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“Linux Mint 16 will be a harder sell” – Clement Lefebvre

by Rob Zwetsloot

Linux Mint 17 will be in a position to get a lot of innovation and new features, however Linux Mint 16 will suffer in this area to accommodate it

In our interview with the Linux Mint developers last week, we talked a lot about the future of Linux Mint and their desktop environment Cinnamon. One of the revelations was that Cinnamon is moving to its own back-end for Linux Mint 16, as Cinnamon levels up to version 2.0. While this is a bold and important move, it’s not going to be without its drawbacks.

Clement Lefebvre:

“Cinnamon 1.8 reached completeness on all visible aspects. In other words, even though the back end is still GNOME, what you see in Mint 15 is a complete Cinnamon front end, whereas in Mint 14 you could see parts of GNOME and Cinnamon tried its best to integrate with that. I think that’s a big reason for Mint 15’s success, people’s perception of it is different I think.

In 2.0 they won’t see the difference and although the back end is hugely important it will be much harder to ‘sell’.”

MATE GNOME Ubuntu Unity
Don’t expect much new in the front end next Linux Mint

Linux Mint 17 and Cinnamon 2.1 won’t have the same problem though, which should come just in time for the next big LTS release, Ubuntu 14.04.

Linux User & Developer: “This means you’ll be ready for the LTS release?”

CL: “Yes, because relying on our own technology is a huge asset for innovation, Not only does it push the boundaries of what isn’t possible further, but things we don’t want changed, don’t change and we’re not catching up with things and fixing regressions.”

The full interview will be turning up in a future issue of Linux User & Developer magazine, however, we’ll be posting some information from the interview regarding Linux Mint 15 sometime this week.

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    • Innocent Bystander


      If Cinnamon 2.0 won’t need Gnome anymore. Does that means all Gnome applications will no longer be compatible with Cinnamon? I hope that Gnome apps will still run, if so can you please explain why and what is Gnome is used for then?

      Thanks for any clarification.

    • Aaron Honeycutt

      I think what they mean is that cinnamon has its own applications and tools to config it without the need of the gnome backends. But that will not stop you from installing the GNOME backends if that is not true if you need them for applications like GParted or Empathy.

    • Goodness people, if you’re so worried about GNOME just use XFCE or Xubuntu. It’s based on GTK and all your GNOME Apps will work just fine. And if you use Xubuntu, you can have all that Ubuntu goodness, like the Software Center, but without awful Unity.

    • Innocent Bystander

      @Mike Frett: I am using Xubuntu currently. What I would like to know is the technical background to help me understand better Cinnamon, Gnome3, GTK3. With many things in graphic recently, like Wayland, Mir. I am getting lost and I wonder what is really useful. At a high level, is it correct to say that Cinnamon 2.0 will replace entirely Gnome3 but still needs GTK3?

      Even though Cinnamon 2.0 could run without Gnome. Why would LinuxMint take the enormous risk of cutting themselves off the Gnome application world? This sounds so suicidal I can’t really understand the rational.

      And does X Server or Wayland or Mir have anything to do with Cinnamon? Do I *really* need them to have the computer working if I don’t play games?

      Sorry for the confusing questions, hope you can help to clarify.

    • TobiSGD

      @Innocent Bystander: That Cinnamon will not use the GNOME backend anymore does not mean that you can’t run GNOME applications. You can run them fine on any desktop environment or window manager out there.
      Regarding X, Wayland and Mir, they are the the software providing the basic functionality for displaying a graphical environment, so yes, you will need them in any case.

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    • Helen

      I’ll be interested to read the article. Not sure why they see it as a ‘hard sell’ – Mint is a lovely distro and basically sells itself regardless. I think it will remain attractive to established users; and I notice it’s increasingly the one suggested to newbies.

    • jancis

      Can we finally have panels on sides, please?

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    • Christopher Blazejewicz

      yea i used mint 10 until i upgraded to current one mint 14

    • 00010101011

      i hope edition sixteen works out the box for me. i’ve had graphics driver problems with other editions, so cannot run it properly. it won’t boot from usb and i don’t have a spare hard drive to toy with

    • bwat47

      Of course gnome apps will still run. Gnome apps run just fine in XFCE too. This shouldn’t affect your gnome apps at all.

    • Albin

      Meanwhile the repos have stopped updating for Mint 15.

    • maxweis1

      If you’re gonna do that, you might as well install Ubuntu GNOME 13.04/13.10. It is rising up the charts very fast and is one awesome distro…pure GNOME!!

    • mike

      From what I can understand, it refers to the lots of bugs that usually come up whenever a big change happens. The new Cinnamon code debuts in a non-LTS and will have been tested quite a bit by the time Mint 17 LTS is out, which is good for most of the LTS users, which are looking for stability, in the sense of “least bugs possible”.

    • Acid_1

      I have a couple of problems with the way Cinnamon is forking, and they are similar to the way Mate did it too.

      They fork their products, and they work solidly. But then you want to add something from the repo (say programA), and for this example it needs a dependency from Gnome, such as Nautilus. Well, we have nemo, and that is supposed to replace it, but then it downloads Nautilus, then a billion extra libraries that are duplicates of what you already have just with different names.

      It cause bloat and it sucks. These packages for Cinnamon need to have a “replaces: insert gnome lib here” in order for it not to add unnecessary bloat. But then they have to work out compatibility between their versions and the upstream gnome versions, or suffer incompatible patches with Ubuntu and Debian in the sameway Ubuntu did to Debian.

    • ravi teja Uzumaki

      XFCE is lightweight, etc but it looks crappy and lot of functionality looks half-baked.