Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cinnamon on Mantis openSUSE 12.2 GNOME 3.4.2

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 Cinnamon is the holy Mecca for all GNOME 2.X desktop users, enthusiasts and fanatics. It provides classic GNOME desktop experience on GNOME 3.X series. It is essentially a GNOME 3.X desktop under the hood and is a fusion of best of both worlds. The advantages of Cinnamon are:-
  • Modern desktop under the hood and has support for latest hardware.
  • Can run all modern apps designed using GTK3.
  • It evokes nostalgia when used by traditional / old school GNOME users.
 Cinnamon desktop essentially brings back the following features to the GNOME 3.X desktop:-
  • The familiar panels from GNOME 2.X which are highly customizable.
  • The GNOME 2.X desktop icons.
  • The applets which literally live on the panel and make user's life comfy.
  • The GNOME 2.X applications menu / places menu which really made GNOME a popular desktop.
  • The familiar notification tray.
  • The useful "show desktop" icon is reinstate on the panel.
  • We get the older version of Alt+Tab back.
 The last time I reviewed Cinnamon desktop was when it was newly introduced for openSUSE 12.1 / GNOME 3.2.1. It was fresh and piping hot. Now it is time again to review the Cinnamon desktop as Mantis, openSUSE 12.2, GNOME 3.4.2 was released recently.
Install Cinnamon
Things to do before install:-
  • Take a look at this post to configure the necessary multimedia support, install required software and perform carious configurations etc.
  • Create a new user profile for Cinnamon and use this new profile so that if something goes wrong it will be easy to set things right. This post should help you in creating a new user.
Installation Process
 First we press Alt+F2 to open command launcher. Here we type in "gnome-terminal" and press return or enter key. This will open the terminal. To install Cinnamon desktop we need to follow the following steps:-
  •  Add Cinnamon repository to software repository list. To do this you can use the command "sudo zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/X11:/Cinnamon:/GNOME34/12.2/X11:Cinnamon:GNOME34.repo" in terminal. The terminal output will be as shown below.
    mantis@linux-4cu3:~> sudo zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/X11:/Cinnamon:/GNOME34/12.2/X11:Cinnamon:GNOME34.repo
    root's password:
    Adding repository 'X11:Cinnamon:GNOME34 (12.2)' ..........................[done]
    ...
    URI: http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/X11:/Cinnamon:/GNOME34/12.2/
  • Refresh the meta-data for all repositories. To do this we can use the command "sudo zypper ref" in terminal. The terminal output will be as shown below:-
    mantis@linux-4cu3:~> sudo zypper ref
    Retrieving repository 'X11:Cinnamon:GNOME34 (12.2)' metadata .............[done]
    ...
    Repository 'openSUSE-12.2-Update-Non-Oss' is up to date.
    Retrieving repository 'rpms' metadata ....................................[done]
    All repositories have been refreshed.
  • Invoke Cinnamon Installation. To do this we need to use the command "sudo zypper in cinnamon" in terminal. The terminal output will be as shown below:-
    mantis@linux-4cu3:~> sudo zypper in cinnamon
    Loading repository data...
    Reading installed packages...
    Resolving package dependencies...
    The following NEW packages are going to be installed:
      cinnamon cinnamon-browser-plugins cinnamon-menu-editor libjpeg8 libmuffin0
    ...
    Installing: cinnamon-1.6.1-1.1 ...........................................[done]
    Installing: cinnamon-menu-editor-1.6.1-1.1 ...............................[done]
Logging into Cinnamon
 To Login correctly into Cinnamon desktop one must choose  "Cinnamon" session in the Login screen. To know more about it you can take a look at this this post under sub heading "Logging into user account".
Cinnamon Overview
 True to its nature after we login into a freshly installed Cinnamon with a new profile we get a desktop with no icons.
 The Alt+Tab problem is fixed. No more "Alt+Tab" and then "Alt+~". All you every need to press is Alt+Tab. You need to switch between three nautilus windows! No problem at all!
  After opening the "gnome-tweak-tool" and Turning ON the "Nautilus managed desktop" option we get the desktop icons back.
  The Cinnamon menu resembles the older GNOME menu but it is more advanced than the old one. It has a favourites bar on the left hand side and all the menu options are displayed on the right . The applications are divided into multiple categories. The menu can be launched using the key combination Alt+F1.
 The search feature in the menu saves a lot of time when locating a specific application in the menu. One can type mplayer in the search tool and locate the mplayer based client "gnome-mplayer" as shown below.
 The Cinnamon desktop features a cool dock like tool which sits near the notification area on the right edge of the panel. This dock shows all the open applications and one can switch between applications using this tool.
 Once you right click on the panel it will bring up the "Panel Settings". In addition it will bring up the Troubleshooting menu which has options to "Restart Cinnamon", open "Looking Glass", "Restore Settings". The restore settings menu essentially resets all the modifications done to he desktop including theme changes and hence must be used carefully. This right click menu also shows the settings for applets, themes and  menu items editor.
The panel is cool once more. The below image shows the date and calendar on the panel.
 The panel features a applet which shows the list of mounted flash drives. It makes managing the flash drives a lot easier.
 There are a large number of applets available by default and the below picture shows the panel loaded with various applets. Some of the applets seen are workspace indicator, Accessibility, Monitor Display settings, Recent files opener etc:
 The "Cinnamon Settings" tool is probably the most comprehensive collection of tools on the Cinnamon desktop. It is cool as well as functional. It has many applets which are used to set Desktop Effects, Change Themes, Manage Extensions, Change Backgrounds etc: This tool can be accessed by right clicking on the bottom panel.
 There are two types of hot Corner based switchers available in Cinnamon. The type of switcher can be changed using "Hot Corner" tool in "Cinnamon Settings". The two switchers are:-
  • Scale(Application Window selector)
  • Expo(Workspace selector)
Screenshot of Application Window selector
Screenshot of Workspace selector

2 comments:

  1. liked the article.  wish more people on the opensuse forums would take notice of cinnamon and people that have questions about it.  It seems all they are concerned with is people using kde is all.  Other than that your on your own.

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  2.   Thanks for posting your views James . Though openSUSE packs a very robust and stable GNOME DE there is sometimes not enough community support in the forums. But I have seen some experienced(not me) and knowledgeable(not me again) GNOME users around should be able to help you . Though openSUSE is KDE centric community GNOME packaging is not left far behind . If you want solid sw you need to stay with openSUSE

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