During the past week, I have been thinking about updating the Linux machine in my office from Ubuntu 10.04 to the latest version (as of now it’s 12.10). I don’t particularly like the new desktop environment name Unity that came with Ubuntu distribution. I am fairly cautious about updating this particular machine since it’s currently hosting some important project and I use it frequently for work (mostly PHP development, and C++ grading for my class). So for the past week, I have been looking for a better desktop environment to replace unity. The following are the criteria I am looking for:

  • Efficiency: I want something that can run on low end machines
  • Easy to work with: resembles traditional desktop. Nothing fancy with unnecessary functionalities. Just a clean desktop interface to work with

The following are what I have tried:

  • Gnome 3: the interface is pretty, but it’s difficult to work on desktop just like Unity. Also it’s not that efficient in the way that I couldn’t run VNC smoothly from a remote machine. I also had trouble getting multiple monitors to work :(
  • Xbuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE 4): I got error during installation, so I never actually tried it.
  • XFCE 4: I didn’t give up on XFCE, so I decided to install it on a Ubi 12.10 installation I already had. It may be a bit light weight than Unity and Gnome 3, but the interface is really unpolished and the Terminal Emulator was basically unusable.
  • Cinnamon 1.6.7: this is wonderful. It’s easy to use for desktop and the interface is the most elegant I have seen on a Linux. This is what I am using it now and I think it’s a keeper.

I follow this link to install Cinnamon on my installation: http://www.itworld.com/software/307138/install-cinnamon-desktop-ubuntu-1210.

More information on Cinnamon can be found here: http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/