Cinnamon 1.8 running on Linux Mint 15 (Olivia)
|Original author(s)||Linux Mint team|
|Developer(s)||Linux Mint team|
|Stable release||2.0 / 10 October 2013|
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2013)|
The Linux Mint development team was initially unsure about the future of the distribution after the release of GNOME 3. Its new interface, GNOME Shell, did not fit the design goals the team had in mind for Linux Mint, but there were initially no available alternatives. Linux Mint 11 "Katya" was released in May 2011 with the final release of GNOME 2, but it was clear that a better solution was needed, as GNOME Panel was no longer being developed. Therefore, the team set out to improve GNOME Shell so that it would fit Linux Mint's goals, and the result was the "Mint GNOME Shell Extensions" (MGSE). In the meantime, the MATE desktop environment was forked from GNOME 2. The Mint team decided to incorporate MATE into Linux Mint 12 "Lisa" alongside MGSE, to give users a choice whether to use the traditional GNOME 2 desktop or the GNOME 3-based MGSE.
However, MGSE fell short of expectations. Since GNOME Shell was going in a different direction than the Mint developers had in mind, it was clear that MGSE was not viable in the long run. In response to this problem, GNOME Shell was forked to create the Cinnamon project, allowing the Linux Mint developers better control over the development process and to implement their own vision of the GNOME interface for use in future releases of Linux Mint. The project was publicly announced on 2 January 2012 on the Linux Mint blog.
Cinnamon 1.8 was released on 5 May 2013. Gnome-Control-Center has been forked. It is now called Cinnamon-Control-Center and it combines Gnome-Control-Center and Cinnamon-Settings. Gnome-Screensaver has been also forked and is now called Cinnamon-Screensaver. Now there is possibility to install and update applets, extensions, desklets and themes through control-center instead of placing example themes to .themes folder. It also feature modified Nemo interface. Desklets that come with release are like Widgets.
Cinnamon 2.0 was released on 10 October 2013. From this version, Cinnamon is no longer a frontend on top of the GNOME desktop like Unity or GNOME Shell, but "an entire desktop environment". Cinnamon is still built on GNOME technologies and uses GTK+, but it no longer requires GNOME itself to be installed. Biggest changes in this release are improved edge-tiling, improved user management, configurable individual sound effects and performance improvements for full screen applications.
Cinnamon provides many features, including
- Desktop effects, including animations and transition effects;[clarification needed]
- A movable panel equipped with a main menu, launchers, a window list and the system tray;
- Various extensions;
- Applets that appear on the panel
- Overview with functions similar to that in GNOME Shell; and
- Settings editor for easy customization. It can customize:
- The panel
- The calendar
- Desktop effects
Cinnamon 1.6.7 Menu showing on Linux Mint Maya.
Cinnamon 1.6 showing a Alt-Tab thumbnails and window previews.
Cinnamon 1.6 showing a Notification Applet.
Cinnamon 1.8 showing Desklets.
New overview modes have been added to Cinnamon 1.4. These two modes are "Expo" and "Scale", which can be configured in Cinnamon Settings.
Cinnamon can be modified by themes, applets and extensions. Themes can customize the look of aspects of Cinnamon, including but not limited to the menu, panel, calendar and run dialog. Applets are icons or texts that appear on the panel. Five applets are shipped by default, and developers are free to create their own. A tutorial for creating simple applets is available. Extensions can modify the functionalities of Cinnamon, such as providing a dock or altering the look of the Alt-Tab window switcher.
Developers can upload their themes, applets and extension to Cinnamon's web page and let users download and rate.
Cinnamon is available in the Linux Mint 12 repositories, and is included in Linux Mint 13, 14 and 15 as one of the two possible choices of desktop environment, the other being MATE. It is also an optional user interface in Linux Mint Debian Edition Update Pack 4 respin.
Outside Linux Mint, Cinnamon is available for Ubuntu via a PPA, Fedora 18, openSUSE 12.1, Arch Linux, Gentoo, Pardus Linux, Manjaro Linux and Sabayon 8. It is the default desktop environment of Snowlinux, Cinnarch, Cr OS Linux and is expected to be adopted by Fusion Linux for version 16, though a release date is still pending.
Although still in the early stages of development, the reception of Cinnamon has been generally positive. Its supporters perceive it as more flexible and powerful than GNOME Shell while providing advanced features.
Controversy over use of outdated libraries
Cinnarch, a distro based on Arch Linux using Cinnamon as its desktop environment, announced that they will replace it with GNOME in order to stay close to upstream. A new version of the distribution was released on May 13, 2013, after the OS was rebranded as "Antergos". Clement Lefebvre commented in a forum thread that compatibility with newest libraries is important and desirable, but that in the face of frequent incompatible changes in GTK+ and GNOME libraries, the project is often forced to focus on staying compatible with older libraries used by most users. He expressed his concern over the lack of communication from Arch maintainers before the decision, which is necessary given the differing pace of adoption in various distributions:
3.8 isn't a priority for us because we're not exposed to it yet, if anyone needs it though our answer is likely to be "how can I help?". [...] My main point here is focus and priority. For GTK3.8 support to happen, when most of the dev. team uses 3.6 and GTK isn't backward compatible, the enabler/catalyst here are GTK3.8 users.
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