I know that there have been users who doubted whether Clement Lefebvre and his team would continue with the development of Linux Mint based directly on Debian. In case anyone had any questions, Clem posted today January's monthly note saying yes, in addition to LMDE 5 (Linux Mint Debian Edition 5) started development in January. For the most impatient, Lefebvre has said that they are close to launching a BETA version, but has not given any specific date.
If it has given other details, such as that LMDE 4 already had practically all the functions of the version based on Ubuntu, in this case Linux Mint 20.2. With LMDE 5 they will try to do the same, that is, the «backport» of functions of the main version (the one based on Ubuntu), but LMDE 5 will inherit the news of the Linux Mint 20.3 released earlier this year.
LMDE 5 will launch a beta soon
Work on LMDE 5 started in early January. LMDE 4 was already on par with the stacks of Mint, Xapp and Cinnamon introduced in 20.2. The patches we applied to Ubuntu were moved and the stacks updated to what was released in 20.3. The result is a bit disappointing because it looks and feels like Linux Mint 20.3. Beneath the surface, however, it has a Debian 11 base whose software is newer than Ubuntu 20.04 and which gives us a sneak peek at some of the challenges we will face in Linux Mint 21. It helps us prepare for that next release.
They are currently working on fixing a list of bugs they want to fix before moving on to bigger steps. Being based on Debian, you will use GNOME 3.38, none of the v40 or v41 that have been available for a long time, but being based on Bullseye, some internal components will be more recent. If all goes well, they should launch the beta version in the month of February.