Future of Cinnamon in Debian

OK, this is not an easy post. I have been maintaining Cinnamon in Debian for quite some time, since around the times version 4 came out. The soon (hahaha) to be released Bullseye will carry the last release of the 4-track, but version 5 is already waiting, After Bullseye, the future of Cinnamon in Debian currently looks bleak.

Since my switch to KDE/Plasma, I haven’t used Cinnamon in months. Only occasionally I tested new releases, but never gave them a real-world test. Having left Gnome3 for it’s complete lack of usability for pro-users, I escaped to Cinnamon and found a good home there for quite some time – using modern technology but keeping user interface changes conservative. For long time I haven’t even contemplated using KDE, having been burned during the bad days of KDE3/4 when bloat-as-bloat-can-be was the best description.

What revelation it was that KDE/Plasma was more lightweight, faster, responsive, integrated, customizable, all in all simple great. Since my switch to KDE/Plasma I think not for a second I have missed anything from the Gnome3 or Cinnamon world.

And that means, I will most probably NOT packaging Cinnamon 5, nor do any real packaging work of Cinnamon for Debian in the future. Of course, I will try to keep maintenance of the current set of packages for Bullseye, but for the next release, I think it is time that someone new steps in. Cinnamon packaging taught me a lot on how to deal with multiple related packages, which is of great use in the KDE packaging world.

If someone steps forward, I will surely be around for support and help, but as long as nobody takes the banner, it will mean the end of Cinnamon in Debian.

Please contact me if you are interested!

36 Responses

  1. Boop says:

    Thank you. We need fewer desktops!

    • In some sense I agree with you, so let us abolish Gnome3 as it has been a misconception right from the beginning! Maybe we can tunnel the energy of the developers to Cinnamon and a decent DE environment based on Gtk?

      • Adam says:

        God yes.

        All this trouble started when the Gnome team went off the rails with version 3. The people in charge sanctimoniously insisted that they knew better.

        And now, years later, they still haven’t recovered from the cratering of there share of Linux users. Though their doubling, and tripling down over the years that “No, trust me we know better than you about what you want” committed them to their “usability theories”, so many of their subsequent improvements over the years have been surreptitious restorations of the WIMP desktop metaphor.

        Before them, Gnome held almost 50% of Linux users desktop share, a healthy competitor to KDE, with various other DE’s at the edges ably serving esoteric user needs.

        Now? Its a sad shadow of its former self, used by diehard contrarians, and people that put up with it because its default.

        Honestly, the people that were such savage proponents of Gnome 3’s radical design need to be tracked down and asked to account for what its user share numbers look like now.

  2. Bhante Subhuti says:

    I recently left kde neon because of Microsoft-like updates that loaded before you booted. Eventually I crashed. I went to pure Ubuntu and some things are nice, like google integration and Geary Mail.. wifi Vpn and Bluetooth selection is really nice too . I have always had wifi connection problems with kde if the wifi was not turned on before boot. However the customization and
    one click themes built into the settings panel of kde cannot be beat. That is where Ubuntu fails.

    • anon485756 says:

      > I recently left kde neon because of Microsoft-like updates that loaded before you booted.

      You can disable that you know? Btw, updates done not-live do improve system stability. But still, if you don’t want it, turn it off.

  3. Steffen says:

    You state

    > Since my switch to KDE/Plasma I think not for a second I have missed anything from the Gnome3 or Cinnamon world.

    however, what was your exact reason to move from Cinnamon to KDE in the first place?

    • LESDELC says:

      Steffen has a great question. Why did you move from Cinnamon to KDE?

      • Hi Steffen, hi Lesdelc

        yes, this is indeed a good question, and there is not “THE ANSWER”, just an accumulation of small steps: Stopping to use evince and switching to okular – and okular does not do session restore under Cinnamon, bad hacks necessary to the css code of the themes to get distinguishable tabs in terminals, getting more and more sick of Gtk/Gnome programs that follow the G3 “ideal” of dropping all functionality.

        So yes, I could have stayed with Cinnamon and just use other programs, all the KDE programs, but integration in the desktop environment is so much smoother when running KDE. I was initially really suspicious having been burned by KDE3 (and KDE4) and did expect something else – but switching once I was blown away – less memory usage, higher speed, extreme integration, and above all, proper configurability and not the Gtk/Gnome3 world of hacking off your own limbs.

        Other things that bothered me was cjs/gjs, their split and JavaScript at all, also the window decoration override, etc etc.

        KDE/Plasma allowed me to switch out practically all Gtk/Gnome programs (GIMP remains, but it is not a Gnome-style program in the best sense!), and all that with hardly any pain.

        I have been a eager Gnome user for more than 20 years, and Cinnamon rescued me somehow out of the Gnome3 abyss, but now that I dared looking across the gap and jumping over my own prejudice I am really suprised and content with what I have now.

        Hope that helps …

        • I understand, but there is MATE GNOME2 Fork and GTK, it is beautiful, less resources hungry and pretty customizable. At least we need some lightweigth DE to use in a less-powerful CPU like ARM, MIPS, and so forth. Not everyone is using the latest AMD or Intel I9 processor with 64GB of DDR4 RAM…

          • KDE/Plasma isn’t heavyweight at all, I have compared it with other DEs including mate. The times of bloat in KDE are all gone. And even with a bit more resources, you gain a hugely due to the great integration. And honestly, I am running permanently a Win10 VM, that eats much more cpu cycles 😉

          • G says:

            For sure Qt is a very well done Graphics Interface and Library. Speaking of bloat in KDE, what about running it in a RaspberryPi 3 A+ or B+ machine? The last time I tried it was slooooow and almost unusable as DE. Everything was lagging dramatically, so it was a no-go option. In the same machine LXQt or LXDE were light-years faster and very usable. Is this can be said to the current KDE/Plasma DE on these machines?

          • Sorry, I have used RPis a lot but only for a smart speaker project and I never run a desktop on them, so I cannot really comment on that.

  4. Alexander Holland says:

    We just switched to Cinnamon to solve our screen tearing issues on the RaspberryPI 4. With KDE it is not working :/

    • That is strange and unexpected, but not something I can debug, sorry.

    • Kuntal Kundu says:

      I switched to Cinnamon from kde in Debian 11. The issues I badly faced in kde edition were – dolphin has no option to open as root, I tried almost every way, many forums suggest to install another file manager like thunar. Most probably to avoid such issue openSuse dev set up a different dolphin as root privilege. Secondly like thunar or nemo or Nautilus there was no smooth access of remote files (ftp) in dolphin. I connect my phone through ftp with desktop easily in nemo but in kde it’s a headache. I used linux mint for a long time and can tell you every time I feel very user friendlyness just because of Cinnamon. It’s a very good blend of gtk and qt support. Hope you will review your decision. As a lover of Cinnamon I have a humble request to you please don’t leave the project. Currently using bullseye and here Cinnamon is working fine just as my expectation. Experience is a vital keyword which can’t be replaced. The debian Cinnamon project will miss your experience. It’s current smooth performance is only because of you. Please don’t leave. Thank you.

  5. uriel says:

    Oh no… thats a cute DE. I would try to install into a machine with KDE ( with a lot issues ). But, now i dont know

  6. Shmerl says:

    Something is causing a problem with the repo:

    E: Failed to fetch https://provo-mirror.opensuse.org//repositories/home:/npreining:/debian-kde:/plasma522/Debian_Testing/amd64/plasma-desktop_5.22.4-1~np1_amd64.deb Hash Sum mismatch
    Hashes of expected file:
    – SHA256:343d869e6ed1a63925b7a12c9b54704d0bb25c4653566af0cc3ebcaa4fbee4ab
    – SHA1:4197498272485f222056e967db99f2fc165e495c [weak]
    – MD5Sum:dccf8d3f5d5671eedfc0a1c165ced279 [weak]
    – Filesize:1032636 [weak]
    Hashes of received file:
    – SHA256:0949183902a774d399e38e5bfeea380059b5863586b3b9860b730e26eac46625
    – SHA1:1edb421edb3bd45c162eb2b3b895af33a4d09a60 [weak]
    – MD5Sum:9101191919f7cc5d31abf0e9bc18cc66 [weak]
    – Filesize:1032636 [weak]
    Last modification reported: Sun, 01 Aug 2021 05:56:25 +0000

  7. Adam says:

    Sad to see this. Cinnamon is certainly the superior GUI for some of us. Many maintaining older machinery can’t even get KDE to work. Pure Gnome 3 will not work on many machines either. Oddly Cinnamon always will. I personally have a Gateway FX that runs like a champ but will not run Mate, KDE or Gnome, but runs Cinnamon, Trinity, XfCE and others with no problems. For me in a small business with older computers, Cinnamon is our go to and Debian has been. I will just have to switch to another distribution unless someone steps up and keeps Cinnamon working. Just goes to show that developers sometimes loose touch with users and their needs. Hopefully someone still in touch will take up the torch.

    • Two things: first of all, already others have stepped up and new versions are already in Debian.

      Not more than this, I think your comment about “loose touch with users” is a complete misunderstanding on your side. I stopped using cinnamon, so I stopped working on it. Nobody of us volunteers is required to do anything, in particular when the developer is not using their own packages it is actually bad from a testing point of view.

      I stepped in because there was need back then. Others are free to step in when there is need now.

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