November 28, 2011, 8:30 PM — For any new release of a popular Linux distribution, there are typically numerous fans eagerly awaiting the software's final debut. For Linux Mint 12, however, that anticipation may well have broken all previous records, so anxious have Linux fans been to see the new release's answer to the controversial desktop environments increasingly appearing in other operating systems.
Just two weeks after the launch of a release candidate, Linux Mint 12, or "Lisa," made its long-awaited debut over the weekend, and it's now available for free download from the project's site. It will be supported until April 2013.
Most notable among its many new features, of course, is its hybrid desktop strategy, including GNOME 3, a fork of GNOME 2, and additional software to help users get used to GNOME 3 gradually.
There are many other worthy additions to Linux Mint 12 as well, however, making the new release especially worth checking out. Ready for a rundown? Here are some of the highlights of what you can expect to find.
1. All About Users
Launched in 2006, Linux Mint enjoys a well-deserved reputation for ease of use. A variety of graphical tools give the community-driven software a dose of extra usability, while the inclusion of numerous multimedia codecs enhances its hardware compatibility. Mint's goal is to provide "a more complete out-of-the-box experience" than other distributions do, in the project's own words.
2. A Helping Hand
Perhaps the best example of Mint's user focus in this new release is that while the Linux Mint team has chosen to adopt the controversial GNOME 3 desktop environment, they're not forcing users to plunge in head first. Rather, an extra layer called MGSE, or Mint GNOME Shell Extensions, has been added to help those wary of GNOME 3 ease into it slowly. By picking and choosing the MGSE components they enable, users can customize and tweak the desktop they use.
3. A Familiar Friend