Nowadays, it is a well known fact that everyone in the Linux world is parting ways with Gnome 3. Even Canonical has preferred Unity to Gnome 3 for the last two Ubuntu releases, believing its users will master the steep learning curve of Unity. Linus Torvalds himself has given up on Gnome 3 and clearly, Gnome 3 is not the desktop environment of the future. To clear this desktop environment confusion and save the world, Clement ClemLefebvre from the Linux Mint project has decided to create a usable Gnome Shell called Cinnamon.
Linux Mint 11 shipped with Gnome 2. However, this time, Linux Mint 12 featured Mint Gnome Shell Extensions (MGSE), which was the first step away from Gnome for Mint. Although MGSE used an underlying layer of Gnome 3, it was skinned heavily with extensions. MGSE was received well as it makes the desktop much more usable.
Clem writes on the Linux Mint forum saying,
I am not going to argue whether Gnome Shell is a good or a bad desktop. It’s just not what we’re looking for. The user experience the Gnome team is trying to create isn’t the one we’re interested in providing to our users. There are core features and components we absolutely need, and because they are not there in Gnome Shell, we had to add them using extensions with MGSE.
Cinnamon is still in alpha stage, but it carries the features that we saw in MGSE. It is based on the Gnome shell 3.2.1 and with Cinnamon, Linux Mint will bring something that competes with modern desktop environments like Unity, without compromising on usability. If everything goes well, Cinnamon will make its first appearance on Linux Mint 13.