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The Linux Mint team have another monthly update blog post out, to talk about the state of Linux Mint and it sounds like things are going well. They also announced the small-form-factor MintBox 3 and something about Snaps.

Teaming up with Compulab once again who did the previous MintBox, it's based on their current Airtop3 and will come with Linux Mint installed with their branding. The specifications, while not final, are below:

  • 1. Basic configuration: $1543 with a Core i5 (6 cores), 16 GB RAM, 256 GB EVO 970, Wi-Fi and FM-AT3 FACE Module.
  • 2. High end: $2698 with Core i9, GTX 1660 Ti, 32 GB RAM, 1TB EVO 970, WiFi and FM-AT3 FACE Module.

While a bit on the pricey side, I do have to admit it's a pretty tidy looking unit! I wouldn't mind something like this to replace the ridiculously large PC case I have sitting under my TV:

Additionally, Mint's Clement Lefebvre who wrote the blog post had some interesting words to say about the Snap package format and how it's currently being handled. Touching on topics like being locked into a single store, Ubuntu possibly replacing the Chromium repository package with one that installs the Chromium snap and things like that. However, Lefebvre did say they've been invited to participate by the Snap developers, so hopefully they can all agree on something.

As for the whole 32bit debacle recently with Ubuntu, they said if it becomes an issue they will solve that too. It's good to know they're making plenty of plans no matter what happens, as desktop-focused distribution the Mint team seem to be doing a fair amount of good work.

They also continue to pull in an impressive amount in donations, with June getting $11,825 which is on top of their various Sponsors which was around $7,700. Seems like quite a healthy amount.

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km3k 3 Jul, 2019
I used to use Linux Mint and enjoyed it a lot. I wish the best for Clement and it is good to see him still getting support. I mainly use Ubuntu MATE and Arch these days. Linux Mint was really nice to get up and running, but when things went wrong, it was often just different enough from Ubuntu to be difficult. So if I want to deal with difficulty for unusual situations, I'd rather do it in Arch. For the computers where I just want a basic OS and don't want to mess with it, I use Ubuntu MATE.
Nanobang 3 Jul, 2019
I like that Mint does these mini-comps, though I'm too cheap to ever consider purchasing one. I've upgraded my original build over the years. Total it's cost about what the cheap Mint Box costs, but my box is much more powerful and I can continue to make incremental improvements pretty much forever. But that's on me, not Linux Mint. I'm sure it's a great little machine for what it is.

Re: Snaps. I give them a mighty "meh." They're fat, lolling imbecilic creatures that have no place in the speedy and efficient Linux ecosystem, imho. (I've yet to find one that can even see my data partition, let alone access it.) I like Flatpak the most of the three distro-agnostic package systems, but I like repos or Git sources the best of all.

It irks me so much that I have to investigate every item in the Software Center that I'm thinking of installing on my system, to make sure it's not a Snap, that I use Synaptic or cli almost exclusively. Ironically, the only thing I do install via the Software Center is Flatpaks. XD
Munk 3 Jul, 2019
Those hardware specs don't seem to make any sense to me. It looks like it's going to thermal throttle immediately, especially the high end model. There's no point to buy high end hardware that's going to be thermally limited to performance of low end hardware.

That's entirely speculative, however. I've obviously not tested it. It just looks like there's not going to be sufficient cooling.

Edit: Just read that it's based off something that has been tested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35OyZzCvG0g
I stand corrected.


Last edited by Munk on 3 July 2019 at 12:46 pm UTC
omicron-b 3 Jul, 2019
I wish Firefox Stable and Chromium were available as Flatpaks, for now I am forced to use slow Firefox Snap on Debian 9 (it is not in repos, only Firefox ESR is) and my wife will probably be forced to use Chromium Snap on Ubuntu 19.10 if Canonical decides so. This is sad.
Purple Library Guy 3 Jul, 2019
Quoting: MunkThose hardware specs don't seem to make any sense to me. It looks like it's going to thermal throttle immediately, especially the high end model. There's no point to buy high end hardware that's going to be thermally limited to performance of low end hardware.

That's entirely speculative, however. I've obviously not tested it. It just looks like there's not going to be sufficient cooling.

Edit: Just read that it's based off something that has been tested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35OyZzCvG0g
I stand corrected.
I'm always impressed when someone not only tests their own hypothesis but reports if they were mistaken.
Redface 4 Jul, 2019
Quoting: dibzRegarding Mint's wording about 32bit support in their announcement (which wasn't quoted here), I find the mixed reporting on all of that to be interesting. I'm pretty sure many of the writers out there are either ignorant of, or willfully ignorant of, the original posting/news about 32bit support removal where Canonical was quite clear about the complete drop of 32bit support -- not just for the kernel/distro release. They backtracked regarding multilib support only after Valve had some words for them.

They certainly tried to spin it like that was always the case in that updated "clarification", but it's plain for the world to see -- and read given five to ten minutes -- that there was no miscommunication.

There clearly was miscommunication and misunderstandings, else there would not be so many that thought that the change would mean that it would be impossible to run 32 bit programs after the announcement on the 18th June. Or that the clarification meant some for for backtracking. https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-announce/2019-June/000245.html

Maybe start by reading the forum thread here that came before this blow up with in the press and forums: https://www.gamingonlinux.com/forum/topic/3938 especially what Samsai wrote https://www.gamingonlinux.com/forum/topic/3938/post_id=23713

If that is not enough read what Valve employee plagman wrote https://old.reddit.com/r/linux_gaming/comments/c24gpk/i386_architecture_will_be_dropped_starting_with/eri4vy2/
QuoteSteam and thousands of its games rely on a 32-bit glibc from the host system, as well as OpenGL and Vulkan userland graphics driver libraries for Mesa and the NVIDIA driver. Steam as it currently exists will be broken on 19.10 unless more work is done on our end. That work seems tractable, but fairly involved; what's unfortunate is that it will take away resources that would otherwise be spent on improving performance and functionality.
and this was later when Valve wrote they will again support Ubuntu 19.10 and forward : https://steamcommunity.com/app/221410/discussions/0/1640915206447625383/
QuoteTo that effect, Steam already bundles a lot of the dependencies needed by 32-bit games, but it currently relies on some key components being available on the host system: a 32-bit glibc, ELF loader, Mesa and NVIDIA graphics driver libraries, to name a few. We've been investigating ways to avoid these system dependencies for a while now, by looking into light containerization and other approaches. The announced change by Ubuntu would have required us to fully complete such a system in the 19.10 release time frame, as it would be required there to maintain functionality without requiring users to reinstall Steam through another method. A significant portion of our Linux users are on the latest version of Ubuntu and upgrade as new versions become available. Requiring such a fundamental change in Steam's runtime environment in that time frame would have been very risky for these users, and would likely not have resulted in a seamless experience.

So that is consistent with that it still will be possible to run 32 bit programs but it will require quite some effort from Valve (and wine and other developers) and most likely be at least a hassle if not too complicated for many users.

Yet when they wrote the clarification that it would still be possible to run 32 bit programs just in another way many that believed 32 bot programs would not run any more thought they where backtracking. They where in fact still on that plan fleshing more details out. I had a recent discussion on reddit about this arguing for that that was no backtracking but consistent with the first announcement: https://old.reddit.com/r/linux_gaming/comments/c7e2ik/about_to_give_linux_a_real_shot_again_with_all/eseygql/ also about that this not after Valve had a word with them, but after, and that It was a lot of users and even Canonical employees and developers including Valve that convinced them to change the decision.
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