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Linux Mint 12 ships as distro's popularity soars
Nov. 28, 2011

The Mint project released the final Linux Mint 12 ("Lisa"), which offers "MGSE" extensions to GNOME 3.2 that let users create a more GNOME 2.3x-like environment. Based on Ubuntu 11.10 and Linux 3.0, Linux Mint 12 features upgrades to Firefox 7.0, LibreOffice 3.4.3 and Thunderbird 7.0.1.

The Mint project released the RC1 version of Linux Mint 12 ("Lisa") just two weeks ago, so there are not many new surprises in this final release. Somewhat more surprising is the huge increase in popularity in the Distrowatch rankings in recent weeks.

Linux Mint 12 is based on a foundation of the Linux 3.0 kernel and Ubuntu 11.10 distribution. The final version offers package updates including the Firefox 7.0 web browser and LibreOffice 3.4.3 productivity suite. However, these can be manually updated to Firefox 8.0 and LibreOffice 3.4.4, respectively.

Other updated packages include the Thunderbird 7.0.1 email client, the Totem 3.0.1 video player, as well as a rival to Totem in version 1.1.12 of the VLC media player. The Moonlight Linux implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight browser plug-in has been excised on account of a bug, says the project. However, a bug-fixed version is available for download at the Mono project.

The biggest changes in Mint include the ability to choose from several new alternative desktops, including GNOME 3.2, and "MGSE" (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) -- a desktop layer sitting atop GNOME 3.2 that lets users disable various components within MGSE to get more of a GNOME 2.3 experience. The project has also included an early version of the MATE project's MATE fork of GNOME 2.

Finally, Linux Mint 12 introduces a new default search engine called DuckDuckGo, which is touted for not tracking or recording user information. However, one reviewer notes that its Microsoft Bing underpinnings lead to similarly biased results for searches on open source topics.

The full story, with links to downloads, and more on the DistroWatch rankings, may be found in this Linux Mint 12 report on LinuxDevices.

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