back to article What's that fresh, zesty fragrance? Oh, Linux Mint 18.3 has landed

Linux Mint 18.3 – aka "Sylvia" – is here to remind users that, hey, sometimes Linux can work a little bit more like Apple, Google and Microsoft software. (Just kidding, don't kill us.) In a blog post, the devs touted multiple interface improvements for usability, with an updated app store as "star of the show". Features …

  1. trevorde Silver badge
    Joke

    Finally!!

    2017 will be the year of the Linux desktop!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally!!

      No, but it will be next year :-)

    2. AegisPrime
      Thumb Up

      Re: Finally!!

      Well, it was the year of *my* Linux desktop - this year I finally got tired of watching the train wreck that's Windows 10 and started migrating to Linux - starting with Mint 18.2 on my laptop funnily enough.

      All-in-all it's been pretty smooth sailing - the only fly in the ointment being that the proprietary AMD drivers have a shit-fit on Mint so my workstation had to use Ubuntu 16.04 so I could run DaVinci Resolve.

      It's going to be hard waving goodbye to PC gaming but as time goes by there's less and less new releases that interest me and there's no shortage of retro stuff on Linux (plus a reasonable collection of Steam games) so it's not all work and no play :)

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Finally!!

        A new Linux Mint release - a thousand blogs are launched.

      2. TechDrone
        Linux

        Re: Finally

        And for any games you really can't do without, there's always the option of VMWare player and running an original Windows OS inside that. With the added advantage of networking can be turned off for safety and you can pause and save the whole lot at the drop of a hat.

        Still playing Civ II, Total Annihilation and a few others after all these years. I might even have to dig out Homeworld over the hols.

      3. Triumphantape

        Re: Finally!!

        Yep, the gaming is what held me back, but after the Battlefield 1 fiasco I decided I was done.

      4. Kiwi
        Linux

        Re: Finally!!

        It's going to be hard waving goodbye to PC gaming but as time goes by there's less and less new releases that interest me and there's no shortage of retro stuff on Linux (plus a reasonable collection of Steam games) so it's not all work and no play :)

        I have a win7 install (that isn't allowed to know about the network) that does for some games, but most of what I do is in Linux. I play SOASE:Rebellion a lot (usually in one desktop while I have browser/email etc open in another, and just Ctrl-Alt-Left/Right to change - testing a screen for a mate tonight so have it working dual-screen fine, SOASE on one and what I'm typing on the other), I play Descent (v1 rebirth) a fair bit, both just a matter of double-clicking the installer etc files. A lot of GOG stuff runs happily as well, runs so seamlessly it seems native (under WINE no less). Have Dosbox for other favourites I play from time to time (including Carrier Command - so old you could have the game, video and audio "drivers" (I use the term very loosely), mouse driver, and enough of the OS on a single 360K floppy!). While I don't have it in here atm I've had the originals of the Homeworld series (including Cataclysm), some of the CnC stuff and Tib 3 all happily running under Linux (via WINE of course).

        For those that don't want to play that I want to play there's Win7. For those that don't want Win7 there's another game for me to play instead of them, and many of the older games have much better gameplay than newer ones (even remakes - I got HW:Remastered almost as soon as it came out, I've played around 16 hours of it in that time - the original Homeworld has much much better gameplay (even if crappier graphics) and I've probably played several hundred hours in that in the same time period (plus played it through a number of times before that, giving it a complete run every 6 months or so).

        So yeah, you can dual-boot for some stuff and a lot still likes Win7, some you can do under Linux, some under a VM.... Lots of ways to have great games and NOT have Win h8 or Win McSlurpy.

        (No Charles, we're NOT talking games that require DirectX 52billion here! :) </troll>)

    3. kain preacher

      Re: Finally!!

      2018. Year of the BSD desktop

      1. Chemical Bob

        Re: Year of the BSD desktop

        1982 was the year of Xenix on the desktop...

      2. phuzz Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Finally!!

        "2018. Year of the BSD desktop"

        OSX (sorry, macOS) is partly based on BSD, and they've had their chance already.

      3. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Finally!!

        2006 the year of the BSD games console

      4. Kiwi
        Coat

        Re: Finally!!

        2018. Year of the BSD desktop

        Haven't we had that for a while now?

        Like, every other boot, when Windows 'holds its breath' because something or other isn't quite written right?

        Oh, you mean BSD isn't Blue Screen of Death?

        Gotta run. There's a bunch of nerdy-looking guys coming up the road with pitchforks.... Guess the BSD guys don't like that wonderful OS being equated with the death-throes of the POS OS...

    4. Avatar of They
      Thumb Up

      Re: Finally!!

      Every year is the year of the Linux desktop, for me at least, since 2007. :)

      But a new mint? Saturday afternoon it is.

      1. Frenchie Lad

        Re: Finally!!

        Clearly you're a youngster; I was hear this same refrain in the 90's. One day the Messiah will come but clearly not today:).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally!!

      Good luck with Windows 10. Oh, don't forget to turn off the telemetry.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally!!

      "2017 will be the year of the Linux desktop!"

      Is it faster in benchmarks than the current version of Windows 10 or say offers better power saving on a laptop then? Because it never has before.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Finally!!

        "Is it faster in benchmarks than the current version of Windows 10 or say offers better power saving on a laptop then? Because it never has before."
        What relevance does this have in regard to utility? FWIW Mint runs Civ V better than Windows. Under Windows, very often the roads you build don't display whereas they always display when running Mint.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Finally!!

          "What relevance does this have in regard to utility?"

          Performance and battery life are generally a fairly large utility consideration.

          "FWIW Mint runs Civ V better than Windows."

          FWIW there are loads of games that run under Windows that don't run at all under Mint!.

    7. TVU

      Re: Finally!!

      "2017 will be the year of the Linux desktop!"

      That might have been said in jest, but, month on month, Linux is catching up with macOS Sierra's market share and, since 2014 when the market share increase started to take off, we have seen more proprietary and closed source software made available for the Linux platform which is a good thing.

  2. frank ly

    Minty

    The Linux Mint version update process is very smooth and fast. From 17.3 to 18.1 and throughout the 18.n series. They are to be congratulated on making a very user friendly distribution.

    As for Timeshift, I prefer to use GpartedLive to make a clone of my root and home partitions which I can archive (at the back of the drawer) and restore from if needed. (Personal data is stored on a separate partition.) It's a brutally simple method and it's worked for me for over four years now. All you need is a spare hard drive. A cheap usb-SATA adapter cable will let you plug an SSD drive into a laptop usb socket so that's all good too.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Minty

      "As for Timeshift, I prefer to use GpartedLive to make a clone of my root and home partitions which I can archive (at the back of the drawer) and restore from if needed."
      Ditto, but also for an essential win partition. Also off-site BUPs. My external Icy Box just died and has been replaced by two internal Icy Boxes in my medium tower case. One for 2.5 inch and one for 3.5 inch drives. They cost me less than hard drive caddies used to. Been using GParted and naked drives for nigh on two years now.

    2. Kiwi
      Linux

      Re: Minty

      As for Timeshift, I prefer to use GpartedLive to make a clone of my root and home partitions which I can archive (at the back of the drawer) and restore from if needed.

      I like full backups of stuff as well (actually these days I trending more towards /home and /etc, anything outside of those can be re-created easily enough), but creating and recovering from a full backup can take hours depending on amounts of data and so on.

      If this Timeshift works as expected, then it should make things quite easy to recover from should something fail. I've used MS's system restore in that manner when working on something I don't fully understand (or pushing something to do things it didn't already want to, removing nasty software etc etc) - I create a point to go back to, make my changes, and if it screws up can revert in minutes instead of hours.

      No substitute for full backups when things really go titsup, but can save you a lot of time and hassle when it's only minor changes.

      System restore was also (therotically) great when you were testing a range of software to find the best tool for a job, a quite restore on a VM/sacrificial machine would save you the time of rebuilding from scratch (although it only takes moments to do a "linked clone" of a VM anyway). It could actually help you keep some of the cruft out of the registry if you could actually go back to the point before you tried the install.

      (Yes, I've been giving praise to some MS software, what of it? Oh, the stroke foundation wants a word with me about suddenly increasing their workload?)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Up to date updates

    It's all very well updating the look of the Software Manager, but it would be nice if it could find some more up-to-date packages for a lot of the applications.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Up to date updates

      as long as it's *NOT* "2D FLATSO" (or dependent on MONO) I'll be happy with it. I never use those things anyway, being familiar with the command line and "apt get"

      1. davidp231

        Re: Up to date updates

        "...command line and "apt get"

        Not forgetting the frontends 'synaptic' and 'aptitude' if you need a finer search than apt-cache search.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: Up to date updates

          apt get

          Hmm - they wonder why the year of Linux on the desktop is always next year.

          1. DCFusor

            Re: Up to date updates

            You miss the point. The mythical grandma hasn't needed the command line for quite awhile now. But in any healthy ecosystem, you need to make some room for the vlllage expert to shine at arcane stuff that few actually need - else he won't be around when you need him - and don't pretend that any opsys exists that doesn't need that person sometimes - we'll all laugh at you.

            Different strokes.

            Easy things should be (and are) easy.

            Hard things should be (and are) possible.

            An old perl guy would say TMTOWTDI - there's more than one way to do it. Because I can do it "the hard way" doesn't mean I have to.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Up to date updates

            "Hmm - they wonder why the year of Linux on the desktop is always next year."

            Because people like you always tries to pretend there isn't a GUI interface for administering the computer whenever someone who knows what they're talking about mentions the command line?

        2. Tom 64
          Headmaster

          Re: Up to date updates

          > "Not forgetting the frontends 'synaptic' and 'aptitude' if you need a finer search than apt-cache search."

          Something wrong with grep?

          1. davidp231

            Re: Up to date updates

            Touché. However I've only recently discovered the goodness that is grep, despite having using various distros for a few years now.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Up to date updates

              "I've only recently discovered the goodness that is grep"
              GREPs are available for Windows also.

              The Most Powerful GREP Tool for Windows

              There are cheaper and free alternatives, but they lack the power.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Up to date updates

                "There are cheaper and free alternatives, but they lack the power."

                sls (Select-String) under PowerShell is free, is at least as powerful as Grep and it can also handle objects.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Up to date updates

                  "sls (Select-String) under PowerShell is free, is at least as powerful as Grep and it can also handle objects"
                  That may well be true. But I've been using GREP on Lunix for ~20 years and a GREP for Windows for nearly that long.

                  In light of your comment, I'm wondering why Greg Steen @ MS is a staunch advocate of PowerGREP?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Up to date updates

                    "That may well be true. But I've been using GREP on Lunix for ~20 years and a GREP for Windows for nearly that long."

                    Versus spending £140 on a search tool, I would go with learning to use Search-String!

                    "In light of your comment, I'm wondering why Greg Steen @ MS is a staunch advocate of PowerGREP?"

                    Well he isn't actually AT Microsoft - he works for companies like Ziff-Davies publishing - so based on the long list of expensive cruft he seems to be promoting, I'm going to go with advertorial / sponsorship as being the most likely reason.

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: Up to date updates

                      "Versus spending £140 on a search tool, I would go with learning to use Search-String!"
                      Go for it. I purchased a license to use PowerGREP more than ten years ago. It saved me more than three hours on a job where I was charging somewhat more than my usual $AU65/hr. I figure that it's cost me nothing in the many years since.

              2. Captain Obvious

                Re: Up to date updates

                As much as I hate Windows (and I used to be an evangelist a long time ago), why not just use FIND?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Up to date updates

        "as long as it's *NOT* "2D FLATSO"

        Welcome to the 21st Century. You can get back in your Delorian now.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software Manager

    "Linux Mint was one of the first distributions to introduce a Software Manager"

    Wtf?

    1. cbars

      Re: Software Manager

      "one of"

      it's journalistic laziness, c.f. the deliberately misleading "up to"

  5. Alan Sharkey

    Not yet

    I'll start trying Linux seriously (and probably use Mint to do it) when they support email to an Office 365 account. I haven't found any app that does it as good as Outlook for Windows desktop.

    Alan

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not yet

      @Alan Sharkey: "I'll start trying Linux seriously (and probably use Mint to do it) when they support email to an Office 365 account."

      Mozilla Thunderbird with the Lightning extension. Used it at several previous employers to connect to Orifice 365 for email and calendaring.

    2. Lysenko

      Re: Not yet

      Are you saying you actually use a Hotmail account professionally? Even if you do, Hotmail has IMAP support so Evolution can work with it and there's also the web-based Outlook of course.

      I've got Office365 (because I need Word), but the only version of Outlook I run is the Android version on my phone. On Windows, I just use the default mail app because it's far more reliable (in my experience).

      1. Jonathan 27

        Re: Not yet

        Businesses can host their email addresses on Office 365, like Google's GSuite.

        1. Lysenko

          Re: Not yet

          Businesses can host their email addresses on Office 365, like Google's GSuite.

          Ah. I didn't know that (nor about Google). We run our own Postfix/Dovecot system which optionally impersonates Exchange/ActiveSync for those who want it so I've never had cause to look into cloud-hosted email in any detail. Now I know why some of my regular SpamAssassin visitors appear to traceroute to MSFT domains. I assumed it was some sort of spoofing.

    3. Jim 59

      Re: Not yet

      Office 365 support - web interface?

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Hmm

    Not for me if it's more gnome like. I avoid gnome like, oh, err, gnome.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      "Not for me if it's more gnome like. I avoid gnome like, oh, err, gnome."
      OTOH some of us think there's gnome place like gnome sweet gnome... Each to their gnome I say :-)

  7. Triumphantape

    Meh...

    I remember last time a GUI upgrade was announced for my fav distribution and it was Unity, that was also the day I switched to another distro.

  8. CAPS LOCK

    Our move at work from XP to Mint Xfce was smooth. Linux...

    ...on the desktop since 2014!

  9. Justin Case

    No KDE = No Mint for me

    Prolly have to move back to Slack

    1. FrogsAndChips

      Re: No KDE = No Mint for me

      Did you RTFA to the end?

      1. Kiwi
        Facepalm

        Re: No KDE = No Mint for me

        No KDE = No Mint for me

        Did you RTFA to the end?

        Ya mean where it says "As the distro announced in October, it also contains the last KDE edition of the project."?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: No KDE = No Mint for me

          "Did you RTFA to the end?"
          Missed that bit; my bad. I don't see what the problem is though. Shirley you can install KDE to one of the two distros Mint are going to be continuing.

        2. Justin Case

          Re: No KDE = No Mint for me

          Ya mean where it says "As the distro announced in October, it also contains the last KDE edition of the project."?

          I did and read the word "last" and that means when there ain't no more KDE in Mint, I'll be gone. KDE was the only reason for my initial dalliance.

          Actually, distro tart that I am, I already left. Straight into the lizardy embrace of SuSe

          1. Kiwi
            Linux

            Re: No KDE = No Mint for me

            Actually, distro tart that I am, I already left. Straight into the lizardy embrace of SuSe

            Was my favourite distro many years back. Not sure why I left. One of the first I used even. Still have install disks (openSuSE) and know exactly where they are (only coz I was moving stored stuff around a couple of days back and saw them :) ). Should take a look again some day. I've been stuck with Mint for so long...

            Question though.. Does it run systemd?

    2. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: No KDE = No Mint for me

      of course there is a KDE version of Mint. And quite a good one at that.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Dave Bell

    I think there are some reasons for Mint dropping KDE, and there are other Ubuntu-based KDE distros. I'll be waiting for the xfce release.

    There are a couple of programs I use which don't have Linux versions, but I have found WINE to be a good answer. I use the "PlayonLinux" system, which can handle different WINE versions for different software. Some programs are a bit picky about the WINE version they need, and some people who shout "Use WINE!" are not very helpful about what works with the particular program that is the topic of discussion.

    For instance. I run Scrivener on Wine 2.10, and we shall see what happens when Scrivener 3 appears for Windows.

    (You see how it's easy to say something more useful than "Use WINE!")

    1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      "I think there are some reasons for Mint dropping KDE, and there are other Ubuntu-based KDE distros. I'll be waiting for the xfce release.

      There are a couple of programs I use which don't have Linux versions, but I have found WINE to be a good answer"

      The Linux Mint website says that the XFCE/KDE versions are coming later this year.

      I have used WINE but I find using a Windows VirtualBox VM easier, safer and more reliable. Any issues and a quick restore of a snapshot and you are fixed plus you have a nice rich 'proper' windows environment for your apps. Whereas using WINE - if your registry gets screwed (not difficult) its a purge/re-install. Awkward if you are running multiple legacy apps.

      In fact my favourite legacy environment is a Windows 2000 VM which runs like s**t off a hot shovel using minimal resources and much faster than the original with controllable protection from external infection.

  12. MJI Silver badge

    Worth updating?

    I have 17 on the home PC (triple boot).

    And I quite like it.

    And to confuse wife all three boots have same desktop picture.

  13. doowles

    This version looks surprisingly beautiful...

  14. sloshnmosh

    Unity

    "I remember last time a GUI upgrade was announced for my fav distribution and it was Unity, that was also the day I switched to another"

    Ah yes, wasn't the Unity desktop the one Richard Stallmen refered to as "spyware"?

  15. Kiwi
    Linux

    Some thoughts..

    Some good, some bad..

    In a blog post, the devs touted multiple interface improvements for usability,

    Usually a warning that. Gnome 3, whatever the hell it was Ubuntu went with, Win8-10, ribbon, tweaks Adobe made to their UI (some professional graphic peeps I know hated some change a while back).

    "interface improvements" usually seems to mean "We don't know what the devs were taking, but it's something pretty weird". Sometimes they mean "We hate our users, we want to drive them away. Can't you take a bloody hint already?"

    The app store, aka "Software Manager", has had its interface cleaned up and laid out in GNOME style, as well as featuring "popular software applications" such as Skype or Minecraft.

    Which Gnome? Some are better than others.

    Passwords are not needed to browse apps and authentication for installing or removing 'em is "remembered for a little while".

    That should be a nice change. Have they carried that over to the update manager?

    The Linux Mint backup tool, meanwhile, got its own reorg and performance boosts. Notably, it now runs in user mode (no password required) and only backs up the home directory into a tar archive, instead of asking for a hodgepodge of stuff.

    Can I still back up my software selections and configurations? Can I put my user files into a folder rather than an archive?

    There's also "Timeshift" for taking operating system snapshots you can restore from.

    That one thing that sounds great - I've been interested in a tool like that for a while (always thought System Restore was one thing MS got right!)

    The Login Screen allows setting the computer for auto-login without a password.

    Have been able to do that for a while, though elsewhere. Hope it's not done in a way that encourages weaker security practices.

    As the distro announced in October, it also contains the last KDE edition of the project.

    That sucks. A lot of my older users are on KDE and love it. Guess I'll have to keep them where they are.

    Some good, some bad.

    But the critical question is....

    Will it run........

    systemd?

    It will? I see we still have a crisis :(

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Some thoughts..

      ">As the distro announced in October, it also contains the last KDE edition of the project.

      >>That sucks. A lot of my older users are on KDE and love it. Guess I'll have to keep them where they are."

      And how do you propose the next edition of KDE be included? Or are you suggesting that the current, unfinished edition be included, bugs and all? You disapprove of MS releasing beta software and I agree with that. Why do you hold a Linux distro to a different standard?

      1. Kiwi
        WTF?

        Re: Some thoughts..

        ">As the distro announced in October, it also contains the last KDE edition of the project.

        >>That sucks. A lot of my older users are on KDE and love it. Guess I'll have to keep them where they are."

        And how do you propose the next edition of KDE be included?

        Can you show the class where I said they have to include the next edition, rather than the current one?

        Is there a law that says the next edition of KDE won't be ready by the time the next edition of Mint is ready?

        Mint often includes software versions that are well behind the current one. Is the version of Evolution available from the repo the same as the current release? VLC?

        I'm trying to load the update into a VM now, but may have to wait until the weekend as I don't have much of a download speed available here today (why is it when there's a new OS I want to play with that the connection craps out?) In a couple of hours (maybe 3) I might be able to have a look at the list of available sofware on Mint 18.3 and compare a few with the latest versions from the author. I expect most will be for much older versions (some >6months older than current release). So, why should I expect them to be going with the not-yet-finished KDE in the next version when I don't expect them to have the current release of other packages in this version?

        Sometimes, Mr Git, your logic seems to be quite lacking. Or odd.

        Perhaps you can try again to explain how you believe I am holding a Linux version to a different standard by being disappointed that they're dropping a certain feature? Have you not seen me repeatedly say I am not moving my Windows past 7 because I don't like what has been lost with 8+?

        (For those who say I should do a clean install, 1) this is in a cloned VM - if it craps out I lost a whole 2 minutes of my life, and 2) It'd take me nearly 3 days on my current connection speed (20-30Kb download rate, sometimes as high as 50KB!) to download a full ISO, whereas at the time of writing <flip desktop> we're looking at 2hrs 7 minutes to download the update files (screaming along at 29.8k! - and yes, I am the one screaming GO FASTER YA BASTARD! - oblig Oatmeal)

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Some thoughts..

          "Can you show the class where I said they have to include the next edition, rather than the current one?"

          Kiwi, you wrote: "A lot of my older users are on KDE and love it. Guess I'll have to keep them where they are."

          That is you won't upgrade them to Mint 18.3 with KDE. Why you won't is still a matter for speculation since you have not explained why.

          1. Kiwi
            WTF?

            Re: Some thoughts..

            "Can you show the class where I said they have to include the next edition, rather than the current one?"

            Kiwi, you wrote: "A lot of my older users are on KDE and love it. Guess I'll have to keep them where they are."

            That is you won't upgrade them to Mint 18.3 with KDE. Why you won't is still a matter for speculation since you have not explained why.

            Sorry, I forgot who I am dealing with. To hard for you to figure out that when the next Mint comes out they won't be taken beyond 18.3? (for those who're still on Mint when 17 goes out of support anyway)

            Sometimes have to wonder if it's a deliberate failure to spot the bloody obvious with you, or something else?

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Some thoughts..

              "To hard for you to figure out that when the next Mint comes out they won't be taken beyond 18.3?"
              Not at all. Currently they cannot be on anything later than 18.2. Keeping them "where they are" means you won't be upgrading them to 18.3. I was just curious as to why you would do that. And as I pointed out elsewhere, I don't see why you can't just install KDE on another Mint distro when there's no longer a specific KDE Mint distro.

              Your statements are frequently confusing/inconsistent/contradictory so no, not "bloody obvious" at all.

              1. Kiwi
                Pint

                Re: Some thoughts..

                Not at all. Currently they cannot be on anything later than 18.2. Keeping them "where they are" means you won't be upgrading them to 18.3.

                Or it could be that they're on 18 and I'm not putting them on 19.

                I don't see why you can't just install KDE on another Mint distro when there's no longer a specific KDE Mint distro.

                Sometimes native is better. And we don't know if doing so will break other things or not, will have to wait and see. If there's better options out there by then we won't see.

                I see from other discussions people have had with you, well at least I'm not alone :) It's friday, it's been a long hot day (by NZ standards, cold winter's day by Brisbane standards) after a really long and painful week, let's just agree to dismemberdisagree...

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