What is Linux Mint?
Linux Mint was created in 2006 by Clement Lefebvre (Clem) who continues to run the project. Linux Mint is used by millions of people. It comes in four different editions (Desktop Environments): Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce and KDE.
Is the Linux Mint operating system like other OSes?
How do I use this operating system?
What is linux?
Technically, Linux is the kernel (the core) of the OS, but in common usage, Linux means the whole OS. The kernel along with device drivers, build programs, utility/tool programs, a boot loader and other programs comprise the greater OS.
What is the definition of…?
What is the latest version of Linux Mint?
What is a DE?
What Desktop Environment choices do I have?
There are four Desktop Environments available for Linux Mint: Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce and KDE.
How do I choose a Desktop Environment (DE)?
MATE: stable, robust, traditional, classic, functional, intuitive, attractive  Linux Mint Main Website  MATE Website
KDE: solid, full-featured, polished  Linux Mint Main Website
Xfce: light, simple, efficient  Linux Mint Main Website
If you are talking about functionality, the choice of DE really doesn’t matter because they all work quite well. If you have an older computer (from before c. 2007) or want minimum resource usage, try MATE or Xfce. Xfce is a little “lighter” than MATE. Cinnamon and KDE work best with computers made from c. 2007.
If you are concerned with how the DE interacts with the user, then it is really about personal preference (and, again, they are all fairly similar). Try a DE, and see if you like it. You can start by looking at some screenshots. Then try a Live Version of one of them. If you like it, install it and enjoy.Linux Mint has screenshots of all four DEs that they offer: Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce and KDE.
How often does Linux Mint release?
When does Linux Mint release?
What are the Minimum Hardware System Requirements for Linux Mint?
Is my hardware compatible with Linux Mint?
Also check out this blog post about a small, quiet, fan-less computer which comes with Linux Mint preinstalled: Mintbox Mini Pro.
More generally, to find other Linux-compatible hardware databases and where to buy Linux-ready computers, see DistroWatch’s Linux/BSD Compatible Hardware page.
Who is Clem?
Who makes Linux Mint?
How big is the LM team?
Download and Install
Should I use Linux Mint (the main version) or Linux Mint Debian Edition?
Ubuntu is based on Debian, but Ubuntu changes Debian significantly, so Ubuntu is not compatible with Debian. Therefore, Linux Mint also is not compatible with Debian.
Conversely, Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is based on and compatible with Debian.
Mint states that LMDE is “targeted at experienced users, not compatible with PPAs and lacks a few features. However, LMDE is slightly faster than Linux Mint. It gets new Mint features when they are released rather than having to wait for the next point release of Linux Mint.” More information can be found on the Download LMDE 2 Betsy page.
In practice, users have commented that there are few to no problems running LMDE. Plus LMDE 2 is based on Debian Jessie, which is Debian’s stable branch, so any risk of running LMDE (vs. Linux Mint) is minimal.
Should I use a 64-bit or 32-bit version?
What is an ISO file?
How do I download a Linux Mint Operating System ISO file?
To download a Linux Mint operating system ISO file, go to the release announcement on the main blog for the release in which you are interested. Find the “Download links” section. From here, choose one of the following:
- Find a download link from a country which is close to your location. Right click the link and choose “Save Link As….” Choose a directory in which to save the ISO file and choose the “Save” button. (Different browsers may show this a little differently.)
- Click the torrent link. Choose “Open with” your BitTorrent client (application) and choose “OK” to open the torrent with this application. Transmission is the default BitTorrent client on Linux Mint. Your BitTorrent client should automatically start downloading the ISO file.
Is the downloaded ISO file safe?
How do I error-check the ISO?
What media is supported for installation?
What is the username and password in a Live version?
What if a window is too big for the screen?
How do I install Linux Mint?
Can I multi-boot / install along with another OS?
Software and Upgrades
Is the software in this operating system like software in other OSes?
This chart show some popular software with a small sample of corresponding Linux alternatives.
|Internet Explorer |
|Firefox Web Browser|
|Microsoft Word||LibreOffice Writer|
|Microsoft Excel||LibreOffice Calc|
|Microsoft PowerPoint||LibreOffice Impress|
|Adobe Photoshop||GNU Image Manipulation Program|
|Adobe Acrobat Reader||xreader|
|Windows Media Player (WMP)||xplayer|
|Photos app |
Windows Photo Viewer
|Windows Photo Gallery |
What software is included?
- Firefox Web Browser
- Thunderbird e-Mail Client
- Office Suite:
- LibreOffice Writer — Word Processor
- LibreOffice Calc — Spreadsheet
- LibreOffice Impress — Presentation software
- …plus more
- Gnu Image Manipulation Program — high-end graphical editing software
- HexChat — Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client
- Pidgin — instant messaging client
- Rhythmbox — play and organize your media collection
- xed — text editor
- xplayer — media player
- xviewer — image viewer
- xreader — a document/PDF viewer/reader
- Pix — organize your pictures
- Terminal — a program to use the command line
- …plus many more
For a complete list of packages see: Packages from All Current Releases
How do I get new software?
If you just need one or two specific packages, you may want to try the Package Manager (Synaptic).
Both the Software Manager and the Package Manager take packages from the Linux Mint repository. Getting software elsewhere is not recommended unless you trust the source.
See also the Linux Mint Documentation / User Guide, and see Main Menu | Accessories | Help (Help Browser) which contains much of the same content. There are sections all about software management including installing, removing and updating software.
How much free software is available?
|Sound and video||495|
|Science and Education||2249|
Is downloaded software safe? What about PPAs?
Getting software elsewhere is not recommended unless you trust the source; this includes PPAs.
How do I upgrade the operating system?
How do I upgrade applications?
The easiest way to upgrade is through the Update Manager. The first time Update Manager is run, you choose an update policy based on your comfort level of stability vs. security. (You can always change your update policy options and levels via the Edit | Preferences menu.)
To upgrade, first Choose Refresh, then choose the upgrades you want installed by checking or unchecking the check boxes for the packages you want, and finally choose Install Updates. Update Manager will download, then install the upgrades you have chosen.
Are the upgrades safe?
How do I choose between a stable vs. secure system?
Linux Mint recognizes the trade-off of stability vs. security and the importance of giving the user a choice. Among other options, Linux Mint allows an informed choice by organizing each package upgrade into levels from 1 to 5. By default, levels 1 and 2 are selected. Choosing upgrades from levels 1 and 2 is a conservative, stable approach; choosing upgrades from only level 1 is a very conservative, stable approach.Linux Mint has had this wonderful solution in place since 2007.
mintUpdate 1.2 released — October 7, 2007 Announcement of tool being stable
Answering controversy: Stability vs Security is something you configure
Install kernels only when needed; information is key
New features in Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon — Improved Kernel Updates
Since LM 18.2 Beta (June 6, 2017), there is a slight redefinition of update levels. There is also better Update Manager documentation along with an advanced CLI interface. These were first introduced March 30th, 2017 in the Monthly News. See:
I downloaded a Beta. Do I need to reinstall when the final Release comes out?
Don’t worry. If a reinstall ever becomes necessary, Clem will make that very clear in the Release announcement.
Where are the accessibility options?
See also this short article from DistroWatch Weekly, 18 April 2016: Menus, short-cuts and accessibility
How do I configure my system?
How do I change my monitor resolution?
How do I run Windows programs under Linux Mint?
Will this or that be included in the next release?
Getting Help and Posting Comments
How long is the support period for Linux Mint releases?
LMDE releases are similar, but exact EOL (End-of-Life) dates are a little trickier to specify. For example, LMDE 1 was released in August 2010 and support ended January 2016, so that’s about 5.5 years. Debian LTS continues two years after the regular three years of support from the Debian Security Team; that totals five years. However, decisions from Linux Mint may be independent of any plans from Debian and Debian LTS. We can assume that LMDE EOL dates will roughly follow its base, Debian.
How do I find help/documentation?
Check out the Linux Mint Documentation / User Guide.
See Main Menu | Accessories | Help (Help Browser). This contains much of the documentation from Mint’s PDF User Guide.
Of course, searching the web is always a good way to get some answers. Try DuckDuckGo. They do not track you.For command line programs, try:
How do I get help from a person?
How do I post a bug?
Will the bug I report get fixed?
On Beta release blog comments, stay on topic and comment only about bugs for the Beta in question.
Whether a bug gets fixed and when depends on many different factors. See this Edit by Clem on how fixing bugs is a number’s game and this Edit by Clem regarding responses to bugs and how bugs get processed.
One can also post a bug via GitHub (choose the Mint sub-project, then choose the Issues tab).
How do I request a new feature?
Also, one can Submit Ideas for Linux Mint on the Community Site.
Please do not request new features on a Beta release blog post. Clem and team are too busy fixing bugs and trying to get a final release out during those times.
How do I post a forum post?
How do I post on the Community site: ideas, tutorials, hardware ratings and software reviews?
How do I post on IRC?
How do I post a general idea for the Linux Mint project?
Why is my blog comment being moderated?
For how long will my blog comment be in moderation?
Why did my blog comment disappear?
Comments in moderation are approved within about a day or two. It is unusual for it to take longer than that. Please be patient.
Your blog comment can disappear from showing in your browser for a simple reason: The cookie for the Mint blog got deleted. Don’t worry; your comment got through and is just under moderation.
In rare cases, a valid comment is marked as spam, and it is not seen for days or even lost. After two days, feel free to repost your comment. Again please be patient. Thanks.
Will my question in a blog comment be answered?
Will Clem answer the question I asked in a blog comment?
Doing a little research on your own (searching the web) before asking is also a good idea.
If Clem himself answers your question, then consider yourself blessed. You are special. Smile and be glad for your little slice of peace in this world. (Seriously, Clem has a big job running Linux Mint and is very busy, but he tries to communicate as much as he can. That is one of the great things about Mint.)
Why are comments closed on the Main Blog?
Why do HTML tags mess up my comments on a blog or on the community site?
Which version of … am I using?
Which version of Linux Mint am I using?
Which Desktop Edition am I using?
Which version of my DE do I have?
For Cinnamon, type:
For Xfce or any of the above, type on the command line:
Which versions of X-Apps am I using?
Which version of the kernel am I running?
How do I know if an application is installed?
How do I know what version of an application is installed?
How do I know where an application is installed?
What is the release process?
The Beta stage usually last 2–3 weeks. Community testing occurs, and intense bug fixing ensues. Anyone from around the world can download the Beta and give feedback on the main blog. On Beta posts please stay on topic and comment only about bugs for the Beta in question.
A Release is imminent when the LM Community Site indicates the ISO is Approved for Stable release. After about 2–3 days, which allows for any last minute changes and allows the servers around the world to synchronize, the final Release is officially announced (released) on the main blog.
The main editions have five (5) years of support (five years for security updates including two years for program updates). LMDE support length is discussed in Support Periods for Linux Mint Releases.
At the end of the support period, the release has reached EOL (End-of-Life), and security updates are no longer provided. At this point, you probably should upgrade immediately or disconnect from the Internet (unless you are an advanced user who knows how to apply security updates manually). Otherwise you are taking a small chance.
See the Timeline for more information.
Also see How stuff works : Linux Mint in which Clem describes a typical release cycle and includes some very funny pictures.
How do I copy and paste with the mouse?
This uses a different buffer than using Ctrl-v or Ctrl-Insert to copy text, so you can use both methods to copy two different sets of text.
Where is the Linux Mint source code?
Are there Developer Guidelines for contributing to Mint?
Can I redistribute Linux Mint?
Can I make derivatives from Linux Mint?
Can I put Linux Mint tools into my own distro?
Before using any code in your own distro, you should fully understand the license, copyright, and legal implications of such actions (which are beyond the scope of this FAQ).
Yes, you can make derivatives from Linux Mint as long as you do not use any Linux Mint branding (Mint icons, Mint backgrounds, the Linux Mint name, etc.) or call your distro an official Linux Mint distro. Derivatives must follow the license terms of the software you are distributing, which usually involves the GPL. This means, among other things, you need to make the source code of the software you are distributing available. Building a derivative of Linux Mint or any open-source project requires some research on the legal aspects. The GPL on Wikipedia is one place to start such research.
Yes, you can use Linux Mint tools (applications) in your distro. However you may not use any Linux Mint branding. (Usually Linux Mint tools have generic branding, so this is not an issue.) Also the terms of the software licenses must be followed as explained above.
Giving Help and Feedback
How can I help?
- Donate to Linux Mint or Become a Sponsor. Sponsors donate money, web hosting, services, etc..
- Test a Beta or Release. Be sure to post any bugs, work-arounds or solutions you find on the blog, forum, or bug tracking site. Post your successes too.
- Help forum users, especially new forum users. Did you know that most Mint forum users post only once or twice?
- Burn a Mint DVD or 2 (or 10) and give them away.
- Tell friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. about the joys of Mint. Carry a USB drive with Mint on it to show them the Live version if they are interested in seeing it.
- Keep up to date with reading the blog announcement so you can talk intelligently about the latest goings on.
- Request a feature that you would like to see in an upcoming version of Mint.
- Make a suggestion or Submit an Idea that you think might make the Mint experience better. This idea could involve the distro, a specific Mint application, the forum, the blog, the community site, or any aspect of Mint’s operation.
- Link to Linux Mint on your website. Also link to the Linux Mint Index and EarthNeptune.com.
- Create a HowTo/Tutorial on the Community site or a Tutorial on the Forums.
- If you have a problem, then find a solution to it, post it to the forum with "[solved]" in the subject line. This allows anyone searching for a similar fix to find it. It adds to the knowledge base of the forum. Search first to see if a thread on this subject already exists. If you create such a post, it is a good idea to put all relevant terms in the post so it is found easily by a search.
- Contribute to the community website with details on How Your Hardware Works.
- Contribute to the community website by Giving a Software Review.
- Write an article or make a video showing the benefits and features of Linux Mint. If you found a cool article or video on Mint, let everyone know.
- Answer a poll on the blog or forum.
- Buy a Mint computer, a Mint shirt or other Mint-branded item. Or create your own Mint-branded stuff to use yourself and/or give away.
- Create other marketing or publicity for Mint. And see the Promotion sub-forum to share ideas.
- Create artwork for Mint and share it via the Artwork sub-forum.
- Create a Theme for Cinnamon.
- Create an applet, desklet or extension or any Spices for Cinnamon.
- Help with translations into languages from all over the world. Mint is used in literally hundreds of countries.
- Submit a Pull Request to the developers to fix a bug or enhance a Mint application.
- Program Something Cool to further Mint.
- Donate to EarthNeptune.com. We support Linux Mint and the greater Linux community.
- Find some other way to help and let everyone know how they can help too! How many other ways can we support Linux Mint?