One way to fix the „panel not clickable“-issue in Cinnamon.

When it comes to operating systems, my preferred choice is the popular Linux Mint with either MATE or Cinnamon as the desktop environment. Recently, Mint 18 has been released, so I already upgraded two of my machines running Mint. Everything went fine with the first one (using MATE) – something I was not used to when I still ran stock Ubuntu, which seemed to always break something with an upgrade.

However, the second machine (using Cinnamon) had one small but very nasty bug after the upgrade: The panel wasn’t clickable anymore. It seemed to work just fine (as in „not crashing“), but didn’t respond to any mouse clicks. A quick search around the web showed that this bug apparently has ocurred in the past already – and should long be fixed. I suppose that there are several possible errors which lead to this behaviour. Since I could neither find any current posts about this topic nor a fix like mine, here’s what I did:

First I tried to log in with a different user (with an empty home directory) – the panel worked just fine, so it was clear that *something* in the config files in my home directory must have been messed up. After trying a lot of different things I could isolate the error to ~/.config/dconf. This directory contains (at least in my case) one binary file, which is roughly similar to the registry on MS Windows. At this point, I can’t restrain myself from asking why the f*** someone would want to take one of the biggest flaws from one operating system and implement it into another. Argh!

Anyway, to edit that binary file you need to install the package dconf-editor. I assume you know how to do that. Since you need to at least launch a terminal although your panel is dysfunctional, I should add that – at least in my case – the applications menu still worked when opened using the Super key (the one that usually has a Windows logo on it). If that doesn’t work for you, using ssh -X might be an option. Or you could somehow create a launcher on your desktop.

In the dconf-editor, you need to find the value On my computer, it was set to 2 – setting it to 0 immediately solved the problem. There is probably also a fancy command-line only way to do this.

I must admit that I do not completely understand what went wrong in the first place, yet the fact that it seems – in my case – to be related to IBus explains why there aren’t more people with the same issue right now, which could be expected on a popular Linux distribution with a popular desktop environment: As far as I know, IBus isn’t installed by default. The reason I have it installed is probably related to the input method for Japanese. (Don’t ask…)

Figuring this out took me some time, so I wanted to share my solution, hoping I can save other people some time. 🙂