Clement Lefebvre, the creator of Linux Mint, has announced the updates to the Linux Mint Debian Edition. With this update, for the fist time, Linux Mint Debian users will get access to Gnome Shell, MATE and Cinnamon. This update brings Linux 3.2 kernel, MATE 1.2 (with mintMenu and mintDesktop now fully ported to MATE), Cinnamon 1.4, KDE 4.7.4, Gnome Shell 3.2.2 and Xfce 4.8.
With this edition Linux Mint is dropping the support for the aging Gnome 2. Major distributions have already dropped support for Gnome 2. The Linux Mint's Ubuntu-based edition also dropped it last year. "Gnome 3 conflicts with Gnome 2 and so most distributions lost Gnome 2 about a year ago. Linux Mint 12 lost it in November and LMDE is about to lose it as well with this update pack," says Clem.
The reason behind this decision is not surprising. It was not a matter of why, but when. Fabian Scherschel writes in H-Online, "LMDE is dropping GNOME 2 because of underlying dependency issues that result from Debian Testing's switch to GNOME 3-based libraries."
Linux Mint is trying to support those users who wanted something similar to Gnome 2. "...we’ve been worried about the lack of satisfactory alternatives to Gnome 2. Looking towards the future of LMDE and the upcoming Linux Mint 13 release, our top priority was to get to the stage where we can provide our users with something most people would find as good or better than Gnome 2."
The Linux Mint team is hard at working on Mate and Gnome Shell extensions which brings the familiar UI to the Gnome 3 stack. LMDE was initially planned as a rolling release version but due to the problems that come with any rolling release, it was changed to monthly update cycle. But the last update to LMDE came almost 7 month ago in September 2011.
Clem explains why we did not see any update after pack 3, "LMDE was frozen at Update Pack 3 with a Gnome 2 desktop until we reached the point we are at today, where both MATE and Cinnamon are ready. MATE is basically Gnome 2 renamed. The more the Mate team works on it, the more stable it gets. What it looks like and how it behaves is exactly like Gnome 2. So for most people, this is probably the best alternative."
Linux Mint project is fast becoming a favorite of those who want a familiar interface of Gnome 2 on top of the stability and ease of use of Debian. You can download the Debian edition of Linux Mint from this link.