While many on the related blog post for the 21.1 BETA release announcement page laud the new look of several applications, I cannot help but feel such changes rob Linux Mint of its distinctive look and charm, taking Mint from its instantly recognizable desktop to something decidedly more generic and bland. I cannot fathom the reason for new sounds, either. I’m not certain the goals of making Mint more trendy and beautiful were achieved. Unless these refer to making it look more akin to Windows 11, which nemo’s new manila folders with blue highlighting echoes. The new, more vibrant colors of Windows 11 icons were also rightfully criticized as being poor choices, but Mint seems determined to follow in its footsteps. Good defaults matter, and I believe these UI changes are not.

That notwithstanding, the non-UI improvements everywhere are well justified and should make Linux Mint more comfortable for all to use. Flatpaks were rather inconvenient to use, and much work has gone into making those easier to manage. Especially exciting is the new ISO Verification Tool!