Developer(s)Linux Mint team
Initial release2011; 12 years ago (2011)
Stable release
5.8.4[1] / 7 July 2023
Written inC (GTK), JavaScript, and Python
Operating systemUnix-like
TypeDesktop environment

Cinnamon is a free and open-source desktop environment for Linux and Unix-like operating systems, deriving from GNOME 3 but following traditional desktop metaphor conventions.

The development of Cinnamon began by the Linux Mint team as a reaction to the April 2011 release of GNOME 3 in which the conventional desktop metaphor of GNOME 2 was abandoned in favor of GNOME Shell. Following several attempts to extend GNOME 3 such that it would suit the Linux Mint design goals, the Mint developers forked several GNOME 3 components to build an independent desktop environment. Separation from GNOME was completed in Cinnamon 2.0, which was released in October 2013. Applets and desklets are no longer compatible with GNOME 3.

As the distinguishing factor of Linux Mint, Cinnamon has generally received favorable coverage by the press, in particular for its ease of use and gentle learning curve. With respect to its conservative design model, Cinnamon is similar to the Xfce, MATE, GNOME 2 (and GNOME Flashback) desktop environments.


Like several other desktop environments based on GNOME, including Canonical's Unity, Cinnamon was a product of dissatisfaction with GNOME team's abandonment of a traditional desktop experience in April 2011. Until then, GNOME (i.e. GNOME 2) had included the traditional desktop metaphor, but in GNOME 3 this was replaced with GNOME Shell, which lacked a taskbar-like panel and other basic features of a conventional desktop. The elimination of these elementary features was unacceptable to the developers of distributions such as Mint and Ubuntu, which are addressed to users who want interfaces that they would immediately be comfortable with.

To overcome these differences, the Linux Mint team initially set out to develop extensions for the GNOME Shell to replace the abandoned features. The results of this effort were the "Mint GNOME Shell Extensions" (MGSE). Meanwhile, the MATE desktop environment had also been forked from GNOME 2. Linux Mint 12, released in November 2011, subsequently included both, thereby giving users a choice of either GNOME 3-with-MGSE or a traditional GNOME 2 desktop.

However, even with MGSE, GNOME 3 was still largely missing the comforts of GNOME 2 and was not well received by the user community. At the time, some of the missing features could not be replaced by extensions, and it seemed that extensions would not be viable in the long run. Moreover, the GNOME developers were not amenable to the needs of the Mint developers. To give the Mint developers finer control over the development process, GNOME Shell was forked as "Project Cinnamon" in January 2012.[2]

Gradually, various core applications were adapted by the Mint developers. Beginning with version 1.2, released in January 2012, Cinnamon's window manager is Muffin, which was originally a fork of GNOME 3's Mutter.[3] Similarly, since September 2012 (version 1.6 onwards), Cinnamon includes the Nemo file manager which was forked from Nautilus. Cinnamon-Control-Center, included since May 2013 (version 1.8 onwards), combines the functionality of GNOME-Control-Center with that of Cinnamon-Settings, and made it possible to manage and update applets, extensions, desklets and themes through the control-center. Gnome-Screensaver was also forked and is now called Cinnamon-Screensaver.

Since October 2013 (version 2.0 onwards), Cinnamon is no longer a frontend on top of the GNOME desktop like Unity or GNOME Shell, but a discrete desktop environment in its own right. Although Cinnamon is still built on GNOME technologies and uses GTK, it no longer requires GNOME itself to be installed.

Further improvements in later versions include a desktop grid, wildcard support in file searches, multi-process settings daemon, desktop actions in the panel launcher, separate processes for desktop handling and file manager in Nemo; an additional desktop panel layout option that offers a more modern looking theme and grouped windows; improved naming for duplicate applications in the menu (i.e. Flatpak vs. deb packages), pinned files in Nemo, and a focus on performance improvements.

Software components

See also: List of GTK applications

Nemo file manager is based on GNOME Files


Xed v1.2.2

Cinnamon introduces X-Apps[4] which are based on GNOME Core Applications but are changed to work across Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE; they have the traditional user interface (UI).[5][6]


Features provided by Cinnamon include[3]

As of 24 January 2012 there was no official documentation for Cinnamon itself,[7] There is documentation for the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint, with a chapter on the Cinnamon desktop.[8]

Overview mode

New overview modes have been added to Cinnamon 1.4. These two modes are "Expo" and "Scale", which can be configured in Cinnamon Settings.[9]


Cinnamon can be modified by themes, applets and extensions. Themes can customize the look of aspects of Cinnamon, including but not limited to the menu, panel, calendar and run dialog. Applets are icons or texts that appear on the panel. Five applets are shipped by default, and developers are free to create their own. A tutorial for creating simple applets is available.[10] Extensions can modify the functionalities of Cinnamon, such as providing a dock or altering the look of the Alt+Tab ↹ window switcher.

Developers can upload their themes, applets and extension to Cinnamon's web page and let users download and rate.[11]


Distribution Since version Since date Officially


Arch Linux[12] Also available for EndeavourOS, which uses Arch repositories.
Fedora Linux Cinnamon is available as a spin or is available in the Fedora Linux repositories.[13]
Funtoo Linux[15]
Gentoo Linux
Linux Mint Ubuntu-based release: 12 [2]

LMDE: 1? - Update pack 4 [16]

Cinnamon is available in the Linux Mint repositories since (Ubuntu-version) 12

and is included in all Linux Mint versions 13 and higher. [needs update]

Manjaro Linux
Sabayon 8 [19]
Ubuntu[20] 23.04[21] There is an official Ubuntu Flavour which uses the Cinnamon desktop environment.[22][21]
Void Linux


In their review of Linux Mint 17, Ars Technica described Cinnamon 2.2 as "being perhaps the most user-friendly and all-around useful desktop available on any platform."[23]

In their review of Linux Mint 18, ZDNet said "You can turn the Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop into the desktop of your dreams."[24]


See also


  1. ^ ""Cinnamon 5.8.4 Released"". GitHub. Retrieved 27 July 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Lefebvre, Clement (2 January 2012). "Introducing Cinnamon". The Linux Mint Blog. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b Lefebvre, Clement (23 January 2012). "Cinnamon 1.2 released". Archived from the original on 1 November 2012.
  4. ^ "New features in Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon". Linux Mint. Archived from the original on 9 April 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  5. ^ Stahie, Silviu (28 January 2016). "Linux Mint Is Getting Its Own Apps Starting with the 18.x Branch". Softpedia. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  6. ^ Nestor, Marius (3 February 2016). "Linux Mint Devs Showcase the First Two X-Apps for Linux Mint 18 "Sarah"". Softpedia. Archived from the original on 28 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Cinnamon 1.4 (GNOME Shell Fork)". 13 March 2012. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016.
  8. ^ "User guides for Linux Mint, Cinnamon edition, many languages and versions". Archived from the original on 14 June 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  9. ^ Schürmann, Tim; Kißling, Kristian. "Cinnamon 1.4". Linux Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 January 2023. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  10. ^ Lefebvre, Clement (31 January 2012). "How to make a Cinnamon applet (Force Quit applet tutorial)". Archived from the original on 4 December 2012.
  11. ^ Lefebvre, Clement (28 January 2012). "New sections for themes, applets and extensions: Cinnamon". Archived from the original on 31 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Cinnamon". ArchWiki. Archived from the original on 6 April 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Fedora 18 Features Updated User Interfaces and Desktop Environments". Red Hat. 15 January 2013. Archived from the original on 4 December 2014.
  14. ^ "The FreeBSD GNOME Project". Archived from the original on 7 October 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Cinnamon Stages are now available!". funtoo forums. Archived from the original on 11 January 2023. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  16. ^ Lefebvre, Clement (5 April 2012). "Update Pack 4 is out!". The Linux Mint Blog. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Mageia App Db Groups (Graphical desktop)". Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Portal:Cinnamon". Archived from the original on 30 August 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  19. ^ Noyes, Katherine (13 February 2012). "Sabayon Linux 8 Debuts with a Dash of Cinnamon". IT World Canada. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014.
  20. ^ "How to install Cinnamon desktop on Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux". 17 July 2018. Archived from the original on 29 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Ubuntu Cinnamon 23.04 "Lunar Lobster" Released!". Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix. 20 April 2023. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  22. ^ "Meet The New Linux Desktop That Offers A Unique Twist On Ubuntu 19.10". 10 December 2019. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  23. ^ Gilbertson, Scott (24 June 2014). "Mint 17 is the perfect place for Linux-ers to wait out Ubuntu uncertainty". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 29 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  24. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. (27 July 2016). "Linux Mint 18: The best desktop -- period". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.