Cinnamon vs GNOME comparisons, and why I switched to Cinnamon! : linuxmint
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Cinnamon vs GNOME comparisons, and why I switched to Cinnamon! : linuxmint


GNOME desktop

Cinnamon desktop

After I first made the swap to Linux Mint from Home windows, I felt considerably delay by the out-of-the-box Cinnamon surroundings as a result of I did not like the appear and feel, and I did not notice how extensively it might be personalized. I gravitated in the direction of GNOME as a result of I anticipated probably the most polish and the least trouble from one of many major gamers. In the meantime, I interpreted DEs like Cinnamon and MATE as forked alternate options for individuals who did not just like the path of GNOME. Properly, I had no points in any respect with GNOME’s path and normal interface, so naturally, it was the primary one I gave an actual shot.

After some time utilizing GNOME, I freshly put in Linux Mint on a second machine. Inside minutes, I seen that a few issues I struggled with on GNOME have been dealt with by Cinnamon very well! After taking the time to actually familiarize myself with Cinnamon, I felt foolish for underestimating it and judging it by the out-of-the-box appear and feel. I realized that Cinnamon is very customizable proper from the Linux Mint preferences, and I’m a lot much less depending on third-party extensions/instruments than I used to be in GNOME.

Now that I am on Cinnamon full-time, listed below are a few of my experiences with every DE, and what I feel every of them do properly!


  • With out understanding a lot historical past, I get the impression that GNOME’s objective is to maintain issues minimal and let distros use extensions to customise and refine the desktop expertise for that distro. Ubuntu is a straightforward instance – it runs GNOME with a number of extensions to provide you a dock and a pair different good options.

  • In the meantime, Cinnamon continues the GNOME 2 “Panels” system and lets the consumer create new panels, change their measurement and place, and populate them with “applets”, which virtually permits you to construct and customise your individual desktop UI nonetheless you prefer it. You may follow the Home windows-inspired backside panel with the app launcher, dock icons, and system tray, or you possibly can add a panel to the highest or aspect to go for a macOS or Ubuntu really feel.

  • The GNOME extensions “Sprint to Panel” and “Sprint to Dock” are very well-maintained and have implausible, fine-grained customization of each their look and habits. Most of the look settings allow you to convincingly mimic the appear and feel of Home windows and macOS.

  • Cinnamon has a lot of panel customization as properly, however in the event you’re making an attempt to imitate the Home windows taskbar, it does not fairly maintain as much as the capabilities of Sprint to Panel. Regardless of this, Cinnamon has two distinct benefits: The “Panel Editor”, a pleasant mode the place the panel may be organized by way of drag-and-drop; and the truth that Applets are a core, built-in element of Cinnamon, that means you possibly can count on consistency in look and performance of no matter you are placing into the panel. I liked the way in which my app shortcuts regarded with GNOME’s Sprint to Panel, however the system tray was a battle to get proper, as a result of I had to make use of a number of extensions that did not play completely properly with one another.

App Launcher

  • This one is an actual matter of choice. Many individuals will take their menu-style app launchers to the grave. I respect GNOME’s grid-based app launcher, particularly with the power to truly place the apps and put them into folders in GNOME 3.38. However as somebody who pins all my most-used apps to the dock, I solely deliver up the app launcher for unusual apps, after which I simply sort a part of the app title and hit Enter to launch it. So I feel I choose an app menu over a full-screen launcher.

  • Looking out Cinnamon’s app launcher is extremely snappy, successfully instantaneous. It is smart as a result of it is solely filtering apps and never making an attempt to do the rest.

  • In the meantime, looking out in GNOME’s Actions can be utilized to launch apps, however it is usually extensible and might present a whole lot of different performance reminiscent of looking out listed information, looking out the Net, selecting particular characters, or performing easy calculations. I see a whole lot of worth in having a unified search system that’s extensible by way of third-party apps. I do know there are third-party options for that basically, however having it constructed proper into GNOME is a good way to encourage builders in the direction of a single ecosystem, and it feels good to have it constructed proper into the core desktop expertise.


  • GNOME workspaces are vertical; Cinnamon’s are horizontal. I feel vertical workspaces really feel extra pure for dual-monitor setups, and for widescreen screens basically. Cinnamon has a third-party “workspaces grid” applet, but it surely’s extra of a hack that does not combine properly with workspace hotkeys and different options. Although this distinction primarily solely issues on the subject of the workspace transition animation (i.e. the path you see the brand new workspace slide in from). Not an enormous deal.

  • GNOME has a dynamic workspaces function, which mainly ensures there may be at all times precisely one empty workspace on the finish of the record. I like this as a result of I haven’t got to consider manually creating or eradicating them.

  • I choose GNOME’s Actions display screen over Cinnamon’s Expo and Overview screens. Actions makes your present workspace go into “Overview” mode, with the opposite workspaces proven as thumbnails, so that you get the benefits of each Overview and Expo in a single display screen. It is harking back to Home windows 10 Activity View and macOS Mission Management. Cinnamon’s implementation is harking back to the previous (Mac) OS X Exposé and Areas, which have been superior in 2006 however might be higher at the moment.

Window Supervisor/Compositor

  • GNOME has a built-in “Night time Gentle” with simple controls and scheduled occasions for colour shifting, whereas Cinnamon depends on Redshift and Third-party applets. The Redshift and QRedshift applets do not have an choice to schedule a time for the colour shift to happen (solely coordinates for dawn/sundown), so the consumer wants to jot down a Redshift config file with the scheduled occasions. At that time, it’s possible you’ll as properly be utilizing Redshift-GTK fairly than one of many applets. It is positive after you get all of it arrange, but it surely’s a lot much less user-friendly, and it took me some time to determine.

  • Cinnamon has a implausible “Results” part within the settings the place window animations may be adjusted. I can select not simply the animation type, however the period and kind of acceleration curve to make use of for the animation. A GNOME gripe of mine was that the easing used for minimizing home windows induced the window to hold in place for just a little earlier than accelerating out of the way in which. I could not discover an extension to vary this habits, only a tweak to disable animations totally. Cinnamon has fine-grained customization out of the field.

  • Cinnamon has some nice customization for the Alt-Tab app switcher, together with the delay between the keypress and the switcher showing. GNOME requires a third-party extension for that.

  • GNOME has keyboard shortcuts to immediately cycle between home windows with out having to make use of the Alt-Tab app switcher, which Cinnamon does not. I did not use it a lot, however I appreciated that it was there for energy customers – it felt way more instantaneous than Alt-Tab.

  • Cinnamon has strong window tiling and snapping performance, with some customization. I feel GNOME’s tiling is much less versatile, however I recall a function the place having two home windows tiled side-by-side allows you to have the ability to resize each home windows concurrently by dragging the area between every. Cinnamon does not permit this, nor does it produce other settings to extra conveniently outline tiling display screen areas. Nevertheless, gTile is accessible as each a GNOME and Cinnamon extension, and it addresses the shortcomings of each desktop environments.

  • Compositor efficiency in each GNOME and Cinnamon appears lackluster. Switching workspaces is noticeably laggy virtually each time, as is unminimizing a window I have not used shortly. It might be an NVIDIA driver challenge or one thing, however intensive troubleshooting hasn’t gotten me wherever to date. It is one in every of my least favourite issues about making the swap from Home windows. Once more, it might simply be my {hardware}, however I am certain I am not the one one to expertise it.

Lock Display/Login Display

  • Cinnamon has much more lock and login display screen customization out of the field, which I like. This might be as a result of LightDM having extra consumer customization accessible than GDM for the login screens, however both means, Cinnamon has it. You may customise not simply the background, but in addition theming, multi-monitor dealing with, and toggling of UI components.

  • GNOME/GDM turns off the show when locking the display screen, which I personally like. I used to be ready to do that in Cinnamon/LightDM with a bash script, but it surely’s not good – I generally stroll into my workplace to search out the monitor on and displaying the lock display screen.

  • To go along with the above, the Cinnamon/LightDM lock display screen does not have its personal show timeout, i.e. you continue to have to attend the total 30 minutes (or no matter you set it to) earlier than your show turns off. GNOME/GDM is aware of to show off the monitor after just a few seconds of inactivity on the lock display screen.


  • My battle with GNOME notifications is what made Cinnamon really feel attractive to me within the first place. I had points reminiscent of new notifications exhibiting me the oldest notification within the record fairly than the one which simply appeared, and notifications seemingly randomly deciding they needed to remain on the display screen indefinitely, or disappear too shortly.

  • In GNOME, third-party extensions are required for primary, anticipated notifications options, reminiscent of repositioning the situation of latest notifications, and exhibiting a notification counter within the panel. I extremely choose my notifications within the nook fairly than the highest heart of the display screen, and never having the ability to see my variety of unread notifications at a look is an inconvenience to me.

  • Cinnamon does not have many notification-related settings both, however fortunately they already do virtually every thing I might ask. There is a setting to modify the notification place from the highest to the underside of the display screen, which I take advantage of. The notifications applet natively exhibits the variety of unread notifications. General, I feel notifications deserve extra settings, such because the period of time they continue to be on-screen, and perhaps place, measurement, and font measurement. However the options offered are basically all I would like, and something not configurable is fortunately already the way in which that I prefer it. Most significantly, Cinnamon notifications really feel correct and responsive of their UI/UX, way more so than GNOME’s.

Closing Ideas

Should you learn by all of this, you may be aware that whereas I most popular GNOME’s dealing with of some issues right here and there, they have been largely inconsequential and did not tremendously influence my expertise. Cinnamon’s panel system, applets, notifications, and intensive preferences finally gained me over and helped me really feel actually glad utilizing my desktop. It is a deal with to get issues arrange precisely the way in which that you really want them, with out having to really feel such as you’re making some sacrifices within the course of.

I am certain there are particulars I missed – perhaps GNOME or Cinnamon is ready to deal with a difficulty I used to be having with a easy tweak or extension, for example. I might love to listen to your ideas and opinions, particularly when you’ve got extra perception or a distinct opinion on one thing.

Thanks for studying!

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