What's the differences between MATE and Cinnamon?

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What's the differences between MATE and Cinnamon?

Post by Punchy71 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:38 am

Can someone please explain what the differences are between LinuxMint's MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments. I see the differences but don't really understand what the differences are technically and practically I guess. Is one supposed to be lighter than the other? Why were MATE and Cinnamon's origins planted directly into the LinuxMint project in the first place? If I remember correctly, MATE is made from the tattered remnants of GNOME 2.x, I guess since everyone objected to and objects to GNOME 3.x.

If I download and install the GNOME version of LinuxMint, won't I get the 3.x series interface?

On a different train of thought, why is there no OpenBox desktop environment option for Mint? OpenBox is just as popular as GNOME, KDE, (and much more popular than MATE and Cinnamon), and Xfce? Yet we get two new kids on the block (MATE and Cinnamon), and no OpenBox...

Thank you

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Re: What's the differences between MATE and Cinnamon?

Post by xenopeek » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:26 am

MATE is the continuation of GNOME 2.x. That's not primarily about objecting to Gnome Shell as much as it is about there being nothing wrong with GNOME 2.x, but the GNOME developers threw it out with the thrash while there were millions of people happily using it... The power of open source is that software can be forked and worked on by other developers, which was done and so we have MATE today.

Cinnamon is similarly a fork of Gnome Shell. It was forked because Gnome Shell back in 2011 didn't let the Linux Mint developers do what they imaged the desktop experience should be like, and the Gnome Shell developers kept breaking external interfaces--continually breaking things like extensions and themes that the Linux Mint developers first tried to give Gnome Shell a better experience with. Cinnamon you should compare with Unity. Though both use components from the GNOME project (they do much more than Gnome Shell), if you want to run Gnome Shell you'll have to install it.

Linux Mint got involved with the MATE development team early on, and was the first distro to include MATE as an edition, because GNOME 2.x was immensely popular with the Linux Mint users. So listing to their community of users, the developers worked on MATE. Cinnamon on the other hand is a Linux Mint project, implementing the vision of the developers for what the desktop should be like. From user feedback on early versions, it has grown to be the most popular desktop environment amongst Linux Mint users.

As for OpenBox being just as popular as other desktop environments, that's far from the truth... Or please substantiate your claim. Here is a desktop environment popularity poll that was done amongst the Linux Mint users: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=100787. And here from the Linux Journal's readers' choice awards for 2013: http://www.linuxjournal.com/rc2013?page=8. Both show OpenBox has a following, but it's by no stretch of imagination popular.

Given the amount of work involved with developing an edition of Linux Mint, that explains why there is none. Well, that and the lack of interest from anybody in the community to make such an edition. But if you want OpenBox, you can just install it on top of any edition of Linux Mint (Xfce would be best, as that is easiest removed if you want to do that).

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Re: What's the differences between MATE and Cinnamon?

Post by BoscoBearbank » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:37 am

Punchy71 wrote:...Yet we get two new kids on the block (MATE and Cinnamon), and no OpenBox...
Unlinke MATE and Cinnamon, which are full desktop environments, OpenBox is (just) a window manager. You could start with LXDE (a desktop environment that uses OpenBox as its default window manager) and eliminate those components of the DE you don't want.

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