Sunday, December 21, 2014

Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" Cinnamon Review: As always, Impressive!

In my last review, I discussed about Linux Mint 17.1 Mate. Today, it's turn of Linux Mint's flagship operating system Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. The release notes states of the following improvements: "Linux Mint 17.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2019. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use." It discusses of the following incremental improvements:

  • Cinnamon 2.4 with about 30 memory leak fixes offering many little improvements to make user experience smoother and more enjoyable than before.
  • The Nemo toolbar was redesigned and its buttons are now configurable. A new button (hidden by default) was added to open a terminal in the current directory. Nemo supports emblems now.
  • More meaningful update manager and options to select kernel.
  • Significant improvements in artwork and functionality.
  • Improved privacy settings.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
For this review I downloaded the 1.5 GB 64-bit ISO of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. I created a live USB on a 4 GB USB drive using Linux Mint Image Writer. First, I did a live boot and then installed Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon on my laptop, Asus K55VM.

Hardware Used for the Review
Asus K55VM Windows 7 laptop with 2.3 Ghz 3rd Gen. Core i7 3610QM processor with 8 cores, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 1366x768 resolution, 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphic card. I installed Mint Cinnamon 17.1 on a 200 GB partition.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
Linux Mint installation is the same as before and nothing has changed in this version. It is the same easy installation with the simple steps, as shown below. Overall, installation may take about 10-20 minutes of time depending on internet speed.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
Score for Installation: 10/10

Hardware Recognition
Mint 17.1 Cinnamon worked impeccably on the system I used, recognizing the screen resolution, sound card, graphics, WIFI and LAN along with touch pad. Post-installation, I installed Nvidia drivers from the Driver Manager in System Settings / Control Center.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon

Score for Hardware Recognition: 10/10

The look and feel of the distro is the same as before, providing a consistent experience to the users. At an overall level you won't notice much change between Cinnamon 2.2 (in Linux 17 Cinnamon) and Cinnamon 2.4 (in the present release).

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
The menu is the same as before with a search option and is very functional with one click access to applications and favorites on the left hand side. Right click on applications in the menu gives options to add to the panel or desktop or favorites as well as uninstall the package.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
The release notes talks of more polish in the desktop environments like:
  • Credit to and similar to GNOME Shell, the Cinnamon desktop now starts with a zoom animation.
  • Modules in Cinnamon Settings and categories in the application menu are now sorted alphabetically.
  • Similar to Windows, “Super+e” now opens up the home directory.
  • Cinnamon 2.4 ships with many small refinements (multiple panel launchers, improvements in the sound applet...etc) and a lot of bug fixes.
As usual, Cinnamon 2.4 ships with hundreds of themes. The theme settings are redesigned in the distro and it can be accessed from the System Settings -> Themes. I got options here to change window borders, icons, controls, mouse pointer and desktop panels. The Linux Mint theme, Mint-X, now comes in Aqua, Blue, Brown, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Sand and Teal.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
Another attractive add-on is that you can now right-click any directory and change its color. That's quite handy to quickly recognize favorite places in a long list of directories.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon

Linux Mint 17.1 has a major improvement in collection of background wallpapers. The Background Settings are also completely redesigned and now support background slideshow. I really enjoyed the collection of wallpapers from previous Linux Mint releases and the retro wallpaper collection. They are simply awesome.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
The default file manager, Nemo 2.4.4, now has several improvements in appearance and functionality like:
The login screen preferences are also redesigned and all themes (HTML and GDM) as well as the GTK greeter are now available from the same list. A preview button, to quickly visualize the active theme, is now added.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon

Other features like virtual desktops, hot corners, desklets, etc. are present as well. I tried a few downloading from the online repos. Some worked really well to augment the beauty of the desktop.

From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
Overall, Cinnamon 2.4 has impressive aesthetics and collection of themes to keep users interested to the distro. I am extremely pleased with what I saw. I go with full marks for aesthetics for Linux Mint Cinnamon.

Score for Aesthetics: 10/10

Pre-Installed Packages
Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon ships with a lot of utility pre-installed packages, good enough for regular users like:
  • Office: LibreOffice (Calc, Draw, Impress, Math, Writer, Base), Document viewer
  • Internet: Firefox 34.0, HexChat, Pidgin Internet Messenger, Thunderbird Email, Transmission
  • Graphics: GIMP 2.8.10, gThumb, Image Viewer, Simple Scan, Screenshot
  • Multimedia: Banshee music player, Brasero CD/DVD writer, Videos 3.10.1, VLC 2.1.4
  • Accessories: Archive Manager, Calculator, Disks, Search for Files, gedit 2.30.4 text editor, Tomboy Notes, USB Image Writer, USB Stick Formatter, GDebi Package Installer, Terminal, Backup Tool, Domain Blocker, Driver Manager, Network, Printers
The packages are mostly not of the latest stable versions, which is a little disappointing. However, on the brighter side, they are not that antiquated and possibly the incremental improvements in the latest stable versions are marginal. For example, LibreOffice is, whereas the latest stable version is which I am using in my Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, thanks to launchpad ppas.

Otherwise, the application set is decent enough to fulfill daily needs. The essential restricted and non-restricted multimedia codecs and Adobe flashplugin are all in-built in the distro. I played online videos in Firefox 34.0 and it worked smoothly. Firefox has Yahoo as the default search engine. But, you can change change search engine settings and add Google as the default one.

Cinnamon 2.4 has a nice integrated settings manager to tweak settings and look and feel of the distro. I discussed some of them in the aesthetics section.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon

In overall, I think Mint 17.1 Cinnamon provides a comprehensive set of applications, good enough for daily use. However, I miss a VoIP client and packages like download manager, Wine, etc. here. So, I am going with a score of 8/10.

Score for Pre-installed Packages: 8/10

Linux Mint 17.1 sources packages from Linux Mint and Ubuntu Trusty repositories. Packages can be accessed through Linux Mint Software Center to browse and download.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon

Further, there is synaptic package manager to do the same. I find synaptic package manager a lot faster than Linux Mint or Ubuntu Software Center.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon

From Control Center, you'll find the Software Sources - an application to see the official repositories, ppa and add or view additional repositories. It is very handy to add third party ppa's. It actually helped me to fix an issue of repos not updating properly as well. Pretty handy GUI for those who are not adept at the terminal, I must say.

As I mentioned, LibreOffice package is a bit antiquated in Linux Mint 17.1. So, to keep updated with the latest packages, specially in case of LTS releases, I trust on launchpad ppa's. To make my system more usable and to continue using the latest stable packages (remember it is an LTS and packages become antiquated within 6 months!), I installed several utility ppa's through terminal, namely:
  •  LibreOffice ppa: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
  •  GIMP ppa: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp
  •  VLC daily build ppa: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:videolan/stable-daily
  •  Variety wallpaper changer: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peterlevi/ppa
  •  Calendar and power button: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
  •  Silverlight substitute - Pipelight: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mqchael/pipelight-daily
  •  Webup8: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
  •  Wine: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
  •  Docky: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:docky-core/ppa
Once added, I did a system update & upgrade: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
The LibreOffice installation got upgraded to Then I installed Calendar Indicator, VLC player, Pipelight, Wine, PlayonLinux, etc. to make my installation more usable.
$ sudo apt-get install calendar-indicator vlc pipelight playonlinux docky

Evernote is one software I use a lot and hence, added the Everpad (Linux unofficial client of Evernote) through adding the ppa:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nvbn-rm/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install everpad

To install Pipelight, add the PPA and install Pipelight using the commands below:
$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi

Then, install the Silverlight plugin using the following command:
$ sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight

To install the Widevine plugin, use the command below:
$ sudo pipelight-plugin --enable widevin

Further, I added a few other preferred applications like:

#Google Drive Ocamlfuse, a tool that lets you mount Google Drive in Linux
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alessandro-strada/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install google-drive-ocamlfuse

Once it's installed, you'll firstly need to authorize it with Google, by running the following command:
$ google-drive-ocamlfuse
Now let's mount Google Drive. Create a folder in your home directory, let's call it "gdrive":
mkdir ~/gdrive

And mount Goole Drive using the command below:
$ google-drive-ocamlfuse ~/gdrive

$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 5044912E
$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb trusty main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/dropbox.list'
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install dropbox

In case you are missing the dropbox icon in the panel, install the libappindicator
$ sudo apt-get install libappindicator1

$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys E0F72778C4676186
$ sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install playonlinux

$ wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list'
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable

#Google Earth
$ wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list'
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install google-earth-stable

#Google Music
$ wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list'
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install google-musicmanager-beta

$ wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list'
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install google-talkplugin

#To create and read .rar archived files
$ sudo apt-get install rar urar

#To control CPU frequency and reduce laptop heat
$ sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq

Though document viewer works perfectly fine, but at times I require Adobe acrobat reader, especially for dynamic content. Installation of Adobe acroread is a bit tricky and I document here, what worked with me. I downloaded the AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i486linux_enu.bin file from Adobe website and put it in the home directory. I opened terminal and ran the following commands:
$ sudo chmod +x ./AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i486linux_enu.bin
$ sudo ./AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i486linux_enu.bin
Agree to whatever options it asks and once installed it is time to install 32-bit architecture, if your OS is 64-bit.
$ sudo apt-get install ia32-libs
Post installation, Adobe Acrobat Reader should work without any issue. 

As always what happens with every Mint release, Linux Mint always works! I found the distro very stable and offer very good performance. Based on my benchmark tests, the results of resource usage and boot time are given below:
  • Boot time
With autologin enabled, the Mint 17.1 Cinnamon took about 46 seconds to boot which is 15% higher than the average boot time of all GNOME and GNOME forked distros I have used on the same machine, Asus K55VM, between 2013-14.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
  • RAM consumption
At steady state, Mint 17.1 Cinnamon consumes about 362 MB RAM which is about 8% lower than the average RAM consumption of all GNOME or GNOME forked distros used between 2013-14. 
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
  • Power Consumption
On my benchmarking tests, Linux Mint 17.1 performed admirably and is one of the most efficient of all the GNOME or GNOME forked distros I tried recentluny. This is a recent benchmark I added and hence, the number of distros in this benchmark is low. If I compare to Ubuntu 14.10, the latest release of Ubuntu, Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon consumes 7% lower power and provides better battery life.
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
From Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon

Operating System (64 bit) Release Year Size of ISO (GB) Base Desktop Linux kernel CPU (%) RAM usage (MB) Size of installation (GB) Boot time (sec) Power (Watt)
Pardus 2.0 2013 1.7 Debian Testing GNOME 3.8.4 3.10.3 0-5% 278 6.40 52
Mint Debian 201403 Mate 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Mate 1.6.1 3.11.2 0-5% 282 4.40 40
Mint Debian 201403 Cinnamon 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Cinnamon 2.0.14 3.11.2 0-5% 285 4.90 49
Mint 15 Cinnamon 2013 0.9594 Ubuntu Raring Cinnamon 1.8 3.8.0 0-5% 307 5.10 32
Ubuntu Mate 14.10 2014 0.983 Ubuntu Utopic Mate 1.8.1 3.16.0 0-5% 308 4.30 35 11.44
Mint 16 Cinnamon 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Saucy Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 312 4.10 45
Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 2013 0.9878 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.3 3.8.0 0-5% 321 3.90 24
Tanglu 1.0 GNOME 2014 0.973 Debian Testing GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.1 0-5% 321 4.00 44
Mint 15 Mate 2013 1.0 Ubuntu Raring Mate 1.6.0 3.8.0 0-5% 325 4.50 30
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.4 3.11.0 0-5% 335 4.10 27
Mint 17 Ciinamon 2014 1.3 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.2.13 3.13.0 0-5% 345 4.50 44
Mint 17.1 Mate 2014 1.557 Ubuntu Trusty Mate 1.8.1 3.13.0 0-5% 349 5.30 30 10.59
Mint 16 Mate 2013 1.4 Ubuntu Saucy Mate 1.6.0 3.11.0 0-5% 355 4.50 31
Siduction 13.2.0 GNOME 2013 1.0 Debian Unstable GNOME 3.8.4 3.12.0 0-5% 357 3.50 53
Linux Deepin 2013 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.8.1 (DDE) 3.8.0 0-5% 358 4.70 33
Mint 17.1 Cinnamon 2014 1.5 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.4 3.13.0 0-5% 362 4.90 46 11.24
Zorin OS 7 2013 1.7 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.2 3.8.0 0-5% 364 5.60 28
Trisquel GNU/Linux 7.0 2014 1.5 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.12 3.13.0 0-5% 370 4.60 26 11.65
Ubuntu 12.04.3 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise Unity 5.20.0 3.8.0 0-5% 370 3.00 39
Antergos 2013.11.17 2013 0.8 Arch GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.4 0-5% 376 4.10 43
Ubuntu 13.04 2013 0.8 Ubuntu Raring Unity 7.0.0 3.8.0 0-5% 377 4.00 26
Deepin 2014 2014 1.2 Ubuntu Trusty Deepin 2.0 3.13.0 0-5% 400 4.50 27
Ubuntu GNOME 14.O4 LTS 2014 0.9 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.10.0 3.13.0 0-5% 416 4.50 33
Gajj 0.1 Cinnamon 2014 3.7 Ubuntu Precise Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 419 9.20 75
Fedora 20 GNOME 2013 1.0 Fedora GNOME 3.8.2 3.9.5 0-10% 433 4.00 34
Elementary OS 0.2 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise GNOME 3.6.3 3.2.0 0-5% 440 3.10 22
Zorin OS 8 Gaming 2014 4.0 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.9.90 3.11.0 0-5% 440 9.20 31
Zorin OS 8 2014 1.6 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.2 3.11.0 0-5% 445 5.60 31
Zorin OS 9 2014 1.4 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.10.4 3.13.0 0-5% 460 5.00 30
Ubuntu 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy Unity 7.1.2 3.11.0 0-5% 466 4.40 30
ExTix 14 2013 1.5 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.0 0-5% 468 4.80 33
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 2014 1.0 Ubuntu Trusty Unity 7.2.0 3.13.0 0-5% 486 4.20 31
Pinguy OS 14.04 2014 2.3 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.12.2 3.13.0 0-5% 500 7.00 54
Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 2014 1.0 Ubuntu Utopic GNOME 3.12 3.16.0 0-5% 515 4.80 39 11.21
OpenSUSE 13.1 GNOME 2013 4.4 OpenSUSE GNOME 3.10.1 3.11.6 0-5% 531 4.90 37
Ubuntu 14.10 2014 1.1 Ubuntu Utopic Unity 7.3.1 3.16.0 0-5% 599 4.60 33 12.06
Score for Performance: 9/10

Linux Mint 17.1 Mate vs Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
Here I compare the performances of both the distros. In terms of RAM consumption, both Mate (without Compiz) and Cinnamon are almost similar. However, Mint Mate beats Mint Cinnamon hands down with 35% lower boot time and 6% lower power consumption.

Operating System Release Year Size of ISO (GB) Base Desktop Linux kernel CPU (%) RAM usage (MB) Size of installation (GB) Boot time (sec) Power (Watt)
Mint 17.1 Cinnamon 2014 1.5 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.4 3.13.0 0-5% 362 4.90 46 11.24
Mint 17.1 Mate 2014 1.6 Ubuntu Trusty Mate 1.8.1 3.13.0 0-5% 349 5.30 30 10.59

One thing works in favor of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon is its superb aesthetics. Mint 17.1 Mate makes up a bit with impressive compiz effects but still the Cinnamon release looks better.

I am very happy with Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. It looks great with very polished interface, hundreds of attractive wallpapers, easy customization options and awesome collection of themes. The distro offers really good performance and excellent battery life. If you are looking for a functional distro which offers attractive looks and impressive performance, I definitely feel you should try out Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon.

Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon comes in both 32 and 64 bit versions and they can be downloaded from here.

Overall Score

Parameter Weights (%) Score
Installation 20 10.0
Aesthetics 20 10.0
Hardware Recognition 20 10.0
Pre-installed Packages 10 8.0
Performance 30 9.0
Overall 100 9.5


  1. Great review as always. I have Linux Mint Cinnamon on my PC for a year now and never had any trouble.

    I have been reading your reviews for some time now and I wonder what desklets you use on all distros reviewed.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Do you have a comprehensive list somewhere where you have all your reviews ranked by rating? That should be on the front page of your Blog! Great review. I've been using both 17.1 Mate AND Cinnamon, and frankly they are both so good it's hard to decide between them. I seem to be a little more functional in Cinnamon, just because of how *I* work already in it on my main desktop, but MATE is definitely a home run as well. Thanks for the excellent review as always!

    1. I was thinking it as a Year End special, all distros ranked based on performance and aesthetics along with overall rating. Please wait for first week of Jan'15 :).

  3. Nice review! Both Mint Mate and Cinnamon are great distros. I just wish Mint had a Gnome 3 distro.

    I'm currently running openSUSE Tumbleweed Gnome and enjoying it immensely. Any chance of reviewing openSUSE Tumbleweed Gnome? The new Tumbleweed is now a rolling release but it's rock solid. The Linux version is currently 3.17.4-1, and the Gnome Shell version is currently 3.14.2.

    1. Sure. I'll review OpenSUSE Tumbleweed GNOME next week. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Hmm, I have interesting situation: Mint 17.1 Cinnamon takes 325MB RAM, 17.1 Mate - 345MB. Both x64, idle. Go figure...

    btw. excellent reviews, cheers!

    1. Yes, there is very small difference in RAM consumption between the two distros and Cinnamon can work better in certain machines over Mate. I guess that is what both my benchmarking results and your results show. Both are equally good distros and Cinnamon has improved significantly with every release.

      Thanks for liking my reviews :).

  5. I use a small application named powerstat. It gives you power consumption of the distro per second.

  6. How do you put those things on the Desktop? Date and all those specifications about the ram usage etc and the time . And also the clock in the middle of the desktop. COuld you tell me how to put that on ? Thank You .

    1. He uses conky manager. Use google and search conky manager

  7. I am also running a 8 core system, (Intel Xeon E5420) and like you only 4 cores (x4) are shown, is that because it's a duel quad core system or mint 17.1 can't see all 8 cores? I tried a few other distros, and they can see all 8 cores. Thanks for any help.

  8. Great review as always but Cinnamon Mint 17.1 runs smoothly on powerful systems. I have a netbook N2830 and 2 Gb RAM and experience some issues like the system is slow or unresponsive or delay in opening apps and you need to upgrade the kernel version to fix the wifi issue. I am using google Chrome browser and I will feel the slowness of my system when im trying to to open 3 tabs. Yeah i know Chrome is heavy but its the favored browser in my family and it consumes 80% of my RAM after opening 3 tabs with multimedia in each site. For smooth and faster experience in my must have at least 4 GB of RAM and powerful CPU/GPU.

  9. Hi, can you please tell which Conky widget you are using to display CPU/HDD etc?

  10. hi can you please tell me how install compiz in linux mint rebecca cinnamon 64 bit with nvidia g force 8400 graphic cart

    1. i am new in linux so Simple explanation By the way try some Steps have found it in the net

    2. You can try out Mint 17.1 Mate. It has compiz pre-installed and pre-configured. I haven't seen compiz with Cinnamon yet and not sure if it would work.

  11. l'unico grande problema è l'avvio ! é un disastro in quasi tutte le distro. Va bene soltanto con pen drive.

  12. May I ask which Conky theme (the one on the right-hand side) you're using in the first screenshot? Thanks.

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