Interview with Clem, the leader of Linux Mint

Clement Lefebvre (clem) is the founder of Linux Mint. I caught him on IRC and asked a couple of quick questions.

Do you think LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) could be the main Mint edition anytime soon?


Now that you have an LTS base for future releases do you feel it makes things easier for you? Can we expect Mint apps to be improved / developed much faster?

Yes, definitely but not only..
It also allows us to fix more things on the base itself. On a 6 months base, if say something was deviating too much from Ubuntu, required too much work, or was planned to be fixed upstream, we didn’t fix it, it wasn’t worth the effort. On a 2+ years base, it’s a different story, we’re much more demanding. It’s not only something we’ll use for much more time, it’s our ONLY base during that time.

Some users are worried that they’ll get older packages because of the decision to move to an LTS base. What would you say to them?

They’re right, they’ll get older packages than in Arch, Fedora, Ubuntu, but they’ll catch up every 2 years. Also, on things people care about (Firefox, common apps, DEs) we can backport easily. What’s static is what people don’t really care about like libs, stacks. Last but not least, 3rd party devs can target a 2 year base much better than an unstable, constantly moving 6 month cycle. Valve say can support Mint much better if it’s stable and changes base every 2 years.

What do you think about elementary OS?

Nothing much. They’re experimenting with UI trends that differ from ours so it’s interesting now and then to check them out to see what they’re doing. Similar to Mint, GNOME, Ubuntu and Pinyin they’re also a “product” project so they’re innovating and they’re interested in proper integration, so just as for the other projects, it’s interesting for us to learn from them whenever we can. We had a few contacts with them, talked design on a few occasions (LSB, filebrowser actions) and it’s gone well so far.

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