December 22, 2011, 1:17 PM — If you've been following the world of Linux desktop environments in recent months, you may remember that the Linux Mint project has adopted a strategy of easing users gradually into the controversial GNOME 3 desktop.
Whereas many Ubuntu users have resented that Linux distribution's switch to mobile-inspired Unity as its default interface, Mint created its latest Linux Mint 12 version with numerous options and stepping-stones to help users make the transition to GNOME 3.
Now, it appears the Mint project is taking that approach even further. Developers of the software have created a fork of the GNOME 3 shell called "Cinnamon" that's designed to offer yet another transitional option between the old, familiar GNOME 2 and the new GNOME 3.
'Brand New Features'
"Introducing Cinnamon," began the announcement thread on the Linux Mint forums on Tuesday. "A Linux desktop featuring a traditional layout (GNOME 2), built from modern technology (GNOME Shell), and introducing brand new innovative features."
Mint's goals are different from those of the GNOME team, explained Clement Lefebvre, the project leader.
"The user experience the GNOME team is trying to create isn't the one we're interested in providing to our users," he explained. "There are core features and components we absolutely need, and because they're not there in GNOME Shell, we had to add them using extensions with MGSE."
MGSE, or "Mint GNOME Shell Extensions," is a desktop layer on top of GNOME 3 in Mint 12 that makes it possible to use GNOME 3 in a traditional way. Included in the extra layer are traditional desktop elements such as a bottom panel, application menu, and window list along with a task-centric desktop and visible system tray icons.
'We're Likely to Support Both'