linux mint 20.3 release graphic

You’ve patiently waited for it, and now it’s arrived —no, not the new year! I’m talking about the release of Linux Mint 20.3!

Yes, after five months of development the much-fancied follow-up to July’s Linux Mint 20.2 release is out (the downloads are live and the release announcement has gone up).

Related Guide
How to Upgrade to Linux Mint 20.3

In all, this is a substantial update packed with numerous visual changes and usability enhancements that make this already-user-friendly distro even easier to use.

Linux Mint 20.3 is based on Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS and ships with Linux 5.4 kernel. It is supported with updates until 2025, though you’ll be able to upgrade to Linux Mint 21 at some point (there’s no firm release date for it yet).

For more details on what’s changed in the flagship Cinnamon release, keep reading. Alternatively, skip to the downloads section at the bottom of this article to find links to download Linux Mint 20.3 to try for yourself.

Overview of Linux Mint 20.3

We’ll start with the most obvious change: a new theme.

Linux Mint 20.3 has a new look that uses less green! Yes, the minty tones we’re familiar with now give way to steely grey accents throughout the system’s user interface. The new “Mint-Y” theme also features larger title bars and bigger window controls, with the minimize, maximize, and close buttons all notably easier to hit than before.

linux mint 20.2 mint-y themelinux mint 20.3 mint-y theme
Old theme left, new theme right

Additionally, the new Mint-Y theme sports rounded window corners by default. These give the Linux Mint desktop (and any apps that run on it) a pinch of modernity — and help the distro keep up with evolving visual styles on other platforms.

Those not won over by the revamp can switch back to the original version of the Mint-Y theme by installing the mint-themes-legacy package.

Sticking with visual changes, some of Mint’s native media apps (like Celluloid, Hypnotix, and the stock image viewer) now use a dark theme by default. This change is consistent with other Linux distros and desktop environments, including Ubuntu.

a screenshot of Linux Mint 20.3 image viewer hypnotix and celluloid video player open
Dark theme by default in select apps

Several new features have been added to the Cinnamon desktop environment included in Linux Mint 20.3.

For example, the calendar applet now shows calendar events from multiple sources, including Google Calendar (via Online Accounts) as well as the GNOME Calendar app Mint ships with. This small change makes a big impact on the impeccably organised.

a screenshot of Linux Mint 20.3 cinnamon calendar applet
Views upcoming events clearly

The Nemo file manager now gracefully handles situations when you move or copy a file with the same name as one in the intended destination. Earlier versions of Nemo offered let you ‘skip’ the move/copy, or ‘overwrite’ the preexisting file with the new one. Now, in Mint 20.3, you get the option to rename the file to avoid/resolve the conflict.

The “run” dialog also has new styling:

At last — the ‘run’ prompt is themed

Mint says it’s ‘reviewed, tuned, and simplified’ animations throughout the distribution. This is part one of a wider effort to introduce a newer version of the Mutter window manager in a future release, one Mint says is capable of providing “even better effects” — something to keep an eye out for.

Related, the Effects utility now sports a streamlined design in one page, rather than options split across two:

Streamlined ‘Effects’ settings

Elsewhere, several Cinnamon panel applets gain additional configuration options, such as the workspace switcher which now lets you disable scrolling to change workspace, hiding the counter in the notification applet, and removing labels from the window list applet.

And a big one: Bluetooth can now be turned on/off directly from the bluetooth tray menu itself.

New & Improved Apps in Linux Mint 20.3

On to apps, where there are plenty of changes.

Linux Mint 20.3 includes a brand new app called Thingy. This is a document Manager that provides quick access to favorite and/or recently opened documents. Additionally, the tool keeps track of your reading progress so you can pick up exactly where you left off.

a screenshot of Thingy in Linux Mint 20.3
Thingy is a new document manager

The existing Notes tools gets a big upgrade here, including search functionality and additional formatting options, including an option to make selected text larger or smaller. Hypnotix, Mint’s free internet TV tool, gains a channel search feature; while Mint’s stock image viewer can ‘fit’ images to the width or the height.

It’s now possible to switch between tabs in the Xed text editor using ctrl + tab shortcut; while the XReader document viewer now pages in the correct direction when reading manga. Both apps pick up an option to hide the menu bar (a quick tap of the alt key with either app focused makes it reappear briefly).

Other changes:

  • Increased support for right-to-left languages
  • NVIDIA Optimus support in .desktop files
  • New alt + super + s shortcut to active the screen reader
  • Support for 3x fractional scaling (where supported)
  • system reports now only run once a day (previously once an hour)
  • New wallpapers

For more details see the official release notes or release announcement for “Una”, the codename of this release, once the release has been formally announced.

Download Linux Mint 20.3

You can download Linux Mint 20.3 from the the official Linux Mint mirrors, where it’s available as a 64-bit .iso image. Download then flash this image to a USB (using a tool like Etcher or Popsicle, or write it to a blank DVD) then boot from it, and install.

Download Linux Mint 20.3 (64-bit .iso)

You can also download Linux Mint 20.3 Mate and Linux Mint 20.3 Xfce editions from the Mint website and any official mirror linked to from the Mint website, such as this one or this one.

Prefer torrents? Official Linux Mint torrents are available (just make sure you download the 20.3 version).

If you use an earlier version of Linux Mint you can upgrade to Linux Mint 20.3 without reinstalling. The update prompt this will appear in the Update Manager app shortly after the release is formally announced.

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