Well, it’s just about that time again, Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) was just released and the developers over at Linux Mint are readying for the subsequent release of their flagship Main Edition, Linux Mint 11 (Katya). To kick things off, Clem, the founder and lead developer of Linux Mint, released a preview this morning over at their blog. Since then, a private 32-bit testing release has dropped in for the tester’s group over at the community site. For those wanting to keep tabs on the progress of the Linux Mint 11 development process, this will be an ideal place to do so.
Since we last heard, there have been some changes to the plans for Linux Mint 11 (Katya). Originally, Clem had indicated that Gnome 3 would be used without the Gnome Shell. However, now it looks as though Gnome 2.32 (the last stable version of Gnome 2, which was released in September 2010) will be used this time around. This may be a disappointment to some, but with the reported stability issues from people using the Gnome 3 private package archive (PPA) and the fact that neither Ubuntu nor Debian has brought Gnome 3 into their stable repositories yet, this is probably for the best (Gnome 3 can always be added after careful consideration with the Gnome 3 PPA!). Keep in mind, Gnome 3 is practically bleeding edge at this point, having just been released not even a month ago and it is a significant departure from 2.32. Also keep in mind (for what it’s worth), the seemingly significant amount of negative reviews it has received at this point (at least in relation to Gnome Shell).
Again, while it may be a bit of a disappointment not to have the shiny new Gnome 3 in Linux Mint 11, it seems to be the more reasonable decision at this point. It’s likely that Gnome 3 may be a better fit in six to seven months when Linux Mint 12 is released. Other than that, who knows what will have changed by the time Linux Mint 12 rolls around. I’ve mentioned this before, but I wouldn’t mind if Linux Mint picked up XFCE 4.8+ as the desktop environment for its Main Edition.