All APIs and the desktop itself are now fully stable!
I hope you’ll enjoy the many new features, the desktop effect, desktop layouts, the new configuration tool, the applets, changes, bug fixes and improvements that went into this release. This is a huge step forward for Cinnamon.
We’ll follow up with documentation for artists and developers, and with a website for users to download, rate and comment themes, applets and extensions. For now, we hope you enjoy this new release as much as we enjoyed working on it. Some of the new features were requested by many people, others will come as a bit of a surprise. It’s a real pleasure for us to finally unveil the very latest of our favorite desktop and we look forward to receiving your feedback so we can improve Cinnamon further with each and every release.
Desktop effectsWe all remember Compiz, wobbly windows and the desktop cube… some people loved it, others preferred a desktop with no animations. What was good with Compiz and Metacity though is that people had a choice to get exactly what they wanted. Cinnamon 1.2 is a first step towards reintroducing desktop effects and the ability for the user to define fancy animations or to turn effects OFF altogether.
This release features 2 new animation plugins:
- Fade, which changes the opacity of windows
- Scale, which changes their dimension
For each animation you can also define the duration, so it’s easy to give your desktop your own unique feel.
Desktop layoutsAnother popular feature users “used” to have, was the ability to change the layout of their desktop. Some people liked their panel on top, others liked it at the bottom, and some even liked to have two panels for their desktop. In Cinnamon 1.2, we haven’t reached the stage where each component is independent and can be moved anywhere you like, but we added support for the most common desktop layouts:
- Traditional layout (one panel at the bottom)
- Flipped layout (one panel at the top)
- Classic layout (one panel at the bottom and one panel at the top)
Easier customizationThis release introduces a new configuration tool called “Cinnamon Settings” and additional configuration options.
You can now switch themes, apply desktop effects, add applets and extensions to your desktop and configure some of the settings of the desktop.
Among other things you can now also define your own date format for the calendar applet and panel launchers are now editable and you can change their icon.
AppletsCinnamon 1.2 comes with 5 new applets by default:
- Recent documents
- Removable drives
- Display (XrandR monitor control)
To users they are optional parts of the desktop which come installed by default as part of what Cinnamon is and which place themselves in the panel, near the system tray.
To developers they’re a fantastic new addition. The extension system developed by Gnome Shell is not adapted to developing applets:
- Because extensions insert themselves in the desktop, they interact with the Shell code itself and this potentially makes them incompatible with future versions of the Shell.
- Because extensions insert themselves in the desktop, they have to define their own location
- Because extensions insert themselves and don’t rely on any proper API, they can’t take advantage of a common behaviour and look and feel
- They benefit from an Applet API and are trivial to write (as an applet developer you only focus on the content of your applet, everything else is done for you)
- They’re consistent and feature the same common behaviours (a context menu, consistent styles for the applet container, tooltips etc..)
- They don’t depend on a particular version of Cinnamon
- They don’t specify their location or whether they’re loaded or not. In Cinnamon 1.2 they’re near the systray. In future releases the user will be able to move them around.
Developers are encouraged to only write extensions for advanced purposes and to use the Applet API instead for anything that adds content to the panel(s).
Improved main menuThe main menu was significantly improved.
If you search for something, the categories now become inactive so you don’t hover them by accident just to see your search results disappear.
You can now also simply press enter after a search and the first item in the search results gets launched.
The menu definitions are now handled by Cinnamon itself and the “Administration” and “Preferences” categories are back!
Under the hood changesImportant changes were made to significantly improve Cinnamon under the hood and these changes also mean we’re now going further away from any kind of compatibility with Gnome Shell.
- Cinnamon now uses its own window manager (Muffin forks and replaces Mutter in Cinnamon 1.2)
- Cinnamon is no longer compatible with Gnome Shell themes. It is possible however for a theme to define styles for both Gnome Shell and Cinnamon and to be compatible with both desktops.
- Newly open windows are focused by default (instead of appearing in the back with an annoying “Your window is ready” notification)
- Closing windows on an empty workspace no longer triggers the overview.
- The overview was replaced by a desktop Scale plugin (similar to the old Compiz Scale). In future release, this plugin will be associated with CTRL+ALT+DOWN and a new Expo plugin will be mapped to CTRL+ALT+UP.
- Bug fix galore (after this release, 130 issues were closed since the start of the project)