Installing Cinnamon as alternative of Unity in Precise Pangolin 12.04

Unity v. Gnome 3 v. Cinnamon

Cinnamon at workUbuntu without Unity

The choices are so many that it is not easy to decide. For installing Gnome 3 check here. In my experience, the Linux Mint per say is somewhat slower than Precise Pangolin 12.04 with Cinnamon i.e. the same desktop used with Linux Mint. Therefore I decided to use Cinnamon directly on Precise Pangolin. This is how it is done:

Open terminal and run following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable

Now update repository and install cinnamon:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install cinnamon

On next log in choose cinnamon session and it is done.

Another way of installing cinnamon:

For any reason the above does not work or latest 1.4 version of cinnamon is not available from repository .deb package can be downloaded and installed. The link to 64 bit package is here and 32 bit package is here.

In case of any problem in installing the .deb packages read: Install/uninstall .deb files.

© Sandeep Bhalla

Precise Pangolin 12.04 Unity sucks!

It sucks!

Let me begin from the beginning. I am using the Ubuntu since the days of Jaunty but never before faced so much problems in one go. Read on the problems:
Installation.

Precise Pangolin installer is not a live CD.

To begin with this distro is not a live CD. Yes you can boot from CD or USB but only to install or repair. The distributed ISO is only for installation and to repair a broken system. No live session. Hence no way of knowing if it will work or not on a machine.
The second problem is that if a computer has multiple hard disks mounted at different folders, it can not figure out the big picture. It will install bootloader at wrong drive and fail. I tried this on one computer with one IDE drive and two SATA drives. Only after I removed all but one drive, did it install the bootloader correctly, though booting failed.
On a rather newer computer with one 1TB hdd and 8GB USB pen drive, after first major upgrade of 300 MB it got confused and automatically offered to reinstall Grub but asked to choose the drive, which saved the day.

Upgrade

Upgrade process is smooth. It will offer to upgrade not only from Update Manager but also from the USB having installation media. On my system which was upgraded from Natty to Oneric it took several hours and completed successfully. Only problems were longer boot time, at shut down it would stuck at unattended upgrades and manual alt-ctrl-del would solve the problem. Totem would crash every day several times. Xmandu did not work. Gnome 3 was being used instead of Unity.

Unity sucks

With every one praising it, it requires courage to stand up and state the facts. It still has too many issues:
1. Poor response time: Very often clicking on a icon on dash favourite yields no immediate response. It wakes up after several seconds.
Frequently the screen starts dimming while waiting completion of a task like refreshing a window.
The reason, my guess is, Unity is a ram guzzling, video memory dependent software. It is created to compete Windows (ambitious?) On newest computers and not to retro fit on old machines. Not even few years old. Overall it is too slow without justification. That is sad.

Dropping

Any one who has used windows for years knows about crashing and improvements over it. Earlier if a program used to crash, windows would hang and sulk till rebooted. Window 7 made real improvement and it let’s program crash alone.
Unity has different problems. On a quad core 3 Ghz machine with 2 GB DDR-3 RAM and 3 GB swap, it simply drops one program for some time and re-picks it. For example the exaile or audacious would crackle for a few seconds and return back to normal.

Touch Screen

Unity is created to handle touch screen input. Now we are struck with same old mouse and keyboard input. Better leave Unity as also Gnome 3 till we buy touch screen monitor.

Making bootable USB for Precise

It is a chicken and egg problem. Precise USB can be created on Precise only. Either install Precise Pangolin in virtual machine or use UNetBootin.

Future

Ubuntu has already discontinued Kbuntu and thus washed its hands off KDE Desktop. It has also discarded Gnome. So where is it headed? To make Ubuntu a firmware package. No more distractions on better user experience. The focus is on sale and efficient installation on new machines.
BTW its installation media/CD/USB/ISO also has an option for OEM install.

Related Post:

Alternatives for Unity
© Sandeep Bhalla