Linux Mint Debian update pack 5 shows maturity

Linux Mint Debian update pack 5 shows maturity

Summary: The updated distribution shows steady improvements, package updates and more flexibility in desktops, catering easily for fans of Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce and Gnome.


With relatively little fanfare, Linux Mint Debian Edition Update Pack 5 was released on Monday last week. It is a sign of the improving stability and maturity of this distribution that unlike previous Update Packs, this one brings only incremental updates — albeit lots of them — rather than the eagerly awaited and badly needed bug fixes and distribution changes that have come before it. 

On the four systems I have updated so far, the download was between 900MB and 1GB, and it took quite a while to install — 30 to 60 minutes after the download completed. If you prefer to wait for updated ISO images incorporating this Update Pack, the Linux Mint teams said in their release announcement that those should become available over the next "weeks or months".

There are a couple of significant points to be aware of after the installation, which are mentioned in the Update Pack Notes at the top of the Mint Update window.

First — persumably as a bit of housekeeping and to make future package management easier — two new meta-packages have been added. If you are using the Cinnamon desktop, you should add mint-meta-debian-cinnamon, and if you are using MATE, you should add mint-meta-debian-mate in the Synaptic package manager.

After you have done that, if you lose your desktop background (it is black), simply right-click on the desktop and select the background again — even if it is just the default background, as mine is.

As mentioned, I have installed this Update Pack on four of my notebook and netbook systems so far, covering a variety of CPUs from both Intel Core 2 Duo through Atom and AMD C-60 and E-350, with Intel native and AMD Radeon graphic controllers; screens from 1024x600 netbooks, 1366x768 sub-notebooks and 1280x800 notebooks, and a second external VGA 1280x1024 or HDMI 1920x1080; and wireless networking adapters from Inet, Broadcom, Ralink and Atheros.

I did not encounter any hardware compatibility problems and did not have to manually download any additional drivers.

I am unable to include much of a list of specific updates in this Update Pack — that seems a bit strange to say, for such a large download. Neither the release announcement nor the Update Pack description itself gives much information.

There is a small step in the Linux kernel from 3.2.0-2 to -3, some updates to Xorg to server 1.12.1, and LibreOffice is updated to Oddly, Firefox is not yet updated to 15.0.1. It is still on 14.0.1 but I assume this won't last long.

When I was adding the meta-packages for Cinnamon and MATE, I noticed that there was also one for Xfce, so I added that as well. Now, in the mdm login screen — Linux Mint uses the MintDesktopManager rather than the Gnome gdm or Ubuntu lightdm — under the Sessions button, I can select Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, Gnome 3 or Gnome Classic. Nice.

Linux Mint Debian Edition Cinnamon Desktop
Linux Mint Debian Edition MATE Desktop
Linux Mint Debian Edition Xfce Desktop


Linux Mint Debian Edition Gnome 3 Desktop

If you are currently running Linux Mint Debian Edition, you should install this Update Pack. If you have not yet installed LMDE but are interested in trying it, you certainly can install the latest ISO image and then the Update Pack. But considering the time and effort involved, waiting for the new ISOs that will already include this Update Pack would not be such a bad idea either.

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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  • Nice

    Nice, for anyone still pining for a Windows XP style UI.
    Han CNX
    • Reply to CNX

      Nice, for anyone still pining for a Windows XP style UI.
      Han CNX

      Which is alot of us! Many of us are not only comfortable with this style UI, we are more productive.
      • I'm glad you found what works for you

        And I hope that they do their best to work out any bugs (if there are any).

        You are using this distro, right? Or are you saying you're using XP?
        Michael Alan Goff
    • Ignorant

      I'm all for attacking desktop Linux's flaws but this comment shows you don't know what you're talking about. Mate, Cinnamon, even Unity are not "XP style" ui's.

      And the Fisher-Price Windows 8 interface is about as awful an OS as I could imagine. Even iOS is useless for anything beyond the simplest kind of content consumption.
      • "Fisher Price UI"

        That one's classic.

        I remember when people were using that to attack the XP UI. Now that people have gotten used to it... time to move the moniker to something else you want to attack. Don't worry, I'm sure there will eventually be another one to stick it to if people get used to this one.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • More on point...

          Does Cinnamon or Unity look like XP?


          Ahh, nostalgia.
          • Not particularly

            Cinnamon/MATE both look -close-, but there's enough of a difference. If I had to make a Windows reference, it would be a combination of some XP elements with some Windows 7 elements.
            Michael Alan Goff
  • WHY is Ubuntu still the only Linux distro that renders fonts well?

    I tried LMDE for several days and, in many ways, it's great. It's very quick, Cinnamon is Gnome the way it should be, and the installed programs are intelligently chosen. And yet, the font rendering still SUCKS to the point of distraction. What the hell? Why can't they get this sorted out?

    I uninstalled LMDE and switched to the latest Mint Ubuntu release and, sure enough, the desktop and its fonts are crisp and beautiful. Easy to read and non-fatiguing.

    It's ridiculous. If a distro can't even be viewed clearly on the monitor, it's useless to me. Being able to view your system clearly is as fundamental as it can get.
    • Question

      Did you install the "ubuntu restricted extras"?

      If so, that's your answer. If not, I have no idea.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • In other words...

        Yes, Ubuntu is the only distro that renders fonts properly.
        • Pretty much

          A lot of distributions won't put in closed-source things.

          Canonical is willing to.
          Michael Alan Goff
    • Font Rendering help? Maybe ...

      I thought the same when I moved from Ubuntu to Debian, but then I came across this :

      Have to say I'm seeing good results by simply implementing the suggestion therein (copy and paste the sample .fonts.conf in the link) on GNOME3 (GNOMESHELL). I didn't make any changes to the contents of the file. Not sure if that's applicable to other distros though.

      Just an idea. Maybe it will help someone.
  • Mint LMDE pack 5

    Kudos to the Linux Mint and Debian teams!

    PS Fsck nvidia for the broken Cinnamon !
  • Mint LMDE pack 5

    Oh dear, I just removed Mint LMDE yesterday as it wasn't working properly.
    The Former Moley
  • Latest version...

    I tried the latest version of this and it was *incredibly* unstable. I don't know how anyone could use it as their primary operating system, and they said it had become a lot more stable in that release.
    Nothing even comes close in the free Linux world to Ubuntu, and even 12.04 could have really done with some polish.
    As far as I'm concerned, desktop Linux still has a *lot* of maturing to do before it can really compete.
    • Compete with what?

      I have used Linux in my business and my home computers since 1996. I have used Windows (Xp, then Vista, Then 7) since 2007 exlusively at work.

      I have yet to find a Linux that I could honestly say was less stable than its Windows contemporary. In fact, my earliest Linux desktops were at least as stable as my latest Windows desktops. I reboot my Windows desktop at least once per week to stop it getting flakey. My first Linux computers had up-times in the hundreds of days, and were only rebooted to upgrade kernels or move house.

      How about you describe what version you used, how you installed it, and what specific behaviour you are describing as unstable.
  • Mint 13 KDE was the only version that worked for me

    I tried installing Mint 13 Cinnamon on my HP 100 netbook but it crashed late in the install. Mint 13 KDE runs fine. Could this be due to the Nvidia problem mentioned earlier?