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    Linux Mint is a popular, free, open source distribution of the Linux operating system based on Debian and Ubuntu. Mint is distinct from other distributions because of its modern, easy-to-use interface and full multimedia support. Mint is also easy to install, which cannot be said for all Linux distributions. 

    History of Linux Mint

    Linux Mint was released in 2006 by French developer Clément Lefèbvre. Prior to developing Mint, Lefèbvre had spent several years writing reviews and tutorials for other Linux distributions. 

    Lefèbvre understood what the Linux community disliked about existing distributions, so he began developing Mint as a way to address some of the user complaints. Mint was met with great enthusiasm by the Linux community, and Lefèbvre formed a team to accelerate the Mint development. 

    Lefèbvre and his team released multiple Mint updates within the first few years. Each new version was given a feminine name, like Ada (1.0), Elyssa (5.0), Helena (8.0), and Lisa (12.0). Starting with Felicia (6.0), all Mint updates have been based on the most recent Ubuntu release to ensure compatibility with Ubuntu systems. All releases since 2012 have served to improve the quality of existing features rather than introduce new ones.

    As of January 2022, the most current release is Una (20.3).

    Linux Mint features

    One of the most compelling features of Mint is the fact that it offers a variety of desktop environments for users who are dissatisfied with GNOME 3. Users can choose to use the GNOME 2-based MATE desktop environment, the GNOME 3 environment, or one of two other derivatives of GNOME 3: Cinnamon and Mint GNOME Shell Extensions (MGSE).

    In addition to desktop environment flexibility, Linux Mint is designed to work “out of the box” with very little configuration or extra applications needed. Firefox is the default web browser, and it comes with other pre-installed open source applications for graphic design (Blender, Gimp, Inkscape), productivity (LibreOffice), and gaming (Steam, GOG). 

    This article was updated by Kaiti Norton.