Linux MINT 20: Desktop without snap packages

The new version of the Linux Mint desktop distribution is based on Ubuntu 20.04. A new tool simplifies data transfer between different computers.

 Linux Mint 20: desktop without snap packages

The Linux Mint developers have Version 20 of their Linux distribution for the desktop, codenamed “Ulyana” Approved. Version 20 of the system provides updates for practically all system components and comes in three versions: Users can choose between the Linux desktops Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu derivative. The distribution therefore inherits many changes in version 20 from the recently released Ubuntu 20.04, which the developers made the technical basis of their system. Linux Mint differs significantly from Ubuntu in several places: The desktops follow more of a classic operating concept, comparable to Windows 7 (Cinnamon) or Gnome 2 (MATE).

 Linux Mint 20: desktop without snap packages

One of the highlights of Linux Mint 20 is “Warpinator”, a new program for easy file sharing between computers on the same network. Once the program has been started on both computers, it transfers individual files and entire folders without any further configuration. To do this, select the target computer from a list and then select the files to be sent or drop them into the program window using drag and drop. The other side confirms the transfer and finds the data in a folder provided for this purpose in the home directory. The process is similar to Bluetooth, only faster. The data is transmitted in encrypted form. Mint’s own development “Warpinator” should offer a functionality similar to that of the now orphaned “Giver” tool.

For users of a system with an NVidia Optimus graphics card, there is a significantly improved tray applet. This can be used to quickly select the graphics card that the system can use. Although Optimus graphics chips are optimized for low power consumption, the systems’ integrated graphics unit draws even less energy from the battery due to its design. Appropriately, Mint now also supports the “on-demand” profile of the NVidia chips: This allows only individual applications to be rendered by the NVidia chip, while the integrated GPU takes care of most of the work.

 Linux Mint 20: Desktop without snap packages

Speaking of the tray icon: For Mint-specific applications, the developers have trimmed the appearance of the tray icons for uniformity. In general, the developers of the Cinnamon desktop turned a lot of screws in terms of looks and functionality. This is a fork of the GNOME shell maintained by the Mint developers and is included with Ulyana in version 4.6. This now supports UI scaling with crooked factors, which is important for optimal viewing on high-resolution displays. Those who use different monitors with different resolutions – such as a 4K display and a Full HD display – can now set different scaling factors for the desktop environment.

The Nemo file manager belonging to Cinnamon now works clearly faster than before and relieves the load on systems with a hard disk considerably. In addition, new desktop background images and icons as well as a revised boot menu ensure a much more attractive system.

An innovation in The Linux Mint developers are refusing Ubuntu: applications in snap format. Ubuntu 20.04 makes much more use of them than its predecessors. If Canonical has its way, they will successively replace the deb format. Chromium, the open source variant of the Chrome browser, is only available there as a snap, even if it is installed via the APT package manager. Linux Mint boss Lefebvre recently described the process as a “canonical backdoor” because the Ubuntu manufacturer operates the only snapstore and the server software is not free software.The Linux Mint developers have therefore deactivated the automatic reloading of snaps.

If users want to use programs such as Chromium, they must either install the snap service themselves or obtain the software from other package sources. In any case, Mint does not want to offer its own replacement packages in deb format. If you want to use Snaps under Linux Mint 20, you have to disable the blockade in /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref.

Linux Mint 20 no longer runs on 32-bit systems for the first time because Canonical has also discontinued support for those systems. In everyday life, however, the effects of this should be limited, since almost all computers sold for desktop users in recent years are 64-bit.

Linux Mint 20 is a solid update of the popular desktop distribution. Since it is a long-term support release like its underpinnings, Mint promises years of support in the form of updates and security patches. All new features and installation instructions can be found in the release notes. The installation images are available for download from the Linux Mint website.

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