You can now download Linux Mint 20, the latest stable release of this popular Ubuntu-based desktop Linux operating system.
But what new features, changes, and other improvements does this brand new release come bundled up with?
Well, that’s what this post is here to tell you!
Below we roundup, recap and run through all of the Linux Mint 20 features you can look forward to trying.
We also show you where to download Linux Mint 20, and mention if there are any known issues you need to be aware of before you install it.
Linux Mint 20 Release & Features
Codename & Support
The Linux Mint 20 codename is ‘Ulyana’. Mint codenames traditionally take a female name and are alphabetical in sequence. Since all of the Linux Mint 19 codenames were based on the letter ‘T’ the next set of codenames will be based on the letter ‘U’. This is the first.
Linux Mint 20 was made available to download on June 25 2020. As it is a long-term support release Linux Mint 20 is supported until 2025.
In a break with previous releases Linux Mint 20 is 64-bit only. There are no 32-bit installer images. Users who run an existing 32-bit built cannot upgrade to Linux Mint 20.
Those who require 32-bit support can use the Linux Mint 19.x series of releases. These are supported until 2023 with key and critical app updates. This offers plenty of room for hardware upgrade opportunities in the meantime.
Linux Mint 20 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the latest long-term support releases of Ubuntu. And, as you’d expect, three different desktop editions based on Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce respectively, and uses the Linux 5.4 kernel.
Major Improvements & Changes
The Cinnamon desktop environment is at the heart of Linux Mint and —no surprises— it gains enhancements and refinement in the newest release.
The biggest new feature in Linux Mint 20? That’ll be the addition of fractional scaling support in the Cinnamon. Designed for high-resolution displays, this gives you access to new scaling values between 100% and 200%, including the 125% and 150% sweet spots.
Better yet, Mint lets you apply different scaling values to different monitors. This is especially useful for those who connect a HD or FHD laptop to a 2K or 4K display (as I do).
Fractional scaling isn’t the only treat for this tasty-sounding desktop environment, either. Mint 20 also comes with the ability change monitor refresh rate through an easily-accessible display setting (something Ubuntu 20.04 offers too).
If you remember the new file transfer tool for Linux Mint we told you about recently you’ll be pleased to hear it’s available out-of-the-box in Linux Mint 20. The app has been given the witty name Warpinator (pictured above).
Hot-plugging monitors is said to be “smooth as silk” in Mint 20, while the Slick Greeter login screen picks up the option to stretch the background image across multiple monitors.
Linux Mint 20 also comes with better support for NVIDIA Optimus (hybrid graphics) set-ups.
The Optimus tray applet gives on-demand switching, while a new option has been added to the right-click menu on app shortcuts to choose which GPU the app runs on while open.
Tray icons have been tweaked to ensure consistent sizing, better scaling on HiDPI, and use symbolic icons where possible.
Major performance improvements in Nemo, the default file manager of the Cinnamon desktop environment, also feature in this release. File thumbnail generation, a task which is at the cause of slows down when browsing folders and files, is being tweaked to deliver faster, more responsive navigation.
The solution: show generic icons prior to thumbnails loading. The impact on navigation is said to be considerable. Rendering file thumbnails in Nemo now happens after all the files have loaded into view.
Linux Mint 20 also improves its rather nifty ‘desktop colours’ option in a couple of ways:
Firstly, you can now pick the accent colour used in the default Linux Mint Y theme straight from the Mint Welcome app. You can choose between light and dark versions here as well.
Secondly, you can now choose to set yellow coloured folder icons if the default green ones aren’t to your taste. Is this an essential enhancement? No, but a welcome one all the same.
The experience of installing software downloaded outside of the main repositories is improved. The
gdebi GUI assistant boasts a number of minor tweaks that make installing well-known software like Google Chrome, Skype, and Steam less of a hassle.
Linux Mint 20, like previous Mint releases does not ship with any Snap apps preinstalled or make
snapd available out of the box. In fact, Mint say APT will forbid
snapd from being installed at all (though it will be possible to install it manually, details available on the user guide).
A few other things you won’t see in this release is native support for installing Mint atop the ZFS file system (something upstream Ubuntu now offers), and no firm efforts towards Cinnamon Wayland support in this cycle (the status of this is TBC).
Download Linux Mint 20
You can download Linux Mint 20 direct from the Linux Mint website as a 64-bit
.iso image. You can flash this image to a USB to boot from, or write it to a blank DVD.
Xfce and MATE versions are also available to download but do not feature all of the changes looked at in this article.
Already using Linux Mint 19.x? You can upgrade to Linux Mint 20 without reinstalling.