back to article Linux Mint 21 hits beta, and it's looking fresh

The next version of Linux Mint has reached the beta-test stage. The Reg took a look at what's new. At the start of the week, the Mint team posted beta ISO images for the forthcoming Linux Mint version 21, codenamed "Vanessa". As with every version since Mint 17 in 2014, it's based on the latest Ubuntu LTS version. For Mint 21 …

  1. Detective Emil

    To be fair to systemd …

    … to whose defense I'm not usually inclined to leap, the out-of-memory daemon can cause problems in any stressed Linux distribution. It looks as if the problem was that the default parameters that Debian used made it too aggressive. Been there, cured that. Imo, it would have been better for Mint to choose less trigger-happy defaults, rather than leaving out the subsystem altogether.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair to systemd …

      leaving out any part of systemD is a good move, fair or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: leaving out any part of systemD is a good move, fair or not.

        Upvote begging?


    2. AJ MacLeod

      Re: To be fair to systemd …

      No, the problem as usual is that SystemD has grown yet another tentacle to solve a "problem" which previously wasn't.

      I have used Linux as my main desktop and server OS for a quarter of a century and NEVER had issues with memory management, even decades ago when running lengthy CFD jobs on machines with specs that would be pitiful compared to a bargain bin phone these days.

      My main PC has 32G RAM and zero swap; it runs piles of VMs 24/7, the usual hundred browser tabs, email clients, office software as required, GNUCash, all the stuff that a normal desktop PC is also expected to do... oh yes, and it's running Gentoo so regularly compiling the latest updates in the background. Funnily enough it doesn't run systemd...

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: To be fair to systemd …

        -> I have used Linux as my main desktop and server OS for a quarter of a century and NEVER had issues with memory management

        Seconded and upvoted. About 25 years ago, almost, I had a Red Hat machine with 64MB of RAM with a load of web sites on it. Once in a while the memory run out (Perl CGIs - Perl has a large overhead). Was it a major problem? Not really. Now we supposedly need to have systemd to manage this. I don't want a tentacle deciding to kill processes.

    3. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: To be fair to systemd …

      Can somebody explain why init needs to take over a function that the kernel's oomd killer has handled well for many years?

      Aside from the usual insults and scope-creep arguments that is. We can take those as read.

      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: To be fair to systemd …

        I keep coming back to see if anybody has answered. Upvotes are all very well, but I'd quite like to know why.

      2. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: To be fair to systemd …

        I think (don't shoot me), from what I've read, OOM has always had problems doing it's job apparently. Systemd's implementation (as with everything apparently) is meant to be better and fix it.

        Personally I think it's a case of something being in there that's so old, many people don't want to spend time trying to figure out how it works and would rather carry on and make something happen in something they have a domain knowledge of already.

      3. Savatar

        Re: To be fair to systemd …

        In theory, by having an oomd in userspace it can better be aware of things like entire applications instead of just individual processes. Unfortunately, in practice, that makes it a buggy mess - doing things like killing entire sessions if they are started from console, etc etc. You can find several bug reports about systemd-oomd being far too aggressive in killing applications wherever it is used, whether that is Redhat or Ubuntu Here is a video that talks through some of the problems:

        In my opinion, the Mint team made a great decision to not include systemd-oomd's userspace implementation, which is now default in Ubuntu 22.04, in Mint 21. It needs some more time in the oven, at the very least.

  2. ecofeco Silver badge

    Oh, that reminds me

    I need to update my installs.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Snog marry avoid?

    > If you want a no-fuss, no-mess desktop OS, perhaps to replace an old and cruft-ridden copy of Windows or a now-unsupported Mac,

    This sounds like it is a usable option for someone who is going to install some version of Linux in place of another O/S - fair enough.

    But is there any compelling reason, apart from cosmetic differences, why anyone would change to this from any other Linux distro?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Snog marry avoid?

      Yes, yes there is.

      Personally I think Linux Mint brings what Debian does well in terms of stability, while making it a more current OS. So unlike Debian, packages are far more up to date. Not quite bleeding edge, but not dull salad knife either.

      The fact it Snap package installation is disabled by default (as an example) also shows that Linux Mint is far more interested in providing you with a stable, usable platform, rather than giving you the bells and whistles that can inevitably bring the system down - see the current systemd cancer nodule as stated in the article.

      In a work situation - like how I use Linux Mint - it has allowed me to be productive far more often and quickly than using Ubuntu. For whatever reason, Ubuntu caused issues in the first few days and I really just needed to get on with work. Linux Mint allowed me to do that. I'd have gone for Debian but (again) older packages caused issues for the work I was doing.

      So for me, in the workplace at least, Linux Mint provides you with the best, most stable and good looking flavour of Linux.

      1. ICL1900-G3

        Re: Snog marry avoid?

        A spot-on summary. I have used Mint since it first arrived, occasionally dabbled with other flavours of Linux, but always come back to it. I have NEVER had a problem that I did not cause myself.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Snog marry avoid?

        This. I've never had single problem with Mint across all the installs I've done.

        For a "daily driver" it's as good as it gets.

      3. el_oscuro

        Re: Snog marry avoid?

        I tried Linux Mint twice - I think Linux Mint 13 32bit and a few years later, 16 64 bit. Both times, I had the exact same weird problems. It installed perfectly and everything ran. But when I applied the first update, it broke all of the menu navigation and scrambled the Firefox search settings.

    2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Snog marry avoid?

      If what you're using works for you, not really. For somebody considering their first entry to Linux desktops this one is always my recommendation. Even though I always returned to the mothership when I tried it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Why would anyone change to this from another linux distro?

    Dunno, what don't you like about your current distro?

    More seriously, as a non-technical linux user, I like the Cinnamon desktop as it has the window controls in the right place, and a start menu in the bottom left corner. Installation and setup was easy, and it's got a nicely integrated system for keeping things up to date. It's not perfect (anyone know how I can upgrade from the Nvidia-470 driver successfully?) but it gets out of the way and lets me run Firefox, LibreOffice, etc. (and, if I'm being honest, Steam) with no trouble. As the article author says, no-fuss, no-mess.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would anyone change to this from another linux distro?

      This site is helpful for all issues relating to Nvidia proprietary drivers and various Linux based OSes. I've managed to keep Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.3 running on machines that use the Nvidia 9400m GPU, (2009 iMacs), using the 304.x driver, with the instructions supplied, that is no longer supported OTB in Mint.

      (Remember to support the site if it saves you a few hours, subscribing to their YT channel)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why would anyone change to this from another linux distro?

        [AC from above] Thanks for the suggestion. As I said, I'm a non-technical user, and I think that's a bit involved for me, so I'll stick with the 470-series driver for now. It works fine, it's just not the latest one!

  5. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Used Mint a Few Years

    I liked it. Had they continued to offer KDE I should probably be on it now.

    Yet PCLinuxOS is superior, so it ended well. Plus no Systemd and the traditional look.

    1. matjaggard

      Re: Used Mint a Few Years

      Because 3 almost identical desktops just isn't enough?

      1. GuldenNL

        Re: Used Mint a Few Years

        I’m very long term Mint user running Cinnamon. I under the love for KDE, just an old enough and busy enough to not have the time playing with all the myriad configs.

        If you’re a dedicated KDE person, then Mint isn’t for you.

        I get it.

    2. mrmond

      Re: Used Mint a Few Years

      If you want KDE you can install it using a few quick terminal commands by adding the Kubuntu backports repository and updating.

      Just choose it from the login screen after it's done.

  6. jonnycando

    systemd hasn't given me any far....but I still do wonder is why we needed it???

  7. glennsills

    Fresh? It looks like Windows 10.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      One of the things I like about Mint is that it _doesn't_ follow all the latest trends.

      Cinnamon and Xfce can be switched to a more WinXP-like taskbar, at least. I don't really use MATE myself but I would guess it does this too.

      To me, as someone who ran, deployed and supported Windows since version 2, it seems to me that the changes since Windows 8 reflect that Microsoft doesn't really know or remember why things are as they are any more. Its developers are probably mostly 30somethings who don't understand the design and the planning and the decision-making -- so they cheerfully rip it out and replace it with poor phone-like imitations.

      Result: poor, broken, half-functional, and sometimes poorly-duplicated UI replaces good solid work.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Running inside a VM

    I didn't try all three but Cinnamon runs just fine as a guest inside Vmware Player (scaling when windows is resized, copy and paste between host and guest and so on) without any intervention.

    One of my machines running Mint for years now is a venerable Dell Latitude D630. It is now running Mint 20.3 and I intend to give the new version a try.

    1. GuldenNL

      Re: Running inside a VM

      I have a 2005 Dell Inspiron E1505, runs like a charm. I have it built into my workbench in my garage. It’s a tank, literally.

  9. cd

    I just tried Mint on an old Mac

    2009 MacBook Pro that the latest MacOS won't run on without serious wrangling so once in a while I face some obsolescence.

    Downloaded the latest Mintamon iso a few weeks ago, made Live USB with Balena because that iso won't work off Ventoy, sadly (great tool though). Then booted to the Live USB and installed on another USB after partitioning it.

    Live USB saw my Wifi SSID, and so does the installed Mintamon stick, but will not connect.

    Have to use wired connection to do the updates to get that driver. Which I do not have available, but am assured that if I did I could "update" to get the wireless Broadcom drivers I need. Using cellphone for Wifi, no wires.

    Booted back to OS X, found that there might be drivers included in the distro, got the names of files, booted back to Mint USB, found those files and forced an install of them, getting several dire warned each time abotu how it would be better to just update.

    Still doesn't connect. Sees the SSID, tries, but no.

    I greatly appreciate the distro reviews, I read them all and have tried several. This same issue occurs every time with every distro I've tried,

    My point being that recommending Mint for older Macs is not without the need for caveats.

    I get that there are moral codes and so forth, but this felt like I was dealing with evangelicals rather than a technical issue.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: I just tried Mint on an old Mac

      [Author here]

      Sorry to hear about that. I only just saw this comment now.

      Just for what it's worth, I posted some hints about installing Mint on a MacBook on my personal tech blog, last year. In case you want to try again, it's here:

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