What is the Difference Between Linux Mint and Cinnamon?

What is the Difference Between Linux Mint and Cinnamon?

Linux Mint and Cinnamon are terms often thrown around in the open-source and Linux communities, but for those new to the world of Linux, the distinction between the two might not be immediately clear. In this article, we will delve into the differences between Linux Mint and Cinnamon, shedding light on their roles and how they contribute to the Linux ecosystem.

Linux Mint:

Linux Mint is a popular and user-friendly Linux distribution that is based on the well-known Ubuntu operating system. Created by Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint aims to provide a powerful, easy-to-use, and elegant operating system for users transitioning from other operating systems like Windows or macOS.

Linux Mint comes with a variety of desktop environments, and Cinnamon is one of them.


Cinnamon, on the other hand, is not an entire operating system but a desktop environment. It is the default desktop environment for Linux Mint, designed to offer a modern, intuitive, and visually appealing user interface. Developed by the Linux Mint team, Cinnamon provides users with a familiar layout, making it easy for those accustomed to traditional desktop environments.

Now, let's explore the differences between Linux Mint and Cinnamon in more detail.

Desktop Environment vs. Operating System:

The primary distinction lies in their roles. Linux Mint is the complete operating system, while Cinnamon is just a part of it – the desktop environment. Linux Mint can be thought of as a car, and Cinnamon is the interior design and user interface.

Commands to Check Linux Mint Version:

If you are unsure which version of Linux Mint you are using, you can use the following commands in the terminal:

lsb_release -a

This will provide detailed information about your Linux Mint distribution, including the version number.

Identifying Cinnamon Desktop:

To confirm whether your Linux Mint installation is using the Cinnamon desktop environment, you can use:


This command will display the current desktop environment, and if it's Cinnamon, you'll see "Cinnamon" in the output.

Switching Desktop Environments:

One of the advantages of Linux Mint is its flexibility. If you want to explore other desktop environments, you can install them and switch between them easily. For instance, to install the XFCE desktop environment, you can use:

sudo apt install xfce4

Once installed, log out, and you can choose the desktop environment from the login screen.

In summary, Linux Mint is the comprehensive operating system, while Cinnamon is the desktop environment that provides the graphical user interface. Understanding this difference is crucial, especially if you plan to explore other desktop environments or customize your Linux Mint experience.

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