Back in September, we told you some interesting Linux Mint news -- version 18.3 would be named "Sylvia." That is hardly the most exciting recent Mint news, however. Actually, the bombshell that the operating system would be abandoning KDE was far more intriguing. While some people will mourn Linux Mint KDE, I certainly won't. Quite frankly, it should never have existed in the first place as it fragments the user experience, but I digress.
If you are a fan of Mint KDE, don't panic -- there is still one more release featuring the desktop environment. Yeah, the upcoming 18.3 "Sylvia" will have a KDE version. Today Linux Mint 18.3 BETA sees release, but it is only a Cinnamon and Mate affair -- for now. Unfortunately, the Mint team picked a bad day to release the beta as it will surely be overshadowed by the superior Fedora 27 which was released earlier today too.
If you are a fan of Linux Mint, you will surely be excited by version 18.3. The BETA features a redone software manager, refreshed backup tool, and an improved login screen. The operating system is still based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is wise for stability. It uses kernel 4.10 which isn't bleeding edge, but is fine. For desktop environments, Mate is at 1.18, while Cinnamon sits at 3.6.
"The Software Manager is now also much lighter and faster than before. It no longer uses Webkit, browsing categories and apps is almost immediate, and it launches 3 times faster than before. The backend was ported to AptDaemon and the Software Manager now runs in user mode. Consequently you do not need to enter any passwords to browse applications, and if you enter a password to install or remove an app, the authentication is remembered for a little while so you can install or remove other apps without having to enter that password again." says Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint.
Lefebvre further says, "The Backup Tool was almost entirely rewritten. Everything was reviewed: Its features, the way it looks and the way it works. It is now dedicated to making a backup of your home directory, nothing less and nothing more. It saves all your files into a tar archive. When restoring a backup, files are restored in the exact same place they were before, with their original permissions and timestamps. It runs in user mode so you no longer need to enter your password."
If you want to try the Linux Mint 18.3 beta, you can use the below torrent links. While it is probably stable enough for daily use, it is never recommended to use pre-release software on a production machine. In other words, tread cautiously, friends.