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Cinnamon as Default Desktop


This feature proposes that Fedora switch the default desktop interface from Gnome 3 to Cinnamon. Cinnamon provides a desktop interface that is more familiar to Windows and Gnome 2 users than the standard Gnome Shell interface, while being built from Gnome 3 components.


Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 19
  • Last updated: Jan 23, 2013
  • Percentage of completion: 0%

Detailed Description

The Gnome 3 interface is substantially different that the traditional desktop interfaces on both Linux and Windows. While it is good that there is research into new user interface concepts, many users prefer to have a traditional interface that they are accustomed to. Unfortunately it is difficult or impossible to assess what fraction of the user base prefers Gnome Shell vs. a more traditional interface. I'm not trying to start (or continue) a flame war here, so I won't state any of my own criticisms of Gnome Shell here, but I will observe that a number of very high profile people in the Linux community, such as Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox, have publicly announce that due to problems with Gnome Shell they are switching to a different desktop and/or Linux distribution.

I submit the proposition that it is easier for a user doing a new Fedora install to start with a traditional desktop, and switch to the Gnome Shell if they prefer that, than to start with Gnome Shell and switch to a traditional desktop.

The Cinnamon desktop provides a traditional desktop while being based on the latest Gnome and GTK components, so it seems like a better candidate for a default desktop than MATE, which is based on older components.

Benefit to Fedora

I claim that having Cinnamon as the default desktop will provide a more familiar interface to most users, and thus a better out-of-the-box user experience.


The actual changes needed to implement this feature are very small. All of the necessary packages already exist in the Fedora 18 and Rawhide repos. Only some minor configuration changes are needed.

How To Test

No special hardware/data/etc. is needed for testing.

Testing this feature merely requires verifying that a fresh install will default to the Cinnamon desktop environment, and verifying that a user an install and switch to the Gnome Shell if desired.

User Experience

Since the Cinnamon desktop interface is very similar to traditional desktop interfaces, the user experience will be more familiar for anyone doing a fresh install of Fedora. However, as always, the user will have a wide variety of other desktop environments available to choose from, including Gnome Shell.


There are no other dependencies.

Contingency Plan

If this feature is not completed or tested in time, the default desktop environment can remain Gnome Shell.


There are no new documentation requirements.

Release Notes

The default desktop environment is now Cinnamon, which is based on Gnome 3 technologies including the Gnome Shell, but provides a more traditional user interface. Users may still choose any desired desktop environment, including Gnome Shell, when logging in.

Comments and Discussion