Linux Mint has long enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for excellent compatibility since it has included a variety of proprietary multimedia codecs that are often absent from larger distributions. With support for media codecs, Flash and Java, for example, it can play just about anything you ask it to.
Now, with version 10, Mint has added a way for users installing the operating system from any medium to upgrade to the DVD edition right from the Welcome Screen, including the ability to install any missing multimedia codecs.
3. An Improved Menu
The Linux Mint menu in version 10 reflects a number of enhancements, including support for GTK themes and bookmarks, and direct access to search capabilities. The menu is also now aware of what's available in your repositories, so you can search for software and install packages without even having to open the Software Manager.
That Software Manager, meanwhile, has also been updated for better categorization. Other changes make it easier to find newly installed applications and to customize the menu's appearance.
4. A New Look and Feel
After three releases with the beautiful green-and-dark Shiki theme, Linux Mint Julia reflects a return to the distribution's traditional light theme and dark background. This time, however, it's giving the theme a metallic look called Mint-X. A number of artist-created backgrounds are also available, and the desktop menu and welcome screen were both given the appearance of brushed metal.
Mint also features a nice Update Manager that lets you control which of your applications get automatically updated. And, like Ubuntu, it includes a raft of excellent bundled software including OpenOffice and Firefox.
Of course, as a release candidate, the current version of Linux Mint 10 is aimed primarily at developers and others who want to help find and correct bugs; there are a few known problems, so it's not yet recommended for production environments. Still, it is a nice way to see what's next for the user-friendly distribution, and more generally to give Linux a try.
The latest current stable release of Linux Mint is version 9, which is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. The stable release of Linux Mint 10 is expected next month and will be supported until April 2012.