Ada, Barbara, Bea, Bianca and Cassandra
by clem 29

The 5 first Linux Mint releases are coming back from Oblivion!

The following ISOs were added to the archive and are being synced to all our mirrors:

  • Linux Mint 1.0 BETA-007 “Ada”
  • Linux Mint 2.0 “Barbara”
  • Linux Mint 2.1 “Bea”
  • Linux Mint 2.2 “Bianca”, available with GNOME, KDE and as a “Light” edition.
  • Linux Mint 3.0 “Cassandra”


If you’re thinking of downloading them, please be aware of the following shortcomings:

  • These ISOs are added for historical purpose and nostalgia.
  • Prior to version 2.2 we are in the realm of “personal tinkering”, Linux Mint at that time isn’t yet established as a serious distribution. It has no ambition and no allocated resources. You can see Ubuntu logos in 1.0, 2.0 and even 2.1, branding isn’t complete, and there is little attention to details.
  • None of these ISO would pass QA nowadays. What was expected of them then was very different at the time.
  • Only i386 is supported.
  • The repositories for these releases are no longer available.
  • The installer in Linux Mint 1.0 Ada never even met the standards set by 1.0 itself (which is why it was called BETA). We do not recommend you install 1.0 anywhere than in a virtual machine.

Linux Mint 1.0 BETA “Ada”


Linux Mint 1.0 BETA “Ada”

The very first version of Linux Mint used KDE. It was designed for myself, using the desktop environment I was using at the time, named after the first programming language I had learnt and featuring a home-made installer which I considered so buggy I wouldn’t even call “Ada” stable. So Linux Mint 1.0 stayed in “BETA” for that reason…. and yes, it is a scrolling RSS feed underneath the bottom panel, I know… please don’t comment about that :)

From the very beginning Linux Mint was based on Ubuntu. Although Ubuntu was pretty new at the time (2 years old with 4 releases out) it was already considered the best distribution out there. Linux desktop distributions weren’t easy to use, extremely rough around the edges and a lot of things which work out of the box now didn’t work at all then. Mandrake first contributed to set the bar high and was eventually followed by Ubuntu, which in 2006 was pretty much at the top and had set the bar higher.

Linux Mint 2.0 “Barbara”


Linux Mint 2.0 “Barbara”

In Linux Mint 2.0, although I was still tinkering, I started modifying things based not on what I’d want, but on what people needed.

I switched to GNOME and replaced the installer with Ubiquity. Multimedia codecs were also added including Flash, Java, MP3 and DVD playback etc…

Although codecs were a small detail in the history of Linux Mint, it was tedious to install them and make them work properly at the time, so “Barbara” attracted a lot of people for that specific reason and Linux Mint’s reputation grew a little bit too fast as “Ubuntu + codecs” (which was true in the case of Barbara). This made Linux Mint very popular very fast, but for the wrong reasons (even nowadays a lot of Linux users who don’t use Linux Mint tend to think we include nVidia/ATI drivers for instance).

 Linux Mint 2.1 “Bea”


Linux Mint 2.1 “Bea”

In Linux Mint 2.1, we start understanding the fact that shipping Ubuntu branding is an issue. There is no proper idea of what it should look like but Ubuntu branding is removed a bit.

This release is also the first to focus on ease of use and comfort. It adds quick-access to terminal and common places, the ability to delete files without sending them to trash etc.. and it introduces new tools such as mintWifi (which worked hand in hand with ndiswrapper and ndisgtk to ease installation of Wifi devices using Windows drivers.. this was a huge issue at the time) and mintDesktop (which made it easier to configure some aspects of GNOME).

Linux Mint 2.2 “Bianca”


Linux Mint 2.2 “Bianca”

In Linux Mint 2.2 “Bianca” things started to get a little more serious. By then the project was more than just a hobby and Linux Mint started considering itself a distribution, backed with a growing community.

Bianca is the first release which looks “Minty”. It adopts the bottom panel layout and introduces mintMenu, which we still regard as the best menu out there (and from which we intend to make the Cinnamon menu learn a little).

This release also introduced two tools which disappeared since:

  • mintConfig brought a control center.
  • mintDisk brought auto-mount and read/write NTFS support.

These two tools gave a significant edge to Linux Mint. They were later removed as GNOME shipped its own control center and the situation in regards to NTFS got much better in Linux since.

Linux Mint 3.0 “Cassandra”


Linux Mint 3.0 “Cassandra”

Linux Mint 3.0 “Cassandra” is the first release to use the official Linux Mint logo.

It introduced mintInstall and its web frontend called the “Software Portal”. The idea of a Software Manager was inspired by the work done by PCBSD and mobile OS such as iOS. It was later widely followed and all major distros now ship their own solutions.

29 thoughts on “Ada, Barbara, Bea, Bianca and Cassandra

  1. Rüssel Jan 17,2014 13:53

    Hello Clem, I am happy to read that you still regard MintMenu as the best menu out there. For me it was one of the best features in earlier Linux Mint versions and one of the main reasons to use Linux Mint and to continue using it. Since making the switch to Cinnamon I’m missing the MintMenu. Even in Mate the complete functionality of the Menu is not there.

    • Monsta Jan 18,2014 09:51

      Why do you think it’s not complete in MATE? Is anything missing compared to mintMenu in GNOME?

      • Rüssel Jan 18,2014 12:16

        You cannot add user-defined places booksmarks to the menu in Mate. Like, for example, you have preconfigured “Computer, Personal Folder, Network, Desktop, Trash” in the places menu. Then you would like to change that to “Computer, Personal Folder, Downloads, Pictures”. That is impossible. The settings seem to be there, but as soon as you chose your customized settings, they do not work and disappear immediately.
        Sorry for rough English translation. My MintMenu is in a different language.

  2. Anand Jan 17,2014 19:10

    Interesting to read :-) Now thats called real evolution :-) You must be proud that from humble beginnings, you / team have grown well and made a mark on the distro-sphere. I feel that working closely with community / user base and sincere urge to solve user problems set Mint apart from other projects. We’re ever grateful for the hard work you all put in. Thanks.

  3. Monsta Jan 18,2014 08:45

    Wow, mintMenu is THAT old. I didn’t know this. Its first version already looks nice BTW :)

    • Killer de Bug Jan 19,2014 15:53

      The best Mint Menu came with Julia… It was amazing…

      • Rüssel Jan 19,2014 19:05

        Great stuff. Thanks for the link, Killer de Bug.
        I love Julia.
        Using Mint from Helena to Petra, Julia really was a highlight among the very good other releases. I still worked with her for some months after the repos shut down.

        • clem Jan 19,2014 20:31

          These mintMenu features you pointed out are among the ones we really want to port to Cinnamon btw.

      • Monsta Jan 20,2014 08:50

        Julia was my first Mint, when I switched from OpenSUSE (with KDE3) to Mint 10. I think it was the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011… I immediately liked mintMenu (and still like it and use it quite often).

        • Killer de Bug Jan 20,2014 09:42

          I first started with Mint 5 Elysia then I got 8 9 10. I stuck with Julia until EOL and then switch to LMDE.
          Like Rüssel I also think it was the best release. This nice menu, the Mint-X theme…
          Since Maya, the quality is back and Linux Mint is one of the best distro. But the very short support time is problematic, that’s why LMDE is better in my opinion.

          Clem, I’m glad to hear that Mint Menu will be back eventually. ;)

          Monsta, I’m glad you switched from OpenSUSE to Mint. Your experience and your help to the community is well appreciated!

          • Monsta Jan 20,2014 10:34

            Back when I switched to Mint, I knew virtually nothing about Ubuntu or Debian. I think what really helped to learn was the installation of LMDE in August 2011. (I still run that system; it survived all the update packs since then.)

  4. kneekoo Jan 19,2014 03:42

    Very nice! :D

    @Clem: I thought you would advertise LMRO for these oldies, but I guess I’ll have to finish my work on it before showing it to everyone. :) At that point I would really appreciate some feedback.

  5. tux-sven Jan 20,2014 16:57

    Yes I also agree, Mint 10 Julia (gnome2) was the best release. I also asked Arne Exton to make an upgraded release of it, witch he really did. A newer kernel and FF and TBird. I still have them boot-able on my 2 computers, they are just lovely. Now-days the download repositories does not exist any more so it’s not possible to install any further programs. But I still like to use LM10 Julia for some tasks sometimes…because she is so good :)

  6. twodogs Jan 24,2014 03:56

    I still have the cd’s that I originally burned these iso’s on! Awesome!

  7. kenetics Jan 26,2014 14:57

    I built a small computer back in ’06 just to run Linux. Barbara was the first one I installed on it. All ran well, but I was especially fond of Cassandra – she was quite a gal.;) Now running Mint 16 Cinnamon and Xfce; the best yet!

  8. Washington Jan 26,2014 23:38

    Katya was my first linux mint, i really like it a lot.

  9. Wagner Jan 30,2014 16:05

    I’ve been using Linux Mint since version 3.0.
    It’s nice to see the principles – elegance, freedom and simplicity – in all version since then.
    Congratulations and thank you!

  10. sychedelix Feb 14,2014 13:48

    Using GNU/Linux mint since Nadia that’s pretty cool to know some history :D

  11. Tony Genco Feb 15,2014 19:19

    I joined you at Nadia, then switched back to Ubuntu straight. The Mint distro is powerful. It just works. I wanted more color on my screen as I have a problem distinguishing light greys on white or lime green. At that time, you did not have the options to give the users the opportunity to change the desktop a lot. My HTPC downstairs still is running 13.04, but up here in my office, after a bug attacked my Ubuntu installation, I came back to try Petra. It is fantastic! My earlier thoughts about Mint have vanished. This is a perfectly wonderful distribution.

  12. Hiram Abiff Mar 4,2014 20:25

    Strangely the wi fi driver built in to Linux Mint 5 “Elyssa” runs on my 3 yr old Dell Inspiron 1545 whereas the drivers are extra in Mints 10 to 16!

  13. Woodcat Mar 8,2014 06:16

    Great article. I have nothing but good memories of Mint 3.0. It was the first distro which actually stick to my PC and managed displace Windows.
    With every new release Mint is getting better and better!
    Thank you!

  14. Ezequiel Ortiz Rossner Apr 2,2014 18:51

    I started using (Linux) ubuntu since 2007, then in 2009 I discovered Linuxmint and moved to Helena (LTS), then one year later from installing helena I went distro hopping trying to explore all the wonders linux world had to offer, then from 2012 to 2013 I settled with sabayon for a while, then I read LMDE 2014 was released and I installed it, IMHO it is not so different to the LM main edition, in fact it is more responsive and I like the semi-rolling feature so that I do not have to reinstall my OS again, so newbies do not fear LMDE and try it! Thanks to Clem and Team for this awesome distro and although I was one of the users that did not wanted LM to abandon it’s ubuntu base and go debian, I now see that going Debian way is the future!

  15. Ezequiel Ortiz Rossner Apr 2,2014 18:56

    I forgot to say I’m using LMDE 201403 MATE 64bit.

  16. LowTekk Apr 6,2014 10:18

    It’s fascinating to see the first five releases of Linux Mint. Once I get a wireless bridge I ordered and reload my machine, I’ll have to play with them in VirtualBox.

    Anyway, I migrated to Katya when Ubuntu dropped Gnome 2 support and stayed with Linux Mint for 4 years. These days however, I’m unable to run it becuase my current machine, an Inspiron 1525 has an Intel 965 Express chipset, which has been problematic in Mint Since Nadia. I’m deeply saddened that my powerhouse of a desktop cannot be run in the house I live in, but until I can run it again, Mint must remain a fond memory. That said, I’m eternally grateful, Clem, for all your hard work on Linux Mint. Indeed, the efforts of the Mint team in supporting the continuing development of the MATE desktop have not only made my life considerably easier, but have been a comfort when the Gnome team continues its descent into the mouth of madness and KDE remains just a little too buggy for me to completely trust. MATE just WORKS every time, without crashes, compatibility issues, or slowdowns. Now it doesn’t matter which distro I migrate to; as long as MATE remains available, there’s a piece of Mint running on my machine. I salute you, Clem.

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