Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Cinnamon for the Perfect Desktop?

Cinnamon desktop on Ubuntu 20.04
Last I wrote about my perfect desktop, Ubuntu 20.04 with Gnome Shell and Extensions was the bee's knees. But sllooowwww performance, random applications crashes and untidy kludging together of extensions made it much less shiny. So is the solution now Cinnamon for the Perfect Desktop

Cinnamon is a free and open-source desktop environment for the X Window System that derives from GNOME 3. Following a traditional (read conservative) design model, it is well established in several Linux distributions, notably developed for Linux Mint Desktop Edition, where it has been used as a Windows-like desktop for users transitioning to Open Source. In plain vanilla styling, Cinnamon is similar to the Xfce and GNOME 2 (MATE and GNOME Flashback) desktop environments. It looks like Gnome 2 but uses Gnome 3 frameworks. 

Cinnamon sits on top of the Gnome Shell library framework, but despite being an extra layer, it is somehow blindingly quick. 

If you recall, I'm still on an ancient Lenovo AMD-A9 jalopy that runs Windows badly and Linux disappointingly. Debian was reasonably responsive, but Ubuntu 20.04 is glacially slow running Gnome Shell with extensions. GIMP, VLC, Firefox and Libre Office would all throw random abends and crashes. Task switching was painful. So recalling how simple Cinnamon was a couple of years ago, I made the switch. 

Cinnamon is astonishingly quick. This is all anecdotal because I can't be faffing about with stop clocks right now, but my key benchmarks are application load times. Libre Office Writer is twice as fast to load. GIMP is three to four times as fast to load. Firefox is... not noticeably faster, but hey, it's Firefox. VLC no longer randomly hangs between media files. 

Cinnamon's main panel is simple and easy to customize. The main menu is logical and comprehensive. System admin and preferences are straightforward. There are no compatibility issues. Cinnamon works. And it's simple. Like me. 

I can't actually think of anything to criticise. How often does that happen? RC

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