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Mint is adding more spice to Cinnamon

Linux Mint plans to make more performance improvements to the Cinnamon desktop ahead of its next release.

Similar work featured as part of Cinnamon 3.8, released as part of Linux Mint 19, and improved the responsiveness of launching apps on the desktop.

For the next major release of the Cinnamon desktop environment, the team want to tackle another performance-related bugbear: screen tearing.

On modern NVIDIA GPUs we’re able to get rid of screen tearing by using “Force Composition Pipeline” in NVIDIA-Settings. With Vsync disabled in Cinnamon we then enjoy a faster desktop environments with no screen tearing,“, writes Cinnamon’s lead developer Clement Lefebvre in a recent blog post.

Although VSYNC (a compositing feature) helps to prevent screen tearing it also has a “performance cost” that is noticeable on the Cinnamon desktop, as Mint devs describe:

“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.”

Disabling VSYNC allows for higher FPS, thus speeding window movement up. The downside is the potential for screen tearing, most notably when watching videos or scrolling through lengthy lists.

So Linux Mint devs are working on ways to tackle screen tearing.

“The team is currently looking into this and testing on a variety of different setups and graphics cards,” Lefebvre says.

“There’s no guarantee we’ll find a “one size fits all” solution and be able to ship a Cinnamon 4.0 environment which will be fast and without screen tearing for everybody out of the box.”

Comprehensive solution or otherwise the Mint team is hopeful they can at least provide a list of tweaks and tips to users so they can strike the right balance on their systems.

Cinnamon 4.0 is currently in development with no firm release date.