Cinnamon is a free desktop environment developed by Linux Mint team. It is derived from GNOME shell and adopts various under the hood components from GNOME. However, when it comes to design and user experience, Cinnamon follows the idea of the traditional desktop. It provides a classical taskbar and application menu as observed in traditional desktops.

The Linux Mint team started working on Cinnamon Desktop when GNOME 2.x project was discontinued in favor of GNOME shell. The idea was to develop a modern desktop environment that retains traditional desktop experience.

Cinnamon Desktop was initially created for Linux Mint releases and still, it continues as the main desktop environment in Linux Mint. It is also available in other popular GNU/Linux distributions.

Following the architecture of GNOME 3.x/GNOME shell, Cinnamon Desktop includes following components.

  • Cinnamon is the shell in Cinnamon Desktop environment. It provides the user interface such as panels, hot corners, menus etc. The UI is written in JavaScript, while its core libraries are written in C.
  • Cjs, a fork of Gjs is javascript interpreter used in Cinnamon Desktop.
  • MDM, the Mint Display Manager forked from GDM
  • Nemo file manager forked from Nautilus
  • Muffin window manager
  • ..etc

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Distributions with Cinnamon Desktop