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A look at Linux Mint 19 Beta

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Beta versions of Linux Mint 19 "Tara" are out; the Linux Mint development team released Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE beta versions of the upcoming new version of Linux Mint today.

Note: Beta versions are not necessarily ready for use in production environments. They are designed for testing and if you run Linux Mint in production environments, you may want to install Linux Mint 19 Beta in a virtual machine or a spare-machine to test new functionality and see what has changed.

It will be possible to update from Linux Mint 19 Beta to Stable once the stable version is released; systems with Linux Mint 18.3 can also be upgrade to the new version directly.

The release notes linked at the bottom of the article link to downloads. Just follow the links and download the desired edition of Linux Mint 19 Beta to your system.

Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint 19 is a long-term support release; the final version of the Linux distribution will be supported until 2023.

One of the main new features of Linux Mint 19 is Timeshift. Mike took a look at Timeshift back in October 2017.

Timeshift is backup system which can back up the Linux system automatically so that users may restore a previous version of the operating system if they need to.

Thanks to Timeshift you can go back in time and restore your computer to the last functional system snapshot. If anything breaks, you can go back to the previous snapshot and it's as if the problem never happened.

Along with support for Timeshift comes a change in the Update Manager. The Linux Mint 19 update manager suggests to install all updates in the new version of the operating system instead of a selection of updates.

The main idea behind the change is that users and admins may restore a previous system snapshot using Timeshift if the installation of updates causes issues. It is still possible, however, to deselect updates so that they are not installed.


Linux Mint 19 comes with one additional update related changes. Any user may enable automatic updates in the update preferences now. Linux Mint did not offer a switch to turn on automatic updates in the past because it required advanced knowledge of the distribution to restore broken systems.

The inclusion of Timeshift gives users of all experience levels the option to restore a previous snapshot of the system to repair it according to the Linux Mint Team.

The Software Manager was improved in several ways in the new Linux Mint 19. It features a faster search and new search in category option, better performance thanks to the use of a cache.

Cinnamon 3.8:

A quick overview of Cinnamon 3.8 specific improvements and changes:

  • Faster application launching and performance improvements.
  • Adjustable maximum sound level.
  • File Search Nemo simplified, asynchronous.
  • Smarter notifications with close button and limitations.
  • Better HiDPI support.
  • Improved multi-monitor support.
  • Firefox download progress displayed in taskbar from version 61 on.
  • GNOME Calendar ships by default.

Mate 1.2

A look at some of the new Mate 1.2 features:

  • Support for HiDPI displays with dynamic detection and scaling, better HiDPI support.
  • XApps improvements.
  • Mate Terminal supports background images and keybindings to switch tabs.

Other changes in Linux Mint 19

  • New Welcome Screen and new documentation (installation guide, troubleshooting guide, and translation guide are available already, security and developer guide coming).
  • Support for low latency kernels added.
  • New type for third-party repository and PPAs updates.
  • Mintupdate-tool replaced by mintupdate-cli.
  • Kernel updates rely on meta-packages and not manually installing kernel packages.
  • USB stick formatting utility supports exFat.
  • Multimedia codecs include Microsoft fonts.
  • XApps improvements.

Closing Words

Linux Mint 19 includes several major changes. The new Timeshift feature creates snapshots of the system to provide users with a reliable option to restore previous system snapshots if they run into issues.

Since Timeshift is now an integral part of Linux Mint, changes were made to the updating process. You can enable automatic updates and Linux Mint's Update Manager will suggest all updates to you automatically whenever you open the tool.

It is a stark difference from "don't install these updates unless you know what you are doing" to "intall all and if things break, use Timeshift to go back".

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