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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. John Sanders

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

      Amen XFCE brother!

  2. MJI Silver badge

    As a long term SP user

    I find Mint Cinnamom more usable than Windows with tiles

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: As a long term SP user

      I meant XP but I hit the wrong letter

  3. Anonymous Cowherder

    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!

  4. codejunky Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: A very good choice

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

      1. John Sanders
        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...

  5. Andy Non Silver badge
    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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    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.


    1. bill 36

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


      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Another nice low overhead distro for older PCs is antiX/Mepis MX-14

      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.

    3. Nigel 11

      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.

  7. frank ly

    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.

    1. dotdavid

      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.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        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-

        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

        Good luck with the inlaws

        1. dotdavid

          Re: I'll stick with my MATE

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

      2. banalyzer

        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

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

      3. clatters

        Re: I'll stick with my MATE


        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

    2. Allonymous Coward

      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.

      1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

        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.

        1. mdava

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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..

    3. Jim 59

      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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


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

    1. Moonshine

      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!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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 ;)

    2. Daniel von Asmuth

      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?

      1. kryptylomese

        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!

    3. Dreams

      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.

      1. excollier

        Re: blimey!!


  9. The last doughnut

    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.

    1. bill 36

      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

  10. Mage Silver badge


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

    1. Goobertee

      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.

    2. dotdavid

      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.

      1. Col_Panek

        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.

    3. John Sanders

      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.

  11. Swarthy

    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.

    1. Neil Barnes 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).

  12. Innocent-Bystander*

    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.

    1. Groaning Ninny

      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....

      1. ScottME

        Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

        Use PlayOnLinux - it makes installing MS Office a stroll in the park.

      2. John Sanders

        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.

    2. Goobertee

      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.

    3. bill 36

      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 :>)

    4. Dave Bell

      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.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      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>

    6. kryptylomese

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office

        Better to have a free product lock up and crash on you?!?

        How often does office actually lock up/crash.

        Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones but it hardly ever happened s to me (normally as a result of something I've done too)

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Solid System Too Bad About No MS Office


          "Better to have a free product lock up and crash on you?!?

          How often does office actually lock up/crash."

          I am in the process of helping a user backup their stuff and reinstall windows 7 because it is committing suicide. One of the irritating effects is crashing office. He is glad to be able to install a free office on a working machine so he can continue while his laptop is fixed (reinstalled). Although he is on win7 (which I rate as reasonably good) he is showing an interest in mint. Maybe another linux user soon.

  13. Howard Hanek


    Anyone notice a correlation between improvements in Linux to Apple's OSX? I noticed the improvements in customizing the interface of Mint (which has long annoyed me) then wondered if Apple has a history of duplicating these on their OS?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Correlation?

      then wondered if Apple has a history of duplicating these on their OS?

      Why would they? Apple have since long had a reasonable grip on GUI-only customisation (for as far as they let you, that is). I recall my shock when I discovered just how easy it is to share a network connection - it took all but 2 clicks.

      About the only thing the OSX desktop needs is better support for Dashboard applets on the desktop. As soon as you use multiple screens it becomes a total mess.

      1. Howard Hanek

        Re: Correlation?

        My question related more to Finder and how the default blocks you from root stuff and points you toward their defaults for document types and places.

    2. kryptylomese

      Re: Correlation?

      Linux "Desktop" , whether it be KDE or GNOME or whatever, is highly customisable. You can make it look an behave like a MAC or Windows. Luckily it is much better better than both off them and Compiz means that it is more feature rich than either of those two operating systems.

  14. Barry Rueger

    So Far they haven't F*cked it up!

    I swear to God that Mint is the only system I use (computers, phones, TVs etc.) that hasn't managed to add an "improvement" that made it seriously less usable.

    Somehow the choices they make are sensible and don't force users into some dramatic new environment.

    Yes, I'm talking about you, Unity.

    Mint seems to avoid "change for the sake of change," or even "change for the sake of OMFG LOOK AT THIS COOL THING I DID!!"

    As a bonus, the Mint team actually reads, and even finds fixes for, bug reports.

    I've tried a lot of software over the years, and multiple OSs. I don't crave novelty, I just want to get work done.

    1. Goobertee

      Re: So Far they haven't F*cked it up!

      >>I've tried a lot of software over the years, and multiple OSs. I don't crave novelty,

      >>I just want to get work done.

      My criterion for desirability is how boring it is. If it works without my having to twiddle something regularly, if the updates are easy and don't mess things up, if I can find what I'm looking for, and if I can use it to get done the things I need to do, it's boring. I like boring. If I wanted excitement, I'd use something that required a scan for immorality on a regular basis and the scanner required an update on a regular basis, that had major updates once in a while, I being too subtle?

      Here's to boring.

    2. Graham Newton

      Re: So Far they haven't F*cked it up!

      Exactly. When I am dealing with a unfamiliar machine it is a relief to be able to find the system console by just clicking on a menu option.. Rather than having to learn how to use the completely alien GUI I have never seen before to find anything at all.

  15. Stephen Leslie

    Wasn't that LAST YEAR ?

    Isn't that XP Refugee stuff last year?

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Wasn't that LAST YEAR ?

      Windows XP refugees aren't exactly known for their promptness; after all they were still running XP until recently.

  16. Defiant


    Ah bless you've got to love the way this site keeps pushing Binux, you can't even give it away LOL

    1. John Sanders

      Re: Losers

      "Binux! Binux is coming! Binux is here! Binux is outside. There is no escape. Who's that knocking at the door? Yes, it's Binux. Binux came for Defiant just as he will come for you. Who will be next? You? Maybe you?"

      Binux is unavoidable my friend.

    2. excollier

      Re: Losers

      Keep paying Redmond, sucker.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More like GNOME refugees

    There are probably 10 Cinnamon users fleeing GNOME 3 for every one who is choosing it because it reminds them Windows XP.

  18. Adrian Tompkins

    Couldn't agree more

    I switched from W7 in December, absolutely love it. Workspaces, 'nuff said.

    Still have a W7 VM for officey stuff, rarely used, and have to dual boot to use my crappy Canon scanner.

    It stays out of my way and lets me get on with stuff. Wish the window list used small, stacked icons though I can live with it.

    1. John Sanders

      Re: Couldn't agree more

      Send the suggestion (with a mock-up if possible) to Clement Lefebvre or to the Mint mailing list, they will at the very least look at it.

      If they consider it interesting to the Cinnamon user base they will implement it.

      Clement and the Mint community are quite open to "sensible" suggestions.

  19. fredsmith999

    They stuck with Ubuntu 14.04 for 2 years?

    Have i fallen asleep for a year? Is it 2016? Is it the year of linux on the desktop yet?

    1. John Sanders

      Re: They stuck with Ubuntu 14.04 for 2 years?

      No, if what you want is a 1:1 replacement of Windows no, it is not and it will never be.

      Anyone using it with that mentality is bound to fail and not see the point if it.

      1. kryptylomese

        Re: They stuck with Ubuntu 14.04 for 2 years?

        I agree. I love using my Linux box as a Desktop machine! It never freezes up and I can leave it on for weeks without rebooting it for patching and updates (and when kernel 4.1 is finally fully released then I won't ever have to reboot it).

  20. Steven Raith

    Hmm. I'm gonna try a Jessie VM with Cinnamon as a DE - might finally break me away from Ubuntu on the works lappy (and eventually, maybe even at home)...

    Steven R

  21. bitpushr

    People love cinnamon. It should be on tables at restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, "Oh this is so good, what's in it?" The answer invariably comes back, "Cinnamon." "Cinnamon." Again and again!

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