The release candidates of Cinnamon and MATE editions of Linux Mint 17.1 ‘Rebecca’ have passed quality testing and approved for release, according to Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre.
The two RCs should be available by November 16, 2014.
Although technically still a beta version, a release candidate is considered stable since all product features have been designed, coded and tested through one or more beta cycles with no known showstopper bugs (source: Wikipedia).
Release candidate versions are usually offered to all members of the public unlike beta versions that are restricted to developers.
As best as I know, Linux Mint 17.1 uses kernel 3.13.0-37.
Praise is already starting to come in from early adopters of Linux Mint 17.1 beta and release candidates.
Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint 17.1 features the new Cinnamon 2.4 desktop, of which an early version was released as a preview in the Romeo section of the Linux Mint 17 repository.
MATE edition of Linux Mint 17.1 provides out of the box support for Compiz window-manager (which comes pre-installed, pre-configured and which you can switch to with a click of a button).
All 17.1 editions (including upcoming KDE and Xfce editions) are said to feature several improvements on tools, system layers, artwork and other aspects which they have in common.
Expect the final ‘stable’ version of Linux Mint 17.1 to be out in about a fortnight, i.e. no later than late November or early December.
For the general public, after the release of the stable version the Linux Mint folks plan to provide a “safe and trivial” upgrade technique.
In other developments, on the LMDE desktop side, work is said to be continuing on Betsy; Debian Jessie is getting more stable, Cinnamon 2.4 is being ported to it and adapted to components that Linux Mint doesn’t use (GTK 3.14, Upower 0.99 and Systemd).
Folks, I’ve said it in the past and I will say it again – Linux Mint 17 is a superb offering and makes the transition from the Windows (or even Mac) to the Linux world smooth.