Install Cinnamon Desktop on Ubuntu

Cinnamon Ubuntu
Cinnamon Ubuntu.
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What Is The Cinnamon Desktop Environment And Why Install It On Ubuntu?

Cinnamon Desktop Ubuntu
Cinnamon Desktop Ubuntu.

A desktop environment is a collection of tools which enable the user to perform tasks on their computer.

The desktop environment consists of a number of key components such as the window manager, which determine how windows appear and behave, a menu, a panel which is also known as a task bar, icons, file managers and other tools which basically make it possible for you to use your computer.

If you come from a Microsoft Windows background then you will only really recognise one desktop environment as there is only the default one available.

In Windows 10 there is a panel at the bottom of the screen with the Windows logo in the bottom left corner and a clock and system tray in the bottom right. Clicking on the Windows logo brings up a menu from which you can launch applications. You can also click icons on the desktop. 

Within Windows you can drag windows, resize them, place them on top of each other and snap them side by side. Windows can also be minimised and maximised.

All of these things essentially make up what is considered to be a desktop environment.

Ubuntu by default comes with a desktop environment called Unity. The key characteristics are the launch bar on the left side of the screen, a panel at the top and when you press the top icon on the launch bar a dash interface appears where you can find applications, play music and watch videos.

Cinnamon is the default desktop environment for Linux Mint. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and has many of the same features.

The Cinnamon desktop is much more Windows-like than the Unity desktop that comes with Ubuntu.

If you haven't installed Ubuntu yet and you would prefer your desktop to function more like the Windows one then I would suggest actually installing Linux Mint rather than Ubuntu as Cinnamon has already been customised to work perfectly.

If however you have already installed Ubuntu then there is no need to go to the trouble of creating a Linux Mint USB drive and replacing your Ubuntu operating system with Linux Mint. This is overkill.

You might also want to use Ubuntu and not Linux Mint as it is always ahead of Linux Mint in terms of development. Linux Mint bases itself on the long term support release of Ubuntu. Basically this means you get version 16.04 of Ubuntu plus and security updates and package updates but you don't get newer features offered by Ubuntu 16.10 or indeed later.

With this in mind you might prefer to use Cinnamon on Ubuntu than on Linux Mint.

Regardless as to why you have chosen to install Cinnamon on Ubuntu this guide will show you how to install the latest version of Cinnamon as well as add some useful tweaks at the end.

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How To Install Cinnamon From The Ubuntu Repositories

How To Install Cinnamon On Ubuntu
How To Install Cinnamon On Ubuntu.

The version of Cinnamon in the Ubuntu standard repositories is not the latest version available but it is adequate for most people's needs.

If you want to install the very latest version read on as this will be covered later on.

Regardless as to the version you wish to use I recommend installing Synaptic so that it is easier to find and install Cinnamon. Synaptic will come in very handy for other tasks such as installing Java.

In order to install Synaptic open a terminal window by pressing CTRL, ALT and T at the same time.

Enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

You will be asked to enter your password to continue.

To launch Synaptic click on the top button on the Ubuntu launch bar and enter "Synaptic" into the search box. Click on the "Synaptic" icon.

If you are happy to install the version of Cinnamon in the Ubuntu repositories click on the search button and enter "Cinnamon" into the box.

Find the option called "Cinnamon-Desktop-Environment" and place a tick in the box next to it. 

Click "Apply" to install Cinnamon.

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How To Install The Latest Version Of Cinnamon On Ubuntu

Install Latest Cinnamon Ubuntu
Install Latest Cinnamon Ubuntu.

In order to use the latest version of the Cinnamon desktop environment you will need to add a 3rd party "Personal Package Archive" (PPA) to your software sources.

A PPA is a repository created by a person, group or company and is not linked to the Ubuntu developers.

The upside to using a PPA is that you get the latest version of the packages but the downside is that they aren't supported by Ubuntu.

In order to install the latest version of the Cinnamon desktop environment follow these steps:

  1. Open the Synaptic Package Manager by clicking on the top icon on the desktop and entering "Synaptic" into the search bar. If you haven't installed Synaptic refer to the previous slide
  2. Click on the "Settings" menu and choose "Repositories"
  3. When the "Software & Updates" screen appears click on the "Other Software" tab
  4. Click the "Add" button at the bottom of the screen
  5. Paste the following into the box provided  ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon
  6. When you close the "Software and Updates" form you will be asked to reload from the repositories. Click "Yes" to pull in all of the software titles from the PPA you just added
  7. Click "Search" at the top of the Synaptic window and enter Cinnamon
  8. Place a tick in the box called "Cinnamon". Note that the version should say 3.2.8-yakkety and the description should say "Modern Linux Desktop".
  9. Click "Apply" to install the Cinnamon desktop and enter your password when required to do so

The latest version of Cinnamon should now be installed

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How To Boot Into The Ubuntu Cinnamon Desktop

Boot Into Ubuntu Cinnamon
Boot Into Ubuntu Cinnamon.

To load the Cinnamon desktop that you have just installed either reboot your computer or logout of Ubuntu.

When you see the login screen click on the white dot next to your name.

You should now see the following options:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon (Software Rendering)
  • Ubuntu (Default)
  • Unity8

Click on the Cinnamon option and then enter your password as usual.

Your computer should now boot into the Cinnamon desktop. 

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Change The Ubuntu Cinnamon Background Image

Change Ubuntu Cinnamon Background
Change Ubuntu Cinnamon Background.

When you boot into the Cinnamon desktop environment for the first time you might notice that the background is black and nothing like the one shown at the top of this page.

Follow these steps to be able to choose from a number of different desktop background images:

  1. Right click on the desktop and choose "Change Desktop Background"
  2. Click on the plus symbol "+" at the bottom of the "Backgrounds" screen
  3. Click on the "Other Locations" option in the "add folders" screen
  4. Click on "Computer"
  5. Double Click on "usr"
  6. Double Click on "share"
  7. Double Click on "Backgrounds"
  8. Click "Open"
  9. Click on the "Backgrounds" option which now appears in the "Backgrounds" screen. 
  10. Choose the image you wish to use as a background

There are a multitude of other ways to customise Cinnamon but now you should be up and running and able to use the menus to launch applications and navigate around your system.