The future of Cinnamon and Linux Mint

Cinnarch and Manjaro Cinnamon Community Edition, both based on Arch Linux and with Cinnamon as the desktop environment, announced a few weeks ago that they were abandoning Cinnamon to switch to GNOME Shell.

The main reason for this change is the inability to maintain a development desktop as slow as Cinnamon on distros that are always as up-to-date as those based on Arch Linux.

This means that the only distribution that Cinnamon would use would be Linux Mint, for which this fork of GNOME was originally developed.

For this reason, there are few who wondered about the future of Cinnamon. What will Linux Mint do? What will Lefevbre, your lead developer, do?

This is something difficult to know. However, it is striking that the problems with both Cinnarch and Manjaro Cinnamon Edition have arisen almost at the same time. This is not by chance and has a very simple explanation: GNOME 3.8.

The big culprit: GNOME 3.8

Cinnamon has been deprecated and is not compatible with GNOME 3.8. This new version does not have compatibility with previous versions, with which all the packages that use libraries and APIs of old versions will be unusable. This is the case with Cinnamon, which in its current version 1.7 only supports up to GNOME 3.6. This is particularly serious for "bleeding-edge" distributions such as those based on Arch Linux.

In the announcement of the abandonment of Manjaro Cinnamon Edition, they said it with these words: "We cannot keep this edition any longer since the upstream has abandoned Cinnamon due to its incompatibility with GNOME 3.8".

This means that it is very possible that Cinnamon will disappear as distributions begin to adapt GNOME 3.8. Either that or Cinnamon will have to adapt as soon as possible to survive.

In any case, it seems to me that it is a project destined for extinction in the medium term. Not so much because of the compatibility problems that we have just described, nor because Clement Lefevbre has changed his mind and Linux Mint becomes yet another distro with the GNOME Shell interface ... the point is that the reason for being of Cinnamon (introduce the user with an interface similar to GNOME 2) is no longer valid with GNOME 3.8.

The "classic mode" in GNOME 3.8

The new "classic mode" was conceived with users who prefer a familiar environment (like GNOME 2 or WIN XP) rather than using the GNOME Shell. Now, why did the developers decide to abandon "fallback mode"? For three reasons:

  • It consisted of barely maintained modules
  • It did not deliver the quality or user experience of its vision
  • Its maintenance slowed the evolution in other areas

The new classic mode works through extensions and some fixes here and there, but the infrastructure used is basically the same so the new mode will enjoy all the advantages that future versions of GNOME bring with them.

Cinnamon, the next Unity?

Due to the above, there are a number of questions: Will Cinnamon disappear or will it become a Linux Mint exclusive Shell?

Honestly, and this is purely subjective, I would rather it disappear. It seems to me that there are no real conditions that justify its existence. On the other hand, although Cinnamon emerged as a shell for Linux Mint, little by little it was being used by other distros ... although in a short time they had to abandon it, as we already saw. With this in mind, it would be very sad to see Cinnamon become a Linux Mint exclusive shell, not so much for package compatibility reasons and so on (which lastly, you can always try to fix) but rather for a question of marketing or principles, to want to differentiate itself from other distros and not be one of the bunch.

I think that the way Linux Mint should go is to move to GNOME 3.8 and present the user with a GNOME in classic mode by default. I think many will agree with this idea. But, sure, this is my humble opinion. Nothing else.


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  1.   Ernesto Manriquez Mendoza said

    As said that GNOME-Terminal developer who was asked to restore a feature taken from GNOME that everyone-dog + uses (transparent terminals) ...

    No (and I close the bug and cover my ears and sing lalalalalalalalala)

  2.   Anuxi Rod said

    Well, I prefer Cinnamon to Gnome 3.x in Linux Mint, the truth ... I find it much more intuitive and easy to use.

  3.   danielcb said

    1.- They are not inaccuracies, because I never talked about whether or not it had worked before, I only mentioned the complaints towards Canonical and not towards KDE and Gnome (I repeat, it is easy to find guilty)

    2.- The other thing, I am not talking about whether or not Gnome breaks the compatibility with ITS OWN libraries, I am talking about those who complain that Gnome "does not think about their children" (like Cinnamon, and if you read the article well, they are not reproached Gnome what you are saying but they put it as the source of the problem that the Lefevbre project does not develop in a better way), which is the least important thing to him, as well as I put other examples of work groups that he does not have for what to do if someone wants to build on what they have done. It is enough that they have the right to take the work of Debian, Amarok, Gnome (or the software that you want to mention to me) in a free way to be manipulated, so that they still complain that they are the culprits that the developments derived from these are not good acts.
    In other words, if I make a blog and release my design, another arrives and wants to put it on theirs and since they can't do it as they want, will I be the culprit? pfff. And the same with a melody, someone arrives who cannot cover it, is the original author the culprit? ha, of course.

  4.   an_trsE5HX said

    cinnamon must improve since it gives a different view to linux mint and that other distros should not stop opting, as mentioned with arch linux mint must take into consideration its rejection so that it begins to have more frequent updates. I like cinnamon with its dark colors and a presentable design as well as being light.

  5.   Edward Fields said

    Unity can also be installed in Archlinux, it is not exclusive to Ubuntu, as long as the code is free, it is difficult that it can only be used in a specific distro.

  6.   fran jsj said

    Yes, it can be installed, but it is filthy to install it, among possible bugs and things that you have to edit by hand.

  7.   Dah65 said

    What you say has several inaccuracies:

    - Regarding Xorg / Wayland / Mir: there was a general consensus that Xorg was obsolete and heavy, and about 3 years ago the only alternative in development was Wayland. This project received the support of both distros and desktop environments (KDE / GNOME), which are gradually incorporating it.
    And a few months ago Canonical, which promised to support and adapt Wayland, announced that it had been secretly working since July 2012 on MIR, another alternative to Xorg.
    What KDE / GNOME said is that they would continue their path of adaptation to Wayland, in which they had already invested time and effort. Therefore, although there may be some anger with Canonical / Ubuntu and its MIR, "leaving" with Wayland is nothing more than continuing on the path started.

    - What is reproached to GNOME is that between versions the APIs are broken, instead of looking for backward compatibility. So, if you make an extension for GNOME 3.4 you must redo it for GNOME 3.6 and again for GNOME 3.8.
    Before, and it is a situation that I have lived in Debian, I had some programs in GNOMe 2.30 and others in GNOME 2.32, and they all worked. That doesn't happen now.
    So partly it is GNOME's fault. Another different thing, which I do not dispute at all, is that GNOME takes its development as it sees fit. But the fact that with the 3.x branch every time they release a version compatibility breaks is an undeniable reality

  8.   Richard said

    And what are the Cinnamon developers waiting for to make a complete fork of this desktop, currently MATE followed its own route (logically because GNOME 2 is no longer maintained) and they created their own forks of applications for the desktop, libraries etc ... if Cinnamon wants to continue existing should think about creating a unique experience for the user and not to adapt to GNOME 3.x

  9.   daniel neyson said

    cinnamon should not disappear and if it has a reason to exist.
    frankly I do not use cinnamon since I prefer the way to manage the windows of gnome shell and kde in its latest version that as you all know is to move the cursor to the corner to manage the windows. when it's an old machine I prefer mate or lxde depending on how old it is, even fluxbox on my old 32-bit computer with 500 MB of ram. now CINNAMON IS NECESSARY for those who come from windows 7; previously the closest thing to the windows 7 interface was kde but as this has radically changed the way of managing windows, now the best thing for these users is cinnamon since mate is not so attractive to them.
    I think that cinnamon should become independent from gnome shell by renaming the whole and not just a part of the packages, I think it would be the easiest. I suppose that if it has not been done it is because the linux mint developers want to maintain an optimized system so that those who have cinnamon and gnome shell on their computers do not have repeated packages that are simply renamed but we should also realize that the space no longer It is a problem in current computers, and you do not have to take into account the old computers where you simply should not install cinnamon since as I said before, it is matte and lxde for that. Cheers

  10.   danielcb said

    Well, yes, but the easiest thing is to find guilty instead of accepting each one their responsibilities.

    "Damn Ubuntu abandons xorg and creates MIR, what will happen to xorg ?, Ubuntu just creating division"
    Immediately afterwards Gnome and KDE announce that they are going to go with Wayland, and with that they will totally abandon xorg… .but nobody says anything.

    "Gnome doesn't help Cinnamon to adapt"
    And the reality is that neither Debian, Arch, Slackware, Amarok (or the parent distro-program mentioned), none are dedicated to supporting any of their "daughters" ... but nobody says anything. And here the most curious thing is that neither in Ubuntu nor in Mint they are complaining, they go at their own pace or they move from libraries as Ubuntu is doing with Unity, they are the ones who are not even in their development / user groups they are doing the whining. In my town they call it "grilling."

    1.    honovan said

      Look, I see it from several points of view: that of developed: and it is annoying to depend on applications developed by third parties, that is why the cinnamon project and ubuntu.

      ubuntu separated from debian for that reason because it was what they said and point now I make understand and everyone criticized ubuntu and that ubuntu is now one of the best distributions for initiates that there should not be that thing to see complicated linux well that came doing ubuntu, linux mint partly solved the ubuntu problems with the first-class drivers more easily etc etc etc.
      I think cinamon is good, very good and I like it already collected everything that is new in gnome 3 and unity with gnome 2.

      Now I like the idea that cinamon is exclusive to linux mint as well as unity for canonical what I want to tell you is that each developer company has made and adopted and created applications to their liking and whim, some very good and others more bad than others but all We have benefited from them, I say it to my user point that I have been using derivatives of debian.
      I think it is a serious problem for linux development companies, whatever it is to follow the rule of third-party projects that finally get tired (ubuntu-debian) and want to have their own, also cinnamon points to the future a gnome X.xx With appearance and new functionalities gnome 2 and for my cinnamon it has improved and I like it.
      which I used 2 years in a row without little problems.

  11.   Sylvia Sanchez said

    If Cinnamon disappears I stay with either KDE or Mate. Gnome 3.8 is a bummer and it's READY. Cinnamon is doing so much better, there is no need to have a plane to use it. Not like Gnome 3 that if it is not the super computer you already have to arm yourself with patience ...

  12.   Michael Mayol said

    After trying Mate and Cinnamon for a while, I switched to XFCE and I've been delighted ever since

  13.   Michael Mayol said

    There is another solution to be moved to the Solus OS Consort desktop, although it is still under development

  14.   iCao said

    Greetings to all, I do not agree with saying that cinnamon disappears, I think it is a matter of taste, not just because I do not like gnome 3.8 proclaim its end.

    Personally, I have always used linux mint and both MATE and cinnamon have been very efficient.

    As I said, it is a matter of taste and just because a single distribution handles it is not bad, on the contrary it is exclusive and encourages its improvement, robustness and stability.

  15.   Guest said

    Greetings to all, I do not agree with saying that cinnamon disappears, I think it is a matter of taste, not just because I do not like gnome 3.8 proclaim its end.

    Personally, I have always used linux mint and both MATE and cinnamon have been very efficient.

    As I said it is a matter of taste and just because a single distribution handles it is not bad, on the contrary it is exclusive and insists on its improvement, robustness and stability. incites

  16.   iCao said

    I totally agree with you =)

  17.   Jorge Tinitana Gavilanes said

    And what will happen to MATE from Linux Mint?

  18.   iCao said

    Go on, don't worry, just like cinnamon. I don't know why there are too many rumors speculating, better read the linux mint blog. Personally it is very good and as Lefevbre said, linux mint like cinnamon does not care what ubuntu does.

    Cheers!!! =) don't worry linux mint will still be on your side.

  19.   Gustavo Castro said

    To say that GNOME is the "culprit" of what is happening is totally unfair. After all, it's Cinnamon who takes ground first.

  20.   Yoyo Fernandez said

    Cinnamon continues in Manjaro and they will release new releases, the people of Arch already made it compatible with Gnome 3.8

    http://deblinux.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/manjaro-cinnamon-seguira-su-desarrollo/

  21.   Let's use Linux said

    Good! I did not know ... thanks for the information.

  22.   Let's use Linux said

    How distro derived or just available to install the package? I was referring to the former.

  23.   Alfredo Gomez said

    Cinnamon 1.8 is out…. and I doubt that it will disappear, even if only Mint used it, it would justify its existence, furthermore ... this is SL guys, it cannot be analyzed from the perspective of the proprietary Software paradigm.

  24.   kik1n said

    It is also in fedora, openSUSE and I just realized, also in Debian 😀

  25.   Guest said

    Well, I prefer Cinnamon to Gnome 3.X, really ...

    1.    shamaru said

      The same friend, I have tried openbox (I liked it very light and customizable but I miss a more friendly interface), gnome-shell (in its latest version I felt very bad since it was the environment that was my first option, it lacks very little customization and some basic things are missing, in addition to consuming more resources, ultimately bad), among others and with which I feel better for its great customization, its fluidity, very friendly etc.

  26.   Wolf said

    There is something that is not mentioned, the null interest of Gnome to maintain some backward compatibility with old packages. I imagine that there is also the source of all the nonsense that Miguel de Icaza talked about ...

  27.   Daniel Coke said

    Miguel de Icaza no longer participates much in the project, remember that now he is only dedicated to Xamarin, also gnome 3.8 has more options than 3.6.

    Cinnamon I haven't tried it in a long time but from what I see it has improved a lot and I like that there are more desktop "flavors".

    Gnome took two steps back to advance four.

  28.   johanr said

    I agree that Cinnamon disappears because I already tried it and it is almost equal to very slow Unity.

    I agree that they use Gnome 3.8 but with one of the following features:

    1. Have the classic Gnome 2 style

    2 Be faster and be as customizable as KDE and include the installation of emerald themes by default

  29.   yashirasu said

    I use Gnome shell, at first I was afraid of passing me ... it was a unity but I thought today I do not change it for anything, to tell you that 3.6 consumes the same resources as 3.4 with more functionalities

  30.   Solid Rugs Pacheco said

    I would have to fully understand it in functions I have not followed it since its launch since it provided it for a while and I do not like it so I change it, but right now I install it and see 🙂 that if Unity I think I will never step on that floor, I do not like But G Shell I will give it another chance, already seeing the future of cinnamon 😛 it is good to adapt to other options as well, Linux Mint 15 will come out to see what it is, greetings and thanks, I will check gnome shell

  31.   Solid Rugs Pacheco said

    It is my favorite environment, and if I use Linux Mint it is because of cinnamon 🙁 I think the same, it must adapt or it is destined to disappear: /, but… on the other hand gnome 3.8 actually there are real changes in so many versions? More and more versions demand more and more from the machines what smells like marketing, from my point of view of course. Hopefully it evolves to the linux standards impediments: / that strangely have already been checked. thanks

    PS: when can I send my desktop image for May 😛

  32.   AlbertoAru said

    I use gnome fallback for years - it goes to shit
    I wear cinnamon for a couple of months - it goes to shit
    I'm going to start using window $, to see if it has the same luck ...

  33.   Martin said

    Hello, I was just passing by and I want to leave an opinion! I want to tell you that I have been a user of GTK + programs almost since version 1 of Gnome and although KDE is tested a few times, this has never convinced me too much because I see it very overloaded, but I admire the technology that it has underneath (Qt among them)!

    In this time, with the appearance of so many desks, I have had the pleasure of trying them all:

    - KDE 4.8 (SolydK) on a desktop PC with an i3 and 3GB of RAM. I loved its technology and the possibility of configuration but I did not like its default theme. But the biggest problem I have is with memory consumption, I have many tabs open in Firefox or Chromium and there comes a time when it starts to do Swap and it becomes unmanageable. As a solution I installed LXDE that I only use when I want to surf the Internet.
    One of the programs that I love about KDE is Okular, I think it's fantastic!

    -Cinnamon: I have used it in LMDE and I find it fantastic but I do not like how long it takes to open the menu. I think that is his biggest flaw!

    -Gnome 3: Very good too! What has stopped me from using it is what it consumes when there are many windows open, Firefox with many tabs and VirtualBox running with Windows XP. It must be that it also begins to swap. For me the biggest flaw is the incompatibility with the extensions in the new versions.

    -XFCE4: Project that has always caught my attention but does not convince me to use it daily, it is the same thing that happens to me with KDE.

    -LXDE: It seems very good to me too but the memory consumption is not far from Mate in LMDE Mate Edition.

    -Mate: It is the one I use now, my old fork of my beloved Gnome 2. I like its speed and that it does the same without consuming as many resources as Gnome 3. I have come to decide to use Gtk + 2 applications due to its low consumption of resources and because Firefox / Chromium / LibreOffice I think they still use that library still.

    -CrunchBang! I am about to install this minimalist Debian together with LMDE Mate Edition, to see if I adapt to it. As the programs I use do not need a specialized desktop (VirtualBox, Freeplane, LibreOffice, Geany, Evince) and some are resource-hungry, I need as much RAM as possible for them.

    Well, after talking about my user experience I want to give you my opinion on Cinnamon! Please don't throw me to the stake !!!

    Wouldn't it be interesting if the people of Cinnamon try to make their desktop with Qt / Qml technology? If they already have the JavaScript part programmed, they will surely have to change everything related to the graphical interface and some communication issues, but I think it is a very valid option!

    I say this because I read out there that Gnome and Gtk keep changing the API and preventing them from making themes other than the ones they propose.

    What do you think?

    http://usemoslinux.blogspot.com/2013/05/el-futuro-de-cinnamon-y-linux-mint.html

  34.   david grajales cardenas said

    cinnamon> gnome 3.x always

  35.   muhlberg said

    It seems to me one of the best Desktops I have ever tried. I found Cinnamon stable and very agile compared to GNOME 3.x. And I do not understand why you are so determined that it disappears. If there is something that I learned from free software, it is that there is something you are looking for for all tastes. I, and many other users like this desktop. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it should go away.

  36.   shini kire said

    Have you read about SolusOS and its environment called Consort desktop ?? it's supposed to be based on gnome failback, it's a fork!

  37.   Martin said

    I got messy with the comment, can someone delete it? Thank you!

  38.   joaco said

    Hi this is outdated, change it or you are going to confuse people. Cinnamon is still on Manjaro and has already been updated to version 1.8.

  39.   Rafa said

    Do you still think today that Cinnamon has no future? Or is it rather the opposite?

  40.   Johnny said

    Cinnamon, honestly and subjectively, it should NOT disappear because IF there are real conditions that justify its existence. Particularly if I decided to install linux on my laptop it was thanks to Linux Mint and Cinnamon.

  41.   Daniel said

    The blog post is already a bit old, but I have been amused to see how, over the years, your predictions have not only not been fulfilled, but that cinnamon has become one of the most used and powerful DEs today.
    I have been using previously cinnamon for a long time; You don't have to be a Mint user (great distro by the way) for cinnamon to go smoothly

  42.   Miguel said

    Hello, I come from the future and Gnome Shell still has doggy extensions. Surely because few want to bother creating one so that when they update it is no longer valid.

    I only need two things to leave Cinnamon (there are two extensions that can do this but not together):
    -A list of open windows (not open applications), just as there has always been, no drop-down crap.
    -Bottom panel (so that the browser tabs touch the ceiling of the monitor).

  43.   Oswaldo rivera said

    What a shame that the contributions that Cinnamon has made are treated in such a superficial way. To say "Interface similar to Gnome 2 or WIN XP" is not to know Cinnamon in depth, not to value its potential above the attempts of differentiation of Gnome 3.X, which do not seem to think too much about the user, but about "innovation" per se.

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