How to Install Cinnamon Desktop in Arch Linux

3 min


Cinnamon is the default desktop environment for Linux Mint. This quick guide explains the steps to install the Cinnamon desktop environment in Arch Linux.

The Cinnamon desktop environment is the default desktop flavor for Linux Mint. This GTK based desktop environment is created to provide a traditional desktop flavor with old GNOME (i.e. pre-GNOME 3 looks). The desktop itself is lightweight and very user-friendly. Because it keeps the time-tested icon and menu-driven desktop behavior. Hence it is considered (in combination with Linux Mint) as one of the easy-to-use desktops for new Linux users.

Although Cinnamon and its packages are closely coupled with Linux Mint, however, this desktop can be installed as a separate desktop environment in Ubuntu, Fedora, or Arch Linux.

Installing Cinnamon in Arch Linux is fairly easy like other desktops such as Xfce, KDE Plasma in Arch. But it requires some specific packages to be installed to make it look like a proper Cinnamon desktop.

Let’s dive in.

Install Cinnamon Desktop in Arch Linux

Step 1: Install Base System

This guide assumes that you have installed the base Arch system already. If you do not have the base system installed, please refer to this guide first to install it. Then follow the below steps.

Step 2: Update Your System

Open a terminal in your Arch installation. And make sure the system is up to date by running the below command:

pacman -Syu

Step 3: Instal yay AUR Helper

Some packages that are required for configuring Cinnamon, not available in the Arch official repository. They are available in Arch User Repo (AUR), hence you need to install yay for additional packages. Follow this guide to install yay AUR helper.

Step 4: Install Cinnamon Desktop in Arch Linux

The basic Cinnamon desktop is available in the cinnamon package which is present in the Community repo. Open a terminal and run the following commands to install the Cinnamon desktop and the terminal application.

sudo pacman -S cinnamon gnome-terminal

Install the display server and display manager. LightDM is lightweight and ideal for Cinnamon. Although, you can use any other display manager such as SDDM or GDM. But I would recommend that you stick with lightdm.

sudo pacman -S xorg lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter

Enable the display manager and Network services so that it can start in next boot.

systemctl enable lightdm
systemctl enable NetworkManager

Reboot the system.

SEE ALSO:   How to Install Arch Linux [Beginner's Guide]

Step 5: Configure Cinnamon Desktop

After a successful reboot, you should see the lightdm login prompt. Log in using the user name and password which you may have created while installing the base system.

When I first log in to the base Cinnamon desktop, it looks very bland. So it needed a bit of customization.

Cinnamon Desktop in Arch (Before Configuration)
Cinnamon Desktop in Arch (Before Configuration)

Open a terminal and install some important packages such as sound drivers, browsers, etc. This would ensure that proper fonts and additional items are installed.

sudo pacman -S pulseaudio pulseaudio-alsa pavucontrol firefox vlc gimp xfburn thunderbird gedit gnome-system-monitor

Then install faenza icon theme for a Cinnamon specific icon set.

sudo pacman -S faenza-icon-theme

The numix themes require yay to be installed. Make sure you follow this guide to install yay AUR helper before running the below command to install it.

yay -S numix-themes

After all the installation is complete, reboot the system.

When you log in back, open the Themes application and change the Window borders, Icons, Controls, and Desktop as per below.

Theme Changes for this guide
Theme Changes for this guide

You may also choose to download additional themes in the second tab (Add/remove) as well.

Additional Themes for you to download
Additional Themes for you to download

Change the default GNOME wallpaper (which comes with Cinnamon) to something you like. This guide uses Cinnamon logo wallpaper from cinnamon-look.org.

If all goes well, your desktop should look like this.

Cinnamon Desktop in Arch Linux
Cinnamon Desktop in Arch Linux

So, that concludes the basic steps for installing and configuring the Cinnamon desktop in Arch Linux. You may want to change additional settings such as adding desklets, etc.

Closing Notes

Cinnamon is a modern and easy-to-use desktop for new users. And with the flexibility of Arch Linux and Cinnamon at its core, this combo can be ideal for many users who like Cinnamon desktop (mainly Linux Mint) but want Arch Linux with it. I hope this guide helps you to setup up your Cinnamon box with Arch Linux.


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Arindam

Creator of debugpoint.com. All time Linux user and open-source supporter. Connect with me via Telegram, Twitter, or send us an email.
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