Linux Mint 20 Review: No Wayland, No Snaps. But still Cool!

Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” is here with long term support of 5 years. This release is available in Cinnamon, Xfce and MATE editions and the following is a review of the Cinnamon edition.

Installation

Installation was done on a VirtualBox machine with 2 GB RAM and 2 core CPU. Installation was super easy as always. Availability of minimal installation option like the one in Ubuntu installer would have been better.

What’s New?

1) Warpinator

Main highlight of Linux Mint 20 is the file transfer application called Warpinator. You can now simply drag and drop files to send them from one system to another on the same network, without any further configuration. I was not able to test this tool as installation was on VirtualBox.

2) Fractional Scaling

Linux Mint 20 comes with Cinnamon 4.6 with fractional scaling support. Option is available in display manager to select scaling of 125%, 150% and 175%. I was not able to test this as only 100% and 200% was available in VirtualBox.

3) Nemo Performance

New version of Nemo gives priority to directory contents and navigation through directories. Thumbnail creation is delayed to improve performance. This improvement is noticeable in directories with large number of files.

4) Theme Improvements

Some adjustments were done fine tune theme colors to make it more attractive by considering the opinions of Linux Mint community.

5) New Welcome Screen

The welcome screen now asks for the favorite color of the user and whether user prefers a dark variant to select the preferred theme. There are options to install drivers and setup system snapshots, which will definitely help newcomers.

6) NVIDIA Render Offload

On-Demand mode is available for Nvidia GPU users. In this mode, Cinnamon session will be rendered by Intel and user can use Nvidia GPU to render graphics intensive applications.

Improvements are also present in tray icons and Xapps.

Resource Usage

Memory usage have slightly increased when compared with previous release. If you are having an aged system, disabling some startup applications or switching to Xfce edition would help.

Chromium and Snap Packages

Linux Mint doesn’t officially supports snaps and APT packages are not allowed to install snaps. This means that the ‘chromium-browser’ package is not allowed to install the snap version of the browser. The ‘chromium-browser’ is an empty package and installing it using terminal doesn’t show any information regarding this. But software center provides much more clarity on this.

Wayland Support

Cinnamon currently doesn’t support Wayland and it seems there is no timeline set for Wayland support. Many popular desktops including Gnome, KDE, MATE and LXQt already supports Wayland or its under development. This might not be an issue for normal Linux Mint users as they might not be aware of display server they are using. But X.Org have already moved to strict maintenance mode and Wayland is receiving more importance. Security issues in X.Org are never going to be fixed and many distributions have chosen Wayland as the default for its session. Also, application support for Wayland have improved a lot in the last few years. For instance, Firefox, the default Linux Mint web browser supports video hardware acceleration in Wayland only.

VERDICT

Linux Mint is still one of the best Linux distribution out there with an active community. Linux Mint team considers the requests of the community and beginners. Inclusion of utilities like Timeshift and System Reports makes the life of users ease.

The reason put forward by the team on Snap support is understandable. But I wish Linux Mint supported Snaps out of the box by resolving the issues by connecting with Ubuntu team. Even though Linux Mint offers Flatpak, inclusion of Snaps will give users access to lots of applications which are not yet available as Flatpaks. Also, providing Wayland as an option will be better as other desktops are maturing on Wayland and X.Org is moving to maintenance mode.

Some Screenshots…

6 comments

  1. I updated to 20 two days ago from 19.3 and was it a huge mistake. A lot of programs like shutter and chromium do not work in 20, and I have about 25 desktop errors that I have to try and fix if I can. and a lot of the game emulators will not load even after uninstalling and reinstalling them. This version is the worse version of mint that I have seen in a long time. I even tried to install it on to a 8GB flash drive for a clean install using etcher and it locked my destroyed my flash drive I tried everything to fix it and finally ended up throwing the flash out. The themes were also missing so I had to download a older theme. Why do they release garbage like this. I hope other people have better luck with it than I did. If I did not have a duel boot system I would overwrite my whole hard drive to get rid of 20 and go back to 19.3 I may try and do that anyway just to get rid of this. If I lose windows 7 to go back to 19.3 it might be worth it.

  2. If one want’s to know exactly how FUBAR this monstrosity called Linux Mint 20 is all one has to do is visit the Mint Forum and read all the horror stories including mine. I call it “Not Ready for Prime Time”. I hope they are able to work out all the problems within the next six months, that’s when I will try again but ONLY as a clean install which I ended up trying last (yesterday) before having to clean install 19.3 back on my system. .

  3. Don’t know what the others are complaining about, but I updated to 20 several days ago with no issues at all. Maybe it’s a Cinnamon thing? I use Mate. Most of the complaint’s I’ve seen are rather specific to a particular users setup and not something most users encounter. As far as Snaps go, not being available was widely publicised with explicit reasons. Should be no surprise then.

    1. I use Cinnamon and followed the upgrade instructions from the LM blog. I don’t use Chromium or game emulation so I don’t know about that but the experience was seam less on my seven year i5 Lenovo laptop.

  4. I updated to mint 20 on my thinkpad t520 with no issues. Snaps I never really used them much. When I did install one it would not load in the past or it would crash soon after it loaded.
    I do not use chromium or chrome so I am good. All my software I use has been on the repositories for years.

  5. I want to like Mint and by default it works well, except for the fractional scaling which comes off as being very unacceptable in terms of blurriness and performance. It certainly does work, and is pretty stable. But it hurts my eyes on my FHD 15″ laptop screen which is a very capable screen quality and looks very sharp with Windows 10 125% scale. But looks really awful and hurts my eyes with 125% in Mint. My middle age eyes cannot tolerate such a poor sharpness these days even with readers. Maybe I will try Mint again when it supports Wayland to see if it improves scaling. Otherwise the OS seems stable and good performance wise.

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