Cinnamon 2.6 was released yesterday, bringing important changes like improved multi-monitor (with multi-panel) support, redesigned and reorganized system settings, a plugin manager for Nemo as well as various other changes which should bring improved responsiveness, load times and CPU usage.
Cinnamon 2.6 video
Below you can watch a video which features the most important changes in Cinnamon 2.6:
(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)
Unfortunately the new panel multi-monitor support covered that well in the video because there's no screencast app (for Linux) that I know of which can record the active monitor instead of a predefined monitor (and I didn't have time for complicated editing). Sorry about that!
Changes in Cinnamon 2.6 desktop
For the 2.6 release, Cinnamon Panel has received some important changes, with many of them being implemented in order to bring better multi-monitor support.
For instance, the panels can now be added, removed and configured individually (there are no predefined panel layouts any more) and you can place them on any monitor. You can even copy a panel's settings or move a panel to a different location:
Yet another panel feature added in Cinnamon 2.6 is a new hide mode, called "Intelligent hide" (intellihide):
Furthermore, the applets should handle multiple instances better and they should be smarter when used with multi-monitor and/or multi-panel setups. For instance, the window list applet only displays windows from the current monitor. Also, the window list actions now allow moving windows to other monitors (this can also be done via a keyboard shortcut: Super + Shift + arrow keys):
Other Cinnamon 2.6 panel/applets changes include:
- the Sound Applet was updated with better PulseAudio support, it detects output devices more accurately and features a slightly revamped UI and a new application mixer (which allows changing the sound level for each app individually);
- a new “inhibit” applet was introduced which allows disabling power management or turning off notifications;
- the User and Network applets were improved slightly revamped UI and a new application mixer (which allows changing the sound level for individual apps).
- The Power Applet was redesigned, it detects batteries better, handles screen brightness and keyboard backlight and it can display secondary devices
Here are a couple of screenshots with the Sound Applet and the new Inhibit Applet:
Another change in the latest Cinnamon 2.6 is the addition of XScreenSaver modules and HTML5 screensavers support to the Cinnamon Screensaver:
Note that by default, only one HTML5 screensaver is installed but you can get many other screensaver by installing the following packages: xscreensaver-data, xscreensaver-data-extra, xscreensaver-gl and xscreensaver-gl-extra.
The System Settings have also received quite a few changes in this release, including a redesign and reorganization of the modules as well as:
- the Effects settings were simplified and some new effects were introduced;
- Power Management, Brightness and Batteries modules were revamped and merged;
- The Startup Applications configuration tool was rewritten as a native Cinnamon settings module;
- various other minor but useful new features were added, such as: you can now set the first day of the week, the size and presence of the multimedia keys OSD, etc.;
- various default settings were tweaked: windows now open in the center of the screen by default, on supported hardware touchpads use two-finger scrolling by default and more.
Here are a few Cinnamon Settings screenshots:
Nemo, the default Cinnamon file manager, has received quite a few improvements in its 2.6 release, including a new plugin manager which allows easily enabling and disabling Nemo actions, extensions and scripts, simplified context menus (there's an option to show all available actions) as well as a queue system for file operations (operations are performed in sequence rather than in parallel, but you can manually start queued jobs):
By the way, for those who want Nemo on other desktop environments such as Unity, you can already install the latest Nemo 2.6 via the WebUpd8 Nemo PPA.
Cinnamon 2.6 has also received quite a few under the hood improvements:
- on supported hardware Cinnamon now uses a newer "cogl" API which should prevent some desktop freezes present in previous Cinnamon releases;
- you can now set which Cinnamon components should use loging/consolekit-upower via gsettings;
- Cinnamon 2.6 introduces a preload mechanism which loads themes and app info asynchronously earlier on during the boot sequence, which should improve loading times;
- improved desktop responsiveness, load times and cpu usage by optimizing various Cinnamon components, such as the menu, window management and more;
- information was added to Looking glass logs to report the Cinnamon startup time as well as to indicate how long each enabled applet took to start;
- you can now restart Cinnamon (cinnamon-settings-daemon and Nemo) using a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + Esc. Unlike Ctrl + Alt + backspace, which restarts the whole session, this only restarts Cinnamon so you won't lose your work and any open windows;
- extensions are now able to provide different versions of themselves for different versions of Cinnamon.
Getting Cinnamon 2.6
Cinnamon 2.6 will be available by default in Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela (which should be released at the end of June) and in LMDE 2 Betsy.
For Linux Mint 17.1, is already available in the Romeo repository.
For Ubuntu, the two Cinnamon unofficial stable PPAs I mentioned a while back weren't updated with the latest Cinnamon 2.6 yet, but as soon as they'll be updated, I'll publish a new article. Ubuntu users have another option for installing the latest Cinnamon: the official Cinnamon Nightly Builds PPA, but the packages provided by this PPA are unstable and things can break so I do not recommend it (the PPA should only be used for testing purposes).