Linux Mint 12 Offers a Traditional Gnome Feel

The recently released Linux Mint 12 offers a two pronged approach to supporting those who prefer the traditional Gnome desktop. Firstly, the Mint Gnome Shell Extensions (MGSE) transform Gnome 3 into something resembling Gnome 2. Secondly it ships with Mate, the Gnome 2.0 fork project.

The latest version of Mint channels Gnome 2.0 goodness via two different approaches: Firstly, Mint Gnome Shell Extensions add Gnome 2.0 features to the Gnome 3.0 shell. Secondly, Mint now ships with Mate, a maintenance fork of Gnome 2.0 that can co-exist with a Gnome 3.0 installation.


The extensions enable some Gnome 2 features to exist on the Gnome 3 desktop. Sure enough, the end result is desktop that contains aspects of both desktops. However, this recreates the layout of a default Gnome 2 desktop and doesn't seem to have much scope for customization.

It's worth noting that although some have criticized the overall direction that Gnome 3 has taken so far, this custom feature has been made possible by extensions facility of Gnome 3. All of the extensions can be toggled on or off.

The main extensions are:

• Menu Extension - This adds something closer to the traditional Mint application launcher from previous versions. The icon is placed on the far left of the bottom bar.

• Media Player - Allows control of supported media players (such as Rhythmbox) from an icon on the top bar

• Monitor Status - Display settings.

• Bottom Panel Extension - Adds a traditional bottom panel to the desktop

• noa11y Extension - Hides the accessibility icon that is normally part of the top panel

• Alt Tab Extension - Traditional alt tab switcher. This allows you to switch between windows rather than applications.

• Notifications Extension - Adds system notifications to the top pannel

• Shutdown Extension - Restores the Gnome 2 shutdown options

• Window List Extension - This is the task list that sits on the bottom bar


Mate is a fork of Gnome 2, and it's selectable on the login page in Mint 12. This is more information about it on this Arch Linux wiki page and this forum thread.

A full summary of the new features on the Linux Mint website.


UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.


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The integration Linux Mint 12

Guest's picture

The integration Linux Mint 12 and Gnome produces an elegant and clean interface. It makes users with no previous hands-on with Linux easy and comfortable to use. And no, it's not only a "pretty face", it's features and functionalities are as powerful as any software system could be. Tony Robbins

Gnome 3 is the biggest POS

Anonymous's picture

Gnome 3 is the biggest POS garbage created in Linux history. Tested it to the hilt. There is no way I'm leaving Linix Mint 11 64Bit till they either go back to gnome2 or make a gnome4 that is as sweet as gnome2. No thanks, I don't want XFCE, Debian or KDE.

Cinnamon desktop is better

keneddy's picture

Cinnamon desktop is better and can be easily downloaded and installed to Mint. I like it.Fashion

Workspaces Configuration

XfceRefugee's picture

As far as I'm concerned, there will never be a "Traditional Gnome Feel" before I can configure the Panel and the Workspaces as I could with Gnome 2 and Xfce. Hopefully, LinuxMint team will do this, as they have always done everything to make the user happy.


Anonymous's picture

I've used Mint 12 and Ubuntu 11.10. Both desktops flutter and turn all pixelated and different colors after a bit of time using them. Been Using Linux for awhile but This mess is beyond me. I keep trying it and get the same results with Unity and Cinnamon. I'm surly not going to jump ship back to Windows because of this, but this is a poor effort I feel. I'm sure this works on somebody's computer somewhere, but not mine. Why does my new computer not like this? I don't know? I use Ubuntu and Mint only in the basic menus now with no addons, nice try, well not really.

Linux Mint and Gnome

godanov's picture

I have been a dedicated Linux Mint user, loading it on everything that came my way.

I have not upgraded to Linux Mint 12, and I wont be. Unless Linux Mint gets the head out and quits acting like a bunch of b****y little girls. So what if you dont like that the world changed, that happens either get with it or you will end in the tar-pits.

Linux Mint is the best

johninthemistt's picture

Linux Mint 12 is easily the best Linux distribution

check out this guide if there is anything you want to change about Linux Mint 12

say no to windows and gates

I just installed Mint 12. The

Anonymous's picture

I just installed Mint 12. The bottom Gnome menu is sooooo sloooooow. I can get a leisurely count to six between clicking on it and it appearing. Seems to update about once a second once it's open too. The Gnome 3 program panel thing etc. work perfectly as does everything else. Such a shame because I was thrilled by the existence of the bottom one. Cinnamon has me curious now.

Linux Mint

OneStopTechDocs's picture

I absolutely love the aesthetically pleasing aspect of Linux Mint. It's intuitive, and it's so easy to explain to my kids.

What IS it doing?

MadTom's picture

Installed Mint12 on my new laptop. I cant understand what Xorg is doing using 30% of the cpu a lot of the time. Slow switching and general lack of response.
Didnt like it at all and now on LDXE using <10% of the cpu.

use xfce instead.

cmaurand's picture

use xfce instead.


NOYB's picture

Cinnamon goes great with Mint. Yummy.

I read all new Extension :

like Linux's picture

I read all new Extension : Menu Extension , tab Extension , Bottom Panel Extension , Window List Extension . These are the most needed to user. Good :)

Owner supports Hezbollah.

Anonymous's picture

Owner supports Hezbollah.

Mint 12

Alister's picture

I tried Mint 12 recently and found it too confusing a mish mash of Mint and Gnome. I ended up reinstalling Mint 11, mainly but not solely because I wanted the Pictures folder (and sub folders) to run as a random screen saver and couldn't figure out how to do it with Mint 12.

Try the debian edition! From

FiglioDiBuonaMatrix's picture

Try the debian edition! From linux Mint site:
"Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is a rolling distribution based on Debian Testing."

Sticking with Mint 11

Anonymous's picture

I've reverted to Mint 11 for many of the same reasons. I couldn't find a method to change the appearance of the menus, borders, etc. in Mint 12. That was the last straw - sticking with Mint 11.

I wonder about the long term future of Mint. I don't believe they can ride the coat-tails of Ubuntu with Ubuntu being focused towards the (non-existent) Linux tablet market.

It also doesn't help that Gnome 3 is currently half-baked.

As far as I'm aware, there is

münchner's picture

As far as I'm aware, there is no screensaver in Gnome Shell, hence none in Mint 12.

I'm going to keep an eye on the development of Gnome Shell (and Cinnamon) but I too uninstalled Mint 12 and went back to Mint 11. There's too many missing features/configuration tools whereas the previous version is a joy to use.


NOYB's picture

Cinnamon desktop is better and can be easily downloaded and installed to Mint. Interestingly, it is made by Mint developers.

Agree - Cinnamon looks promising

MoChaMan's picture

It sounds like None Of Your Business is right about Cinnamon . Apparently, it's a fork of Gnome 3 instead of a patch like the MGSE and Mate projects which the Mint developers own and intend to take in the same direction they took Mint, i.e. it's Mint-native .

Here's Clem's post announcing it:

Here's the announcement of Cinnamon 1.1.3 on January 2:

I'll definitely reinstall Mint12 and try Cinnamon this week! I won't stay with Mint 12, unfortunately, because Cisco AnyConnect breaks with kernel 3.x .