Updated: March 19, 2012
Well, I did tell you I was pleased with Cinnamon. But there were some small visual problems here and there, things that will need to be ironed out before shipping officially with Linux Mint 13 in May. And I promised to work on some mockups, too.
Time to put my mouth where my food is. In a way, this is a review, but it's mostly a gallery, featuring some lovely screenshots, application integration, theme tweaks, and most importantly, applet tweaks, which so far proved to be the most hasslesome part of the new desktop interface. But with bits of coding and reusing and tweaking existing applets, you can get a very decent look. Which is what I did, so here we are.
All of this is showcased on my HP laptop with a decent Nvidia card and whatnot. The machine is running Lisa 64-bit, the one I reviewed in my high-end article, in a busy neighborhood of some six or seven distros.
I invested some time trying to polish the distro. The one outstanding issue was the system area, busy with cramped applets with no space between them, ugly and olden tooltips and intruding icons from active applications landing in between existing icons. Not all of this is resolved, but some hard work can yield interesting results. And hopefully, eye candy that should entice you to try Cinnamon.
But most importantly, the system area. With some spacing in between applets, it looks immensely better and more professional, but there's more work to be done.
Windows theme, I think this looks better than the default:
And finally, all put together:
I sincerely hope you like this. In about two hours of work, I managed to pimp Cinnamon into submission. It's looking as good as any decent Gnome 2 desktop, with all the chic modernistic coolness that people must have. But your productivity and fun are not taken away. In fact, they coexist so happily together.
This should be the future of the Linux desktop, with only small variations, fixes, polishes, and additional ergonomics and user interface considerations, which should best be left with stylists, designers and other normal people, and not us geeks and code monkeys. Even so, Cinnamon is a stunning project that quickly flourished, and it shows some excellent progress already. After a long time, Linux is finally looking good again. Carry on!
P.S. A separate review of version 1.4 coming soon!