LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Peppermint Linux

linuxandubuntu review of peppermint

​If somebody is looking for a Linux distro that is lightweight, stable and just works out of the box, then no doubt – Peppermint OS emerges as a better choice.  Peppermint OS is a minimalistic masterpiece with the smallest footprint and frugal use of resources is ideal for machines with older hardware.  Since its first release in 2010, each version of Peppermint seems to be a little better than the one before.

The latest Peppermint release Peppermint OS 8 Respin was released on 8th Dec 2017 and is built on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS code base.  That means it is possible to install applications which are Ubuntu compatible repositories.  Being said that, in case of bugs that found in Ubuntu 16.04 would also affect Peppermint OS. The Peppermint armed with an unusual application called ICE that lets you create desktop versions of web apps with a standalone browser like Chrome, Vivaldi, Firefox. In this article, let us see what Peppermint OS offers as a Linux distro including a focus on its latest release.

History

It is said that the idea of Peppermint OS was initially thought during a drinking night at a pub in NC, USA. Inspiration is to find an alternative to the overpriced and unstable commercial OS (may be referring to MS Windows). Though it had born in the USA around 2010, the Peppermint OS software company is operating currently from England.

Quick Glance

peppermint features at a glance

How do you decide whether I need 32-bit or 64-bit Image?

In case you are using older hardware and you do not know whether your computer will support 64-bit or not then use 32-bit build. In case your processor is made after the year 2008 with 64-bit architecture and decent RAM, go with the 64-bit build. The Peppermint 64-bit image supports UEFI, GPT, and Secure boot.

Installation

The ISOs associated to Peppermint 32-bit and 64-bit architecture can be downloaded through torrents or from its website. Both ISOs are having 1.2 GB in size. There are many applications available for creating bootable USB flash drives from ISO disk images. The UNetbootin and Rufus are relatively popular on Linux and Windows platforms respectively. Peppermint uses Ubiquity application which is quick enough to install the distro.

peppermint logo

First Impression

The desktop environment appeared very traditional with Whisker Menu.   When open Whisker menu, favorites are shown along with top-level categories linking installed application. Top level categories make browsing fast and easy to switch between. Favorites are easy to add and reorder. On the right upper side of the Panel quick launch icons to All Settings, Lock Screen, Switch Users, and Logout are present. On the bottom right of the panel, quick launch to Chromium web browser, File Explorer, Terminal and VLC player are provided. Peppermint favored Google Chromium as a pre-installed browser over Firefox.

peppermint on desktop

The Whisker menu does have a very useful search option.

peppermint whisker menu

peppermint system monitor

The Settings Panel allows a user to personalize desktop settings with ease.

peppermint panel settings

How active is Peppermint OS?

Peppermint development team has been consistently releasing its latest versions time to time since its inception in 2010. It can stand definitely on par with distros like Linux Mint and Ubuntu. Peppermint OS team releases periodical updates too with what they called as respin. A respin generally includes minor bug fixes and updates. As Peppermint 8 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS code base, it will receive updates until April 2021. Below table captures the dates major releases and respective respine.

peppermint os release cycles

What is new in the latest release – Peppermint 8 Respin?

The Peppermint 8 Respin has improvements and the updated software: Nemo 3.4.7 file manager, the OpenVPN 2.4.4, new Pepirus desktop theme and come back of Advert Blocker. Below are the changes reflected in the release notes.

  • Nemo file manager got updated from version 2.8.7 to 3.4.7.
  • Moved from lightdm-gtk-greeter to slick-greeter.
  • Added a desktop right-click “Open Peppermint Settings Panel” context menu item.
  • Included mint-transactions
  • Advert-Blocker reinstated by request, available in the main menu.
  • Improved i3lock lock-screen
  • Fixed peppermint-proxy-configuration 
  • New “Pepirus” xfwm4 theme 
  • Changed default wallpaper to Peppermint-3D-Logo-Alternative.
  • Three additional Ray Bilcliff wallpapers.
  • Fixed peppermint-proxy-configuration on the 32-bit ISO.
  • Included with the 4.10.0-40 kernel version. Expected to have 4.13 kernel version through the update-manager in near future.​​​

Pre-Installed Key Applications

The Peppermint OS is designed to be a full-fledged functional operating system with a lightweight footprint. This distro comes with decent inbuilt software applications belonging to both online (cloud) and offline world. Of course, nobody will stop a user install applications based on their need using graphical package managers like Synaptic or CLI based Aptitude. Rather than bloating the OS with all kind software, it makes sense to have few standard applications into OS so that based on need user can install desired applications. It appears that Peppermint OS developers understood this well and the result is Peppermint OS with bare minimum pre-installed applications. Below is the partial list of cloud and native applications offered in Peppermint OS 8:

Picture

The Ice Application

It is worth to mention here about Ice application that comes pre-installed. Ice is an amazing application that takes care of making the Peppermint OS a cloud-centric once. It offers a unique technique for turning web sites into desktop apps. Ice just need URL of the website, desired name, icon, category, and browser from which app need to be run. That’s all; you are done with your first cloud desktop app. You can run that app from Whisker menu. Following screenshots capture creating yahoo webmail as a desktop app.

create web launchers with ice

peppermint os application menu

web app with ice

Kudos to Ice original developers for developing such an innovative yet simple tool.

Enter into CLI world

The terminal can be started through Menu or using the shortcut key combination (Ctrl + alt + t). The terminal transparent and be background Peppermint background can be seen.

peppermint os running terminal

Some of GNU compilers and utility suite (gcc, make, gksudo, etc) come pre-installed.

Is Peppermint OS a Linux answer to Chrome OS on the Chromebook?

​Talking to LinuxAndUbuntu.com, the CEO, Team Leader & Support Admin  clarified that “the tech press often incorrectly state that Peppermint OS was a Linux answer to Chrome OS on the Chromebook, but it should be noted that Peppermint OS One was released in May 2010 with the first Chromebooks being shipped a year later in June 2011. In any case, Shane and Kendall saw the rise of online OS agnostic ‘apps’ and decided to build a distro that took advantage of them to keep the ISO small yet to be fully functional at the same time without sacrificing the ability to install local applications should the user wish.”

Installation and removing software

​Peppermint comes with two GUI based package managers namely and Software Manager and Synaptic Package Manager.  Of course, as a CLI tool, APT is there.  Using the Software Manager is easy.  The Software Manager divides the applications into various categories. Navigate to the application you wish to install. Clicking Install button will do the rest. Uninstalling of applications can be done using Remove button available for the already installed applications.

peppermint os 8 software manager

Use of Synaptic Package Manager is a little more technical in nature.  It is based on GTK+and and APT. It expects user to mark the packages to be installed/uninstalled.

synaptic packet manager in peppermint os

​The apt-get is a command line old-school tool for working with APT software packages.  It is an efficient way to manage applications.  Dependencies, upgrades, and downgrades are handled in a careful manner.

peppermint apt terminal

Download Peppermint

Conclusion

Without any doubt, what sets Peppermint OS apart from other Linux distros is Ice. It’s a clever idea to have a distro which combines both the online (​cloud-centric) and offline (lightweight Linux OS) worlds. Go ahead and try out Peppermint OS 8 today, you will definitely like it. Do not hesitate to share your thoughts on Peppermint OS with us.

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