Clement Lefebvre, the developer and force behind Linux Mint, continues to find ways to retain the user experience and performance of traditions of Gnome Shell, by forking Gnome 3. Cinnamon is the new desktop environment created around the Gnome 3.2, to give power Gnome Shell users a Gnome 2 like layout and experience.
What this means is that, by the time of the stable release of Linux Mint 13, Cinnamon will be a well-developed desktop retaining much of the features of Gnome 2.x but using a lot of the technologies of Gnome 3.2.
The release of Cinnamon is version 1.1.2 and is available for download.
Why Cinnamon, when there is MGSE, MATE by LM itself
Linux already has a host of desktop environments- Gnome, KDE, XFCE, LXDE and Unity, by developers of Ubuntu, Canonical. Additionally, Linux Mint itself offers Gnome 2 fork- MATE; KDE 3 fork Trinity.
Recently with Linux Mint 12, MG
SE was optimized to get the GNOME-2 like layout. However, as Clem in his post on the release of Cinnamon comments, extensions do have their limitations as core parts are unable to communicate with other parts and there is poor integration.
Clem further clarified, that MATE would typically be a GNOME 2 reproduction and does not exactly offer the user experience community is seeking, but with maturity would go on to offer exactly what GNOME 2 fans want.
Cinnamon forked out of compulsion to remain true to GNOME
However, the compulsion to build Cinnamon was compelling to Clem for, GNOME 3 was not ready to accept extensions built through MGSE and was indifferent to adding it to Gnome Shell. Since, the community and Clem found that Gnome 3.x was not exactly heading in the direction they would aspire, Cinnamon creation became a necessity.
Cinnamon: what it is and what it will do
Clem, while making the announcement of the ALPHA release of Cinnamon, says, at core it is a Gnome Shell 3.2.1 and has features of MGSE.
However, where Cinnamon will differ in who it will adapt new desktop technologies (as seen in Unity and latest Gnome Shell), but retain the traditional user experience. This means that latest desktop technologies will run on Cinnamon, but community will have the same user experience, while working on new technologies and not have to rely on paradigm shifting desktop use.
The goal for Cinnamon is to offer a desktop that supports all implementations envisioned for Linux Mint. Once Cinnamon becomes a stable and steady desktop environment, new features and technology, native to Linux Mint will be implemented directly on the desktop environment itself. This will spare users from having to constantly hatch/fix patches.
Cinnamon will have Gnome2-type systray icons, notifications, and probably a user-defined panel position. New features to be included – New Panel Launchers applet and New Themes selection tab.
Cinnamon will be what all Gnome users were wishing for in Gnome 3.