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24 January 2012, 10:33

Cinnamon fork of GNOME Shell gets stable release

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Zoom Cinnamon now comes with Applets
Source: Cinnamon project
Version 1.2 of Cinnamon, the Linux Mint project's fork of the GNOME Shell, has been released and the APIs and desktop interface have been declared fully stable by Mint Founder Clement Lefebvre. Created last year to streamline the Mint developers' changes to the GNOME 3 environment, the Cinnamon fork brings familiar GNOME 2 design elements to the GNOME 3 shell. Among the enhancements in the stable version is easier customisation through a "Cinnamon Settings" tool which includes, for example, the ability to set the date format for the calendar applet and change panel launchers' icons.

The Settings tool is also the route to configuring Cinnamon applets, newly added in 1.2, which currently add support to the desktop for Accessibility, Recent Documents, Removable Drives, Trash and XRandR monitor control. Applets are an enhanced form of extension compared to GNOME 3 desktop extensions – Lefebvre says the developers' plan is that all panel components should be applets and dissuades other developers from writing extensions for anything but "advanced purposes".

The desktop now comes with a selection of three desktop layouts. The Traditional layout offers a single bar at the bottom of the screen with main menu, launcher, taskbar and system tray with applets, while the Flipped layout places that bar at the top of the screen. A Classic layout uses a top bar with main menu, launcher and system tray and a lower bar with task bar in a style more akin to GNOME 2. The main menu itself has been improved, so that, while searching, pressing enter launches the first item in the results, and it is now harder to accidentally make your results disappear by moving the mouse over the categories.

Cinnamon Theme settings
Zoom Cinnamon's theme settings
Source: Cinnamon project
The desktop now supports a range of animations and transition styles as part of its suite of desktop effects, which are configurable with the Settings tool. Beneath the desktop, there is a also a new compositing window manager, Muffin, itself a fork of the Mutter window manager. Other changes mean that Cinnamon is no longer compatible with GNOME 3 Shell themes, but it already has a number of its own themes available.

Source code and instructions how to install Cinnamon for Linux Mint 12, Ubuntu 11.10, Fedora 16, openSUSE 12.1, Arch Linux and Gentoo are available on Cinnamon Downloads page. Cinnamon is licensed under the GPLv2 or later.


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