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Linux Mint Enables Testing Repo and Plans for Wayland

In a monthly update post, the Linux Mint team announces some exciting developments, such as an unstable repository, updates to Hypnotix, the TV viewer application, and ambitious plans for Wayland support.

Enabling the unstable repo

First off, the Linux Mint team is making a bold move by introducing an unstable repository, affectionately known as “Romeo.” This repository is designed to allow alpha-testers to access unstable software for the purpose of testing new features and changes. By enabling Romeo through your Software Sources, you’ll have access to alpha versions of Cinnamon, Xapp, Mint tools, and more, all without the hassle of manual compilation. However, a word of caution: this comes with the territory of potential regressions and package conflicts.

In the past, Romeo was primarily used by the development team for quick package testing. Now, it’s going to be a playground for experimental features, paving the way for Linux Mint’s future releases.

You can enable it by launching Software Sources > Official Repositories > Optional Sources.

Hypnotix updates

If you’re a fan of Hypnotix, the TV viewer application, you’re in for a treat. The Linux Mint team has been hard at work adding new features in preparation for the upcoming Linux Mint 21.3 release this Christmas.

One standout feature is the ability to have your favourite channels independent of their providers. This means you can consolidate all your preferred channels in one place, regardless of their source.

Another essential change is under the hood: Hypnotix now uses libmpv, which relies on yt-dlp to stream YouTube channels. Given that the yt-dlp package isn’t updated as frequently in upstream Debian or Ubuntu repositories, Hypnotix has been equipped with the capability to download and update its own local version of yt-dlp. This ensures that your YouTube channels continue to function seamlessly.

More on Wayland Updates

Last but certainly not least, the Linux Mint team is making strides toward Wayland support. While this doesn’t mean that Wayland will replace Xorg anytime soon, the team is getting ready for the transition.

A few days back during the LMDE 6 announcement, the team provided a glimpse towards their thoughts on adopting Wayland. Now we have more updates on this.

Linux Mint with Wayland in an experimental system
Linux Mint with Wayland in an experimental system

With the release of Cinnamon 6.0 in Linux Mint 21.3, there will be experimental Wayland support. This will give users the option to choose between Cinnamon running on Xorg (the default session) and Cinnamon on Wayland from the login screen. It’s important to note that the Wayland session might not be as stable as the default one, and it will come with limitations. Although not recommended for general use, it’s an exciting opportunity for those who are keen to provide feedback and test the waters.

The Linux Mint team acknowledges that there’s still much work to be done to make Wayland a better option for most users, and they aim to be fully ready by 2026, potentially for Mint 23.x. Until then, Linux Mint will remain compatible with both Xorg and Wayland, ensuring a smooth transition when the time is right.

You can track the Wayland progress on this page.

Closing Notes

These developments in the Linux Mint ecosystem demonstrate the team’s commitment to delivering a cutting-edge and user-friendly experience for all Linux users. While these are still underway, kudos to the team for listening to user’s feedback and implementing them with a solid roadmap.

Via Linux Mint blog, Image credit: Linux Mint team

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