Linux Mint just released version 20 of their desktop operating system, code named Ulyana. Mint 20 is a long term support release which means it will be supported until 2025. The developers won’t start working on a new base system until 2022, so all focus will be on version 20 for the next two years. After that, expect to receive security updates until 2025 and not much more. It’s best to upgrade every two years from one long term support release to the next. Remember, Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and follows their release cycle.
The most interesting addition in version 20 is Warpinator, an app that lets you share files between computers on the same network. No more need for USB sticks, unreliable Bluetooth or sending via the internet.
Support for NVIDIA Optimus is also improved. You can easily instruct the system “on demand” to use your discreet GPU when launching specific applications.
Snap support is disabled by default. You can read about the details of the controversial decision on their blog. On the same page, you’ll find instructions on how to re-enable Snap support if needed.
As usual, there are three desktop environments to choose from: Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce.
Linux Mint is a light to medium weight distribution. As a bare minimum, all three versions will run on 1 GB of RAM but 2 GB are highly recommended. Minimum disk space required is 15 GB but that won’t leave much space for user files or additional applications.
I fired all three versions up in a virtual box for a quick comparison. They all look almost identical at first glance.
This is the heaviest and fanciest looking version. After a cold boot, we had the following resource usage according to htop:
- Memory: 708 MB
- Tasks: 92
- Threads: 212
The Cinnamon edition now offers fractional scaling and allows different settings on each attached monitor. The refresh rate can now also be selected. The file manager Nemo also received some welcome performance improvements.
This one sits in the middle and had the following resource usage after boot:
- Memory: 608 MB
- Task: 81
- Threads: 172
Mate doesn’t get fractional scaling but did receive many app, system and theme improvements.
This is the lightest version and htop gave us the following results:
- Memory: 563 MB
- Tasks: 81
- Threads: 161
Like Mate, there is no fractional scaling support in Xfce.
The Linux Mint blog has more details on whats new and what has been improved in each version.
Unlike other distributions, The team at Mint give us three desktop environments to choose from that essentially all look the same. They have carefully crafted and themed them to provide an almost identical classic user experience. They are also not that different in resource usage to really set them apart so it comes down to personal preference. If you have a HiDPI screen and need fractional scaling, then Cinnamon is the only option at this point.
I’d probably use the Cinnamon desktop if I were to switch to Mint for my main system. It just feels more modern and I like the “desklets” you can add to the desktop. You can check out my Cinnamon review for more information and photos.
Ulyana is another excellent Mint release that should keep it’s loyal base happy and continue to attract new users.
The download links are here. Consider using torrents for a faster download and supporting others.
If you’re a Linux Mint user, let us know which version you prefer and why!