June has begun and Linux Mint has just published its monthly newsletter not for this month, but for the previous one, since as we all know, it not only collects the news in the development of the system and the project, it also does the same with the economic contributions received throughout this last section.
All in all, what most interests us in these parts are the novelties and of these there are really only a couple to comment on, although both have the common denominator of XAppLinux Mint’s own applications to cover some of the basic needs of the three official flavors, Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.
The first of these innovations is the replacement of Blueberry by Blueman or, better said, the abandonment of Blueberry as an alternative to the second, due to its dependence on GNOME Bluetooth and not being feasible as a solution for the three Linux Mint desktops. This change also means the abandonment of GNOME Bluetooth and the “sponsorship” of Blueman.
This is how Clement Lefebvre explains it:
A long time ago, Linux Mint used GNOME Bluetooth, a utility that worked well on many desktops.
After losing its interface to become part of the GNOME control center, GNOME Bluetooth now only worked in GNOME. We need a solution for Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. It didn’t make sense for each desktop to develop its own Bluetooth tool, and we didn’t want to write an entire Bluetooth application from scratch, so we wrote an XApp to bring back the missing interface that had been removed.
This XApp was called Blueberry and it was just that, an interface for GNOME Bluetooth. This allowed us to continue to use GNOME Bluetooth on many desktops over the last 7 years.
Blueberry was great because it fixed the problem, but also because it didn’t do much and had a simple UI. For most people it was perfect. When that wasn’t enough, we recommended another tool called Blueman, which offered more features.
As of version 42, GNOME Bluetooth is no longer supported by Blueberry. Blueberry would need significant changes to make it work. There’s also frustration upstream from the GNOME Bluetooth development team as they just don’t want users from other non-GNOME desktops, so Blueberry will probably be discontinued.
Blueman, on the other hand, welcomes users from all desktop environments. It is not based on GNOME Bluetooth. It is a GTK interface to the Bluez Bluetooth stack.
In short, a new brush between Linux Mint and GNOME favors the change of the Bluetooth interface and as a result, an XApp disappears from the scene… But a new one appears, and it is not just any one or something that comes out of nowhere, but the timeshift backup manager, which the distribution had already implemented as, vlaga the redundancy, system recovery system. Lefebvre also has some comments about it:
Thanks to Timeshift, Linux Mint has been able to come up with a solid update strategy and a very clear message: take snapshots, apply all updates.
Timeshift was created and maintained by a very talented developer named Tony George. […] Unfortunately, he had to stop developing Timeshift to focus on his other projects. We contacted him to see how we could help and the decision was made to take over maintenance.
Ergo, Timeshift becomes a new Linux Mint XApp… and any other distribution, presumably, being a free software package that has always been available throughout the GNU/Linux arc. However, at the moment, none offer integration at the level of Linux Mint.
By the way: as things stand, but also as they have been, someone may be wondering what will happen to Linux Mint’s Firefox, now that Ubuntu only serves the app as Snap, and given the drama with Chromium… Well, nothing is going to happen, because in fact it has already happened.
Linux Mint has been collaborating with Mozilla for a long time to distribute its “own” Firefox and already in the latest version of the distro, Linux Mint 20.3, it was done that way. Therefore, nothing indicates that the next Linux Mint 21, the derivative of Ubuntu 22, .04 LTS, will have to be different.