A beta version of LMDE 6 “Faye” is now available to download.

The next major update in the LMDE series (LMDE stands for ‘Linux Mint Debian Edition’) is based on Debian 12 Bookworm, which offers a significantly fresher stack of software than available to users of LMDE 5 (meaning as upgrades go this is a compelling one).

LMDE endeavours to offer an experience that’s as close to Linux Mint as possible but without relying on Ubuntu infrastructure. Maintaining LMDE also enables Mint to ensure its homegrown software is compatible with Linux distros outside of the Ubuntusphere.

Its chief reason for existing however is insurance. To quote the Linux Mint website: “[LMDE’s] goal is to ensure Linux Mint can continue to deliver the same user experience if Ubuntu was ever to disappear. It allows us to assess how much we depend on Ubuntu…”.

The foundational update is the “main” feature in LMDE 6. Everything else is largely the same as the recent Linux Mint 21.2 release, e.g., Cinnamon 5.8, touchpad gesture support, resizable Mint Menu, redesigned Software Manager, support for HEIF and AVIF image, etc.

A screenshot of the LMDE 6 (beta) desktop

Why use LMDE instead of Linux Mint? It’s largely down to personal and (to a lesser degree political) preference. Debian’s archive changes less often than Ubuntu’s. For some, this offers a more “stable” base than the not-exactly-shifting-sands LTS base that regular Linux Mint offers.

While this is an Ubuntu-based blog, and most of you reading this use Ubuntu, some folks in the Linux community aren’t enthusiastic about it. LMDE gives them the ability to enjoy the full Linux Mint experience (because the distro is more than ‘just’ the Cinnamon desktop).

You can download the LMDE 6 Beta by following the links on the Linux Mint blog. Just keep in mind that beta software is not “finished” and can/will feature bugs and other issues that the final, stable release (hopefully) won’t.

Debian Distro Release Linux Mint