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Install Linux Mint’s Cinnamon Desktop In Ubuntu

Posted In Linux - By Techtiplib on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 With 2 Comments

As anyone who has used Linux for any amount of time can tell you, one of its greatest strengths is in its customizability. You aren’t stuck with a preset icon theme, or window theme, or overall look and feel. If you want something else you can find thousands of options, download one of them, and install it. Just because your distro feels something should be “this way” doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

Recent iterations of GNOME and Ubuntu, however – with their GNOME Shell and Unity environments – has led to a bit of that flexibility being taken back by developers. You can still change themes, but not without first installing some extra software. This is partially a factor of how new GNOME Shell and Unity are, and partially a desire to provide a very unified interface.

Install Linux Mint’s Cinnamon Desktop In Ubuntu

If you’ve read any of the articles about Linux Mint, you know that instead of providing a standard GNOME Shell or Unity interface (although both can be used), you are instead given something else. GNOME Shell with extensions to make it appear like the standard GNOME desktop environment was used for one release, while new releases use the forked Cinnamon project. Fortunately for Ubuntu users wanting the same flexibility, there is nothing about Cinnamon that requires any Linux Mint specific programs or libraries, and it’s simple to get up and running. Here’s how.

First, open up your Terminal.

We’ll be adding a personal package archive (PPA for short), which will give us automatic updates. If we didn’t want to go this route, we could also install the .deb files manually, but then we wouldn’t get bug fixes or new features. Hence, the PPA. To add the PPA to our software sources list, type sudo add-apt-repository ppa:merlwiz79/cinnamon-ppa as shown below.

Now, type sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade which will update your software lists (making the new software available), and then upgrade the software installed on your system, ensuring up-to-date versions are used.

Once this is done, simply typing sudo apt-get install cinnamon will install the environment.

Installing Cinnamon will also bring in a few extras, such as required libraries, a menu editor and some panel applets, all of which are necessary for Cinnamon to run correctly.

This PPA, however, also includes some extensions, such as a dock, a drive menu (for external hard drive, flash drives, etc.), a clipboard, trash and weather applet. To see a full list of these, type sudo apt-get install cinnamon and then hit the TAB key (you may need to hit TAB twice), to see a full list of anything starting with “cinnamon” (which is the actual environment, plus one theme and close to a dozen different extensions.

These can be installed by typing sudo apt-get install cinnamon-extensions-<name-of-extension> as shown below, where we installed the trash extension.

Once all the installations are complete, it’s time to start using Cinnamon. To do so, first logout of your current session.

Now, log back into your account, only this time choose the Cinnamon session from the login window.

When you see the new desktop, you’ll notice it very reminiscent of the traditional GNOME desktop. You have a bottom panel, with an application menu, applets for clock, calendar, system volume and more (bluetooth, wireless and laptop battery if appropriate), and a list of all open windows.

If you want to configure it to be more like the traditional Ubuntu desktop, with panels on top and bottom, you can adjust this in the Cinnamon Settings application (installed along with the Cinnamon desktop), as well as many other settings, including desktop effects, themes, fonts, extensions and applets.

Here is Cinnamon configured with the standard two-pane desktop.

All in all, Cinnamon is a fantastic idea for those who want the newer technologies that underly the new GNOME 3, but want the comfort and familiarity of the traditional GNOME 2 desktop. And while Cinnamon was written by Linux Mint developers, it can be – as shown – easily installed and run on other distributions. And while this tutorial ran through setting up the PPA and installing Cinnamon on Ubuntu, check out this page for a full list of available packages for a variety of distributions.

Via Helpdeskgeek

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