Upgrades in Linux Mint 22: Adoption of PipeWire and New Cadence for Linux Kernel

The next version of Linux Mint is set to include a number of modernization updates and will be based on Ubuntu 24.04 LTS.

Primarily, Linux Mint 22 will alter its default sound server to use Pipewire.

Most major Linux distributions have already adopted Pipewire. This technology provides a more streamlined and standardized approach to multimedia processing, is more resource-efficient, facilitates better integration between applications and hardware, and is compatible with software designed for other audio sound systems like PulseAudio, ALSA, etc.

Another substantial shift is the introduction of more timely updates for the Linux kernel.

Linux 5.15 was used by all Mint 21.x releases

The current Linux Mint 21.x series is based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and uses the “GA” kernel (the one Ubuntu 22.04 LTS was initially releases with) by default, i.e. Linux 5.15. Linux Mint 21 (released 2022) through Linux Mint 21.3 (released 2024) all use the same kernel series.

While Linux Mint users can install newer Linux kernels (the Ubuntu HWE stack) manually those updates are not rolled out automatically, so most don’t benefit. And a separate EDGE ISO has to be created to enable users with newer hardware to be able to install the distro at all.

Stability underpinned that approach, and it wasn’t without precedent. Ubuntu LTS releases used to default to the GA kernel unless users opted-in, but the distro swapped tack many moons ago and began to roll out HWE updates to all users, automatically.

It’s apparent that HWE kernels are now commonly utilized in Ubuntu LTS installations with minimal, if any, reported complications. In comparison, Mint’s existing kernel rhythm appears exceedingly cautious.

Therefore, an adjustment is required.

Linux Mint 22 will make new Linux kernel releases (specifically, the Ubuntu HWE stack) accessible to everyone. When Ubuntu 24.04 LTS has a point release, Linux Mint 22 users will also receive the equivalent kernel upgrade, alongside their other software updates.

This shift places the distribution on a more certain pathway for the future, allowing it to support newer hardware more quickly and ensures that its users can benefit from the most recent kernel features, performance adjustments, optimizations, and so on.

Those who prefer the General Availability kernel, which comes with 5 years of security updates, bug squashing, and other enhancements from Canonical, are free to stick with it.

Additional Updates in Linux Mint 22

Linux Mint 22 now supports the new Deb822 format via its Software Sources function. It also now facilitates JXL images through the Pix picture application. Despite attempts, Ubuntu 24.04 LTS is not equipped to support JXL files natively, which makes this feature addition by Mint quite significant.

The migration of GNOME Online Accounts (libgoa) to GTK4 restricts its usage by GTK3 apps.

To remedy this breakage Mint’s made a pair of distro-agnostic frontends to GNOME Online Accounts in both GTK4 and GTK3. These will ensure users (of any distro) are able continue to integration local apps with each other and with their preferred online/cloud service providers.

Finally, now that Thunderbird is a snap in Ubuntu 24.04 LTS (and the DEB version in the noble repos swapped for a snap transition package) Linux Mint 22 has taken on the role of packaging the esteemed e-mail client as a native DEB version.

In all, a nice set of buffs that add to the features previously revealed, which include a new Nemo Actions Organiser tool and a new IRC-based chat room app called Jargonaut to replace Hexchat whose development has ended.

Linux Mint 22 is due for release later this year.