Linux Mint 21, codenamed “Vanessa,” was released as a major update for Mint users on July 31, 2022. Here’s a rundown of what’s new in this version—the changes, improvements, and new features.
Vanessa is the first release of the Linux Mint 21 “V” series, having a long-term support plan lasting till 2027. As you’ll see, the improvements and updates make the latest Linux Mint more efficient and advanced than its predecessors.
The Blueman Bluetooth Manager
Linux Mint 21 has ditched Blueberry Bluetooth manager for Blueman. Blueman’s primary purpose is to manage the Bluetooth settings for sharing data across various devices. It is an efficient manager that works well in all environments. You can even use it from the command line.
Blueberry was dependent on the traditional
gnome-bluetooth project, whereas Blueman provides a more detailed interface to check and control your connections while relying on the standard Bluez stack. It has improved connectivity and performs better, especially with audio devices.
Improved File Browser Thumbnails
Vanessa focuses on improvements for performance as well as usability, integrating
xapp-thumbnailers to improve your user experience. It is often frustrating for users when the file manager doesn’t recognize a file, and instead of a preview or a thumbnail, it displays a question mark or remains blank.
This affects usability and dampens the user experience, especially since new file extensions pop up in the market ever so often. Thumbnailer fills this gap and adds missing thumbnails to files such as ePub, MP3, RAW, AppImage, and WebP. You’ll now see a preview of the image those files contain.
More Sticky Notes Options
Sticky Notes is a useful utility for jotting down quick notes on your desktop. The improved Sticky Notes in Vanessa allows you to duplicate your notes, eliminating the need to copy text from one note and paste it onto the new one that you have created.
This update, like the above two, focuses on enhancing usability. Previously, on creating a new note, the app assigned a random color to the note. In this update, you can pick a color of your choice. In addition, the update has also changed the notes icon on the system tray.
Automated Task Monitor
Automated tasks usually run in the background to improve your productivity and make things easier. These tasks may be preprogrammed ones that keep you safe, like your browser app receiving a security patch in the background. Or maybe you create your own tasks that automate things you often do manually.
But sometimes, these tasks can also slow down your device, affecting its performance. Vanessa brings a monitor that displays the processes running in the background with a pop-up on the system tray. This way, you know precisely which automated tasks are slowing your system down without having to open and scour the system monitor.
RELATED: How to Schedule Tasks on Linux: An Introduction to Crontab Files
Improved XApps Like Timeshift
XApps have received quite a few improvement updates in Vanessa. Mint developers are maintaining the backup tool, Timeshift, as an XApp moving forward, which means a more consistent experience across Mint editions. The new update allows it to stop the backup process in case of low storage space, and it can also determine the space required for the next snapshot.
In addition, Xviewer, Warpinator, The Thingy, and WebApp manager have also received prominent updates. All of these updates work towards providing you with a better user experience.
Muffin Rebased on Mutter
Muffin is the window manager for the Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop environment. In Vanessa, the version of Cinnamon is 5.4, and it contains an update rebasing Muffin on Mutter, the display server, window manager, and compositor library that Muffin was forked from.
Previously Muffin was behind Mutter in terms of features. After this rebase, Muffin receives quicker updates and improvements. It’s a performance update, though, so you won’t see many visual changes.
GTK Theme Rendering
The Cinnamon 5.4 in Vanessa has added a feature that renders all windows with the GTK theme. It improves the visual appearance and performance of the system irrespective of the design of the window.
GTK theme rendering is more of a performance boost, but you’ll observe some visual changes too. After the Muffin update, the
cinnamon-control-center has seen quite a few improvements. It has added Display configuration options to the Control Center, and the GTK theme is responsible for window panels and active and inactive app styles.
Improved Printing and Scanning
At some point in time, you’ve likely experienced frustration trying to set up a printer on your Linux PC. It usually ends up being a driver-related issue.
Vanessa supports a driverless printing and scanning system where it communicates with the printer or scanner much faster without needing a driver to work. This update makes the printing and scanning process much smoother and more efficient compared to previous versions.
Improved Software Sources Selection
Linux Mint 21 has improved the software sources menu by letting you select multiple sources, repository lists, and PPA lists. It helps you clean your device efficiently and remove multiple items simultaneously.
The system runs a dependency check whenever you try to uninstall an app in order to protect the system files and performance. This way, you can be sure removing one app won’t cause problems for other apps.
Cool New Backgrounds
While most of the changes we’ve discussed above focus on usability and performance, Mint 21’s not without some appearance-related updates for your aesthetic pleasure.
The latest Linux Mint release has added new wallpapers in this update to give your desktop a fresh look. There are more than 20 new wallpapers added in different categories, and you get added support for dark mode in your apps, improving the overall Mint theme appearance.
How to Get Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa”
Visit the official LInux Mint download page to get the ISO. You can download it as a torrent or a regular file from various sources listed. Check out the official Vanessa release notes if you want to learn more before installing. It’s essential to check your device specifications and match Vanessa’s requirements (in the announcement post) to avoid any conflicts.
You can test it in a virtual machine first, or create a bootable USB and live-boot Linux Mint. When you’re ready, check out our guide on how to fully install Linux.