For those who may be interested the beta release for the new Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) v3 “Cindy” can be downloaded at: https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3629
Even though this is a beta release I'm going to install it on a separate partition and see what improvements have been made since LMDE v2. Should be interesting.
LMDE v3 "Cindy" is an OS project the Linux Mint development team uses to discover what would be necessary for Mint to move consistently forward if Ubuntu ever became unavailable.
LMDE is as similar as possible to the current Ubuntu based Linux Mint release, but without depending on Ubuntu packages in any form, instead using the latest Debian package base exclusively.
LMDE provides no point releases like the main Ubuntu based Linux Mint editions do, for example Linux Mint 18, 18.2 and 18.3. Other than bug fixes and security updates the Debian base packages stay the same. Nevertheless Mint specific and other desktop components are continually updated in LMDE, and when they're ready new and improved features are directly introduced into LMDE via the Mint Update utility.
Ubuntu based Linux Mint does not immediately receive new features such as these, but has them staged for inclusion in the next point release. Which means that LMDE users have new features available long before Ubuntu based Linux Mint users ever see them.
If this LMDE v3 beta works well I'll install the upcoming v3 release on this test machine along side Linux Mint 18.3 and give it a proper shakedown.