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Cinnamon is a contemporary desktop environment with a traditional interface that Gnome 2, LXDE or Xfce users will find easy to work with. Cinnamon has very good graphical and functional features. Forked from Gnome Shell and developed for Linux Mint, it is available for the amd64 and x86 architectures.



Cinnamon works great both with and without systemd. To install without systemd dependencies, use eselect to switch to a profile without Gnome, such as default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop. To install with systemd, use a Gnome-enabled profile such as default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/gnome/systemd. The architecture and version can be different in both cases.

To get a list of available system profiles:

root #eselect profile list
[1] default/linux/amd64/13.0
[2] default/linux/amd64/13.0/selinux
[3] default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop
[4] default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/gnome
[5] default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/gnome/systemd


When using OpenRC, set the right system profile:

root #eselect profile set default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop

It is also possible to use the associated profile number according to the profiles list above:

root #eselect profile set 3

Read up on the instructions available in the Gentoo Without Systemd article.


For Cinnamon with systemd support select the GNOME desktop profile ending in systemd:

root #eselect profile set default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/gnome/systemd
The system architecture (amd64) and version (13) can be different as long as the ending of the string is /gnome/systemd.


Of course for Cinnamon to work Xorg must be installed and configured. Make sure an X server is set up before proceeding with this article. If needed, test Xorg as detailed in the Using startx section of the Xorg Gentoo guide.

Cinnamon (and other applications) are internationalized, supporting a number of languages (Linguas). If this was not done during the initial Gentoo installation, add the appropriate language value to the LINGUAS variable in make.conf:

FILE /etc/portage/make.confSet make.conf for French language code
LINGUAS="fr" # or en, de, it, es, etc.

It is advised to install x11-libs/gtk+extra and, only with Xorg older than 1.17 version, x11-drivers/xf86-video-modesetting as it makes the Cinnamon experience more complete.

  • With Xorg version less than 1.17:
root #emerge --ask x11-libs/gtk+extra x11-drivers/xf86-video-modesetting
  • Starting with Xorg 1.17:
root #emerge --ask x11-libs/gtk+extra

USE flags

USE flags for gnome-extra/cinnamon A fork of GNOME Shell with layout similar to GNOME 2

networkmanager Enable net-misc/networkmanager support global
nls Add Native Language Support (using gettext - GNU locale utilities) global

Find more information on Python targets by visiting the Python project's PYTHON TARGETS article.

Some USE flags, icu, pulseaudio and gnome-keyring, are needed by Cinnamon's dependencies. If they are not set already, either allow emerge --ask gnome-extra/cinnamon to create or update package.use (or package.use/cinnamon, or package.use/anotherName) itself, or set the USE flags manually.


Finally, after performing all the steps above, ask Portage to emerge Cinnamon:

root #emerge --ask gnome-extra/cinnamon
The compilation duration for net-libs/webkit-gtk can be very long, especially on older hardware. Be patient, Cinnamon is worth it!

System configuration

Before looking at the Cinnamon theming, configure the system to properly start Cinnamon at boot or upon user request, and enable the right privilege delegation settings so that end users can interact with the system in an intuitive manner.


The next set of instructions show how to deal with OpenRC. With systemd use systemctl as detailed in the systemd page.

dbus and consolekit

Xorg server and Cinnamon need the dbus and consolekit services, make sure that they will be started at system boot time:

root #rc-update add dbus default
root #rc-update add consolekit default

Next, start the services (there is no need to restart the system):

root #rc-service dbus start
root #rc-service consolekit start


NetworkManager is a Cinnamon dependency and is not needed if the network was configured during the initial Gentoo installation. It should not run concurrently with another network service. If NetworkManager is desired be sure to disable other network management programs or services before starting it. For example, if the system was originally configured to use Gentoo's netifrc scripts to manage the network connections, disable these network services:

root #rc-service net.eth0 stop
root #rc-update del net.eth0 default
When using sys-fs/udev network interfaces will be using Predictable Network Interface Names to name the active interfaces. This will produce names like enp12s0, eno1, enp2s0, etc. When using sys-fs/eudev, the Gentoo udev fork avoiding systemd dependencies, the first network interface name is often still called eth0.

After removing the other network services, add NetworkManager:

root #rc-service NetworkManager start
root #rc-update add NetworkManager default

Disabling NetworkManager applet

If NetworkManager is not used, it's applet can be disabled in Cinnamon panel as explained in Arch Linux Wiki Cinnamon page. Copy /etc/xdg/autostart/nm-applet.desktop to ~/.config/autostart/nm-applet.desktop, then add the disabling command and finally change file ownership:

root #cp /etc/xdg/autostart/nm-applet.desktop /home/userName/.config/autostart/nm-applet.desktop
root #echo 'X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=false' >> /home/userName/.config/autostart/nm-applet.desktop
root #chown userName:userName /home/userName/.config/autostart/nm-applet.desktop


For an ordinary user to reboot or shutdown the system from Cinnamon, sudo is needed with some settings.

First install app-admin/sudo:

root #emerge --ask app-admin/sudo

Next modify the sudo configuration with the visudo command:

root #visudo

Visudo runs the default text editor to generate or update a sudoers file. Replace username in the text below with the username of each user that will be using Cinnamon:

FILE /etc/sudoers
username  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/reboot
username  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/halt
username  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/poweroff
username  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown

Or for the wheel group:

FILE /etc/sudoers
%wheel  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/reboot
%wheel  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/halt
%wheel  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/poweroff
%wheel  ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown

Polkit rules and actions

For an ordinary user to perform additional highly privileged actions from Cinnamon, policy kit must be configured. Use pkaction to get a list of actions; the names should be self-explanatory:

root #pkaction

The simplest way is to authorize all actions by only testing wheel group membership. Put a JavaScript file with a .rules extension in /etc/polkit-1/rules.d, named for example 55-allowing-all-actions.rules:

FILE /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/55-allowing-all-actions.rulesSetting general polkit rule
polkit.addRule (function (action, subject)
  if (subject.isInGroup ("wheel"))
    return polkit.Result.YES;

To only authorize some actions, the action names must be iterated. For a wheel group user to suspend, hibernate, shutdown and restart the system, make a 55-allowing-actions.rules file like so:

FILE /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/55-allowing-actions.rulesSetting polkit rules
polkit.addRule (function (action, subject)
  if ( == "org.freedesktop.upower.hibernate" || == "org.freedesktop.upower.suspend" || == "org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.stop" || == "org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart" &&
      subject.isInGroup ("wheel"))
        return polkit.Result.YES;

Various actions can be added: those to change color profiles, use Nemo (Cinnamon files manager) as root, mount and eject media, set screen backlight, use network manager, change wallpaper, etc. Several polkit.addRule (function (action, subject){ … }); blocks can be used next to each other as well, and several files can be added.

/etc/polkit-1/rules.d/50-default.rules already exists. Newly created file(s) names should begin with a number bigger than 50, 55 for example, so they are processed after the 50-default.rules file. Do not make a file which would be processed before it, for instance one beginning with 45.

Starting Cinnamon

When not using a login/display manager, make a .xinitrc file in the user's home directory, starting ConsoleKit, D-Bus and Cinnamon sessions:

FILE ~/.xinitrcCinnamon launch directive
exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch cinnamon-session

Then to start Xorg and Cinnamon, execute startx after logging in:

user $startx

With a display manager follow the display manager instructions.


Mint-X icons

By default Cinnamon comes with Gnome icons. Mint-X icons are on GitHub. Download, unzip, and put the Mint-X icon set in /usr/share/icons:

root #mv pathToUnzippedArchive/mint-x-icons-master/usr/share/icons/Mint-X /usr/share/icons/Mint-X

Next, make a cache for it:

root #gtk-update-icon-cache /usr/share/icons/Mint-X

The new icon set can be selected in Cinnamon Control Center. Mint-X icons are green, but other icon sets with different colors can be installed too, like Mint-X-Grey or Mint-X-Orange. Make sure to create a cache for these as well.

Colored icons sets rely on Mint-X icon set: always install it, with or without colored icons sets.

Desktop icons text color

Desktop icons text color is now white in Cinnamon version 2.6.13, so this chapter applies to older Cinnamon versions… and remains a good introduction to Cinnamon theming.

An icon's text color in Cinnamon desktop is black by default, which is not always readable. The instructions to change this color depends on the GTK+ 3 version that the system is using. Get the currently used version with:

user $emerge --info x11-libs/gtk+
  • In GTK+ versions less than 3.13.3, this setting can only be changed system-wide. Change the text color by adding CSS rules to the /usr/share/themes/Adwaita/gtk-3.0/gtk.css file (Adwaita is the default theme coming with GTK+), after the @import line:
FILE /usr/share/themes/Adwaita/gtk-3.0/gtk.cssCSS rules for GTK+ < 3.13.3
@import url("resource:///org/gnome/adwaita/gtk-main.css");
/* added css rules */
.nemo-desktop.nemo-canvas-item {
  color: #fff;  /* #fff is white web color indication, #333 should be dark grey */
.nemo-desktop.nemo-canvas-item:selected {
  background-color: alpha (#fff, 0.2);  /* 0.2 is transparency level */
The 2nd rule concerns the selected desktop icon and can be modified to get another background color or set the transparency.
  • In more recent GTK+ versions (3.13.3 onward), this must be tuned through a user-specific configuration file. Adwaita is now included in GTK+ as the theme replacing Raleigh, so rules must be set in the user's home directories. The file to edit is ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css (create ~/.config/gtk-3.0/ directory if needed), and the change is now without the @import line. Additionally in this example, the left Nemo side bar is gray colored:
FILE ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.cssCSS rules for GTK+ ≥ 3.13.3
.nemo-desktop.nemo-canvas-item {
  color: #fff;
.nemo-desktop.nemo-canvas-item:selected {
  background-color: alpha (#fff, 0.2);
NemoWindow .sidebar, NemoWindow .sidebar .view {
  background-color: #444;
  color: #eee; /* light grey */

Mint-X themes

Cinnamon comes with a default cinnamon theme, obviously... The Mint-X themes are available for download on GitHub. Download them, unzip, and copy to /usr/share/themes if needed. They can be selected in the Cinnamon Control Center.

Playing with themes

Almost all theme settings can be changed in the cinnamon.css file in the theme directory.

For example with the Cinnamon theme, which is not in /usr/share/themes but in /usr/share/cinnamon/theme, first copy the theme's directory to a user .themes sub-directory, named for example other-cinnamon, which will be the new theme name:

root #mkdir /home/userName/.themes/other-cinnamon
root #cp -R /usr/share/cinnamon/theme /home/userName/.themes/other-cinnamon/cinnamon
root #chown -R userName:userName /home/userName/.themes/other-cinnamon

Edit ~/.themes/other-cinnamon/cinnamon/cinnamon.css. The results of the changes can be viewed immediately by selecting another theme in Cinnamon Control Center, then reselecting the theme being changed.

Common applications


Gnome popular applications

A number of popular applications are available as well, built for Gnome and working flawlessly in Cinnamon:

root #emerge --ask gnome-extra/gnome-calculator media-gfx/gnome-screenshot media-gfx/eog app-text/evince gnome-extra/gnome-system-monitor app-arch/file-roller app-cdr/brasero app-editors/gedit

Applications without Gnome

Also working flawlessly in Cinnamon:

Compile app-text/qpdfview and media-video/vlc with qt4 or qt5 USE flags to get a GUI.


If problems occur, try to get access to the live error messages. These can be displayed on a separate (virtual) terminal or in a log file. If the messages cannot be found, try starting Cinnamon from the command line rather than through a display manager. Alternatively have a look at /var/log/Xorg.0.log.

When the error or warning messages are not sufficient to troubleshoot Cinnamon, start it with the --debug parameter to get more detailed Xorg messages:

FILE ~/.xinitrcCinnamon debug launch
exec cinnamon-session --debug

If Cinnamon cannot launch, deleting (or renaming) .cinnamon in the home directory is not enough: other Cinnamon or Gnome items must be deleted (or renamed) too before X restarts. These can be found in the .cache, .config and .local XDG directories. .gnome2 can be deleted (or renamed) entirely.

See also

External resources