Citing the direction of GNOME as one that it was not willing to follow, Linux Mint has announced its own Cinnamon desktop environment that is based on GNOME 3 and the Mutter window manager.

“With Gnome 2 no longer an option, we lost one of the most important upstream components our Linux Mint desktop was based on,” wrote Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre.

“Our entire focus shifted from innovating on the desktop to patching existing alternatives, such as Gnome Shell. We used MATE and MGSE to provide an easier transition away from Gnome 2, but without being able to truly offer an alternative that was better than Gnome 2.”

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Cinnamon builds on the features available from the Mint GNOME Shell Extensions in the Linux Mint 12 release, as well as providing a new auto-hideable bottom panel, a new sound applet, new menu layout, and custom panel launchers.

In future Linux Mint releases, Cinnamon will likely replace the current default GNOME 3 environment that comes loaded with Mint GNOME Shell Extensions as the main desktop, with MATE to remain as the GNOME 2-like option.

Cinnamon is able to be installed alongside GNOME 3 and MATE, and is able to be used today by Linux Mint users, once they have installed the cinnamon-session package.