Linux Mint 17.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2019. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use.
Software repositories are very important. We use them all the time when installing new software or performing updates. They need to be fast and reliable. This was a major point of focus in the development of Linux Mint 17.3.
Software repositories are mirrored (i.e. duplicated on many servers) all over the World. The main goal of the Software Sources configuration tool is to make it easy to find the best available mirror for you; one that is:
- Reliable and fully up to date
- Fast and responsive
To find the fastest mirrors, the Software Sources tool now detects your location and starts its speed tests with mirrors near you.
The Software Sources tool tests mirrors near you, with better accuracy than before and can now detect mirrors which are not up to date.
Mirrors from your own country are tested first, then from neighbouring countries and finally from your sub-region and region of the World.
Say you live in the Netherlands, mirrors are tested in this order: Dutch mirrors first, then Belgian and German mirrors, Western European mirrors next, and then finally mirrors from all over Europe.
Speed tests are also much more accurate than before. They're performed one after another and on larger files (to get more precision while measuring speed).
Finally, the Software Sources tool is more reliable than before:
- Even if a mirror is working correctly, the tool is now able to detect if its content is not up to date.
- PPA (Personal Package Archives) are now tested for compatibility.
The Update Manager now also performs more checks than before.
It warns you if the mirror you're using is not up to date:
It prevents you from damaging the system if that mirror (or your local cache) is corrupted:
And it shows a little hint even when everything is fine if faster mirrors are available:
The local cache used to be refreshed every 30 minutes. It is now refreshed 10 minutes after you log in, and every 2 hours then after. Both settings are configurable.
The Driver Manager is more robust than before. It refreshes the cache before looking for drivers and reports update and installation errors if appropriate.
Drivers are now sorted by status and the Driver Manager now indicates if drivers are Open Source or not.
The Driver Manager now also loads much faster and detects drivers in the background.
When a Broadcom chipset is detected, along with the recommended Broadcom STA drivers, the Driver Manager now also lists B43 installers (not that these options do require an Ethernet connection).