Linux Mint typically lags behind its Ubuntu base (long-term support or LTS) in version updates. The newest version 21.3, for instance, comes with all the features of Ubuntu 22.04.3, the third update for Ubuntu’s LTS version 22.04.
While point releases are automatically installed as part of Ubuntu’s update management, Linux Mint, known for its cautious approach, regards these as major steps that require user consent. Without this, users will stay on the older minor version.
Linux Mint’s caution extends to kernel updates too. It does not adopt Ubuntu’s step (22.04.3) to Linux kernel 6.2, maintaining instead version 21.3 of Kernel 5.15 with long-term support. Users can change this anytime they want in the update management under ‘View – Kernel’, but only if they actively choose to.
Linux Mint is conservative, but remains current: It has acknowledged the possible future replacement of the X11/Xorg by the Wayland window protocol and is already working on it. The main Cinnamon edition now also supports the optional Wayland operation.
Like Ubuntu LTS, Linux Mint will be provided with updates for five years. In the case of version 21.3, this means support until April 2027, as this is counted from the first release of Ubuntu 22.04 (April 2022). The support period applies to all three Mint editions.
Yes – there are still two other flavors in addition to the Cinnamon edition: For the editions with Mate and XFCE, however, nothing changes at all on the desktop, because Mate remains at version 1.26 and XFCE at version 4.18. Only a few marginal changes to the accessories (Warpinator, Hypnotix) are also to be found there.
Linux Mint 21.3 “Virginia” at a glance
Not very much. The modular Cinnamon Spices now include an additional item, “Actions,” in the “System Settings,” alongside existing categories like “Applets” (for the system bar), “Desklets” (desktop gadgets), “Extensions” (Cinnamon effects), and “Themes” (visual themes).
These new additions are minor features for the Nemo file manager, previously known as “Nemo actions” (examples include accessing system settings or restarting Cinnamon via the desktop context menu). This repositioning of “actions” to the system center simply makes them more accessible.
To the list of available software sources, a new optional source has been added. Named “Romeo,” this repository brings with it up-to-date software packages that may not yet be completely stable – use at your own risk.
This additional source for untapped software packages comes with a choice; it’s up to the user if they want to allow these potentially riskier, but very current, software on their system.
The System settings – Screen item displays four options for Screen scaling: 75%, 100%, 125% and 150%, given that the function is enabled under the Settings tab. The option to reduce to 75 percent is a new feature, yet the whole capability is listed as “experimental”.
Another subtle feature becomes visible when a program link in the Cinnamon main menu is right-clicked: An additional option labeled “Properties” is now displayed. This feature allows customization of a program launcher, and it also serves as a fast and convenient method to identify a program name.
The Mint development team continues to nurture their minor interests:
The Hypnotix accessory is an accumulator of several thousand free IP-TV channels and now gets a new favorites collection for faster channel selection.
The Warpinator is a hobby of Mint boss Lefèbvre: It allows encrypted peer-to-peer data exchange in the local network (without a server) and can now connect directly to the desired device by entering the IP address.
Cinnamon in no hurry on the way to Wayland: The old X11 protocol (“Cinnamon default”) is expected to remain the standard for another two years.
The real tech evolution of the primary Cinnamon edition is notably its transition to Wayland support. In typical Mint fashion, the option cautiously presents itself on the login screen as “Cinnamon on Wayland (Experimental)”.
Despite this, the Wayland session seems largely stable, with a few minor shortcomings (screenshots, clipboard activities, X11 forwarding, terminal utilities like xrandr, xprop).
For Linux Mint, the focus is mainly on getting Cinnamon ready for Wayland and demonstrating that to its forward-looking users. Unlike Ubuntu, Gnome or KDE, Linux Mint is not pushing for the Wayland protocol; as per Lefèbvre, X11/Xorg will continue to be the standard in the full Mint 22 version, which means until 2026.
Moving from the earlier version “Victoria” is discretionary given the minor enhancements. However, we recommend it for one basic reason: Linux Mint updates cannot miss out on intermediate versions. Without version 21.3, upgrading to version 22 in the summer won’t be possible. Generally, desktop users can best benefit from upgrading to all minor versions. Updating a currently-running Mint 21.2 system to version 21.3 “Virginia” is relatively effortless.
Upon opening your update manager, you’ll be notified of a “new version of the update manager” – which is the tool that’s in use. Click on the “Apply the update” button to install this version. The tool will restart automatically once the download is completed to load the new software version.
Begin the upgrade via “Edit – Update system to “Linux Mint 21.3 Virginia”. This process is usually quick, as there are minimal package differences between the original and the first point release versions.
For fresh installations, Linux Mint 21.3 can be obtained as is the norm through the project page, which will redirect you to the actual mirror servers (“Download mirrors”). The download server you choose does not affect the subsequent language localization.
Linux Mint continues to offer three unique editions using the Cinnamon, Mate, and XFCE desktops. Among these, the Cinnamon edition is evidently the most popular, while the XFCE version might be the optimum choice for older computers.
Throughout the setup process, the familiar and unaltered Ubuntu installer Ubiquity is utilised across all three editions. The first user also has the option to encrypt their home folder (“Encrypt my personal folder”).
The original publication of this article was in German and it appeared on pcwelt.de, from which it was translated into English.
Hermann Apfelböck is a key member of the editorial office MucTec.
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