back to article Linux Mint sticks by Snap decision – meaning store is still disabled by default in 20.1

The Linux Mint team has released version 20.1 - codenamed Ulyssa - with long-term support to 2025 and the usual three variants: Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce. This is the first point release to Linux Mint since version 20 in July 2020. Both editions are based on Ubuntu 20.4 LTS, which is why long-term support is promised. The team …

  1. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    Sounds nice and having a solid platform for desktop is what we all need in these times of MS win 10 forever beta. My issue is a Ubuntu one that bleeds over to Mint- upgrading to mint 20 while running an encrypted swap partition. Apparently it isnt supported correctly and I would have to install with it disabled then manually configure to make it work.

    Right now I cant be arsed when I have such a good working mint 19.

    1. dvd

      Re: Hmm

      I've not found a compelling reason to upgrade since 19.2 - and why would I when it's so stable?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh. Linux 5.4 was released one year and a half ago. Is that really what passes for "very, very old" now, so that IT journos can repeat it uncritically?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Indeed.

      My home workhorse is Mint 19.3 on 4.15, nice and stable (support until Apr. 2023). Unless a good reason appears I probably won't jump to 20.x & 5.x for another year.

      It's called Long Term Support for a reason.

    2. Anthropornis

      If you read the link, the problem is a lack of fixes for some recent mainstream hardware (zen3, 2.5G nics).

      As always, distro kernels may lag behind.

  3. firu toddo

    Painless!

    Not having the latest kernel doesn't make much difference to me. I tend to use secondhand laptops. On an 8 year old T430s this just flies. OK it's got 8gig ram and an ssd and I turned off the bells and whistles compositor settings, can't spare the battery juice (it only has 80% original capacity ;-) ) and it's a workhorse not a pretty pony. I ran the updater this morning and now I have a shiny 20.1 Xfce install. New features are OK, Snap is no loss, and the whole thing feels snappier.

    My last Thinkpad was a chunky old beast and only died when I dropped it, something I did more than once. So four years for 200 quid was pretty good. This one cost 250 quid, I've had for going on four years and it's still like new. But I have stopped balancing laptops on car bonnets!

    So it's horses for courses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @firu toddo - Re: Painless!

      Same for me, a 12 years old Dell Latitude D630 does basic stuff quite nicely.

      1. ICam

        Re: Painless!

        Another "me too" post. I was running Ubuntu 16.04 for a very long time on my trusty old Lenovo X201, which has been travelling round the world with me for more than 4 years now. Sadly it only has 4GB of RAM in it - it should have had 8GB, but a screw-up with the refurb company I got it from meant it was delivered with 4GB :-( The ThinkPads are well known for being solid workhorses and this one has been good to me. The only issue I have with it is occasional overheating. It probably just needs a good clean and a new application of heat transfer compound, but for now I've solved it with the thinkfan app. I can't complain too much about the X201, I've had it for over 5 years now and as a refurb device, paid only £140 for it.

        I was looking around for a lightweight distro to replace Ubuntu and settled on Mint. I only installed 20 a little over a month ago and updated to 20.1 yesterday. It all seems pretty good to me and obviously hardware support issues on a device this old aren't a problem. Most of the time I'm only running terminal windows, a file manager window and Firefox, along with VLC when catching up with UK TV.

        Linux Mint seems like a pretty good balance to me between LTS and up-to-date software for desktop usage. I imagine I'll be using it for quite a while now.

        Also great that turning off unnecessary animations/effects was mentioned above. That's something I had not remembered to do until today. I like the snappier feel you get when you turn these things off...

        Cheers!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Painless!

      Indeed. I'm currently running Mint Cinnamon 19.3 on a Core i3-4330 (2013 Haswell dual-core) with 8GB RAM and an MX500 SSD, and it absolutely flies along - as fast as my Windows box (Core i7-4790K) in day-to-day use ...

    3. Barry Rueger

      Re: Painless!

      And me too. Aside from a baffling and recurring scanning issue with our Brother printer I have done literally nothing except install and update for years.

      My wife's Windows box on the other hsnd...

  4. J27 Silver badge

    Mint was designed as a distro for people who don't like change. This isn't a surprising development. If do everything Ubuntu does it defeats the whole purpose of the distro.

    1. demon driver

      Change

      That's not quite right. As far as I understand, Mint's purpose when it was started simply was to become more elegant than Ubuntu without sacrificing usability.

      And then they created Cinnamon because the specific change from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3, while the technological progress was appreciated, was seen as a deterioration in usability by many.

      Mint is not "for people who don't like change". If anything, it's for people who don't like change for change's sake, change without benefit, change making things worse instead of better.

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        Re: Change

        IIRC, Mint as a mainstream choice really came about as a result of the demise of Gnome 2 as a supported desktop. Thus Cinnamon was born and also Mate as a Gnome 2 spinoff.

        I know that's why I started to use it.

        1. Robert Moore

          Re: Change

          I started using Mint because it had a KDE version and I was tired of installing manually after installing Ubuntu. The aging laptop I was using at the time started running a bit slow on KDE, so I went looking for something a bit more lightweight, and found the Cinnamon desktop. Fast forward to about a year lster when I bought a newer/faster laptop, I jumped back to KDE, and found I didn't really care for it anymore. Went back to Mint with Cinnamon and have been happy with it. I even moved my lovely girlfriend over to it.

          When she bought a new laptop a couple of months ago she installed Mint on it herself. She couldn't wait to get away from Win10.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Change

        Mint is not "for people who don't like change". If anything, it's for people who don't like change for change's sake, change without benefit, change making things worse instead of better.

        Oh, and a better Windows than Windows....

  5. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Ah yes, Snap. The package-management equivalent of systemd: over-engineered, obtuse, obscurantist, creating more problems than it solves, and providing a solution nobody asked for to a problem that isn't real.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      I think you just insulted systemd by comparing it to Snap.

    2. NATTtrash

      ...creating more problems than it solves

      Indeed. Even like some interesting software being available as snap only. To me, that doesn't sound very open software to me. But then again, what do I know..?

      1. BitGin

        I'm curious, how is snap not open?

        Everything is opensource except Canonical's snap store which you can bypass entirely by just downloading the snaps and side loading or you can just build your own snap store using apache. There's a 1 page blog post on ubuntu.com that details the whole thing.

        You can examine the yaml file that builds each snap and you can open each snap and examine all the files inside it to see exactly what it does.

        Assuming you're mainly complaining about Chromium being snap only... The reasons seem reasonable to me:

        - The Debian packaged version of chromium is usually weeks to months out of date with security patches so it's a bit of a non starter.

        - It takes significant effort to build it as a deb to the point that it almost looks like Google would prefer you to use Chrome. Mint have had to buy a bunch of extra servers to build it and at least one human to keep it building.

        - It's very easy to build it as a snap and allows ubuntu to have a fully up to date chromuim with pretty much no cost to them. This is because the dependencies for chromium are a bit complicated and complicated dependencies are one of the things that snaps are intended to deal with.

        - Chromium was not the main browser on ubuntu and if they have it in the repos they have to maintain it for the life of the release (potentially 10 years for the commercial support customers) which makes it a pain in the neck.

        I'm not claiming snaps are the be-all-and-end-all but if you're going to criticise them pick something that is a genuine problem with them like their slow load times or lack of control over updates, the mess they make of the output of "df", etc.

    3. damiandixon

      I've had a few issues with applications installed with snap particularly around permissions and local directory access.

      I've now made the conscious decision to install the non snap versions.

      I do wonder what snap is really attempting to solve.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        In theory is supposed to install a version that "Just works".

        In practice... I had problems with it, I installed a game but the sound didn't work so I ended using the Windows version on Wine instead. Then I tried an app and it did not even boot.

        Snap is, besides being blackboxed, a pain in the ass because sometimes works and sometimes does not and you have no clue why.

  6. AMBxx Silver badge
    Joke

    WebApp Manager

    Next up a WebApp Manager Manager - allows you to arrange all those separate windows into one handy tabbed window!

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: WebApp Manager

      Hey, I think you're onto something there.

      Maybe with a text entry box at the top of the window, to allow the user to quickly find their WebApps (or even install new ones on-the-fly!) by simply typing a short string? And the capability for the user to pin (or if you like, "bookmark") WebApps they use frequently?

      This could really take off. All we need is eleventy bajillion dollars of seed funding and I think this could be the next big thing!

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "not the place to go for the latest Linux innovations"

    Good.

    I'm looking for an operating system. It's supposed to be reliable, not a top model.

    Keep the glitter for the useless stuff, like Twitter.

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I am a long time Linux Mint user since version 10 or 11. Currently running 2 machines both with Mint 19.3 mate. I am already running them both on kernel 5.4 so for me there isn't much need to upgrade to 20.1 yet while i am still getting security updates on 19.3

    I did experience quite bad screen tearing on Mint but found an easy fix to change the window manager to crompton which resolved that.

  9. Luke Worm

    Old kernel?

    If your system needs a newer kernel, go to the Update Manager of Linux Mint and install kernel 5.8. No problem.

    I installed this kernel already on Mint 20, before upgrading to 20.1, on my Lenovo Ideapad with AMD CPU. Works perfectly!

  10. JasonT
    Thumb Up

    Updated to 20.1

    So far, so good.... I'm on a ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th gen. Everything has worked well with Mint, except for two things...

    1. Fingerprint reader does not work

    2. Bluetooth headset support is garbage; this is not a Mint thing, it's a circular firing squad between PulseAudio, bluez and the Linux kernel. As things stand today, a Bluetooth headset can only be used with HSP/HFP (i.e. audio quality of a POTS phone). This is, by far, the biggest point of friction for Linux on the desktop for my purposes.

    Other than that, very satisfied

  11. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    FAIL

    Webapps?

    Sounds a lot like PeppermintOS' "Ice" application for managing "Site Specific Browser" apps (which it's had for at least the last 8 years or so): https://peppermintos.com/guide/ice/

  12. Blackjack Silver badge

    Linux Mint Debian Edition it is then

    That one doesn't have to deal with Snap even if it is not as easy to use.

    1. PTW
      Angel

      Re: Linux Mint Debian Edition it is then

      It'd be even better if it was the Linux Mint Devuan Edition

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mint... it just works

    I have tried a lot of different Linux OS's but I always end up coming back to Mint.

    To me it "just works".

    Mint also has a lot of nice features and seems to be very well thought out.

    The abilty to right click on a package and tell it to ignore during update and the backup tool and TimeShift is very polished.

    Mind you, you might not want to open the web browser for the first time if connected to WiFi until you've do some serious modifications first or everyone and their mother will be pinged.

    (I lost count of all the connections that showed up in a .pcap the first time)

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Mint... it just works

      "(I lost count of all the connections that showed up in a .pcap the first time)"

      Would that just be Firefox 'telemetry' and default phone home settings or something the Mint people added? Just interested.

  14. Altrux

    XFCE FTW

    I've been using Mint for many years, even though I'm notionally a power user. It does the job nicely: it's Ubuntu with a prettier skin and some handy extras. Although I generally preferred Cinnamon, it still has annoying issues - particularly the file manager (Nemo), which slows down over time and struggles with big directories full of photos. So now I've switched to the XFCE edition, which I would highly recommend. XFCE has everything most people need in a desktop, without the frills and the bloat. It looks decent enough these days, and is snappier than most of the others. So it's Mint XFCE for me, at least until Debian 11 arrives later this year, perhaps...

  15. The Central Scrutinizer

    I only updated to 19.3 a couple of weeks ago, due to the current version of Blender refusing to start under 18.3. My philosophy is to be one step back from the bleeding edge. I want an OS, not a shiny new toy every few months. It works and works well. In nearly 7 years of heavy Mint usage, I have not had one genuine system crash. That is good enough for me.

  16. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "The price of caution is lack of support for the latest hardware"

    As long as older hardware is supported there's hope. Good hardware outlasts OS (and incompatible driver) versions by a long time these days. We have two very expensive devices - a process grade colour printer and scanner - both of which are over a decade old but still work fine, so why 'upgrade' them? We have to run a Win7 box to use them though as there are no newer drivers due to planned obsolescence. If there were drivers for them in the Linux domain we'd migrate, but there don't seem to be either.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: "The price of caution is lack of support for the latest hardware"

      @Mike 137

      Try the live disk. It is very possible those devices will be supported even generically. That way if it doesnt work you havnt committed to anything but if it does then you can install.

  17. kneedragon

    mike@main:~$ uname -a

    Linux main 5.8.0-36-generic #40~20.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jan 6 10:15:55 UTC 2021 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

    mike@main:~$

    Jan 6 is six days ago, as I write this.

    Is that a painfully old system?

    I'm sitting at a chair, at a desk looking at a screen. I could search the catalogue at the library on a Wyse dumb terminal in Unix in 1974. Maybe desktop computers are a terribly old system, everybody today is thumb dancing with the faeries, but I like a traditional desktop and I like gnome2 / Mate ~ I understand this system. I run a number of virualboxes that have Arch guests in them mostly running 5.10 kernels. But those are not the systems I choose to run and my host / daily driver. I moved to Mint from Ubuntu when they got a bat in their belfry about Unity, and I've never looked back.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Edge install images"

    Nearly gave me a heart attack....

  19. Wyrdness

    Ctrl-Alt-Esc

    Handy tip for Mint users - use Ctrl-Alt-Esc to restart Cinnamon when it fsck's up. I've got two Mint machines here (typing this on one of them) and I sometimes have to restart Cinnamon several times a day, when it takes a break from it's job of managing windows.

    It's particularly bad when switching users. That always requires a Cinnamon restart.

    Apart from that, it's a decent Linux desktop and I'm also using it for my home server (on a Terramaster NAS).

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Ctrl-Alt-Esc

      Yeah, I agree on the 'Switch User' issue - been flaky for a while, with no obvious solution, so 'Ctrl-Alt-Esc' it is. Apart from that I have no issues of any note with Mint. Happy.

  20. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Main downside for me

    I use Mint and have done for many years (except at work where there's no choice). The main issue I have with Linux is that so few hardware vendors have adequate support for Linux (not the fault of Linux). Very occasionally I see a new bit of kit that has some unique features that I'd like to have - but it's then pot-luck as to whether I can get it to work with Linux, and if I can, whether it will have all the features available when used with Windows. I've had audio cards that work in stereo but not not multi-channel, video cards that will not support 3D, printers that Linux cannot make use of their full duplex facilities. Etc.

    But it's been getting better.

  21. gfx

    ubuntu

    For me it's usually one of the ubuntu flavours. But I just update them as a new release comes out.

    Once in a while there are some annoyances zoom for linux doesn't understand my wacom tablet and amazon prime had only a lowres picture quality.

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