One of the better alternatives to Unity that has been made available is the Cinnamon desktop, a project of Linux Mint, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu Desktop itself.
Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME Shell, initially developed by (and for) Linux Mint. It attempts to provide a more traditional user environment based on the desktop metaphor, like GNOME 2. Cinnamon uses Muffin, a fork of the GNOME 3 window manager Mutter, as its window manager from Cinnamon 1.2 onwards.
Cinnamon can be modified by themes, applets and extensions. Themes can customize the look of aspects of Cinnamon, including but not limited to the menu, panel, calendar and run dialog. Applets are icons or texts that appear on the panel. Five applets are shipped by default, and developers are free to create their own. A tutorial for creating simple applets is available. Extensions can modify the functionalities of Cinnamon, such as providing a dock or altering the look of the Alt-Tab window switcher.
Cinnamon Settings in Cinnamon 1.3
• Desktop effects, including animations and transition effects;
• A movable panel equipped with a main menu, launchers, a window list and the system tray;
• Various extensions;
• Applets that appear on the panel
• Overview with functions similar to that in GNOME Shell; and
• Settings editor for easy customization. It can customize:
• The panel
• The calendar
• Desktop effects
As of 24 January 2012, there is no official documentation for Cinnamon, although most documentation for GNOME Shell applies to Cinnamon.
Install Cinnamon in Ubuntu
1. Open the Terminal (CTRL+ALT+T)
To begin the process of installing Cinnamon
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
$ sudo apt-get update
3. Install Cinnamon.
user@linuxgeeks:~$ sudo apt-get install cinnamon
4. After installation has completed, logout.
5. Select Cinnamon
Your login screen’s session menu should now show Cinnamon.
log in with cinnamon
Congratulations! you have just installed Cinnamon on Ubuntu!