Cinnamon 2.6 Released

Cinnamon, one the default desktops of Linux Mint (alongside Mate) has recently been updated. Version 2.6 has a boatload of fixes, tweaks and improvements. Here are some of them:

Better Recovery From Frozen Desktops

Some Cinnamon users experienced occasional desktop freezes. To fix this, Cinnamon has switched to the Cogl API for hardware that supports it. There is also a keyboard shortcut to restart Cinnamon if it freezes - Ctrl-Alt-Escape. Restarting this way keeps all the windows open and all your applications running, so you don't lose any data if you were in the middle of something important when Cinnamon froze.

More Responsive

The layout engine for the window manager has been given an overhaul. The new code puts fewer demands on the CPU and is much faster according to benchmarking by the Cinnamon team. Event handling has been optimized to reduce the overhead of actions such as plugging in removable storage, or opening a menu. Previously these actions could result in a whole string of identical events in the event queue, which duplicated the work that event handling code had to do. The event model now intelligently groups these multiple events into a single event, which is faster to process.

Load Times

The cinnamon load sequence has been optimized to account for the availability of the HDD cache during the startup process. It also loads assets such as themes and app data asynchronously for a snappier startup.

Multi-Monitor Support

Although Cinnamon could already work with multiple monitors, they are now supported more intelligently. Keyboard shortcuts let you move windows quickly between different monitors, and Applets can respond to the multi-panel environment with more relevant content.

Screensaver

Screen savers are no longer essential, (in fact they haven't been for ages). Still, they're a nice piece of eye candy. In the past, Cinnamon's screensaver was a bland locked screen. Now it's a true screensaver in every sense of the word (apart from actually saving screens). It supports animations, XScreenSaver and HTML5 screensavers.

And as a nice touch, it's possible to control screen brightness and keyboard backlighting with keyboard shortcuts without unlocking the screen.

Notifications

Notifications are a great UI feature except for when you are trying to use the full screen for a presentation, video or game. Then they're annoying distractions. Cinnamon now ships with an applet called "inhibit" which temporarily prevents notifications, screen locking or brightness dimming (power saving). It was always possible to do this manually in a dozen different places, but the applet gives you a simple and fast way to switch off these functions and then turn them back on again.

Sound Applet

Cinnamon has an improved sound applet with support for PulseAudio and the ability to detect output devices with greater accuracy. You can also set the volume level for each open application.

This is just a quick overview of the improvements. So if you're using Cinnamon, update today and give it a spin! Let us know what you think of the changes in the comments section.

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