Linux Mint Debian Edition Released

Linux Mint has just released their new distribution: Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). It is a rolling distribution based off of Debian Testing instead of Ubuntu. Their goal is to have LMDE look identical to the main edition and to provide the same functionality while using Debian as a base. By being a rolling distribution, LMDE constantly receives updates instead of it being on a fixed version with set release dates. Below is the full announcement from their blog, minus links and references:

Today is very important for Linux Mint. It’s one day to remember in the history of our project as we’re about to maintain a new distribution, a rolling one, which promises to be faster, more responsive and on which we’re less reliant on upstream components. Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) comes with a Debian base, which we transformed into a live media and on top of which we added a new installer. It’s rougher and in some aspects not as user-friendly as our other editions, it’s very young but it will improve continuously and rapidly, and it brings us one step closer to a situation where we’re fully in control of the system without being impacted by upstream decisions.

LMDE also represents an alternative, with the same desktop, the same functionality, but a different base, and a difference in hardware support and compatibility. In the scope of our distribution, and our role, which is to provide a modern and elegant operating system, it’s important to give people a choice. We did it with many upstream components. The Software Manager gives users an easy choice when it comes to selecting their favorite applications. We maintain editions for alternative desktops such as KDE, Xfce, Fluxbox and LXDE. And we also provide a choice between 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. From a technical point of view, a package base is a huge part of an operating system. It makes the system using it a derivative of the distribution maintaining it, something that is both based and fully compatible with it. From a user and project point of view though, this is yet another component, and like any other, it can be changed and replaced with alternatives. The Linux Mint desktop which you’ve come to enjoy on top of an Ubuntu base, can be ported to alternative package bases. By the past, I expressed my enthusiasm about this and my interest in experimenting with Debian, Fedora and our own independent base. Work started on Debian about 3 years ago, it was hesitant and we didn’t have the resources to make it a priority. After the release of Linux Mint 9 LTS, we decided to set some time aside for this project, and we’re now proud to announce that Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is out, and available for download!

Welcome to Linux Mint Debian. I’d like to thank all the testers and our development team, Ikey Doherty in particular, for the work that they put in it. I personally had a lot of fun working on this project, and I hope you’ll enjoy this new distribution.


Gene Liverman is a Systems Administrator of *nix and VMware at a university.


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Bob in Toronto's picture

The true beauty of using GNU/Linux systems is that you can take a look at the pros and cons of hundreds of distros and use which ever one you want...and thanks to "live CD's", you can try before you buy.

On my main desktop I'm running Ubuntu Studio Edition 8.10 but have run Linux Mint on various other machines...LM 8 on my older Thinkpad notebook and LM8 Fluxbox an old PII 450 that I'll probably just put onto Freecycle whenever I get the energy. Also back awhile ago I did an LM XFCE install on someone's somewhat older P4 laptop.

I haven't yet done the "rolling release" thing, but do find the idea intriguing. I'm doing a massive backup of a 500 GB HD on my desktop to a D-Link NAS Box...and my thoughts are to give LMDE a shot on this machine once I'm done. Just find that I'm getting a little tired of dealing with PPA's for new software releases...and LMDE has been getting some pretty good reviews online and from listening to a few Linux podcasts.

I agree

ormey2000's picture

That if the guys at Mint can make a Debian based distro as user-friendly as Ubuntu, then that would be excellent but then begs the question why do we need Ubuntu ?

Rolling vs. Fixed Release

Gene Liverman's picture

I got to thinking about the whole rolling release thing and was questioning how stable it might be when I realized that one of the most stable distros I have used is actually a rolling release too. That distro is Gentoo. Rolling vs. Fixed is way less important when it comes to stability than the repo that is pulled from. Just some food for thought.

Gene Liverman is a Systems Administrator of *nix and VMware at a university.

Why not?

Barista Uno's picture

Obviously there are pros and cons to a "rolling" release as there are to one that hews to a six-month cycle. But Linux Mint has demonstrated time and again that it can combine stability, user-friendliness and desktop polish in a way that many Linux users wish they could see in Ubuntu. Linux Mint that dares to veer away from Ubuntu and embrace the Debian way - why not? I shall certainly try LMDE out.

Some merit

gumBO's picture

Being a Linux Mint user now for some two years, I am ok with the fixed/frozen release schedule. My data is portable enough that I can easily restore it from things such as email exports out of Thunderbird (or if using Gmail - it's in the Cloud), cloned VDI's out of VirtualBox, saved DEB installs, scripts, Bookmark settings out of Firefox etc, the rest of my data is stored on USB drives, usually never on the main hard drive itself.

Wiping out a LM build for a new one is not an issue, and I can bring my system back up to speed within an hour or two. I actually prefer this method - because it enables me to undertake good archival and restoration practices and develop confidence in working with Linux Mint, and also reinitialises the operating system on the hardware, just in case the previous LM build was starting to get a bit hairy as it tends to do over time.

In saying that, there is merit with the new LMDE build, and I too will be very interested in its development.

A winner

Neil's picture

I will be very keen to try this out. I've tried Mint and other Ubuntu based distribuions out, and I just don't like them, mainly becase Ubuntu deviates too far from the openess of Debian (quite frankly, I'm sick of derivations of Ubuntu) and because of the focus on Gnome, which is not my preferred desktop. Sure, Mint provides other editions, but these are secondary.

I use sidux which has a rolling release. It maintains that it is bleeding edge, but, in 2 years, I have never had a problem with it, either in stability or in updating. Even if there were the occasional problems, the joy of being able to update easily would outweigh any potential problems. Not to have to worry about "upgrading" is one of the greatest features available.

So, I'll be watching this new edition of Mint very closely, I think it will be a winner!

The toy for rich kids...

Anonymous's picture

The toy for rich kids... Those f..ckers don't think about people who cannot afford 100MB downloads each week, who need modern free programs without bugs too.


Gene Liverman's picture

Does your ISP limit your data usage? I have not heard of any home internet connections with data limits on it...

Gene Liverman is a Systems Administrator of *nix and VMware at a university.

You should get out

akaSassinak's picture

You should get out's called capping, but you usually get at least 20G for the month...that's should be plenty if you don't "live" online.

...and the big deal is?

Gene Liverman's picture

100MB / week = ~400MB / month. By your estimate, the average person gets ~20480MB / month. That means that these updates would be less than 2% of the allotted data usage. I guess I am just not seeing what the big deal is. I am on Charter Cable and just looked up what they cap us at. They allow, on average, 15GB per month. I have frequently run two computers with heavy usage of World of Warcraft, 3+ machines pulling normal updates, web usage, Netflix, and usually one or more VM's pulling updates. All that plus downloading the ISOs for installs or doing internet-based installs of Ubuntu and have NEVER been notified of excessive usage. Oh, I also tend to seed out any ISO that I get via torrent until my sharing ratio gets to 1.5-2.

Who knows, maybe I am just lucky...

Gene Liverman is a Systems Administrator of *nix and VMware at a university.

RE: toys for rich kids

akaSassinak's picture

Exactly, so I don't see why "anonymouse" got his panties all tied up about. Maybe he can't afford the bandwidth because he's already broke from all the crap licenses he has to pay just to secure his poor boy's box. By the title of his post, Linux is now considered "up there", it seems. Not bad ;)

About time!

Michael Lenox's picture

I have been using Ubuntu/Mint for 3 years, and with every new release Ubuntu keeps having problems. Debian in the meantime will release the stable version when they are darn well sure it is stable. Debian Testing is a nice way to have an always up-to-date Operating System and applications without reinstalling every six months! True, LMDE will not have the same hardware compatibility as Ubuntu, but lets be honest, LMDE is for geeks, not the average computer users! For them, they should use the main version.

Personally, I am a little tired of having to reinstall the OS just to be up to date with the latest technologies. Perhaps that is the greatest benefit to using Windows, the service packs. lol Just my two cents worth, spend it wisely!

Rolling releases are

Chaniyth's picture

Rolling releases are generally stable, because packages generally ARE tested before put into the repositories. There is no need to be paranoid about installing Linux Mint Debian. Example: i've been using Arch Linux since 2007 which is a rolling release and the system hardly ever breaks let alone any major stability issues. When it comes to the statements by the Linux Mint Team, if anything, the Pros and Con's section was put there by the Linux Mint team kind of like a disclaimer of sorts.

It's not saying your system will definately break beyond repair, no it's simply saying "no one's perfect". Not even a "stable" non-rolling release is without flaws.

So I say, be bold, be brave and give it a try, you just might like the distro! At least it's more Debian-based (100%) than Ubuntu. Ubuntu is NOT compatible with Debian at all!

Not sure

Doug.Roberts's picture

I'm not sure what to think about this, as a current Linux Mint 9 user.

From the Mint blog FAQ, I guess the crux issue for me is this:

4. How does LMDE compare to the Ubuntu-based editions?


  • You don’t need to ever re-install the system. New versions of software and updates are continuously brought to you.
  • It’s faster and more responsive than Ubuntu-based editions.


  • Although it’s using Romeo for unstable packages, LMDE continuously changes as it receives updates and new software. Compared to a frozen version of Linux Mint which changes very little once it’s publicly released, it’s not as stable. Things are likely to break more often but fixes can also come quicker. For this reason, LMDE requires a deeper knowledge and experience with Linux, dpkg and APT.
  • Debian is a less user-friendly/desktop-ready base than Ubuntu. Expect some rough edges.

For me, Ubuntu has hit the right balance of regular upgrades and stability. I really don't like the idea of having a less-stable system from using Romeo. If I wanted an unstable distro, I'd use the Ubuntu 6-month testing ones.

The concept of a rolling distro that will never need reinstalling is attractive, but not at the expense of stability and ease of use. I don't think having a "rough around the edges" distribution is going to appeal to the masses.


not agreed

munchkin's picture

It's based on Debian testing. Ubuntu is based on Debian unstable. So don't worry about stability, it should be more stable.


Gene Liverman's picture


I agree with you totally. One of the appeals of using Ubuntu has been that it caters to the desktop user. I am not sure how well LMDE will do being based off of a "less user-friendly/desktop-ready base than Ubuntu." I will defiantly be keeping my eye on it though.


Gene Liverman is a Systems Administrator of *nix and VMware at a university.

I cannot agree with you

Anonymous's picture

I cannot agree with you :D

Speaking of user friendliness and stability, the original Linux Mint beats Ubuntu hands down. So saying "less user-friendly/desktop-ready base than Ubuntu." is really subjective.

Brand blindness aside, Linux Mint have really overtake Ubuntu in terms of user friendliness.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a Linux Mint user.

Userfriendlyness is Mint thing, not Ubuntu thing

Dipesh's picture

I tried Linux Mint a couple of times and was impressed with everything working out-of-the-box. But I stopped using it for the same reason I stopped using Ubuntu, i.e. bloat.

If Mint guys can make Debian based distro as user-friendly as Ubuntu based distro (which I think they can) and at the same time keep it bloat free (I am keeping my fingers crossed), then this is going to be a success.

By the way, I used Debian Testing as my main OS and it will be a dream come true if Mint guys can pep it up without messing it up.