Since the introduction of Unity as the default Ubuntu desktop, there have been both supporters and naysayers, who have debated the long-term viability of the technology. I will admit that it took me a short period to become comfortable with Unity, but ultimately found that I liked it and was even more productive relative to my work in the Linux environment. However, as of late, I have seen a number of technical news articles promoting Cinnamon.
Cinnamon is a desktop environment developed by the folks who have brought us Linux Mint. For me, Cinnamon is a replacement for Unity and provides for a Gnome 2.x desktop experience. Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME Shell, initially developed by Linux Mint. It attempts to provide a more traditional user environment based on the desktop metaphor, like GNOME 2. Cinnamon uses Muffin, a fork of the GNOME 3 window manager Mutter, as its window manager from Cinnamon 1.2 onwards.
Cinnamon is feature rich and provides many features, including the following:
- Desktop effects, including animations and transition effects
- 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
- Settings editor for easy customization. It can customize:
Cinnamon can be installed under Ubuntu 12.04 by using the associated PPA. In a terminal issue the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cinnamon
Overall, I am very happy with Cinnamon under Ubuntu 12.04. I suspect that I will retain this desktop for a while.