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Thread: Cinnamon on 14.04 minimal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Question Cinnamon on 14.04 minimal

    Hi, I'm currently having some problems with Cinnamon 2.2 on 14.04. I'm using the minimal Ubuntu Trusty install ISO, then building up from there so I can configure different desktops easily using scripts (i.e. I have some slow machines that will get LXDE and some fast ones that will get Cinnamon and I'm debating about whether to leave my file server as command line only). I also don't want a lot of the packages that come standard in Mint or Ubuntu, and I'd rather not remove stuff. To me, it (should be) easier to just build it up exactly the way I want. Since the stable Cinnamon apt repo for Ubuntu has been removed, I'm currently building the stable "tagged/released" Cinnamon modules myself, then creating a local apt repo and installing from there the normal way with apt-get install cinnamon. All goes well, the packages seem to be correct, Cinnamon installs and runs. However, the themes tab in the cinnamon settings doesn't work. It doesn't show any themes. When I click the tab "Get more online", then update it, it does its thing, and appears to load 268 different objects. None of them show up though in the window. It doesn't even show the currently installed and running theme. In my ~/.cinnamon/spices.cache/ directory I see 268 thumbnail .png files with the theme pics, and one .json file, so I do believe that Cinnamon does know about them. The exact same behavior happens for the "Desklets", "Extensions", and "Applets" settings.

    So being unable to figure this out, I installed the full Ubuntu with the Unity desktop. I pointed apt to my local repo... EXACT same repo on my NFS file server... never recompiled, never touched the packages then did the exact same thing: apt-get install cinnamon. It installed, I rebooted, chose CInnamon then went to the themes tab. Now they all show up like I expect.

    Next, I started again with the minimal Ubuntu, then added the official Mint Qiana repo to my sources.list and installed Cinnamon from there. Identical results... no themes.

    Has anybody tried installing Cinnamon on top of a minimal Ubuntu install? Do you know of any dependencies or packages that might be missing? Maybe even more general, what are some of the most basic, generic packages that probably should be installed on a minimal Ubuntu install if you do plan on building it up and installing a custom desktop on it? Right now, I'm installing practically nothing except the basic Xorg stuff, a login manager (gdm) and Cinnamon.
    Last edited by billyb351; May 29th, 2014 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Solved

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Lightbulb Re: Cinnamon on 14.04 minimal

    Through painstaking analysis (I'll spare you the gory details of how I looked through source code, dissected working vs. non-working systems, etc.) I found the problem. Long story short, a lot of Cinnamon settings are manipulated through Python scripts. It uses a Python cairo binding to do this which is not listed as a dependency for any of the cinnamon modules. The package that provides this Python binding is NOT part of a minimal Ubuntu install, however it does appear in full Ubuntu and Mint installs. The package is 'python-gi-cairo'. So, simply running:
    sudo apt-get install python-gi-cairo
    fixed the problem immediately for themes, desklets, applets and extensions. They work perfectly after that package is installed. As far as I can tell, now everything works as it should. Perhaps this should be submitted as a Cinnamon bug? Hopefully this post may help someone else out there who likes Cinnamon but wants to build up their system from scratch.

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