Cinnamon 4.0 Desktop Environment is out

Cinnamon is Linux Mint's flagship desktop environment. Started as a Gnome 3 fork, now it is fully independent. Cinnamon brings modern technologies to the Linux desktop while retains the classic desktop paradigm with the taskbar, the app menu, and traditional window management. Let's explore what is new in Cinnamon 4.0.

Cinnamon 4.0 desktop environment comes a refined user interface. It features a new panel layout.

Cinnamon 4.0

The panel includes a modern window list applet with window grouping and window previews. The modern version of the panel includes the following features:

  • 40px icons
  • 24px icons in the system tray
  • Windows that are grouped by application

Cinnamon 4.0 Panel Thumbnails

Users were given the ability to define a different icon size for each of the three panel zones (left, center and right for horizontal panels, or top, center and bottom for vertical ones). Each panel zone can now have a crisp icon size such as 16, 22, 24, 32, 48 or 64px or it can be made to scale either exactly (to fit the panel size) or optimally (to scale down to the largest crisp icon size which fits in the panel).

Cinnamon 4.0 Panel Options

It is worth mentioning that Linux Mint 19.1 will allow the user to choose between the traditional panel and the modern window list applet. If you are running Cinnamon with an alternative Linux distro, you can replace the applet manually from panel's options.

Cinnamon 4.0 will try to reduce screen tearing

In Cinnamon 3.8, vertical syncrhonization is set to VBlank. It has changed in Cinnamon 4.0.

Although Vsync prevents screen tearing from happening, it also has a performance cost. That cost is visible in Cinnamon when dragging a window with the mouse. As you move the mouse cursor left and right, you can notice that the window which is dragged under it doesn’t move exactly “with it”, but with a slight delay, as if there was some sort of elastic band between the cursor and the window it’s holding.

Removing Vsync removes that delay. Window drags are then immediate and fully responsive. FPS measures also seem to confirm this observation and higher FPS figures lead the developer team to believe this could have other positive impacts on Cinnamon’s performance.

Input lag was reduced on NVIDIA cards and the window manager feels more responsive when moving windows. You now can disable VSYNC in the System Settings. This basically delegates VSYNC to your GPU driver (which needs to handle it otherwise you get screen tearing) and if that driver performs well, it can eliminate input lag and boost performance.

The following improvements were backported from Gnome 3:

  • Similar to Mutter, Muffin now uses its own embedded version of COGL and Clutter, which received most of the patches applied to the one in GNOME.
  • Many Mutter performance improvements were applied to Muffin.
  • CJS received many commits from GNOME’s GJS, including improvements to its garbage collection.

Nemo

Nemo 4 features significant performance improvements. Browsing directories is now faster. It had never been that fast before and this is immediately noticeable.

Cinnamon 4.0 Nemo
The app comes with improved icon sizes and spacing to make it look better.

Nemo is now able to show file creation times (note that this requires ext4, kernel 4.15 or above and it doesn’t work within an encrypted home directory).

The options of Nemo were moved to a new widget in libxapp called XappStackSideBar.

Cinnamon 4.0 Nemo Options

Existing Linux Mint and Ubuntu users can install the updated version right now using the following PPA (should be updated very soon):

Cinnamon Stable PPA

The source code is available on GitHub.

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