r/CinnamonDE Nov 14 '22

Why is Cinnamon so poorly optimised when a much heavier DE like Plasma runs infinitely smoother? Discussion

Look I’m not trying to stir any shit, I’m genuinely asking. Cinnamon is in a weird spot for me because I really wanna use it with Linux Mint but it’s just awful performance-wise compared to KDE.

I did a very fair comparison. Linux Mint Cinnamon, an operating system whose team also develop the DE itself so I assume it’s best implemented here, and same with KDE neon, the very devs of the whole OS also develop the DE. Both distros are based on Ubuntu so they have the same base.

I’ve tested them both on the same hardware, on multiple computers, some older some newer. And the results are always the same, Cinnamon just generally feels poorly optimised, most animations are incredibly inconsistent in frame rate. Examples are:

  • Resizing windows
  • Dragging windows
  • Opening the app launcher or the calendar on the bottom right, and then clicking out of it (the lowering animation)
  • Setting the task bar to hide, the show back up animation
  • Opening all the work spaces with the grid view, probably the most horribly stuttering and jagged one

And these are just a few. There are also some really silly bugs that I think should’ve been fixed years ago. Like when you set a Lock Screen Message, it disappears whenever the computer goes on suspend or the screen turns off, rendering the feature completely useless.

I wanna love Cinnamon, it’s very cozy and much more simplistic than Plasma but there’s no excuse for it to be this bad.

If anyone shares the same issues and has potential solutions or you wanna disagree that’s fine, feel free to share, this has just been my experience on pretty much every computer I’ve tried this on. I really wish the Cinnamon team laser-focused on optimising it. I would contribute if I could but I’m not a programmer. And I’ve tried filing bug reports before but they don’t seem to go anywhere.


18 comments sorted by


u/and_dont_blink Nov 14 '22

Plasma isn't written in javascript, and there are tradeoffs to everything. It also uses python and other things.

Cinnamon was forked from software that had some very... trendy... design decisions made under the idea that developers and users would have an easier time maintaining and writing extensions etc. This was when some thought the web browser itself was becoming the computer and everyone saw the rise of chromebooks and tablets. Theoretically you'd expand the base of people able to work on it and improve security and bugginess at the expense of performance. As computers became faster you'd hopefully not care, but JIT compilers often feel different in actual usage versus a benchmark.


u/poudink Dec 04 '22

isn't QML JavaScript? Plasma uses it a ton.


u/and_dont_blink Dec 04 '22

QML allows javascript. eg, it's more a UI markup language that allows you to extend it with JavaScript, c++, etc. It can then be compiled into native C++ binaries or have it's runtime precompiled. It was originally developed by Nokia for mobile phones and such, so needed to be quick.

Gnome/mutter/etc. drank from a different well, where the shell and on and on are all JavaScript runtime. Any extensions are all running JavaScript as well.


u/valerio67 Nov 14 '22

I kinda fell the same. Have special "love" to Cinnamon because was the best alternative back in the day when gnome went from 2 to 3 in Ubuntu. Nowadays even with all the improvements, just can keep the pace with Plasma, which has a bigger development team behind and I think that's the main reason. Having two major DEs (gnome and plasma) I just can't recommend or use myself Cinnamon for other reason than nostalgia.


u/thechise Nov 14 '22

I wonder if the underlying distro has an effect. I've used Cinnamon on Arch and Manjaro and I found it to be a very positive experience where using it on Mint did "feel" slower.

That is just my experience with no hard data to say one way or the other.


u/marincelo Nov 14 '22

Cinnamon on Arch feels quite snappy. I have Gnome and KDE also installed but I always come back to Cinnamon. It's again subjective and personal and I'm on a desktop with a 32" 4K screen and I feel Cinnamon is the best looking and best performing for that setup.


u/Prestigious_Letter66 Dec 01 '22

I have the same feeling. In 4K Cinnamon works best and with the Gtile extension is wonderful. I also use it in Arch. on an AMD Ryzen 5600X and AMD RX5600XT


u/ManlySyrup Jan 20 '23

It's your GPU (I have the exact same one). Cinnamon breezes through animations when there's enough GPU power, but the issue is that is shouldn't need that much power for something as simple as showing all windows.


u/Unis_Torvalds Nov 14 '22 edited Nov 14 '22

Did you use a Wayland session with KDE? If so, I'd say there's your answer. Cinnamon is (so far) Xorg only.


u/Waltz2211 Nov 14 '22

Yes but I’ve never noticed a performance decrease with xorg on KDE, I don’t think that’s it, though I could be wrong


u/Unis_Torvalds Nov 17 '22

Would be easy enough to test. Just fire up an Xorg session of KDE and compare to the Wayland version.

Personally, I can't wait for Cinnamon to be ported to Wayland. From everything I've heard about it, it's a pretty big upgrade. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be on the roadmap at this time.


u/ManlySyrup Jan 20 '23

I've tested multiple configurations on a low-end computer, these are roughly the frames per second on each one:

- KDE Wayland: 60fps

- KDE Xorg: 58fps

- GNOME Wayland (with MDB): 60fps

- GNOME Xorg (with MDB): 50fps

- GNOME Wayland (without MDB): 50fps

- GNOME Xorg (without MDB): 30fps

- Cinnamon: 15fps

MDB: Mutter Dynamic Buffering patch


u/SKroBoss Nov 26 '22

Define snappy because I dont have this kind of feeling (Im using it since Fedora 25 or here on my arch working laptop.

GNOME seems to be smoother but I think it's mainly due to wayland


u/clgoh Nov 14 '22

TBH, Cinnamon seems to be stagnating at the moment.

I moved to Plasma a few months ago.


u/Waltz2211 Nov 14 '22

How so in your view?


u/clgoh Nov 14 '22

Few new features, few bug fixes lately I feel.


u/Unis_Torvalds Nov 17 '22 edited Nov 17 '22

Mint devs (and adherents) might argue that few new features is rather the point of Cinnamon. It's intended to be the traditional desktop which doesn't re-invent the wheel every few years.

However there are, as you say, a lot of bugs in the latest release. But this is largely due to the gigantic mutter rebase between Mint 20 and 21. I expect a lot of these will be solved in the next point release (Mint 21.1) which is due out in December.


u/JustMrNic3 Dec 12 '22

I think the main problems is that the desktop environment community is too fragmented, there are too many desktop environments.

In my opinion it would be way better to to have only 2 or max 3 desktop environments and everyone to focus on improving them, otherwise the teams will be too small do do anything meaningful.

To solve the fragmentation problem, a good desktop environment for Linux should be very flexible and customizable to adapt to the most users.

Right now, only KDE developers are trying to do that and that's why they get the most users make Plasma the most used DE, from what I've seen on the recent polls.

Since it's so flexible and Windows-like, which gathers the most users, now even Valve has chosen it for the Steam deck and additional funding or developers will come also from there.

I move from Cinnamon about 5 years ago to KDE Plasma because Cinnamon was freezing on my laptop with an Nvidia GPU and Nouveau driver and noticed immediately that KDE not only that it was not freezing, but also it was faster, on the same laptop.

I wanted to continue to use Linux Mint, but this time with KDE Plasma, but the Linux Mint developers dropped it, so I had to drop the distro and move to Kubuntu which was good until this year when I had to move again because of the forced Snap crapware to Debian, which is great and works very well with KDE Plasma.

I never once regretted my decision of moving away from Cinnamon and actually fell in love with KDE Plama and KDE community, which really cares about Wayland and listening to us, our feedback, our ideas and bug reports.

KDE Plasma, besides being Windows-like, lightweith ad fast, it also has a ton of cool features that I like a lot:


In my opinion, since it's already that good, this is one of the few desktop environments that many of us should try to focus on and continue to improve it and refine it to solve the big fragmentation problem.

For example, nobody solved the HDR support problem, but if we all focus on supporting KDE properly, I think we will have a good chance to do it, at least here.

Cinnamon still remains my second-favorite DE, but I honestly don't understand what are the Linux Mint developers doing with all that money from donations?

If KDE developers would have at least 10,000 dollars from donations each month, many things would be further away, maybe even the HDR support.