Cinnamon Desktop: Breaks with GNOME, finds beefed-up Nemo

It's all a bit more Windowsy than its ancestors


Review The Cinnamon Desktop project recently released version 2, a major overhaul of the desktop environment that's best known as the default option for Linux Mint's flagship release.

Cinnamon 2.0 will be part of Linux Mint 16, "Petra", scheduled for release towards the end of November. The team behind Cinnamon plans to backport the 2.0 release for the Debian edition of Mint, as well as most recent LTS release: Linux Mint 13.

But the really big news in Cinnamon 2.0 is it should now be much easier to get the desktop running in any distro thanks to the fact that it's now independent of GNOME 3.

Cinnamon is still built on top of familiar GNOME technologies like GTK, but it no longer requires GNOME itself to be installed. Instead, Cinnamon 2.0 uses its own backend services and libraries to do the heavy lifting.

Like Ubuntu's Unity desktop, Cinnamon began life as an alternative interface for GNOME 3. Because GNOME 3 changes considerably with each six-month release, Cinnamon 1.x releases had to be built against specific versions of GNOME.

That mean, for example, Cinnamon 1.8 that shipped with Mint 15 was designed specifically to run atop GNOME 3.6. That tight coupling meant while it worked great in Linux Mint 15, it was - to say the least - a challenge to get it running on other distributions.

cinnamon2_windowsnapping3

Inspired by Microsoft's Xbox One - Snapped windows in action (click to enlarge)

Cinnamon 2.0 solves that by swapping out all the GNOME 3 guts for its own homegrown tools (the one exception being the Bluetooth daemon, which is still the GNOME 3 version). That makes Cinnamon more portable, which is great for users, but it also frees the developers to innovate and create new features without worrying about how they will be affected by future changes in GNOME.

Indeed, the fruits of the move away from GNOME tools to the new Cinnamon backend can already be seen. As lead developer Clement Lefebvre put it when he announced the new Cinnamon 2.0: "Some of the new features in Cinnamon 2.0 would not have been possible without [custom tools]."

He adds that from now on: "If a new feature requires changes across multiple components of the desktop, the team is no longer restricted by the limitation or the design of the GNOME backend components."

In other words, the future of the Cinnamon desktop is no longer bound to the future of GNOME 3.

If you're on Ubuntu or Mint there's a PPA available for Cinnamon 2.0. I also installed that in Fedora without difficulty.

Based on my testing I would suggest going with Fedora, Mint or Ubuntu 13.04. The just-released Ubuntu 13.10 did not play nicely with Cinnamon 2.0. Or at least, it doesn't play nicely alongside Unity, which I wasn't able to use again until I had un-installed Cinnamon 2.0.

What else is there and what do you get with your new homegrown Cinnamon backend?

For starters, you get some much improved user- and group-management tools and several new features for Nemo, Cinnamon's default file browser.

Next page: The Xbox factor

Other stories you might like

  • Meet Wizard Spider, the multimillion-dollar gang behind Conti, Ryuk malware
    Russia-linked crime-as-a-service crew is rich, professional – and investing in R&D

    Analysis Wizard Spider, the Russia-linked crew behind high-profile malware Conti, Ryuk and Trickbot, has grown over the past five years into a multimillion-dollar organization that has built a corporate-like operating model, a year-long study has found.

    In a technical report this week, the folks at Prodaft, which has been tracking the cybercrime gang since 2021, outlined its own findings on Wizard Spider, supplemented by info that leaked about the Conti operation in February after the crooks publicly sided with Russia during the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

    What Prodaft found was a gang sitting on assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars funneled from multiple sophisticated malware variants. Wizard Spider, we're told, runs as a business with a complex network of subgroups and teams that target specific types of software, and has associations with other well-known miscreants, including those behind REvil and Qbot (also known as Qakbot or Pinkslipbot).

    Continue reading
  • Supreme Court urged to halt 'unconstitutional' Texas content-no-moderation law
    Everyone's entitled to a viewpoint but what's your viewpoint on what exactly is and isn't a viewpoint?

    A coalition of advocacy groups on Tuesday asked the US Supreme Court to block Texas' social media law HB 20 after the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week lifted a preliminary injunction that had kept it from taking effect.

    The Lone Star State law, which forbids large social media platforms from moderating content that's "lawful-but-awful," as advocacy group the Center for Democracy and Technology puts it, was approved last September by Governor Greg Abbott (R). It was immediately challenged in court and the judge hearing the case imposed a preliminary injunction, preventing the legislation from being enforced, on the basis that the trade groups opposing it – NetChoice and CCIA – were likely to prevail.

    But that injunction was lifted on appeal. That case continues to be litigated, but thanks to the Fifth Circuit, HB 20 can be enforced even as its constitutionality remains in dispute, hence the coalition's application [PDF] this month to the Supreme Court.

    Continue reading
  • How these crooks backdoor online shops and siphon victims' credit card info
    FBI and co blow lid off latest PHP tampering scam

    The FBI and its friends have warned businesses of crooks scraping people's credit-card details from tampered payment pages on compromised websites.

    It's an age-old problem: someone breaks into your online store and alters the code so that as your customers enter their info, copies of their data is siphoned to fraudsters to exploit. The Feds this week have detailed one such effort that reared its head lately.

    As early as September 2020, we're told, miscreants compromised at least one American company's vulnerable website from three IP addresses: 80[.]249.207.19, 80[.]82.64.211 and 80[.]249.206.197. The intruders modified the web script TempOrders.php in an attempt to inject malicious code into the checkout.php page.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022