Restoring sanity to Cinnamon 2.0 in Ubuntu Precise

When the Cinnamon 2.0 was recently released for Ubuntu (PPA here) I noticed it broke quite a few default settings and resulted in the desktop looking like quite a mess when logging in. For some machines I had set up for other people to use this caused no end of strife so I investigated a fix.

It seems that Cinnamon 2.0 is now a fork of Gnome 3 rather than a shell, so as a result it now uses its own Gschema settings. Unfortunately it doesn’t bother to migrate any existing settings from Gnome so we end up with a bit of a mess on stock Ubuntu with missing icons and a very broken desktop theme. Fortunately it’s easy to fix!

Window and GTK+ themes

Edit /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.cinnamon.desktop.interface.gschema.xml and modify the following lines:

    <key type="s" name="icon-theme">
      <default>'Humanity'</default>
      <summary>Icon Theme</summary>
      <description>Icon theme to use for the panel, nautilus etc.</description>
    </key>
    <key type="s" name="gtk-theme">
      <default>'Ambiance'</default>
      <summary>Gtk+ Theme</summary>
      <description>Basename of the default theme used by gtk+.</description>
    </key>

 

    <key type="s" name="cursor-theme">
      <default>'DMZ-White'</default>
      <summary>Cursor theme</summary>
      <description>Cursor theme name. Used only by Xservers that support the Xcursor extension.</description>
    </key>

Edit /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.cinnamon.desktop.wm.preferences.gschema.xml and modify the following line:

    <key type="s" name="theme">
      <default>'Ambiance'</default>
      <summary>Current theme</summary>
      <description>The theme determines the appearance of window borders, titlebar, and so forth.</description>
    </key>

Desktop background

Edit /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.cinnamon.desktop.background.gschema.xml and modify the following line:

    <key type="s" name="picture-uri">
      <default>'file:///usr/share/backgrounds/warty-final-ubuntu.png'</default>
      <summary>Picture URI</summary>
      <description>URI to use for the background image. Not that the backend only supports local (file://) URIs.</description>
    </key>

Apply changes

To actually make the changes take effect we need to recompile the binary schema file from the ones we’ve just edited:

sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/

Menu icon

The Mint menu icon also looks pretty ugly and out of place so let’s change it to a nice Ubuntu logo.

sudo sed -i.orig -e 's%/usr/share/cinnamon/theme/menu.png%/usr/share/unity-greeter/ubuntu_badge.png%' /usr/share/cinnamon/applets/menu@cinnamon.org/settings-schema.json

Original Cinnamon menu icon New Cinnamon menu icon

And that pretty much sums it up!

Bootnote

So why not use Mint? Well to be honest I don’t find it particularly good looking and once the surface is scratched it just feels a little kludgy under the hood. Pretty subjective I know, but it just doesn’t quite feel right.

Cinnamon isn’t the most polished of desktop environments either – its multi-monitor support is terrible and in my opinion Nemo feels a little clunky in comparison to Nautilus (not to mention the complete lack of CD/DVD burning support). Where it really shines is the fact that it provides a very low barrier for less technical users who are used to Windows. So much so that I’ve been able to install it in place of Windows and have no complaints from users until this happened. It’s almost enough to make me consider Unity again…

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