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Five Reasons to be excited about Linux Mint 13 – LTS, MATE, and more

The next version of Linux Mint will be with us soon, find out why 13 is going to be the lucky number for the worlds most popular Linux distribution

Last week the release candidate for Linux Mint 13 was made available, code named Maya. Based on the recent release of Ubuntu 12.04, Linux Mint 13 takes the core of Precise Pangolin and adds it’s own branding and desktop environments on top of it. It’s these additions, and more, that go towards making Linux Mint so great – and here are five fantastic reasons to look out for the next version of Linux Mint.

Desktop Environments

Linux Mint 13 will be the first Linux Mint release that does not have GNOME as standard, instead offering two versions based on MATE and Cinnamon. Both these Desktop Environments are based on GNOME 2, with MATE being a direct fork, and the Mint developed Cinnamon built on top of GNOME 3.

Linux Mint 13 Maya Environment
Cinnamon was developed by the Mint devs after GNOME 2 was dropped

Linux Mint 13 will also include the Mint Gnome Shell Extensions from the previous outing of Linux Mint. These add-ons to GNOME bring some of the GNOME 2 elements back while keeping the better search functionality of modern GNOME – a hybrid of the two that appeases both detractors and supporters of GNOME 3.


The MDM Display Manager is the new way to select your Desktop Environment in Linux Mint 13. MDM is built upon GDM, and replaces LDM from standard Ubuntu and previous versions of Linux Mint. It’s notable in that it offers more customisability and options than any other display manager.

Mint Display Manager
The new MDM Display Manager is highly configurable

MDM offers extensive themeability, and gives options for remote, automatic, and even timed login. You can set up event scripting, have it throw up a welcome message, and much more. You even have some control of these options from the log in menu, and witness some of the theme changes on the fly.

Ubuntu software

One of the great parts of Linux Mint is that it is built upon the latest Ubuntu distribution, giving access to the full software repository. This is packed with the latest and greatest in free software, such as the recent major updates to VLC, GIMP, and Audacity.

The Ubuntu Software Centre is full of applications that are available for Mint

More than just a large selection of applications, the software repository also offers non-free and proprietary software, libraries, and drivers that are available for Linux but not always in a distributions default package list. You can also add Ubuntu repositories and PPAs in the same way as standard Ubuntu, as well as having access to the small suite of extra Linux Mint software.

Theme Upgrades

While a minor update to Linux Mint, the latest Linux Mint-X and Mint-Z themes have updated icons and graphics, and there is much better support for GTK3.

Linux Mint 13
Better themes are more than just aesthetic changes

The wallpapers has been updated and added to as well, with some beautiful photographs taken by masterbutler augmenting the selection.


Ubuntu 12.04 is a Long Term Service release, supported for five years with security updates and bug fixes. This applies to distributions such as Linux Mint that use Ubuntu as a base, meaning that Linux Mint 13 will enjoy the benefits of the LTS.

We’ve been over the advantages of LTS releases before – it’s great for enterprise use where stable software with a long lifespan saves time (and reduces on headaches) for sysadmins who would otherwise need to approve new software every six months to a year. It’s also good for more novice home users, where there may not be a need to have the cutting edge in software that is forever changing.

Linux Mint 13 is looking to be well worth the upgrade. Check back during the week where we’ll pit it against Ubuntu in a head-to-head challenge, and give you our definitive review of the distro.