Ever since Ubuntu came out with Unity I have been struggling with it. Not that it is particularly not userfriendly or so, it just somehow does not feel like “home”. As such I have switched back to Gnome 3, added some features but also that did not satisfy me. Maybe I am just getting picky with my increasing age.  ;)
So with the coming of Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) I switched back to Unity, somehow believing that even an old dog like me should be able to learn new tricks. It works for me, it does what it is supposed to, but still …

Cinnamon

Recently I learned about Cinnamon, a project of Linux Mint and somehow it appealed to me. This is how Cinnamon is described on Wikipedia:

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.

So today I installed Cinnamon following the instructions as provided in this blog post on LinuxBSDos.com. Installation itself is very simple. Firstly you add the repository for Cinnamon:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
Next you update the repositories
sudo aptitude update
Finally you install Cinnamon
sudo aptitude install cinnamon

Once installed you log out, change the desktop environment to Cinnamon and log back in and there you have it … Cinnamon. Usage is very self explanatory. The menu folds out nicely and going over the “sections” you get a listing of the items available.

Cinnamon: MenuOne thing I noticed, and liked, is the fact that some of the indicators that I had installed – like the VBox and weather indicator – also worked in this panel. Changing the settings can be done by clicking on the up arrow at the left of the bottom right icons.

Cinnamon: Settings MenuOnce opened you have the possibility to change several settings through a separate window.

Cinnamon: SettingsTo be honest: I haven’t “played” around with the settings much but was pleasantly surprised by the possibilities provided.

Add-ons

Additionally there are several applets, extensions and themes (already) available. Also these I haven’t tried out yet, but surely will over the coming weeks. Today I have installed two additional themes, an extension and two applets.

Themes

Installation of themes is quite simple. Download the theme of your liking and unzip the file into the ~/.themes directory if you are the only one using it or unzip it into /usr/share/themes for system wide implementation. I installed both ChocoLatte and Reality since I was looking for a theme that would (better) fit with my wallpaper. The Reality theme did the trick for me.

Cinnamon: Reality Theme

Applets

Since I had the weather and VirtualBox indicators already installed earlier I opted for the weather and VirtualBox Launcher applet. First thing I therefore did was to uninstall the weather and VirtualBox indicators.

Installation of an applet is quite simple. You download the file from the website, unzip and follow the instructions (at least that was the case for the applets I opted for) in the README file. If you are curious, the applets you are using are residing in your ~/.local/share/cinnamon/applets directory. If installation requires restarting Cinnamon, hold down Alt+F2 and enter the command “r” when so requested and Cinnamon will restart.

Weather Applet

Cinnamon: Weather Applet

VirtualBox Launcher Applet

Cinnamon: VirtualBox Launcher Applet

Extensions

Just like applets, extensions can simply be installed by downloading them and move them to the appropriate folder. For extensions this is the ~/.local/share/cinnamon/extensions folder. The extension I tried is the CoverflowAltTab extension.

Cinnamon: CoverflowAltTab Extension

Conclusion

All in all, so far I am pleased with Cinnamon. It felt like “home” from the start. It is, IMHO, very user friendly and very self explanatory in use. If you are not too pleased with Unity, why not give Cinnamon a try?

A final note

Cinnamon is not only available for Ubuntu or Ubuntu based distributions. For a complete listing of distributions for which Cinnamon is available, have a look at their download page.

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