Cinnamon, the desktop shell using in Linux Mint, has finally released v2.0, which features new window tiling and snapping, along with enhanced user management options. And there are lots of other changes under the hood too, including a new backend that no longer requires GNOME.
Prior to version 2.0, Cinnamon was a frontend on top of GNOME desktop, much like Unity. But now, it’s an entire desktop environment which no longer requires GNOME to be installed. But don’t worry, it’s still compatible with all GNOME applications as it uses toolkits and libraries such as GTK or Clutter.
On the frontend, the big changes are in window management, specifically with tiling and snapping windows. While Cinnamon always allowed tiling, the new version takes it up a notch by giving you four tiles (snapping to the four corners of your screen) instead of two. You can now also resize a tile. An HUD guides you when you are moving a window to a tile zone.
The new window snapping now allows for maximized windows not to take up the whole screen, instead drawing a boundary at the other snapped window you already have on screen.
And finally, window actions can now be mapped to certain sounds, so you can have a resounding ‘swoosh’ when you minimize a window.
A new user management tool lets administrators handle different accounts easily, while a user applet in the system tray lets you quickly perform common actions like switching users, locking screen, account details, etc.
There’s a lot more happening in Cinnamon 2, which will be featured in Linux Mint 16 Petra that launches at the end of November, and will then be backported to LMDE and Linux Mint 13 LTS. You can read about all the changes at the official Linux Mint blog post.