Some great news come from Mint camp this month. First, Mint has been ranked “Best Distro 2012″ by Linux Format! Then, Mint is proud to have in his side one of the most talented hackers, the just 13 years old Esteban -esteban1uy- who was announced as the developer of the month (in Mint).
Finally, Cinnamon towards version 1.6 is doing great and I think it is the perfect solution for the people that like a more traditional (than GS) environment yet modern and fancy.
I run Cinnamon 1.5.8+git in Ubuntu 12.10. I cannot spot the differences from previous version (as I have barely tried it), but I don’t have one single negative impression from it. It is just awesome! I consider Cinnamon Gnomer than Gnome in terms that is a community effort, based on Gnome technologies, that *finally* makes a healthy diversity of our favorite desktop.
This is how the things should be. Having three different but pure Gnome Desktops! Of course Unity isn’t Gnomish at all, and that is my big complain. Why Canonical didn’t fork Mutter/Gnome Shell the same way as Mint and build their Unity this way ..Anyway what’s done is done.
Muffin and Cinnamon are forks of Mutter and Gnome Shell respectively. Muffin is almost identical (correct me if I am wrong) to Mutter 3.4 (they keep a version back), and they just have forked it in order to keep compatibility between the two Window Manager -in paralleled installations.
Too much usage of Gnome Shell has made me unable to use this menu. For the people that coming straight from Windows or KDE or Gnome2 this will feel familiar. From my personal experience though, Windows users prefer Gnome Shell’s way.
Managing workspaces works similar to Gnome Shell 3 Beta (v 2.90). You can rename workspaces, but I didn’t find an option to use unique wallpapers (but it might exist).
You can fire the workspaces view by top-left hot spot, and you can move Apps between them with drag and drop. Pay attention on the “discreet” recycle bin. While in Gnome Shell you can close App from Overview with a click, here you need to drag the App in the bin. It feels strange for the logic of Cinnamon, but I personally don’t mind it.
On bottom panel you can drag and re-position the items (that you can’t do in GS!) and by right click we get this menu. This is just awesome, and makes me wondering if Gnome Shell should had been more configurable.
Cinnamon Settings Panel has nothing to do with Gnome Tweak Tool. It is user friendly but it has extreme options like managing the transition delays and effects.
Great job from Cinnamon team here. But there is more!
You can add Applets, Extensions and Themes from Cinnamon Official Pages. There are about 70 Applets and 16 Extensions to extend or change the functionality of Cinnamon. About the half of the ~200 of Gnome Shell extensions, but the number is huge anyway, you don’t need any extra tools, plus you have the dozens of default options.
Set a wallpaper directly from your Flickr account! This feature is also meant to be included in Gnome Shell.
Empathy notifications aren’t so usable as in Gnome Shell and you cannot respond with the “bubble” chat. I don’t know if there is an extension or a trick to make this work. A weird thing here (about Ubuntu) was that GOA didn’t sync with Empathy, but I should add another Gmail Account in Ubuntu Online Accounts.
This is Nautilus 3.6 -that is not included in Mint- but all Gnome3 applications miss their App Menus. The fallback mode is an ugly menu button on top left of the application window. This is a real visual issue in Cinnamon.
If you have Unity or Gnome Shell, you should give Cinnamon a try. It hasn’t any dependencies and it is worth to spend some time on it. Ubuntu 12.10 users can try the night builds PPA I used. It won’t break their system.
You can read more in Cinnamon 1.6 Preview from Mint Blog.
The Gnome Shell Effect
I have heard many people saying that while they’re using Gnome Shell for 2-3 hours a day in their home, they have problem on their 10h a day jobs, because they are trying to open the Overview in Windows :)
This is a random mouse tracking after 8.5 hours of work I found on Deviant. It would be nice if we had such diagrams to compare the use in Gnome 2 and Gnome 3 for the same set of activities. I have to say, I feel so addicted with Gnome Shell that it would be hard for me to get used to something else.
esteban1uy via Mint Blog
Each month we feature one developer and explain his contributions to the community. Development is a lot of fun and it doesn’t take much to get started. If you’re tempted to join the team, don’t hesitate to follow our development on http://github.com/linuxmint and come and chat with the developers at #linuxmint-dev (irc.spotchat.org).
This month’s “developer of the month” is: esteban1uy, 13 years old!
Don’t be fooled by his age, he’s new in the development team but he did 3 really cool things this Summer. Have a look:
- First, he helped people on the forums troubleshoot a bug in Cinnamon 1.4 which made the desktop crash when using LibreOffice. The developers were running out of ideas, people didn’t know what to do so esteban1uy led the investigation, spent a lot of time talking to people, learnt about debugging C code and finally found the cause of the problem. A week later he had a patch ready, muffin was upgraded and people’s desktops didn’t crash anymore… that was on the forums and it made people very happy
- Then, he made Cinnamon2D happen. The development team had given up on using llvmpipe. He led the R&D on software-rendering, clutter configuration, and came up with the idea of removing shadows… It’s a bit technical to describe in simple terms, but although he didn’t implement Cinnamon2D, it wouldn’t be in Cinnamon 1.6 if it wasn’t for him (note that Cinnamon2D is there for troubleshooting, there’s still a lot of work to be done before it enables anyone to have a decent Cinnamon desktop using software-rendering).
- Right now, he’s working with dalcde on “bumpmaps”. The gaming industry calls this “tessellation”. The idea is to give artists the ability to define transparent textures which look a bit like sculpted glass. For instance, a honeycomb bumpmap would make your menu look like that:
I am sure that many people here know Esteban, he is a cool kid :)