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Linux Mint 21.2 and Cinnamon 5.8 desktop take shape

Along with better integration for all three editions

Linux Mint project lead Clement Lefebvre has shared some more details about the forthcoming version 21.2, including new versions of both Cinnamon and Xfce.

The latest post on the Mint project's monthly blog reveals some more details about the next release, including a new version 5.8 of the Cinnamon desktop and enhancements to some of the built-in tools.

Last month's post revealed that 21.2 would have Xfce 4.18, but now some information is coming about the project's flagship desktop, Cinnamon. Mint 21.2 will include a new version, Cinnamon 5.8, which is currently in development.

Lefebvre mentions rebasing the Cinnamon JavaScript runtime, CJS, on Spidermonkey 102. That's the version from the current Firefox ESR release, as used in Thunderbird 102. CJS is forked from GNOME's GJS, and GJS version 102 is the version used in the 25th anniversary release, GNOME 43. Previously, Cinnamon used Spidermonkey 78, as used in GNOME 3.38.

Cinnamon has its own file manager, Nemo, which is also used in some other projects, such as Ubuntu Unity. Originally forked from GNOME's Nautilus 3.4, Nemo is more of a power user's tool. It has a status bar, a menu bar and customizable toolbar, detachable tabs, a more capable left panel with a flexible tree view and handy disk-usage indicators, options to open items as root or in a terminal window, and other handy features. Nautilus used to have some of these, but the GNOME project developers, in their constant quest to simplify the UI, removed them.

The forthcoming Nemo 5.8 splits thumbnail generation into parallel threads, which will use more processor power, but should make opening folders with a large number of images substantially quicker. If Nemo sounds good, you can install it on Ubuntu and other GNOME-based distros.

Since Mint 20, it's included a handy app called Warpinator for easy file sharing across network connections. Inspired by an older tool called Giver, Warpinator is available for multiple distros and OSes. A SUSE audit of its code uncovered a vulnerability so its security is being tightened up.

The discovery of this sort of issue demonstrates the value of the breadth of different Linux companies, desktops and indeed corporate attitudes. The Mint developers put significant effort into making an easy but flexible and powerful desktop OS. It's not really aimed at corporations, and there's no Mint server edition. Bigger players such as Canonical, SUSE and Red Hat are far more focused on corporate issues, security audits, server-side tooling and so on, which is what leaves an opening for smaller players like Mint to refine and polish the desktop experience.

And there's rivalry, too, of course. Mint is working on improving its Flatpak integration, including between its three desktop editions, in 21.2 – in stark contrast to its upstream distro's attitude.

While we don't use Mint much on our own machines, it's among our go-to general-purpose desktop distros when reviving clapped-out old computers for friends and family. ®

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