We round up the Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” BETA release in this post and give you instructions on how you can download and test it.
The wait is finally over & the much-awaited BETA release of Linux Mint 21 code-named “Vanessa” is officially available. This 36th release of Linux Mint brings an array of improvements across three major desktop environment offerings, major restructuring in the native apps (Xapps) and bug fixes.
Here’s a quick recap of the new features.
New Features of Linux Mint 21 Beta
Linux Mint 21 is based on the recently released Ubuntu 22.04 LTS “Jammy Jellyfish”. In contrast, the prior release was based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
Hence, Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” gets the Linux Kernel 5.15, which brings support and updates for new hardware that includes processors, graphics cards & storage devices. More significant changes in Linux Kernel 5.15 provides support for the new NTFS Driver from Paragon software which got mainlined & support for Apple M1 Soc. In addition, this kernel also introduces the in-kernel support for SMB drivers for file sharing for faster performance. You may want to check out our detailed Linux Kernel 5.15 coverage if you want to learn more.
System-wide app changes
The first significant change is the Bluetooth manager is changing from Blueberry to Blueman. The primary reason is the Blueberry was based on gnome-bluetooth, and it has certain advantages for GNOME desktop only. The new Blueman is based on Bluez, which works out of the box on all desktops and brings additional features. It’s interesting to know that gnome-bluetooth is also a fork of Bluez.
Thumbnails are essential in the file manager because it improves productivity to a great extent. A new app xapp-thumbnailers brings the default thumbnail preview in Nemo file manager for the following file types.
- MP3 with Album Arts
- RAW Images
As you can see, the out-of-the-box WebP support is a priceless feature. Also, WebP image support is available in the default image viewer.
In addition, the Sticky notes app gets features such as duplicate notes, intelligent colour selection and usability updates for the tray icon.
Moreover, a cool tray icon gives you much-needed information about the automated tasks running (such as scheduled backup via Timeshift) in the background. This is going to be a super-handy feature.
And you should be glad to know that the Firefox web browser is NOT a Snap version, unlike Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. The Linux Mint team packaged the deb version for their own, and you get Firefox 102 via the native deb packages!
Finally, the famous Timeshift backup tool is now maintained by the Linux Mint team as a Xapp for better control and continuous improvements.
Now let’s quickly take a look at the desktop environment updates.
Desktop Environment Updates
The default offering, Cinnamon desktop 5.4, is available with Linux Mint 21. Cinnamon 5.4 is recently released with a massive list of improvements.
Other than that, Xfce 4.16 and MATE 1.24 remains the same as the prior Linux Mint version. There was no major release from these two desktop environments for a year or more. In fact, Xfce 4.18 release is far away, and the roadmap is not clear at this stage. Hence, if you are an Xfce or MATE person, you must adjust to the ongoing stable release.
For more details, you may want to read the detailed release notes:
Download & Test
Since it is a BETA release, you have the opportunity to download and test. Remember, it is possible to upgrade to this version from earlier series, but DO NOT do it now.
Torrent download links:
Also, you should be glad to know that you can upgrade to the stable version from this BETA once the final release happens. So, if you install this BETA as a new version in your system, you can easily get it upgraded after the final release.
Please report all the bugs and issues to the official GitHub BETA bug tracker.
The final release is expected within a month, i.e. by August 15th, if my math is correct. But again, it’s based on how the testing goes.