back to article Cinnamon 2.6 – a Linux desktop for Windows XP refugees

Cinnamon is best known as one of the two default desktops for Linux Mint, which is fast approaching its next major update. Mint 17.2 will include the brand new Cinnamon 2.6, just released, when delivered later this year. So far, so standard – only Cinnamon is no longer just a Linux Mint desktop. Cinnamon is now available …

I still think Mint XFCE is the perfect drop-in replacement for XP...

... and, because I'm in charge, it is in my office.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I still think Mint XFCE is the perfect drop-in replacement for XP...

Cinnamon is great for a clean install of Linux, but I find it a little slow when running out of Virtualbox (at least on the corporate Dell). For this, XCFE is perfect.

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Angel

Re: I still think Mint XFCE is the perfect drop-in replacement for XP...

Amen XFCE brother!

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MJI
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As a long term SP user

I find Mint Cinnamom more usable than Windows with tiles

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MJI
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Re: As a long term SP user

I meant XP but I hit the wrong letter

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Great success!

I started on Linux in 2007 in the good old days of GNOME2, coming from a windows background GNOME2 helped the migration on the desktop through things such as the panels that I had known and loved since Win95 brought them in.

The death of GNOME2 and transition to GNOME3 completely changed the way I worked and I jumped from Ubuntu and Fedora to Mint and haven't looked back since. Cinnamon was the reason I switched to Mint and the reason I have stayed, one of the nicest desktop environments I have used and to see the developments and level of stability it has achieved in such a short time warms my cockles.

I'm pleased that it is getting the love it deserves and the wider audience using it will hopefully continue its development and doing what it does best.

Thanks Clem, you've done a great job!

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A very good choice

I recommend linux mint to most people trying to get off an obsolete version of windows. Unless you need to use something written specifically for windows it is a free upgrade to a supported and maintained system.

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Trollface

Re: A very good choice

...or an obsolete version of Linux. Lookin' at you, Ubuntu and Fedora...

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Paris Hilton

Re: A very good choice

No need to run anything obsolete, you have XFCE and MATE on both Ubuntu and Fedora.

ho, ho, ho, ho...

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Thumb Up

Another happy customer here

When Vista imploded on my old laptop I installed Linux Mint Cinnamon and haven't looked back. Really like it; does everything I want; comfortable and easy to use. I just hope they don't add too many bells and whistles and make it unwieldy. There is a temptation to keep "improving" on perfection and mucking software up.

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Anonymous Coward

Is there a Raspberry Pi (2) version?

No, seriously. I have a number of neighbours friends relatives etc who are not seriously PC literate, which in the world of Windows makes them extremely vulnerable, not to mention they've got stuck on the inevitable Wintel upgrade cycle.

If this is sufficiently like Windows XP, it a Pi 2 would probably do most of what they want, and not do much of what they don't want (get malware, waste time+money, etc).

I've got a Pi 2 and by default the supplied desktop is probably *too* different for the folks in question.

Thoughts?

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi (2) version?

Thoughts...

yes, dont buy any new hardware at all. The old PC almost certainly contains enough cpu and memory to run everything they need.

Format a usb stick with a FAT filesystem, download the version of choice, 32 or 64 bit, cinammon or kde or whatever, I recommend Cinammon, "burn" the ISO to the stick. set the bios to boot from it and install it. Once thats done, load the updates and you'll end up with a desktop that looks and feels very similar to windows.

It will be stable, almost certainly loads all the drivers correctly and probably faster than XP ever was on the same hardware.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi (2) version?

Another nice low overhead distro for older PCs is antiX/Mepis MX-14 http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=08356.

Put it on a USB stick and see if you like it. I think it has choice to select persistence on boot too or if you like it do the full install.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi (2) version?

I imagine it could run on a Pi. Might be a bit sluggish but hard to beat the price. For a faster desktop system, you can choose between an old PC that Windows won't run in (probably scroungeable for free, but will eat £30 of electricity quite soon if you leave it powered up) or a fully solid-state system based on a fanless mini-ITX board and case such as Gigabyte J1800N-D2H or its quad-core J1900 variant.

Anyway, whatever you run it on: Cinnamon - completely recommended.

In passing Cinnamon works (yum install) on Fedora 20, maybe older Fedora. And from memory, on Centos 7.

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I'll stick with my MATE

Just over two years ago, I installed Linux Mint 13 MATE and was pleased to note that it had dual monitor support. My memory on that subject is hazy but I think I had to install the Nvidia Linux drivers for that. When I tried a fresh install of Mint 17.1 recently (just to have a look at it), the dual monitor support was there as standard - yay!

MATE also had (and has) adjustable/variable fully customisable pop-out panels and applets with customisable pop-out drawers that can have their own population of customisable applets. It was like Windows XP with extra nested goodness and all the cosmetic trimmings that you could be bothered to faff about with. You can copy the settings to another installation if you know (or can figure out) which configuration folders all this is stored in.

If Cinnamon has become that good, I might have a look at it since there are often rumours of MATE development coming to an end. All I wanted was a replacement for Windows 7 with a desktop UI 'paradigm' that seemed to make sense - now I have it.

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Re: I'll stick with my MATE

I'm currently on Ubuntu MATE after a brief foray through Xubuntu.

Installed Mint Cinnamon on the in-law's old XP machine in a dual boot config for the few times they need to run Garmin's software to update their GPS maps (grr). Mint runs well and very quickly on the old early-pentium-4-class hardware. Not so fond of the update mechanism which doesn't seem to allow automatic security updates; my inlaws basically ignore the update prompts as they're hidden away in the taskbar and don't seem to notice them. But that's my only real criticism.

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Re: I'll stick with my MATE

Considering that Ubuntu have just made their MATE flavour an "official derivative" I hope it's not going anywhere too soon...

I'm an Xfce user myself, but this looks like it might do a few things out of the box that are a little bit of a faff with my current (Mint 13) desktop. Maybe I'll give it a go when I upgrade.

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Re: I'll stick with my MATE

@ dotdavid

Just a suggestion but you could set up a cron job to auto install updates. It should be fairly easy to google but this was the first thread I found-

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=185640

This was my favourite response but there are a couple of Ubuntu official ideas near the start of the above thread-

I know how hard it is to teach someone to keep their system

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=185640#p961814

Good luck with the inlaws

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Silver badge

Re: I'll stick with my MATE

Gnome Metacity Flashback is a decent alternative to XFCE, I find. It runs with a much, much smaller memory footprint than does Compiz, and as it is only a 2D system, uses a lot less memory.

I find that I do not miss 3D desktop effects one little bit; most of what I do involves what is in each window, be it Firefox, a terminal or whatever and I use the window manager to, well, manage these windows and manage the virtual desktops. Gnome Metacity Flashback does this perfectly. It works, works well and does so consuming minimal resources.

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Re: I'll stick with my MATE

"I find that I do not miss 3D desktop effects one little bit; most of what I do involves what is in each window, be it Firefox, a terminal or whatever and I use the window manager to, well, manage these windows and manage the virtual desktops. Gnome Metacity Flashback does this perfectly. It works, works well and does so consuming minimal resources."

This is what I find as well (Lubuntu user) and have struggled to find:

(a) reviews that compare / describe useful functions of other DEs; or

(b) any description of why 3D / compositing / transparency / whatever is actually useful.

This is a genuine question - any answers to (b) above gratefully received.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'll stick with my MATE

I can only venture my persona answer to (b): animations and 3D are good if they help the user. For instance, a window that minimises to a position where you can recover it from helps end users have some idea where to go next.

The only animation I personally use is the cube approach to changing desktops - it is the one feature in Compiz I very much like because it's very practical. Sadly, someone at Apple had to go and use that for user login in OSX - I would have loved that on the Mac as well :(.

To be honest, Apple's approach to multiple desktops gets confusing on a dual monitor setup - Mission Control and Dashboard seem to have vanished on my machine quite a while back..

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Re: I'll stick with my MATE

Glad to see Cinnamon doing well. I am also a Mint 17.1/MATE user with dual monitors. I chose Mint 17 because it is long term support, taking my desktop nicely through to 2019. I chose MATE because it is like Cinnamon but even more lightweight and old school. A proper business desk top.

Mate, Cinnamon. It's all good.

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Re: I'll stick with my MATE

@codejunky thanks, I'll give that a try next time I'm there :-)

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Re: I'll stick with my MATE

may be a bit late for you but this still applies to the latest version of Mint as well

http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/1217

Since your the one setting the system up this is ideal for you

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Holmes

Re: I'll stick with my MATE

dotdavid,

I understand about your in-laws not noticing a blue shield icon in the system tray, but I have just upgraded my 80 year-old dad to Mint 17.1 with Cinnamon. I handed him a cut down user guide and included a one-page set of details of the "Update Manager". Go to Update Manager > Edit > Preferences > Icons and do a screenshot of that pane and you have a nice easy guide for your relatives to follow. I also kept the vanilla settings so that the icons in the system tray are all monochrome so that the blue one stands out. Also worth thinking about is to set the update frequency to every 2 or 3 weeks.

Cheers, hope this helps.

Sherlock icon as this may need investigation... hee hee

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Anonymous Coward

blimey!!

Sounds like 2016 will be the year of Linux on the desktop!!!

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Coat

Re: blimey!!

Yes I've been holding back from Windows 95 especially, and now I feel the time is right. Bye bye Windows for Workgroups!!!

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Bronze badge
Linux

The year of the top Ikea desk!

Dual monitor support? Our company sold Windows NT PCs with 8 monitors some twenty years ago.

But then none of your Linux programs will run on XP or vice versa. So what is the point?

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Re: The year of the top Ikea desk!

Lol - Linux doesn't have a number of monitors limit. Xwindows is client server based so you can run software at ludicrous resolutions over a number of Linux instances each with multiple graphics cards e.g. 50000x30000. You Windows guys with your comedy limitations slay me!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: blimey!!

I think you're premature in jumping ship. This whole Windows thing is fad; better to wait for the second edition ;)

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Re: blimey!!

When a user can install major software titles on Linux, then that will be it's year. Until then I'll stick with Windows.

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Re: blimey!!

Good!

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Last time I tried Cinnamon the blocking point was not being unable to place the menu/task bar in a vertical configuration on the side of the screen. This is essential for me on a letterbox laptop screen. I'll give it a go if they have added it. Otherwise sticking with XFCE.

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just tried it for you

Cinnamon only allows the panel to be at the top or the bottom or both.

But probably there is no reason why it should be that way and in fact it appears to be under review in the Mint forum

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Unhappy

Mint

Can be a total pain to upgrade. Older versions anyway, not as easy as the vanilla Debian or Ubuntu.

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Re: Mint - upgrading

Correct, if you mean the "upgrade" system is not included for us. The Mint argument is that a version to version upgrade stands the chance of having things not quite work well. Since they pride themselves on producing a system that does work well, they recommend you do a fresh install.

It ends up being one of the YMMV things, to some extent. I've done upgrades that worked beautifully and done a few that just weren't right and what wasn't right aggravated me from day one. My guess is that because they aren't confident that upgrades are going to work well all the time (or some satisfactory fraction thereof) for every existing installation of Mint (lookee me! I made it do something it doesn't do for anybody else! It crashes a lot, but nobody has one like mine) they'd rather you started from scratch.

And, of course, upgrading is not required if you're just going to USE the computer. Mint 17 is a long-term support version, so it's going to be getting updates and patches, to fully functional for some years. It's people like me and my hunt for shiny-shiny who want the version upgrade.

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Re: Mint

I think Mint now allows you to upgrade but repeatedly warns you about it. I upgraded my inlaws Mint Cinnamon machine with no issues, but then theirs has basically nothing but the standard office and web software installed on it so probably less weird packages that might go wrong. That said, *Ubuntu does make it easier and doesn't try to scare you away from doing it.

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Linux

Re: Mint

With Mint you have to follow the recommendation of keeping /home on a separate partition, if you do that, installing a new version is not such a problem other than having to reinstall your software.

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Re: Mint

Ubuntu upgrades have borked for me a couple times. Mint upgrades (well, there's only been one so far I think) worked like a charm. The other thing you can do is keep all your good stuff in a /home partition, and have a couple 40-50 GB partitions to install full, fresh new OSes. I keep a list of apps to install and things to set up, and an hour later I'm back in business. Or, on the old OS if the new one borks.

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Silver badge

Cinnamon and XFCE

I used to be a huge fan of KDE, but I have found that Cinnamon offers most of what I liked about KDE, minus a huge amount of overhead. XFCE offers a bit less; but it is functional and easy to use, and even more light weight.

Really the only things I miss about KDE are the games and Kate.

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Silver badge

Re: Cinnamon and XFCE

Kate can of course be installed on a Cinnamon system, but Geany does everything for me that Kate used to and saves half a gig of download (Kate wants an awful lot of the KDE infrastructure).

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Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

I know I'll need my flame retardant gear for this but the major sticking point about Linux is no convenient way to get MS Office running on it.

I'm a tech in an MBA program and I'd love to use Mint as my main system. Unfortunately there are still enough compatibility issues with Office documents (Mostly PowerPoint, but Writer as well) that I can't do my team projects with LO.

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Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

Don't whine, wine.

Seriously, I've put MS Office on Linux boxes (using wine) for people enough times now, it works. A minor fag the first time, but it's okay really.

With the move to the wonderful cloud it should be even easier....

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Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

No flame from me. I use Mint 17.1 KDE as my one and only system, as does my wife. We're happy to use LibreOffice for our uses. It's still a reality that a software company we won't name (the executives, lawyers, whoever) doesn't WANT us to have a fully compatible system. So they build in little roadblocks. This is also useful so fanbois can remind us that if FOSS were so good, they'd have full compatibility.

When a document has to go to my wife's school system, I break out my one and only W7 system, and fire up Office 2007 to verify that it works, and save it in that format. I will accept that this isn't a good solution for you and that what you're doing is the least awful option.

I've heard that Office will work under WINE, but I haven't tried it.

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Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

Thats usually the sticking point,,,why not educate them as part of your project :>)

Get them all to download LibreOffice then when you send them ODF files they can open them and learn. They might get to like it :>)

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Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

Use PlayOnLinux - it makes installing MS Office a stroll in the park. https://www.playonlinux.com

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Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

It's an unfortunate reality that Microsoft Word is standard software in the publishing industry. which is used for such features as change-tracking for the editing work. There is better software for organising and writing the book—Scrivener is very widely used, and not just for fiction—but Microsoft captured the market for a vital stage of the process.

The first work I ever had published needed a major change: a scene had to be cut out that was rather well-written, I thought, but did nothing to advance the plot. And then there are the spooling meatsteaks that would pass any spelling-check program.

If you think we don't need editors, go buy cheap Kindle books.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

Funnily enough, this problem may solve itself soon enough. The Word Web App runs pretty well in Chrome on Linux and you can save to Dropbox (which has a native Linux client). Similarly for Excel and Powerpoint.

PowerPoint is always, always going to be the difficult child so YMMV. (<rant>Zillions of objects in every file (graphics, fonts etc) and no organizing structure. No proper object model to speak of (which is why macros in PP are feeble, esp. compared to Word and Excel). Oh the things I could do if PP had real macros!</rant>

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Linux

Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

I for one run Visio 2003 almost twice a week on Wine and it runs like a charm (Yes 2003, it is the one I have a license for, and it is more than enough for what I need).

From what I have read you can mostly run all Office programs quite reliably except for Outlook (Those pesky internet Explorer deep integration/dependencies)

It will probably take a while to iron out all the little issues (wine sometimes requires lots of tweaks) but once you have it correctly installed on a "wine bottle" you can tar/zip the wine bottle and install on a snap.

I run many small Windows tools on Wine and while you get issues sometimes here and there, if an application works it works where you can depend on it.

A really good side-effect of Wine is that if you have an old app that provides enough functionality and works on Wine it will work forever, I can not run Visio 2003 on Windows 8 and onwards. In a way Wine is more compatible with old stuff than Windows will ever be.

I understand that Wine may not be for everybody, but it is always worth a try.

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Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

As other s have said, you can run Office on Wine but OpenOffice and LibreOffice are much better than Microsoft Office in as much as they are stable and they do offer compatibility. It both shocks and amazes me that business rely on a product that freezes and crashes and costs money when they could be using the open source alternative. Luckily, the world is changing and bigger organisations are seeing the light.

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