Users who want to stick purely with the old GNOME 2 experience, meanwhile, will have Linux Mint 12's MATE fork of that traditional desktop, offering the look and feel longtime users have been accustomed to.
The project team chose MATE because the original GNOME 2.32 conflicts with GNOME 3, Lefebvre pointed out. Work is still under way to smooth out the fork's own rough edges when offered alongside GNOME 3, but Lefebvre said the team still hopes to include it on Linux Mint 12's live DVD.
Finally, so as to begin receiving a share of the search revenues generated by Mint users, Linux Mint "Lisa" will also include five commercial search engines rather than a custom one. Specifically, Ask.com, Google, Amazon, eBay, and the non-commercial Wikipedia will be incorporated into Linux Mint 12 and subsequent releases, Lefebvre said.
Now Top of the List in Popularity
Based on the new Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot," Linux Mint 12 is due for release later this month, or as soon as the team feels it's ready.
Meanwhile, for several days now it has looked like Mint has usurped Ubuntu at No. 1 on DistroWatch's list of the most popular Linux distributions. At least part of that is surely because of increased migrations by users dissatisfied with other distributions' implementations of Unity and GNOME 3, Lefebvre said, noting that Mint actually recorded a 40% increase in a single month.
Are you one of the many concerned about the new generation of mobile-inspired interfaces like Unity and even Windows 8's Metro? If so, it's looking like Linux Mint is taking a gradual approach that promises to meet users halfway. For business users in particular, this could be a winning way to go.