This year we introduced a new blog and we recently restructured the way we host packages and deliver Debian update packs.
What was it like transitioning from GNOME, used in Linux Mint 2.0 to version 12, to the Cinnamon and MATE desktops with the release of Linux Mint 13?
It was a nightmare but it's also something we're very proud of.
Some people don't understand how important GNOME was for us. It was by far the most popular and the most mature desktop environment. It was a huge component for us. Most of the technology we had developed was built around GNOME and as a desktop distribution we had improved incrementally around it since 2006. So there was simply no way we were going to stop using it.
We have a vision and no matter what happens we get things done. This was the biggest challenge we faced since 2006. Linux Mint 12 was hugely impacted and it shipped with an early version of MATE and a set of GNOME Shell extensions which roughly did the job but weren't any long term solution. This was really tough for me personally. You can imagine what happened during that development cycle... all efforts, all resources, everything we had went into getting back on our feet. When Linux Mint 13 "Maya" was out, I had a huge smile on my face, MATE was stable and Cinnamon was there. I'll probably always have fond memories of Linux Mint 13 as it marks the end of the drama and the recovery from the loss of GNOME for us. "Maya" is also my daughter's name, so that adds to it even more. :)
With the latest stable release -- Linux Mint 15 "Olivia" -- out the door at the end of May, what changes and features are you most excited about?
Linux Mint 15 brought a lot of features people were asking for; a more interactive login screen (MDM HTML5 engine), unified settings in Cinnamon, an independent Driver Manager, proper repository and PPA management...etc. For the first time also, Cinnamon handles the entire visual layer of the desktop on its own including the control center and the screensaver, no part of GNOME 3 is visible.
What would you like to see make it into version 16 "Petra", which will be based on Ubuntu 13.10 to be released in October?
The Software Manager will feature performance and speed improvements. We'll introduce a USB stick formatting tool. Cinnamon won't be a frontend to GNOME anymore but a complete desktop environment with its own backend. Cinnamon 2.0 will also introduce improved window tiling, a new feature called window snapping, and better user and session management. These are the features which are ready for Linux Mint 16 at the moment. There's also a roadmap and a lot of further improvements planned for the release but I'd rather not talk about these until I'm sure they'll be implemented.
While Ubuntu offers an automated in-place upgrade option to install the latest major releases of the distribution, Linux Mint does not officially support this functionality. Instead users are advised to backup their data, perform a fresh install of the current stable version and then restore their data. Why has the team decided to forgo this option and are there any plans to include official support for in-place upgrades in the future?