Cinnamon Date and Time improvements
by clem 38

Screenshot from 2014-03-28 23:21:58

The ability to switch between a 12 and 24 hour clock is back. Many of you requested it after Mint 16 was out. I was the one who thought it needed to go, and that translations could take care of that… and I was wrong :)

New options to show the date or the seconds were also added, and the old C datetime module was resurrected with policykit support to set the time, date, timezone and to choose whether or not you want to use NTP.

Some technical details:

  • The options “Use 24h clock” and “Display the date” also apply to the screensaver. By design we didn’t want the screensaver to refresh its information every seconds so the option “Display seconds” only applies to the calendar applet.
  • The 24h clock setting in MDM was also fixed.
  • The clock is now managed by the cinnamon-desktop library so it’s easily accessible to any program, applet, or desklet in Cinnamon.

If you’re developing a Cinnamon spice and you want to show the date in the right format (as set by the user via Cinnamon Settings), it’s very easy:


38 thoughts on “Cinnamon Date and Time improvements

  1. Adam Mar 29,2014 03:48

    Hallo Clem,

    Would it be possible to add a timer to those settings above, so that you have a countdown running down next to the time display in the panel? Like when you cook and need to check your food after 5 mins or whatever you choose to set, so that you hear an alarm when the timer reaches zero. That would be very handy!

    • Adam Mar 29,2014 03:55

      An of course, the timer would only appear next to the time in the panel, if you switch it on, when you need it. Some flashy blinking message in addition to the alarm would also be good in case you listen to music and do not hear the alarm due to the music.

    • SCollins Mar 29,2014 04:05


      I am currently working on an applet that does that (as well as a stopwatch and an alarm clock). I’m not sure how long it will take me to finish it, as I’ve been rather busy lately, and I’m working on a bunch of other projects, but hopefully it wont be too much longer.

      • broomdodger Mar 31,2014 14:22


        Please consider a count down timer that after it times out, it starts counting up.

        It would also be great if the count down and count up had different colors, hopefully configurable.

        • SCollins Apr 2,2014 05:19

          @broomdodger I already have something like this planned. I’m not sure if it will be configurable, though. It makes more sense (at least to me) from a design perspective to make it themable instead.

          • Adam Apr 3,2014 22:35

            Hallo SCollins,

            Oh thank you for informing me!
            You know there is already another timer app, but it is not that good! Therefore, it would be AMAZING if you could do the following things in order to make your app better than the existing one!:

            -Please include an alarm sound
            -Please make sure people can adjust the loudness of the alarm
            -Please make sure people can adjust how long the alarm rings. People should be able to decide whether the alarm disappears after X seconds or minutes, or only when people click somewhere to make the alarm stop.
            -Please make sure people can decide to have a VISUAL message appearing when the time runs down to zero(in case you do not hear the alarm or are deaf by nature). Like “Time’s up!”.
            -Please make sure people can decide how long the visual message stays on the screen. And make sure people can decide to have it stay there for X second or minutes. And similar to the sound alarm please make sure people have the option to stop the visual message only by clicking on it in order to make it disappear.

            -Please include a SNOOZE FUNCTION AND ALLOW PEOPLE TO DECIDE AFTER HOW MANY MINUTES THEY WANT THE ALARM TO COME BACK. And let them choose whether they want the visual or audio alarm or both to snooze!

            If you could implement all of that, THAT would REALLY make a difference compared to the existing timer app!

          • SCollins Apr 4,2014 04:11

            I had already planned to have most of these, though the initial release might not have all of them. The trick is to find the right balance between usability and configurability, and that means that some of the features might not happen exactly like you explained them, but I do want to have the option of both audio and video feedback for both the timer and the alarm clock. The snooze idea is a really good one too. I’ll definately see about including that.

          • Adam Apr 7,2014 16:55


            Yes, that sounds alright! I also think a snooze function would definitely be a huge improvement compared to the timer app already available.

            The same goes for the alarm sound (loudness and choosing what sound)AND the visual alarm message that does NOT DISAPPEAR as quickly as the one in the existing timer app (in the existing app it only appears for 2 seconds………… ;(

            I think if you configured the audio and visual alarm to ring or stay there for as long until the user just CLICKS IT AWAY, THAT WOULD ALSO SUFFICE!!!


  2. Adam Mar 29,2014 03:50

    Other than that I really like the new time and date improvements that you posted above, especially the fact that you can select a city and automatically get the right time and date for the chosen location.

  3. Burner2k Mar 29,2014 08:15

    Would be possible to add feature for up to 2 or 3 different time zone clocks to be displayed along with primary zone clock? For some one like me who works with at least 2 different time zones, such a feature in native OS would be immensly helpful.

    • clem Mar 29,2014 10:12


      Yes, but probably not for 2.2 and I’d rather see this done in the|an applet than in the settings.

    • Tony Mar 29,2014 21:22

      I find multiple timezones are handled well by the World Clock Calendar applet ( which I always install in place of the standard Cinnamon calendar on the panel.

  4. Burner2k Mar 30,2014 09:35

    Thx for the response and glad to hear the issue is on the agenda. If you ever decide to integrate world clock in to the settings, my personal preference is of Win-7 format. Just hover mouse cursor near the time on system tray and pop up of all the enabled clocks displays.

    Tony, that is a great applet. Now I just need to find a way to install it in LM 16. Thx for suggesting it out.

    • simon Mar 30,2014 16:45

      @Burner2k; are you having problems? Lots of people (my wife included!) are using the applet with LM16. Please contact me if it’s not working for you!

      • Anand Mar 31,2014 03:22

        In KDE (they call it widget ;-) ), if you mouse-scroll over it, it changes the timezone. I didn’t realize this initially and was confused when time would suddenly change but when I realized the functionality it was pretty handy… :-)
        Alignment of text below calendar that shows time could be better, Simon…

        • simon Mar 31,2014 17:12

          is it possible to use Cinnamon applets under KDE? how does that work?

          • Anand Mar 31,2014 17:58

            Sorry, I think I typed in haste. No, Cinnamon applets wont work in KDE and KDE widegets wont work on Cinnamon..
            What I wanted to suggest was that in you applet, you can have the feature where if user scrolls the mouse wheel, it can toggle between different timezones.


            But it looks like many users get confused like me…

          • simon Apr 3,2014 05:15

            I would love the possibility to have a proper “locations” API in Cinnamon, à la what we used to have in GNOME 2 (every time I change timezones I have to switch everything around, including, for instance, the command-line I start redshift with). While what you’re suggesting is outside the original scope of the applet I created, I think it might be doable (although, as you suggest, I’m not sure the mouse-wheel is the way to go). Ideally the whole thing would be part of Cinnamon core, though.

      • Burner2k Mar 31,2014 13:47

        No Sir,
        I wasn’t aware of the existence of this applet. I just installed it yesterday and it suits me perfectly and is just what I was looking for.

        Thx for offering support…really appreciate that from a developer.

  5. kneekoo Mar 30,2014 22:44

    It look great, but there’s one essential option missing: “Local time is UTC”

    Dual-booting PCs with Windows/Linux have issues becasuse of this setting.

  6. Essential Apr 3,2014 01:22

    24h time is essential. It is embarassing o not be able to use 24h time. Great job on bringing the option back.

  7. Alan Apr 5,2014 15:05

    Will Regions (e.g. Europe etc.) and Cities (Copenhagen, Dublin etc.) be included for translation through Launchpad?

    • clem Apr 7,2014 09:33

      Hi Alan,

      Not at the moment. You can consider it a bug and it’s something we’d like to fix but we’ll need to rewrite part of the timezone selection tool for this to be localized.

  8. Adam Apr 7,2014 17:00


    May I remind you of a huge issue that happened in Linux Mint 16?

    Please make sure before releasing Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon, to double check that the installation files are in the linux mint folder and not the ubuntu folder or so…. (see the release notes of LM16 Cinnamon below, please). So please make sure that this does not occur, as it hindered me from using LM16 (and using all the many nice features like tiling in all 3 screen corners etc.) ;-(

    EFI support
    If your system is using secureBoot, turn it off.

    If you installed Linux Mint in Virtualbox in EFI mode and it cannot boot post-install, type “exit”, choose “Boot Maintenance Manager”, “Boot from file” and select EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi.

    Post-installation, the EFI boot file is located in /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi. If your system is unable to find this file, copy it to /boot/efi/boot/bootx64.efi (alternatively you can write “fs0:\EFI\linuxmint\grubx64.efi” into a /boot/efi/startup.nsh file).

    Note: Linux Mint 16 places its boot files in /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu to work around a bug in Ubuntu 13.10. Consequently Linux Mint 16 supports EFI installations, but cannot be dual-booted with Ubuntu in EFI mode.

    • Anand Apr 8,2014 06:22

      Adam – I think this will be addressed. Looks like latest LMDE version got this fixed as per zdnet review.

      “Not only that — the news just keeps getting better — the Linux Mint developers have fixed the UEFI installation problem that appeared in the Mint 16 release, where it installed its EFI boot files in a directory named ubuntu, which meant that it was difficult to install Mint and Ubuntu on the same system. With this release they install again to a directory named linuxmint, so there is no conflict with Ubuntu.”

      • Adam Apr 8,2014 22:50

        Hallo Anand,

        I have also seen exactly that article regarding LMDE, and was disappointed to find out that they only fixed this issue in LMDE,and not in LM16 Cinnamon ;(


        • clem Apr 9,2014 08:51

          We didn’t “fix” it… the initial problem stems from Canonical harcoding “Ubuntu” in grub2. That impacted not only Mint but all Ubuntu derivatives (including their own). In LMDE that problem didn’t exist.

          • Anand Apr 9,2014 13:24

            Oh…Okies…So an upstream issue. Hope it will be somehow taken care of in Mint 17…
            Still Watson was thankful to LMDE, so we must be glad! ;-)

  9. Adam Apr 9,2014 16:52

    Hallo Clem,

    Oh, I understand. Since LMDE uses Debian, it did not affect LMDE.

    Anyway, I just wanted to make you aware of that issue and I hope that this will not occur in LM17 Cinnamon.

    Or, should it occur, that it will be possible to somehow circumvent that issue in some other way, other than by placing the files in some other folder.

    Best regards,


  10. mrman Apr 13,2014 18:05

    Hi Clem,

    Any chance you could add the ‘slide back’ window effect please? It is avaliable to look at in KDE. It allows for windows to dodge each other smoothly and slide to front or back and is really cool and actually quite practical for an effect !


  11. Adam Apr 13,2014 23:56

    Hallo Clem,

    How about starting a discussion as to whether to keep “Totem” or whether to replace it by “Mplayer”, as deliberated in your LM17 roadmap.
    I personally LOVE “Totem” because it plays almost all formats and is lightweight, lean and fast and because it has the playlist in the same one window as the video itself.

    So PLEASE leave Totem alone, and if you want, you can add Mplayer, but please do not remove Totem!


  12. Adam Apr 14,2014 00:02

    And if you want to replace GIMP by Pinta, either do not replace it at all, but add “Kolourpaint” in addition to it. Kolourpaint is almost exactly like MS Paint. By contrast, Pinta has lots of bugs and it keeps crashing constantly when you try to do basic stuff !!! So either keep it the way or simply add Kolourpaint for fast and simple basic picture editing.

    You can find Kolourpaint in the “software manager”

  13. sagar Apr 21,2014 02:57

    I am a travelle, so I need multiple time zone. Can you fixt it please………….

  14. Janos May 2,2014 23:11

    It would be nice if a Windows 8 style lock screen could be added to Linux Mint Mate and KDE……even a great color background or wallpaper………..that you can choose……….or include an app that just has a the date and time, ala Rainmeter.
    Too bad there’s not a port of rainmeter for Linux.

  15. Leslie Satenstein May 3,2014 00:42

    Whatever you choose for date/time, keep it fairly simple.

    In Canada, our standard format for date is yyyy/mm/dd or yyyy-mm-dd

    Not the British dd/mm/yyyy or the American mm/dd/yyyy.

    Can you please everybody while you are at it? The timer, be it count up or count down will end up with requestors asking to use it to launch applications (a kind of gui shortcut to the cron at command.

    The timer should be a separate application.

  16. Ciprian Tomoiaga May 21,2014 20:55


    It would be great if we could use our own format for the date. It used to be possible in cinnamon 1.8, on linux mint 15. Now, on LM 17, the option is gone and we can no longer customize how the date is shown. Is there any chance it would be brought back?

  17. Josiah Jephtah Oct 25,2014 21:33

    My clock shows
    “Saturday, October 25, 14:33”.

    How can I have
    “Sat, Oct 25, 14:33”

    • clem Oct 26,2014 01:20

      Either check the value for LC_TIME in /etc/default/locale or ~/.pam_environment, or apply a custom date format to your clock applet (right click the applet and select configure).

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