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Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME Shell, initially developed by Linux Mint. It attempts to provide a more traditional user environment based on the desktop metaphor, like GNOME 2.
Cinnamon uses Muffin, a fork of the GNOME 3 window manager Mutter, as its window manager from Cinnamon 1.2 onwards.
Workspaces are “persistent” in Cinnamon. This means you can create a workspace whenever you want by clicking the “+” button and it will remain there until you decide to delete it. You can log off or even reboot, your workspaces will remain the way you defined them.
In Cinnamon you can give them a name. This allows you to define distinct and memorable environments and to separate and gather your windows according to your activities. When you switch workspaces, the workspace name appears on the screen. So you always know where you are.
The Workspace OSD (On-Screen-Display) is also configurable. You can set its duration, its position on the screen and whether you want it to show up or not.
The Window Quick-List is a new applet which lists all your windows across all workspaces. Scale also received improved keyboard navigation, so whether you prefer to find your windows by name or by looking at them, you can do so quickly and easily in Cinnamon.
Finally, both Scale and Expo are now also available as applets (as opposed to hot corners). This means they can be added wherever you want in the panels, in complement or replacement of the window quick-list.
When you add the notifications applet to your panel it keeps track of any notification you didn’t dismiss. Cinnamon notifications are ephemeral; Either you click them and they disappear immediately or they disappear by themselves after a few seconds.
The notifications applet acts like a tray which collects the notifications you didn’t click on. This is particularly handy when you’re busy doing something else and you just happened to see a notification in the corner of your screen but didn’t have time to read it, or when you’re away and you want to catch up with what happened during your absence.
Alt-Tab Thumbnails And Window Previews
The Alt-Tab window switcher is now configurable. Cinnamon 1.6 features the following switchers: * Icons (default, similar to Cinnamon 1.4) * Icons + Thumbnails * Icons + Window Previews * Window Previews
“Window Previews” shows a preview of the selected window while switching with an effect similar to the Compiz Fusion switcher. The window in question comes to the front of the screen and is displayed prominently. If the theme defines it, the window can also be highlighted with an outline border/color.
Improved Sound Applet
Music lovers will enjoy some of the improvements in the Sound Applet. The layout was reworked to give the cover artwork more space. The volume slider now features a visible percentage and no longer controls amplification past 100% (although this was handy in Cinnamon 1.4, it was confusing and led to people experiencing sound saturation). The applet now also comes with tooltips and mute buttons for the sound and the microphone (accessible via the right-click menu).
Backgrounds Selection & Nemo Integration
Although it can be used with Nautilus or other file browsers, Cinnamon’s default file browser is now Nemo. Cinnamon will eventually handle all visible layers of the Gnome desktop and provide an integrated experience, not only in terms of window and workspace management, but also in terms of file browsing, configuration and desktop presentation. Cinnamon 1.6 comes with tight integration for Nemo and a brand new backgrounds selection screen.
Nemo received a lot of attention. Its user interface was heavily modified and its behavior was adapted to integrate better with Cinnamon.
You can now easily hide the sidebar and switch back and forth between places and treeview. Under each place, if applicable, a small bar indicates how much space is used.
Cinnamon now features its own screensaver. One of its particularities is that you can define an away message before locking up your screen.
People who are looking for you can see that message while you’re away.
All configuration modules are now present in Cinnamon Settings. You no longer need to use Gnome Control Center.
KDE calls them Plasmoids, Android calls them Widgets, in Cinnamon they’re called “Desklets”. The same way you can add applets to your panel, you can add desklets to your desktop.
Cinnamon 1.8 ships with 3 desklets installed by default (a launcher, a clock and a photoframe) and many more will come from the community (yes, before people ask, there is an xkcd desklet out there).
In Cinnamon 1.8 you can install “spices” (i.e. applets, desklets, themes, extensions) straight from your desktop. You don’t need to browse http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com anymore.
You can apply updates as well and if the Spice supports it you can use multiple instances of it.
New Features For Developers
Settings API for Applets/Desklets
If you’re an Applet/Desklet developer, don’t use gsettings anymore. Cinnamon 1.8 features a settings API which will do all the work for you.
In other words, you just define your settings and use them in your applet/desklet, and Cinnamon does everything else for you. A configuration screen is automatically generated for you and the user can configure the settings you defined from the System Settings
Muffin now checks which renderer is being used. If the session is using a Software Renderer (that’s the case when there is a problem with the drivers or if the card doesn’t feature any acceleration) a notification pops up to let the user know about the problem.
Cinnamon no longer uses gnome-session for fallback. In some cases gnome-session didn’t allow Cinnamon to run even though the hardware was capable of running Cinnamon. Another limitation of gnome-session was its inability to restart Cinnamon after a crash. In Cinnamon 1.8, the Cinnamon session always launches Cinnamon, so your computer will try to run Cinnamon no matter what.
Cinnamon also uses a wrapper to restart itself and recover from potential crashes. If Cinnamon crashes it now falls back on Metacity and asks the user if he/she wants to restart Cinnamon.
And That’s Not All…
Cinnamon 1.8 is huge. Its commit changelog is twice the size of the 1.6 release!
Other notable features:
Better hot-corner configuration Coverflow Alt-Tab Timeline Alt-Tab Horizontal/Vertical maximizing of windows For an exhaustive list of changes, please visit the following page: https://github.com/linuxmint/Cinnamon/commits/master
Notes To Applet Developers
Now that panel heights are configurable, your applet can use the _panelHeight property to know the current height of the panel it’s on.
Applets which use the Applet.Applet prototype will need to handle changes to this property by using the onpanelheight_changed() function.
Applets using IconApplet, TextApplet, or TextIconApplet will have resizes handled automatically. Note that this property is only utilized when the user checks the “Allow Cinnamon to scale panel text and icons…” option in the Cinnamon panel settings.
There is also a new onappletremovedfrompanel() function available, which you can use as a callback for when your applet is removed from the panel.
Notes To Extension Developers
For all extensions, you need to change the version of Cinnamon in the metadata.json file to “1.6.0″. If your extension is tightly dependent on the code, expect it to break… most workspace management features (Scale, Expo..etc) were refactored in Cinnamon 1.6.
If you encounter any problems, please log in the IRC and ask us for help at #linuxmint-dev on irc.spotchat.org
Notes To Themes Artists
It’s not going to be trivial to upgrade your theme to Cinnamon 1.6… but we’ll help you as much as we can. For your theme to fully work with Cinnamon 1.6 you need to do the following:
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