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A Dive Inside Cinnamon, an Overlooked Linux Desktop

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Historically, Cinnamon development started after GNOME 3.X came out, a lot of things actually started after GNOME 3 came out in 2011: MATE was forked of GNOME 2 in an effort to keep the traditional desktop layout. Unity started to be developed by Canonical / Ubuntu. Mint developers, on the other hand, introduced a set of GNOME Shell extensions that tried to alter the behaviour of the shell to make it look like a traditional GNOME 2 desktop environment; An effort which seemed impossible to sustain with the API break between each new GNOME version, especially that it was still under heavy development back in the day. In the end, Mint developers forked the entire GNOME Shell stack and called it “Cinnamon”.

Nautilus, the default GNOME file manager was forked into “Nemo”. Mutter, the GNOME Shell’s compositor, was forked into “Muffin”, and a lot of similar libraries and apps were forked too.

Today, 8 years later, Cinnamon is almost nothing like the original GNOME Shell. It’s quite extendable, functional yet beautiful in its own traditional way that do not require you to get used to a new user experience each new version, but instead, just use your PC to do your actual work. Cinnamon 1.0 in terms of the general UI / UX is almost identical to Cinnamon 4.2 released few weeks ago. And the Linux community seems to forget that the silent majority would like such thing.

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