A desktop environment is an implementation of the desktop metaphor made of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer OS that shares a common graphical interface. A desktop environment typically consists of wallpapers, windows manager, icons, toolbars, text editors, folders, and widgets
Microsoft Windows and macOS have a default desktop environment that comes with the operating system itself. In Linux, The environment can be changed or configured easily.
In KDE/Kubuntu, there are a number of supported desktop environments. They include;
- Plasma which is the most popular one. It is simple, powerful and customizable.
- Gnome which is also simple to use and efficient.
- Xfce which aims to be fast and low on system resources and visually appealing.
- MATE which is derived from Gnome 2 to add support for new technologies.
- LXDE which has a component-based design that allows you to choose what you want.
- Cinnamon which the most modern and stable desktop environment.
Cinnamon Desktop Environment
Cinnamon was developed by the Linux Mint team and it is the default desktop environment for the Linux Mint distribution. However, Cinnamon can be installed on other Linux distributions.
It is a free desktop environment and open-source that is derived from Gnome 3 but still follows the traditional desktop metaphor conventions. It is completely independent and it’s crisply look makes it appealing. It enables users to perform actions as a superuser via the graphical interface like changing themes, that would not happen via terminal if you are not root.
Its features include:
- Flexibility by use of drag and drop actions.
- Offers multiple workspaces.
- Nemo, the default desktop file manager which can mount a folder to an FTP server.
- Add and launch desktop widgets.
- Cinnamon Control Center provides centralized access to many of the desktop configuration options.
- The Cinnamon Panel that is a toolbar.
- Has Keyboard shortcut keys, for example one for closing and opening the menu.
- Delay for menu popup.
- Desklets that can be added to the desktop.
- Customize and change Themes from the system settings.
In this guide, I will show you how to
- Install Cinnamon on KDE Neon|Kubuntu.
- Booting from Cinnamon Desktop Environment.
- Basic configurations.
Install Cinnamon Desktop Environment on KDE Neon / Kubuntu
Update APT package index and install add-apt-repository:
sudo apt update
sudo apt install lsb-release ca-certificates apt-transport-https software-properties-common -y
To install Cinnamon, First, add PPA to your system.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon
Enter to continue with the installation.
Next is to update the package index then install cinnamon.
sudo apt update
sudo apt install cinnamon
The installation might take a while depending on your internet speed. When prompted with disk space, type
y to continue with the installation.
Sign out of your system to log back in using the Cinnamon Desktop environment.
Use Cinnamon Desktop Environment on KDE Neon|Kubuntu
On the sign-in window, choose the cinnamon environment as shown below. Then sign in to your system with your credentials.
The system opens with the cinnamon environment as shown below.
Customize Cinnamon Desktop Environment
You can find the themes option by going to the application launcher Appearance>themes or just searching it on the application search bar.
Opening the themes windows looks like this. It has portions to edit icons and change the ones you want, The mouse pointer and the desktop panel.
If I was to change the icons to high contrast they would appear as shown below
There are a lot of options to choose from, especially when you download themes. You navigate to the Add/Remove tab which would most definitely ask you to reload your cache and a lot of themes appear. You can press the drop-down arrow to install the theme you like.
After downloading, You can access it on the themes tab where you can change with regards to the one you want. For example, I downloaded Adapta as shown above. To apply t I would just click on the icons which will list t as shown.
Once you select the theme, changes are applied immediately.
To add widgets on your desktop, Find the desklets option which you can do by searching it on the application launcher or by right-clicking and selecting add desklets. Here I will show you how to add the clock widget. Once you open the desklet window, Select the widget you want and click on the “+” option to add it to the desktop as shown below.
You can also download more widgets from the Download tab as shown below. Just click on the drop-down arrow to install them, Then you will apply them.
You can also access applets the same way by searching the option on the application launcher or finding it via application>applets.
Change Desktop Background
To change the desktop, just right-click on the desktop and select the change desktop background option.
The backgrounds window opens and you just double click on the one you want.
You can change the display resolution from the Display window which is under appearance>Display and select the viewport you want. Then click apply, Later you can choose to keep the new settings 30 seconds before they revert to previous settings.
You can add more panels on the desktop screen via the panel edit mode. To turn it on, Just right-click on the panel to show the following menu.
Then open the Panel settings which will open this window.
With this edit window, You can add another panel and choose where to position it.
Cinnamon is very easy to configure. And if you are getting started on Linux, I would recommend using Cinnamon as it is simple to customize and very easy to use. The options for customizing are many and offered in varieties to give you a different view anytime you feel like changing, Makes it less boring to use.