Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon

In my last review, I covered Linux Mint 13 MATE. However, there’s quite a bit going on with Cinnamon so I decided to do another review to cover it separately. The Cinnamon desktop is quite different than MATE, and it’s worth looking at in its own right.

Excuse me though if I cover some familiar ground if you’ve already read the MATE review. Some of this will be quite familiar to you.

Cinnamon is based on GNOME 3 and Clutter.

Before I get into this review of the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint, let me deal with the issue of MATE versus Cinnamon. Some folks are going to wonder which one they should choose. Here’s a quick run down of the pros and cons of each from the Linux Mint developers:



  • MATE is stable and it works on all computers
  • MATE is among the most productive and easy to use desktops available.
  • MATE continues where Gnome 2 left off and introduces its own incremental improvements.
  • MATE comes with support for mintMenu, mintDesktop, Compiz and everything that made Gnome 2 the most popular Linux desktop.
  • MATE is built with GTK2, it features more themes and integrates with more applications than any other desktop.


  • Some parts of Gnome 2 were not migrated to MATE yet and a few aspects such as Bluetooth support might not work as well as they did with Gnome 2.



  • Cinnamon is among the sleekest and most modern looking environments
  • Cinnamon features innovative features and emphasis on productivity with traditional desktop metaphors
  • Cinnamon is built on rapid technologies and its development pace is really fast
  • The Cinnamon community is very active, and produces a lot of new themes and applets


  • Cinnamon requires 3D acceleration and might not work well for you, depending on your graphics card and/or drivers.
  • Cinnamon is brand new and unfortunately not yet as stable as more mature and established desktops such as MATE, KDE or Xfce.
  • Cinnamon relies on Gnome 3 and Clutter, which are also both brand new and going through rapid transformations.

What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Ubuntu 12.04
Linux 3.2
Cinnamon 1.4
Yahoo as the default search engine
Latest Mint-X and Mint-Z themes
Additional art work for backgrounds from artist masterbutler
MDM Display Manager

Ubuntu 12.04 has been out for a while now, and there’s been a huge amount of coverage by the media. If you aren’t caught up with what it offers, you can check out my review here on DLR.

Kernel Newbies has the dirt on what Linux 3.2 has to offer. So, drop by if you aren’t up to speed on what’s in Linux 3.2.

The switch to Yahoo as the default search engine is related to search engine revenue sharing. The Linux mint developers have been very direct about this change here:

Linux Mint switches to Yahoo as the default search engine for the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Yahoo is the 2nd biggest search engine in the World, and the first major search engine to share revenue with Linux Mint. The results page is full of features, it comes with a nice layout, images, videos and blogs search, points of interest, time filters and cached results. Underneath the interface, Yahoo comes with a strong network of advertisers and its addition represents a huge opportunity and an additional source of income for Linux Mint.

Personally, I prefer Duck Duck Go to Yahoo. Duck Duck Go also has a revenue relationship with Linux Mint. So I think you can use either search engine and still feel like you are supporting the Linux Mint project.

Cinnamon 1.4 has quite a lot to offer, and it’s why I decided to do a separate review for this version of Linux Mint. Please note that I was in a bit of a rush to get this one out the door for those who were interested in Cinnamon, so some of the screenshots below are courtesy of the Linux Mint site, drop by their donation page if you want to make a financial contribution to Linux Mint.

Here’s a list of what’s new in Cinnamon 1.4:

Expo & Scale Overview
New Settings Applet and Panel Edit Mode
New Configuration Options
Menu Improvements
Window List Improvements
Applets Improvements
Cinnamon Settings Improvements

If you’ve ever used a Mac, you’ll feel right at home with the Expo and Scale overviews since they are quite reminiscent of OS X’s Expose feature. Expo lets you see and manage your workspaces. Scale makes it easy and fast to select a window. You can also add additional workspaces in Expo, or close one that you already opened by clicking on the close button (the “x) in the upper right corner of the workspace.

The Expo Overview in Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon
The Expo overview in Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon.
The Scale Overview in Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon
The Scale overview in Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon.

There’s a handy new applet that you can access by clicking on the little arrow icon on the panel. It will launch the Settings Applet. You can troubleshoot, turn Panel Edit Mode on or off, and access Panel Settings. You can also add or remove applets, and access other settings. If you want to move applets, you’ll need to turn on Panel Edit Mode since applets cannot be moved any more.

Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon Settings Applet
The Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon settings applet.

Localization support means that Cinnamon 1.4 supports 39 languages, and includes support for right-to-left languages.

Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon Localization
Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon comes with support for 39 languages.

The menu now includes drag and drop support. You can add applications to panel launchers, add/remove applications to favorites, and reorder your favorites. You can also right-click the menu to use the menu editor to change how apps and categories are displayed in the menu.

The Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon Menu Editor
Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon comes with a new menu editor.

The window list has also had some changes. You can change the order of windows in it via drag and drop. You can right-click a window and send it to another workspace. You can also drag a file onto a window and the window will come into focus.

As you can tell, Cinnamon 1.4 has had many improvements added to it. It’s a no-brainer upgrade if you are still using an earlier version.

System Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

  • x86 processor (Linux Mint 64-bit requires a 64-bit processor. Linux Mint 32-bit works on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors).
  • 512 MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • 5 GB of disk space
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution
  • CD/DVD drive or USB port

Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon Download
You can download Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon from this page. The download file for Cinnamon was about 856.7 MB. You can also buy Linux Mint on disc from There are also helpful books about Linux Mint available from Amazon (the discs and books are listed on that link).

You can download Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon in 32 or 64 bit, and you have the option of downloading it with or without codecs installed.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in VirtualBox before running it on real hardware. VirtualBox is free and open source software that will let you run distros on your Linux, OS X or Windows desktop.

Installing Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon is very easy. It’s probably one of the easiest installs you’ll find in any distro. It didn’t take long and I had no problems. You can watch a slideshow while your install finishes. Please note that Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon is also a Live DVD, so you can burn it to a DVD and boot off of it if you want to try it, before installing it.

Getting Ready to Install Linux Mint 13
Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon requires at least 5.2 GB of hard disk space.
Erase Disk for Install
Getting ready to erase the disk to install Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon.
Slide Show During Install
You can watch a slideshow while installing Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon.
The Login Menu
The Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon login menu.

The Desktop
I covered some of the changes in Cinnamon 1.4 at the beginning of the review. Suffice to say that this really is the best version of Cinnamon yet, with much to offer any Linux Mint user.

Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon Desktop
The Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon desktop.

When your desktop first loads, you’ll see the Welcome Screen. Don’t click it closed if you’re new to Linux Mint. It has many helpful information links on it that will save you time and trouble later.

Welcome Screen
The Welcome Screen has lots of helpful information about Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon.

Other than the Welcome Screen, there’s just an icon for Computer and an icon for Home on the desktop. To get started, click the Menu button in the panel. You’ll find all the usual things like application categories, system tools, preferences, administration, the software manager, and lots of other stuff.

Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon Menu
The menu in Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon.

Bundled Software

Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.

Available in the Software Manager

Document Viewer
Image Viewer
LibreOffice Draw
Simple Scan

Desktop Sharing
Pidgin IM
Thunderbird Mail

Movie Player
Sound Recorder
VLC Media Player


Software Management

The Linux Mint Software Manager has more than 38,000 packages available for download. Applications are broken down into the usual categories, and you can search for them if you prefer that instead of browsing.

Each application contains user reviews, an overall score, a screenshot, and details such as the version and size. You can also see what installing it or removing it will do in terms of packages. You can also rate applications, and submit your own user reviews.

Software Manager
The Software Manager has more than 38,000 applications.
Featured Applications in Software Manager
The featured applications list in Linux Mint 13’s Software Manager.
Deluge in the Software Manager
Deluge in the Linux Mint 13 Software Manager

Adding & Removing Software
Just find the software you want in Software Manager, then click the Install or Remove button. It’s very easy to add or remove applications in Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon. The Software Manager makes it totally pain-free to find, install or delete applications from your computer.

Problems & Headaches
I had a good experience using Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon. I only noticed one momentary glitch when I opened the menu. I clicked the button again and the menu closed without a problem. I’m not sure what it was, but it wasn’t a significant issue.

Some people will want to have both desktops on their computer (MATE and Cinnamon). Since they don’t ship together in one download like in Linux Mint Debian, here’s how you can do it:

1. Click the Menu button.
2. Click the Administration button.
3. Click the Synaptic Package Manager button to start Synaptic.
4. Do a search for “mate desktop” without the quotes.
5. You’ll see a list of packages that can be installed, select the mate-desktop-environment package.
6. Click the Apply button to install your packages.
7. Log out of your Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon session.
8. Click the session icon on the login screen.
9. Click the MATE option.
10. Click the Change Session button.
11. Type in your user ID and password to login.
12. A menu will pop up giving you the option to use MATE as the default desktop, or to use it just for this session.
13. Your MATE desktop will load. You can go back to Cinnamon by choosing it on the session menu on the login screen.

Install MATE in Synaptic
You can add the MATE desktop to your system via Synaptic.
Change Desktop in Sessions Menu
You can change your desktop by going to the sessions menu on the login screen.

I hope future releases will let us name our workspaces. This would make it easier to specify which workspace is for which task. It would really make it better organizationally. The Linux Mint developers have already said that this is something that might show up in a future release, so I’m very happy to know they’ve already noticed the need for workspace naming.

While my experience was very good, there are known issues with this release. Here’s a list of known problems from the Linux Mint developers:

Boot hangs on systems using b43 wireless cards

An upstream issue in the kernel prevents Linux Mint 13 from booting on computers with b43 wireless cards. If you’re in this situation, try the following:

To boot the live DVD, choose the “Compatibility mode” or add the following kernel argument to the boot options: b43.blacklist=yes
Install Linux Mint on the hard drive
If not present already, in Grub, modify the boot options to add: b43.blacklist=yes
Install the b43 firmware on the system

For more information on this problem, please read this bug report.
64-bit only for Mint4win

If you’re planning to use Mint4win, please choose either MATE 64-bit or Cinnamon 64-bit. Although Mint4win is present on all images, it is only functional with the 64-bit ISOs.
Window popping behind installer in MATE Edition

One or two windows might open during the installation of the MATE edition while the installer is mounting partitions and copying files. This is a cosmetic issue. Feel free to dismiss any error message and to close these windows during the installation process.

Moonlight was removed from Linux Mint because of a bug that made Firefox crash. The bug was fixed upstream and you can install the Moonlight plugin from the project’s website.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum; everybody is welcome. Feel free to post a message in the forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, as well as other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

You might also want to check out the Linux Mint forums, and community page.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon has an enormous amount to offer. Cinnamon 1.4 brings Mac-like features such as Expo and Scale to the Linux desktop. Other changes such as the menu improvements, settings applet, localization, and additional configuration options just make Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon that much better.

There’s not much to complain about with this release, and there’s quite a bit to be thankful for on the part of Linux Mint users.

Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon is suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux opinion columns and distro quick looks; visit for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon
Web Site:
Price: Free
Pros: Expo and Scale overviews; menu improvements, settings applet; localization; more configuration options; window list improvements; other changes and improvements.
Cons: Requires 3D acceleration; may not work on certain kinds of hardware configurations.
Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.
Rating: 4.5/5

18 thoughts on “Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon

  1. Hi guys, gals. you can try wonderful desktop environtment, that’s Gnome or you can visit it by clicking . thats so nice that can use for your Ubuntu openSuse FEdora Linux versions 😉

  2. Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon is the first Linux release since Kubuntu 9.04 that I made a switch in my primary system from Kubuntu 9.04 (I also have a system with CentOS 6.3 32bit installed as a file server I also have an Ubuntu 12.04.1 64bit installed in a secondary machine and a Debian Xfce Testing 64bit install | ArchLinux 64bit in a third rarely utilized dated 64bit system) Kubuntu 9.04 marked my love for KDE 4.x and I really couldn’t get enough of it I loved Kwin and had a pretty slick KDE configuration for the last 3 years but then I had a catastrophic system crash (my own fault I had an Emachines T3985 restore cd that I was going to try and get a Windows XP install off of on separate partition I have on one of my 2 HDD’s in my primary system anyway so I popped the CD in and walked out side to have a cigarette and take a phone I came back in and some program called PC Angel (the irony wasn’t lost on me) was running I quickly hard booted my computer since nothing else was working and I had no idea what the hell the PC Angel was doing to my computer anyway turns out without even so much as a prompt PC Angel wen’t ahead and formatted all my Partitions to Fat32 and wiped out my entire system Seriously without even so much as a prompt something like “Warning: continuing will erase your harddrives” so after that incident I decided to go ahead and install Kubuntu 12.10 I had that install for about 3 days before I realized just how tired I was of KDE’s little nuances so after about 3 days I decided to try an Ubuntu 12.10 install and man I really just don’t like Unity it’s so cluttered and claustrophobic feeling I did manage to hack the Unity panel to the bottom of the screen I couldn’t stand it on glued to the left hand of my 4:3 ratio monitor but that just made it feel unorganized launching Dash from the bottom left hand corner just didn’t feel smooth plus I like a simple,clean, and efficient desktop so after reading all the mostly glowing reviews of Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon I decided to give it a spin and I’ve been hooked on Cinnamon since I <3ed the Cinnamon Menu it's my favorite part of they entire environment it's super-slick and so well put together and organized really excellent work then I added my collect of quick launchers next to it which includes: Terminal,Google Chrome Dev version,Firefox,Thunderbird,banshee,and Nautilus then I set it at the Top of the screen I've been putting a single panel on the top of screen for years and I didn't add a dock to the bottom just can't get use to docks to cluttered and in the way for my taste but anyway Cinnamon's speed was quite impressive especially over KDE. KDE wasn't slow by any means but there was a noticeable improvement in the speed of everything very thing felt not only smooth but really snappy another area of vast improvement was in the system resources KDE 4.9 idled along right after initial start-up before I launched anything at between 700-800mb of Ram whereas Cinnamon use's around 370-380mb of Ram at idle which is one of the best overall resource usage I've experienced on a 64Bit install (minus Debian Xfce but the DE's aren't aimed for a good comparison Cinnamon doesn't claim to be lightweight by any means) anyway I loved the hotspot Expo feature for a desktop switcher it's super slick and works extremely well I'm still on the fence about Nautilus I don't mind it it's pretty quick but feels lacking after years of Dolphin but that's a relatively minor issue for me since I do most of my file management from the command line so overall it was a pretty big milestone for me to make a permanent switch from KDE but Cinnamon is exceptionally polished for a new technology It's fast looks good and is well thought out and designed I haven't really experienced and major bugs minus a couple of glitches It's run remarkable well especially for being basically brand new there somethings that need to be improved upon though such as just something as minor as moving a panel requires you to restart Cinnamon for it to take effect and this seems to be true about tweaking most aspects of the system including switching Windows themes reconfiguring the layout of the Maximize Minimize and Close buttons this is by no means a show stopper but defiantly needs to be addressed because switching to a thru all the window themes and having to log in and out just to settle back on the original one was pretty annoying. anyway my conclusion to this is Cinnamon was achieved an epic milestone on my primary system and replaced KDE for the first time in 3 years minus it's couple of annoyances It's really well designed, laded out, efficient, and most important it functions and works virtually bug-free & hassle-free I can't wait to see the improvements to to this Desktop Environment and plan to have it installed on my primary system for quite a long time It's already excellent and only going to get better. -Epod

  3. You once wrote about Pinguy this;

    “I used to call Linux Mint “Ubuntu On Steroids”; Pinguy OS takes Linux Mint one step farther and adds another layer of useful goodies to Ubuntu. If you haven’t already tried it, give it a download. It’s worth considering if you want a truly full-featured desktop distro.

    Now a question for you. Is Pinguy 12.04 a re-spin of Mint 13 or Mint 13 a re-spin of Pinguy 12.04?

  4. As I look at many other Linux distro’s, it occurred to me that Linux is changing. It was awesome that you could install it on outdated, (By MS standerds) PC’s and breathe new life in to them. And even with a GUI, they would peform better than when they were new and had windows on them. I am downloading Mint 13 Debian in hopes that it will work with my FX 5200 vid card. It would also be great if the user could just click on a driver and it would install, or a new program for that matter.
    Being able to have a new OS on an older system made linux very attractive. And being able to click on a driver/program and have it bring up a set-up, would help a lot of people. Usability is even more important than hardware requirements. Just one mans opinion.
    I started with PC’s clear back when PC’s didn’t have hard drives. I knew many, of the commands and syntax by heart. Useless now, because of GUI’s. Make no mistake, this is not an attack of Linux ! I really like Linux and would love to see it be the number one OS in the world. Mint is at #4 right now I think.
    Congrats and Thank You to ALL of the many programmers that create this wonderful software.
    Russell Hall

    1. that was hit on the nail head. i started out on tape drives and cassette. in short, done my time crawling up the asscrack of a computer to install cards, chips, drivers. you had to write everything in. i just want a os that i can install and use (non MS)tried suse and the paint flaked off before i got out the driveway. going to install mint 13 cinnamon (knowing it is a new desktop)i hope at the least this is a distro that i can use and know that the bugs will be fixed..
      i like what i’m reading, i like what i’m seeing, lets just hope it stands alittle taller then ubuntu’s saying (made by tinkerers’ for tinkerer’s)

  5. Mint isn’t the shinest or flashiest distro out there, but it’s the most stable and the easiest to use. It’s a bit “windowish” for my taste, but it beats Ubuntu and Mandriva. Ubuntu is hideous and Mandriva needs a lot of work on bugs and hardware support.

  6. Typing this on Cinnamon after an install of Mint 13 on
    a HP dv6500 series laptop with 2 gigs of ram. No seen
    cons…yet. I DO have a fairly powerful graphics card
    however. Like many folks I need the Gnome 2 workflow
    and Ghnome 3 just doesn’t cut it. I can use a laptop
    running Linux at my work and Gnome 3 was…not useful!

  7. PS, Any disto based of of Debian that is running, built off of, or retrieves packages from any other than Debian stable branch is just kidding themselves about their desktop work being the best.

    Many look at the latest and greatest new shiny, but seldom do we talk about “stability”. Sure, it will do most tasks fine, but put that same box under load with a serious development deployment and the issues encountered are more than obvious. At least from this end, this has always been from my perspective and experience. At this point, Cinnamon doesn’t make it for even being discussed for such usage. Glaring issues with basic usage. I do have hope that one day it will mature to make it as a contender for gnome3 replacement on upcoming Debian stable.

  8. I like what mint is trying to do with cinnamon. It’s a noble venture. But it’s buggy as all getout.

    Instead of scratching the head trying to figure out “when” it will be useful as a serious contender, I’ve done what I always do with Linux desktops and reverted to known good. Stability is everything and you don’t get better than Debian stable branch for serious work. That or Slackware.

    However, there is a serious new contender producing a stable desktop. SolusOS. Yes, gnome 2 and this will eventually change. But if you don’t want a generic Debian stable desktop, look no further for the best of the best available as of the date this was written. SolusOS is “Better” than any current Linuxmint offering. Bar none.

  9. I got weary of PCLinuxOS lxde on my workstation. So I installed Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon, which has turned out to be fast, tightly designed and stable. I do not discount the possibility of some issues emerging after prolonged use. But so far so good. To top it all, this is LTS!

  10. I’ve downloaded this and am going to install it this Saturday. I use Mint 13 LXDE and I’m sick of it, LXDE and XFCE just don’t cut it for me, it is like going back in time to early days of Gnome really. This looks like I might as well nuke my desktop and install this and give it a go. I’m sure unity and gnome3 will mature but I need something now, hope this is it.

  11. Sounds like you did not really catch any issues with either Cinnamon or MATE in your brief review. I’ve generally found that for basic use, when new desktop environments come out, basic navigation generally works. It’s when you start using the desktop features that interoperate with one another that the problems generally tend to surface, such as when you use a file manager and drag and drop files, move them to workspaces, start up new activities, and use the newest desktop features frequently; then it is a matter of time before issues surface.

    For me, I’ve been banging more on the recent systems that feature current KDE software (though I use Xfce as my every day desktop). It’s been stuff that exercises either the Plasma display interface or the database search back end that have yielded the most issues with KDE; if you don’t use any special desktop features or advanced search, you may never notice KDE defects, other than an occasional dialog box, indicating that there really are issues, they just don’t affect you, other than annoying you with their messages and warnings; I’m suspecting that Unity, GNOME 3, MATE, Cinnamon, and these other relatively new interfaces are somewhat similar in that regard; they are usable for the basics, but its the use case or the specific work load that you use that is going to determine which one suits each of us best; for me, Xfce sidesteps that nonsense and gives me something a bit more basic that is stable, gives me all I need, plus its faster and it works.
    Mint usually has a version that includes Xfce; the best one from my perspective is LMDX (Linux Mint Debian Xfce).

    1. I was working on a review of the Debian version, but it got tossed overboard to get the Cinnamon and MATE reviews done. Maybe next week, though I think I need a break from Linux Mint for a while. Heh.


    2. It appears you didn’t bother to read or test what MATE really is all about or you would phrase you post differently regarding MATE. MATE is basically just a way to run fully functional GNOME 2 desktop on a computer with GNOME 3 and GTK3 apps — it renames a lot of packages marco=metacity, caja=nautilus, pluma=gedit etc to avoid clashes, and adds some tweaks to existing Gnome2 development tree. It’s essentially Gnome 2.5. It’s shown to be more stable, and customizable for non-basic needs than any aforementioned interface including the stable KDE4 and Xfce.

      I should know since I use MATE in my daily work, and quite frankly it’s the only desktop I could live with still (my workflow is still addicted to Gnome2 way).

      Cinnamon is really frills-free when you tweak those silly visual effects (I haven’t tried it in Mint 13 but have on Mint 12 and Precise so the defaults in Mint 13 might even be saner). It is a bit rudimentary but much more workable than either Unity or Gnome3. It’s really progressing fast so I expect it to be in a KDE4-level of functionality by Mint 15 if not sooner — because it has a very well designed code-base that allows for people to create usable applets really fast and to hack on Cinnamon itself in an sane, easy and consistent way.

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