What’s the best way to sample the Cinnamon desktop on top of an Ubuntu base?

You may be minded to answer Linux Mint (and that wouldn’t be a wrong answer) but with the upcoming release of Ubuntu 23.04 there’ll be a new choice to consider.

The Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix team has been coaching for official status among Ubuntu’s family of flavours for a while. This week they achieved it. Following a vote of Ubuntu’s Technical Board, Ubuntu Cinnamon 23.04 will be first official release of this spicy new flavour.

As you can guess from the name, Ubuntu Cinnamon takes an Ubuntu-base and layers the GTK-based Cinnamon desktop environment over it. The result is Ubuntu Cinnamon, a mid-weight Linux distro ideal for those seeking a more traditional interface to computing:

Ubuntu Cinnamon 23.04 desktop screenshot with nemo open
Ubuntu Cinnamon 23.04 desktop

Nemo is used as the default file manager, and a raft of other Cinnamon-based settings and tweak tools are included. These allow users to customise and extend the Cinnamon desktop with all kinds of extra applets, themes, and other content from the online Cinnamon Spices hub.

Ubuntu’s Yaru is instilled as the default GTK, icon, and Cinnamon theme (nice to see the Cinnamon Yaru theme work from last year yield fruit). There are also an array of additional apps pre-installed alongside the ones that are familiar across most flavours, e.g., LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Rhythmbox, etc:

  • Celluloid
  • The GIMP
  • gThumb
  • GNOME Photos

Notably, none of Linux Mint’s XApps are present; software management is handled by GNOME Software; and the snapshot-based backup tool Timeshift is also absent. While those tools may be more “Mint-ifications” than “Cinnamon” ones it feels a little unusual to use this desktop without them.

Still, things aren’t quite release-ready just yet anyway.

Ubuntu Cinnamon 23.04 (daily build)

The Ubuntu Cinnamon daily build I tried lacks a web browser, and The GIMP is set as the default image viewer (!) which feels a little odd given that both gThumb (which Linux Mint’s Pix is based on) and GNOME’s Photos are included.

Still, if you’re excited by the concept of a Xorg-powered Cinnamon desktop experience atop a traditional Ubuntu base pre-prepared with Snap integrations, give Ubuntu Cinnamon a whirl when it formally arrives next month.

Or y’know, go grab a daily build right now ;).

Linux Mint Ubuntu 23.04 Ubuntu Cinnamon