work, without overwriting the distribution’s own dependencies. One of the motivations for Snap packages is that they allow users running stable, conservative distros to nonetheless run the most recent, most secure version of an application with the latest, most secure dependencies.

      The first Firefox Snap is due out sometime later this year. I’m not sure what Google Chrome is up to in the Snap App arena, and while a Pale Moon Snap App would strike me as being easier and more appealing to design and maintain than a standard Linux app — a single, uniform Snap package will supposedly work on any distro that supports Snaps — other challenges to Pale Moon’s continued viability discourage me from hoping that we’ll ever see one.

      But I digress. Even if Web libraries are a mess in the Linux OS ecosystem, wouldn’t using Snap packages (to the extent they are available) largely circumvent the problem?

      1. A different Martin said on July 3, 2016 at 9:44 am

        Oops — I just read there there will be no Snap support in Linux Mint until 18.1, later this year.

    2. Corky said on June 30, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      You’ve lost me, what does a package that’s not been used by Mint for over 2 years got to do with security updates?
      And what do non-core packages have to do with the support status?

      1. Kirk M said on July 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        Forget what M W said. The post M W linked to is outdated and before Ubuntu 16.04 was released (Ubuntu 15.10 was referred to as the “latest release” in the referenced article).

        Ubuntu and therefor Linux Mint 18 comes with webkitgtk 3.0 and not 2.8.5 (the version installed in 15.10 of which was not used for a base for any Mint version).

        The statement; “Linux Mint 18 will receive security updates until 2021” is true as far as Ubuntu and Mint supplied security updates are concerned however, Mint will only support any LTS version for 2 years as far as Mint developed packages are concerned unless a security vulnerabilityor a bug in one of their Mint supplied packages is found. Basically that means that there will be no updated version of any of Mint’s desktop versions after 2 years with the exception of security updates. (for example, Mint 17/Cinnamon, the DE version is still at Cinnamon 2.8.8 while 18 comes with 3.0.*)

        I know that sounds a bit confusing but I hope it’s clear enough to understand.

  23. Anon said on June 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you Mr. Brinkmann for another article on Linux, even though it has been a while. I know that the user base consists mainly of Windows users and this is very much appreciated! I changed to Linux a year ago, after I tested Windows 10 and learned about its telemetry integration. I would like to say I go full Linux, but sadly I dual boot. There are some games that don’t work on Linux and Wine is not an option.
    But, for the main part, I use Linux 80% of the time. I hope that in the near future there will be more articles about Linux, especially with Microsoft very aggressive push and forced telemetry.
    Learning about Linux is not as hard as people may think and you don’t have to use a terminal. All you need now is compatible software to what you used on Windows and you are all set. If you want a familiar interface like that of Windows, you go with Linux Mint which is an excellent choice for beginners or with Ubuntu if you are familiar with Mac OS.
    In the end, you know that whatever distribution of Linux you choose, it works for you and you can have full control over it (if you want to).

  24. Giron said on June 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Like Tom, I am exploring the Linux direction because of the MS changes of course.
    I’m glad for this review, and I’ll happy if you reviewed Manjaro Linux as well.

    It looks like a promising option, both innovative and aimed at new users, but a deeper look will be appreciated.

  25. T J said on June 30, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    @ Tom Hawack

    “Windows 10 seems to consider an OS not as a frame but as a sect”

    With Nadella as its High Priest and Gates as the Supreme Being. :-)

  26. Tom Hawack said on June 30, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I really, really appreciate this article, Martin. Believe it or not, and this may sound childish, but a step into what is for me a totally new computing environment brings me back the enthusiasm of my discovery of Windows (3.1 it was!), enthusiasm I’ve been loosing lately with shared disappointments world-wide regarding the enhanced inquisitive policy of Microsoft.

    I am as many others in this in-between stage, hooked on Windows but seriously wondering about a new context I feel as an emancipation. No hatred of Microsoft, its OS has brought many discoveries, pleasures; but I believe a choice between an OS bound to be proposed as a service, with its cost but mainly with its dependency tied to its growing inquisition and proprietary policies (Windows 10 seems to consider an OS not as a frame but as a sect), and another environment, Linux, is now in sight.

    I’m on the go for all information regarding Linux, and no longer as a simple observer. I’ve always proceeded with calm (some say slowly) because I’m of those who prepare a trip. I’m preparing this voyage to Linux.

    Lyric I am. Hard to change oneself.

    1. Jason said on July 3, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      “a totally new computing environment brings me back the enthusiasm of my discovery of Windows (3.1 it was!)”

      I love that statement, Tom, because it’s exactly what I experienced when I switched to Linux a few years ago. I literally felt like I did in the Windows 3.1 era, learning how to do cool things and interacting with people who knew how to do cool things. :)

      For what it’s worth, I whole-heartedly recommend Linux Mint as the best Linux distribution for newbies. I have jumped on a few “bandwagons” (popular and supposedly user-friendly distros), but I have yet to encounter a distro that is as easy to set up and as free of annoyances as LM. Now I’m just waiting for the Xfce edition to be released (sometime this month) before I migrate to LM 18.

      1. Tom Hawack said on July 3, 2016 at 9:26 pm

        Your experience with Linux is worthy, and I more particularly appreciate you commenting it that it fits right into one of my major concerns : what Linux distro should I choose. I read your satisfaction with Linux Mint and I register that in my little brains, together with what I may hear of testimonies, many of which evoke Linux Mint in positive terms.
        The discovery is unfolding, quietly but surely, taking my time (when experts invert the stars of the Universe!) as one of those old steam locomotives, huff and pufff … slowly getting faster (yep, that’s possible, it’s called acceleration!).
        Thanks Jason, I always appreciate raw, true experience narrations far more than cold, excessively formatted theory. Theory, definitions are fine (and necessary) once the train has started moving. Right now I’m only about to move on board. “Petticoat Junction!” (old US TV series) …

    2. MdN said on June 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      That’s how it was to me, Tom. Like a kid discovering computers again, with the added bonus that whatever I did, not much could go wrong, and the answers were a DuckDuckGo search away. Took me two weeks of getting used to, DDG-ing, choosing between programs to use, customizing, exploring, trying to find what works best for me. And then sometimes learning more when I needed to do something new. I only had to ask an expert (there’s one in the family) 2-3 times. The first thing I asked was how to type @ to log in to my accounts because the old way didn’t work, haha – it’s Alt Gr + V now. The rest was way easier. OK, Xubuntu was “good to go” as soon as I installed it, but the other week I booted as “guest” (you get raw, uncustomized OS, the way it is when you first install it) and it was a weird feeling to see how far I’ve gone. And if I boot into Windows again, which I’ve been using for 10 years, I feel a little sad seeing how clumsy it is now that I know there’s another way of doing things. Bon voyage! :-)

      1. MdN said on July 1, 2016 at 4:02 am

        I’m European actually (one of the messy Southern countries) and not a native English speaker, but “bon voyage” is pretty much internationally known. ;-)

      2. Tom Hawack said on June 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm

        Thanks, mdN, thanks for sharing your experience! Of course I will get as much information, documentation before proceeding to Linux and of course, once in, I will certainly be puzzled by differences with Windows, by automatism acquired with Windows and as such granted for the “norm”, and of course one question will arise after another. This is why I will prepare the trip. Thanks for your “Bon voyage!” as I imagine it wished by an English-speaker and feel it differently than said by a French-speaker, perhaps because it reminds me memories of when I was in the States … that had been a marvelous journey …

        Stop … I’m bound to write a book and, again, skip to the off-topic chapters :)

  27. marius said on June 30, 2016 at 10:44 am

    What “supported until 2012”,are we going back in time?

    1. Andy said on June 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Typo i think

  28. Corky said on June 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Unless you have a time machine i think there’s been a typo. :)
    “supported until 2012” should be 2021.

  29. Jürgen said on June 30, 2016 at 10:05 am


    small typo – it’s supported until 2021 not 2012 :)


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 30, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Typo corrected, thanks (to everyone else who mentioned it as well).

      1. Earl said on July 1, 2016 at 8:24 am

        That was for the now-defunct Linux Mint Mayan Edition. :D

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