First Look at Linux Mint 21.1 Beta with the Cinnamon 5.6 Desktop Environment

The beta version of the upcoming Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” distribution release is here and it comes with the latest Cinnamon 5.6 desktop environment, so I took it for a quick test drive to see what’s new.

Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” is the second release in the Linux Mint 21 series, which is derived from the upstream Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish) operating system and powered by the long-term supported Linux 5.15 LTS kernel. This series will receive security updates until 2027.

Linux Mint 21.1 is slated for release this Christmas, but we don’t have an official date set in stone, so it will be out when it’s ready. For now, all we have is the beta version, which started appearing earlier today through various of Linux Mint’s mirrors around the globe. An official announcement for the beta release will be made by the Linux Mint team when all mirrors are synced with the main download server.

The biggest change in the Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” release is, of course, the latest and greatest Cinnamon 5.6 desktop environment, which comes with a bunch of new features like a new Corner Bar applet for those who want to bump their productivity, a new setting to set the duration of notifications that appear on your screen, the ability to lock desklets in place, new and improved keyboard navigation, and more.

So, the first thing you’ll see when you’ll upgrade your Linux Mint 21 installations to Linux Mint 21.1 is the look of the taskbar or bottom panel, which now includes the new Corner Bar applet at the far right, and the Show Desktop applet has been replaced with a separator since Corner Bar inherits its functionality.

Other major changes you’ll notice at a first glance are the fact that the “Home” and “Trash” icons are now gone from the desktop (so are the Computer and Network icons) and a new default icon theme for folders in the Nemo file manager.

Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” also comes with new features for the Driver Manager and Software Sources in-house built tools, such as easier handling of PPA keys in Software Sources and the ability to run Driver Manager in user mode so it won’t ask you for your password when it’s launched, as well as the ability to purge the configuration of removed drivers.

Additionally, Driver Manager received an improved user interface with redesigned offline support, a new screen when a live USB stick is detected, and easier installation of Broadcom wireless drivers.

Also new in Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” is a new ISO verification tool, which is implemented in the context menu when right-clicking on ISO images, making it easier to verify the integrity and authenticity of ISO files.

That’s all, everything else looks exactly the same as in previous Linux Mint releases. Of course, you’ll find some new settings and other under-the-hood improvements, as well as little touches here and there that should make your Cinnamon desktop experience more enjoyable and productive.

Under the hood, Linux Mint 21.1 won’t be that much different from its predecessor, Linux Mint 21, and that’s because it’s based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, so there aren’t any major package upgrades or anything like that. All you’ll get are the latest software and security updates for a safe and stable Linux Mint experience.

As mentioned before, the Linux Mint team plans to release Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” near the Christmas holidays. Until then, you can take the Linux Mint 21.1 beta version for a test drive if you want to check out the new features and improvements yourself, just don’t use it for any production work as bugs are always present in a pre-release version.

Last updated 8 mins ago

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