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How to customize Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon

Summary: How to customize Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon by disabling the Hot corner and adding the Expo, Scale and Workspace switcher applets to the panel.

Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon, ships with the latest version of the Cinnamon desktop environment. Like everything else, some users like Cinnamon, some others think its interface is outdated. I say, use anything you like. It’s part of what makes Free Software and the Free Software community what it is.

I’m currently using KDE on my main computer, but with the latest GNOME 3 (GNOME 3.8), I’m about to switch to a GNOME Shell desktop, customized using a couple of extensions. Freedom!

Which brings me to the topic of this article – how to customize Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon. There’s not a whole lot to do, but If I were to use a Cinnamon desktop on my main computer, these changes are the ones I’d make to it, to make it fit the way I use my computer.

1. Disable the Hot Corner: One of the most annoying features I encounter on KDE and GNOME 3 is the Hot Corner. I’d be moving my mouse around the desktop and boom!, my desktop looks completely different. What happened? The cursor ran into a Hot Corner.

In Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon, the Hot Corner is on the top-left corner of the desktop. If, like me, you can’t stand it, this is how to disable it.

From the Cinnamon Settings manager, click on Hot Corner. By default, the Hot Corner is enabled in the top-left corner of the desktop. And the default effect is Expo mode. To disable it (Hot Corner), simple select Disabled from the dropdown menu. That takes care of Hot Corner.
Customize Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon hot corner

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2. Add Expo, Scale applets to panel: Though I find Hot Corner annoying, the effect it triggers is actually useful. That effect – Expo mode, zooms out to show all the workspaces or virtual desktops on the system. Out of the box, there are two (workspaces). The other mode is Scale, which zooms out to shows all the windows open in the current workspace. To have more control over when Expo and Scale modes are activated, I find that it is better to add the Expo and Scale applets to the panel. That way, I just need to click on the applet to trigger the effect.

To add applets to the Cinnamon panel, right-click on the panel and select Add applets to the panel.
Customize Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon panel

The Applets window should open. Look for the Expo applet. Select it and click on the Add to panel button. Repeat the operation for the Scale applet.
Customize Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon applet

To remove an applet from the panel, don’t be tempted to click on the Restore to default button. That will remove any changes you’ve made to the panel. To remove an applet, right-click on it and select Remove from panel.
Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon remove panel applet

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Here’s what happens when the Expo mode is triggered.
Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon Expo

The same desktop when Scale mode is triggered.
Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon Scale

3. Add the Workspace switcher applet to panel: Expo and Scale mode are mostly eye-candy. Scale mode, for example, gives you what’s already accessible from the task manager. Expo mode duplicates a feature of the Workspace switcher, though it has an added functionality. Adding the Workspace switcher applet to the panel makes it possible to switch between virtual desktops with one mouse click. To add it to the panel, repeat the same steps you used to add the Expo and Scale applets.
Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon workspace virtual desktop

On my test computer, I have all three applets on the panel. Just gives me a lot of options. Beyond the custom settings given in this article, there are many more you can apply to fit the desktop to how you use your desktop. Cinnamon’s Settings manager has many modules that will aid you. Spend some time exploring them.

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