How to Install Cinnamon Desktop on Ubuntu

This tutorial shows you how to install Cinnamon desktop environment on Ubuntu.

Cinnamon is the default desktop environment of Linux Mint. Unlike Unity desktop environment in Ubuntu, Cinnamon is more traditional but elegant looking desktop environment with the bottom panel and app menu etc. Many Windows migrants prefer Linux Mint over Ubuntu because of Cinnamon desktop and its Windows-resembling user interface.

Now, you don’t need to install Linux Mint just for trying Cinnamon. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to install Cinnamon in Ubuntu.

You should note something before you install Cinnamon desktop on Ubuntu. Sometimes, installing additional desktop environments leads to conflict between the desktop environments. This may result in a broken session, broken applications and features etc. This is why you should be careful in making this choice.

How to Install Cinnamon on Ubuntu

How to install cinnamon desktop on Ubuntu Linux

The steps are slightly different for Ubuntu 20.04 and the older LTS version 18.04.

Installing Cinnamon on Ubuntu 20.04

At the time of updating this tutorial, Cinnamon desktop version 4.4 is available in the universe repository of Ubuntu 20.04.

So make sure to enable universe repository and then use this command to install Cinnamon on Ubuntu 20.04:

sudo apt install cinnamon

Installing Cinnamon on Ubuntu 18.04

Cinnamon package is also available in the universe repository of Ubuntu 18.04. However, it only serves Cinnamon 3.6 version as you can see using the apt show command.

There used to be a-sort-of official PPA from Cinnamon team for Ubuntu but it doesn’t exist anymore. Don’t lose heart. There is an unofficial PPA available and it works perfectly.

This PPA consists of the Cinnamon version 4.2 which is not the latest but still better than 3.6.

Open a terminal and use the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon
sudo apt update && sudo apt install cinnamon

It will download files of around 150 MB in size (if I remember correctly). This also provides you with Nemo (Nautilus fork) and Cinnamon Control Center. This bonus stuff gives a closer feel of Linux Mint.

Using Cinnamon desktop environment in Ubuntu

Once you have installed Cinnamon, log out of the current session. At the login screen, click on the Ubuntu symbol beside the username:

Change desktop environment in Ubuntu 14.04

When you do this, it will give you all the desktop environments available for your system. No need to tell you that you have to choose Cinnamon:

Install Cinnamon in Ubuntu 14.04

Now you should be logged in to Ubuntu with Cinnamon desktop environment. Remember, you can do the same to switch back to Unity. Here is a quick screenshot of what it looked like to run Cinnamon in Ubuntu:

Cinnamon in Ubuntu 14.04

Looks completely like Linux Mint, doesn’t it? I didn’t find any compatibility issue between Cinnamon and Unity. I switched back and forth between Unity and Cinnamon and both worked perfectly.

Remove Cinnamon from Ubuntu

Warning!

Before you remove Cinnamon, you must switch back to your original desktop environment. Otherwise, you’ll end up logging into a system with only terminal opened.

It is understandable that you might want to uninstall Cinnamon. First, change back to GNOME or whichever desktop environment you were using before.

Now, remove the Cinnamon package:

sudo apt remove cinnamon

If you used the PPA to install Cinnamon, you should also delete the PPA from your list of repositories:

sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon

I hope this post helps you to install Cinnamon in Ubuntu. Do share your experience with Cinnamon.

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  • >It is understandable that you might want to uninstall Cinnamon

    It’s more understandable that you might want to remove Gnome… So how about a post on replacing Gnome entirely with Cinnamon?

  • I’ve been waiting for the new Mint 21 to come out but maybe I’ll just get the latest Ubuntu and slap Cinnamon on it instead!

  • Other than the Cinnamon desktop what are the main differences between Mint and Ubuntu? Mint is a fork of Ubuntu (Which is based on Debian) but how different is it? It seems pretty similar.

  • I wish I had seen your tutorial before I installed KDE by following another tutorial, it advised to remove GNOME, I did, it seems to work fine though, Your comment elsewhere to another post says “I would advise against removing GNOME altogether. Why? Because you may remove some components required by the system.” Should I reinstall GNOME? The KDE tutorial was found here:

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/InstallingKDE