Peppermint 4 – An OS for everyone? & The Probem of Linux Advocacy

Posted on

Its been a while since I wrote a distro review on Openbytes and its also been a while since I visited Peppermint developments.  To this day I still have a Netbook (Acer) which many years ago I installed Peppermint on and whilst in the days of tablets and just about every device in your house having a CPU and net access, I’ve not been back to see how the project has progressed as far as the rigs I’m using today.  I have written this review rather differently and taken into account readers and users who may have little interest in the “bones” of computing and merely want a decent computing experience, for those people the sections are marked as “new user” although if “experts” want to have a look, I’m sure a few of them will feel slightly perturbed by some of my observations of them.  This review serves two purposes for me, one to highlight Peppermint which I recently looked back into and another to highlight where Linux (as far as advocacy of others) has gone a little wrong over the years with it’s “do as I say” or “you can’t do that” attitude.

Its interesting for me to look back at my original review (found here: ) as it was a time when cloud computing was still gaining traction.  There were fears about storing your data on the cloud, fears about using web based apps (or machines that required a permanent net connection to be fully functional) and people still harboured strong feelings to owning “physical” things – the idea’s of app purchases or indeed pay for streaming, were still seen by many as things of the future. – One look at the volume of app purchases on mobile devices today suggests to me that the majority of users are boldly moving into “non-physical” purchases at warp 10.  Back in May 2010 when I first looked at Peppermint, I had reservations, but unlike some of the more vocal “do it our way or not at all” GNU/Linux/FOSS advocates, I kept more of a “lets see” attitude.  Whilst the rights or wrongs of cloud computing and non-physical purchases still have the jury out, it was obvious to me at the time which way the wind was blowing with the mainstream consumer.

I digress, back to the Peppermint 4 review which offers itself in both 32 and 64bit flavours for the user.

Running the LXDE desktop environment, Peppermint 4 begins the race at a fast pace.  After selecting it at boottime via the GRUB menu (please see below), its about 20 seconds from being Net ready.  Peppermint has always focused more towards the cloud computing ethos, so the installed apps (as in locally stored) are few in number and mostly relate to system admin/config utilities you will require when refining your desktop.

You’ll find a media player, bittorrent client and IRC client amongst the locally installed applications, however most of your other needs will be served via web based applications through what is called ICE (again see below)


Peppermint offers a very simple and straight forward approach to installing, infact its doubtful if you will really want to start changing things (especially if you are a new user) and one of the things it offers you is to dual boot (that is to install Peppermint along side whatever operating system is already on your machine)

Since I don’t wear a tin foil hat, I facilitate the Chromium ability to store all my passwords, links, history.  For me as soon as the installation was complete (about 30mins on a very slow net connection) I was able to log into Chromium and have my browser exactly the same as it was in my other OS, complete with all my links and saved passwords.


As was touched on above, the majority of local applications (those installed on your harddrive) relate to modifying your system and customizing it for your needs.  Tranmission the BT client is one of the exceptions, as to are the media players.

You’ve got Google integration (for your drive etc) here already, although to be fair, any distro can be set up in the same way in a matter of seconds, but the nice thing here is that Peppermint is, (as far as installation of local applications goes) a bare-bones system which offers complete functionality at first boot.  Dropbox is also present, but most users (both expert and not) spend most of their time in the browser (I’d guess)

Here we have the Twiter website, running through browser/app ICE, as you can see it almost looks like a local app on the desktop.
Here we have the Twiter website, running through browser/app ICE, as you can see it almost looks like a local app on the desktop.


As I said many years ago Peppermint OS is a great system.  Whilst it has a strong leaning to the cloud, it does not force you down that route and is a powerful Linux distribution that will run very quickly on your hardware.  Peppermint is not bogged down with “fluff” and packages that you won’t use, since most of the software is browser based, removing it is merely removing a link.

In the past, I’ve crossed paths with some of the Peppermint team (in a good way) and they are a dedicated, friendly team who have remained true to their vision of a Linux distribution all these years.  Peppermint is a reflection of this dedication which doesn’t force you to adopt their vision, merely presents you with a very fast operating system which you can customize to your own needs very simply and regardless of how much of a toe you dip into the cloud world, Peppermint will serve your needs very well.

Whilst my Acer Aspire One with its old version of Peppermint gets little use now (its tablets, Playstations and desktop’s in our house) I can certainly see Peppermint remaining on my main rig now for a considerable time.  Maybe that’s an indicator that my usage of computers has changed? Or maybe it’s simply that like it or not, the cloud is inevitable and the best way to stay on-top of this without having to put all your eggs in one basket, is with Peppermint.

The GNU/LINUX experts (for new Linux users)

“Experts” come in all shapes and sizes with probably some of the most intimidating (in a tech sense for a new user to Linux) in the GNU/Linux world.  You’ll read all manner of rants about software freedoms, proprietary software and its “evils”.  For most people who use their machine as they would any other device around the house, they leave the experience baffled.  New to Linux? Then get ready to be baffled by “experts” who will tell you about DE’s, proprietary, opensource, GRUB and many more terms.

Linux “experts” and the type who are most likely to baffle you with software “ethics” et al can be quite easy to spot.  Amongst the most obnoxious can be the ones who show screenshots of their Linux system running in the command line.  To them, the less aesthetically pleasing it looks, the more advanced they must be (or thats my theory anyway).

Let me hopefully make this simple for you: Select what is right for you, learn (if you wish) at your own time, then if you find yourself with opinions on certain software/configurations you can make changes then. – If you listen to many of the sites that will rant on about KDE or BASH and how to use script files to solve all of life’s issues, you will end up confused and nowhere fast, migrating back to Windows or that delicious fruit branded operating system.  This is, I think the problem desktop Linux has had over the years and I think deep down many of these “experts” with Linux and FOSS don’t actually want the mainstream using them as they can then feel special or important that their machine runs on software very few people use – or know how to use.

Whats GRUB? – Its the menu system you get when you switch your machine on that allows you to chose between say Linux and Window (if you have what is called dual boot).  What’s ICE? its basically your Chromium browser stripped down of all the fluff and menus and allows a web page to be run (for example Twitter) like a application. – See? two terms which at first seemed complex, explained in a few lines and shown to be rather simple.

Myths dispelled (for new users)

Here are some of the comments you will hear from people online in respect of Linux.  It’s unclear if these people are just sincerely ignorant or if they have a vested interest in keeping you away from software which is free and will complete the tasks you are currently doing on software you’ve had to pay for.

1. You have to compile your own Kernel. – Rubbish.  I won’t explain what the Kernel is at this time (its not required) but suffice to say, in 2008 I started reviewing Linux distro’s (having used Linux for a long time) and not once have I had the need (or desire to compile the Kernel).  If someone makes this remark, you can ignore it completely.

2. You have to compile your applications, its difficult to install software. – Again rubbish.  For many years most Linux distro’s have the equivilant of the app store that you see on your mobile phone.  Software is categorised with reviews and screenshots within the software center (or similar) and installing is merely a click away.  There’s no zip files, no compiling, no editing script files.  If you can install an application on your mobile phone, then you’ll have no difficulty on Peppermint.

3. Linux doesn’t work with your hardware – Rubbish again, of course there can be issues (just like when some people tried to install Windows Vista for example) so when it comes to installing any new operating system on the plethora of hardware options out there, it’s impossible to say before hand if there are going to be any issues.  I’ve installed Linux on over 100 machines and not had issues – is this an indicator of a “perfect” Linux anymore than a naysayers claiming Linux won’t work? No of course not.  This is why anyone considering Linux should follow the suggestion I make below, if you are wanting to swap your current operating system experience and find out for yourself.

4. You can’t play Windows games on Linux – This is half true.  Just as you wouldn’t expect to play Xbox One games on a PS4, you can, for the moment take it that if you buy the latest Windows game, it won’t work on Linux.  Whilst you are new to the Linux environment its best you stick with that, there are ways to get Windows games running on Linux (using a package called WINE) however, this is something that should be looked at later when you’ve become used to how Linux works.  For now, if you want to play the latest Windows games, stick with Windows, moving to Linux for the sole purpose of playing games made for Windows is not worth it.

5. You can’t run Microsoft Office – For now agree that you can’t, but why do you need to? Do you have a specific need for the Office suite of Microsoft or are you one of the millions of users who merely need a Word Processor et al and it just so happens you’ve always used Office? There’s plenty of options.  My first book which is awaiting publication was 80,000+ words and went nowhere near anything of Microsoft.  GoogleDocs? (as stated above Peppermint already has the integration there for you) Libreoffice? – A great Office Suite that will cost you the princely sum of £0.00.

How to explore Linux

When I’m introducing someone to Linux, I don’t believe the “all or nothing” approach works, so if you are new to Linux and would like to see the benefits it can offer you, download and burn onto disk the latest version of Peppermint and follow these steps.

1. Run it from the DVD/CD – Now that you’ve burned your copy of Peppermint, you can run it from the disk without having to install anything at all.  So put your disk in reboot the computer and look out for a message similar to “press f12 for boot options” select to boot from your DVD and in a short while (please note if you do install Peppermint it will load far faster) Peppermint will boot to the desktop, where you can access the net and have a play around with Linux.

I normally tell people to boot from a CD for about a week, get on with the tasks that they need to do and see fully if they enjoy the Linux experience.  If, after a week they are happy, I suggest the next step.

2. Install Linux alongside your existing operating system.  Peppermint (and many other distro’s) offer you the facility to install alongside what currently installed on your PC.  Doing this will mean that every time you reboot, you will be presented with a menu giving you the option of which operating system you wish to run.

After step 2 has been completed, I usually leave the user for a few weeks to see how they get on.  If they are still happy, then they can make the decision to either remove the old operating system or leave it in there. And finally:

3. Once they’ve had Linux running on their system for a few months and are happy with the experience, I tell them to let other people know.  Probably the biggest myth that needs to be dispelled about Linux is that it is the remit of “experts”.  Ironically since 2008 and this sites creation, the most complex issues I’ve had to fix on friends PC’s have been on Windows machines.  Could I merely be saying that in order to promote Linux? Well I could, but just like a recommendation of anything from anyone, the only way you find out is if you give it go yourself and come to your own conclusion.

You can check out this punchy, simple to use desktop on their homepage:


Peppermint Team – Q&A with OpenBytes

Posted on Updated on

Regular readers here will remember the Peppermint One review I covered recently.  I was very impressed and the project has had me re-evaluating my views (and usage of Cloud based apps)

The feedback I have had from users Ive spoken to around the net is very good and a combination of a lightweight Ubuntu derived distro combined with great integration of a diverse range of applications (both locally installed and cloud) make for a superb system which has enough scope to cover everyone from Netbook user to Power desktop PC.

If you missed that review the first time around, you can read that here.

It was with great pleasure then that I was able to catch up with a couple of members from the Peppermint team and put to them some questions about Peppermint, their views on the future of the cloud and a variety of other subjects.  It was greatly appreciated that both Kendall Weaver and Shane Remington took time out of their day to give their views..Now on with the questions:

Can we have an introduction of yourself and background?

Kendall Weaver:

My name is Kendall Weaver and I’m the lead developer for Peppermint OS.  I also build and maintain the Fluxbox and LXDE editions of Linux Mint, as well as work as a developer for Astral IX Media in Asheville, NC.  I also run a wholesale produce company.  And yes, I drink a lot of coffee.  I currently reside in Hendersonville, NC where I love living and I have to plans to move anytime soon.

I got started coding back in high school writing games for TI-83 calculators.  My crowning achievements in this regard were a fairly rudimentary RPG and a semi-text-based version of TIE Fighter that my statistics class couldn’t get enough of.  I eventually started dabbling into some “real” programming and settled on Python as my language of choice.  At that point I didn’t really do anything constructive with it, I just thought it was cool and I loved the structure of the language.  Eventually I took a “technology hiatus” for a few years (no phone, no computer, no TV, no microwave, etc) while I moved about the country working a variety of jobs ranging from barista to high performance automotive technician.

I first took note of Linux about the time Ubuntu 8.04 came out and my roommate eventually dual booted 8.10 with Windows XP.  During the summer of last year I purchased a laptop loaded with 9.04.  When Linux Mint 8 came out I installed and started brushing up on my coding and experimenting with building Debian packages.  Within a month I was welcomed to the Linux Mint team as the new maintainer for the Fluxbox edition and after another month the Fluxbox RC was released and I started learning to configure LXDE.

Shane Remington:

I have been a web developer for a number of years specializing in design, SEO and marketing. Growing up I was always messing around with computers in one way or another and arcade gaming for pleasure. Eventually, in community college where I was studying radiology and MRI, I was exposed to DOS and fell in love again with the machines. It made me wonder what I was doing in the medical field for certain. During that time period it was still pre-internet/WWW and I met a group of local hacks who were involved in a dial-in BBS called Oblique Strategies or aka ‘The Whale Zoo’. Late nights on the BBS with my Amiga is where I witnessed the emergence of all the technologies that the ‘Net is today and I’ve been hooked ever since. From that point forward I have felt compelled to help others get their information onto the ‘Net as well as creating my own. Once my first daughter was born we moved to Asheville North Carolina. Before the move I sold my computers and took a total technology break to be close to my newborn girl. By the time she was three we had met a couple in town with a son the same age and that’s how I met Michael. He was the one who convinced me that I needed to get another machine, get back to what I enjoyed, and turned me on to Linux.

What is the inspiration behind Peppermint?

Kendall Weaver:

Originally the concept was rather simple, we were going to take Linux Mint and make it “spicier” (hence, the name “Peppermint”) by adding clean social network integration.  I love the look of Sidux so we decided on a color scheme in that general neighborhood.  I guess the single biggest inspiration is the fact that with more applications moving to the cloud, your OS serves less purpose as an OS and more of a portal.  We decided that we wanted to build the best portal.

Shane Remington:

I knew Kendall Weaver from town but never really sat down and spoke with him at great length. That all changed this past winter when he and I sat up late at the local pub over several pints. I was happy just to have met someone who used Linux on a regular basis. But, as conversation went further and more pints kept coming, I realized that we had the beginnings of something really clever on our hands. What we really wanted when we had a final product was that anyone with simple computing skills could use the software right out of the box. So, providing a very familiar workspace for the beginner was at the front of the design and operation. We want very young children to use Linux. We want to show those who are tired of overpriced and unstable operating system software that there is an alternative that works. When people hear the word ‘Linux’ they have a tendency to feel that they would never understand how to operate a Linux based system. We created Peppermint to lay that notion to rest once and for all and pull as many new users into Linux as we can.

Peppermint is a great way to experience cloud computing without having to “throw your eggs in one basket”, what made you decide to go partly for cloud computing instead of a more traditional desktop release?

Kendall Weaver:

We decided on what we’re calling a “Hybrid Desktop” because it gives the user more freedom and more choices while offering a comfortable and familiar computing experience.  It’s possible that everything is eventually going the way of MeeGo or ChromeOS, but what happens in between what we have now and what we’ll eventually end up with?  The transition between, say, Windows XP and ChromeOS is not an easy one for a lot of people, but the transition between Windows or Ubuntu and Peppermint has proven to be rather painless for a lot of people.  By offering cloud applications in the default install (via Prism) we’re exposing a lot of the possibilities of what can be done in the cloud without taking away the ability to easily install local applications to handle all of the same functions.

Shane Remington:

I feel that this one question led us to the tipping point with Peppermint. In the beginning we were out to build a simple desktop and then one night I read a very interesting article on Read Write Web stating that according to research that by 2014 there will be nearing 130 Million enterprise workers that will utilize the Cloud for collaboration tools on a daily basis. I pointed this out to Kendall one night and we started down another path that led us to what is Peppermint today. This is what we started calling a Hybrid Desktop for lack of a better term.

We also realized that mobility and choice promotes freedom and this was critical to us in giving users both environments. Others were trying, and still are, but they are so chunky and slow. When you are working, living and playing at the speed of modern life, being slowed down is not an option. And, we also realized that putting a bunch of graphical [GUI] smoke and mirrors in front of people as a way to imply computational speed and power was absurd. People desperately want simplicity, speed, security and freedom and it should “Just Work”. Now. Not next year and not for $2000.00

Cloud computing has received its far share of criticism in the past, with critics saying that it could lead to your data effectively being held to ransom and/or security concerns regarding remote storage, what are your views and what would you say to people who may have reservations about trusting their data to the cloud?

Kendall Weaver:

I certainly think it’s a valid question and a lot of those concerns should be raised for legitimate reasons.  All I have to say is that using private data for such things is immoral and unethical on the part of whatever companies are and will be doing such things, but we have a choice to opt for something else in the cloud or to opt for local storage.  With Peppermint, we’re not trying to force users into having all of their data in the cloud and controlled by one company.  We’re trying to make people aware that there are options for where they put their data and how they can interact with that, both in the cloud and locally.

Shane Remington:

Are critics those closed minded types told Magellan that if he went to far that he’d sail off of the flat rectangle we all live on? Hmmmmmm….There is always a concern for security no matter what you are doing, especially on the Internet and the new Cloud type structures that are being built. However, what the world needs to know now is that if they expect to entrust their interactions with the Cloud to an operating system that is prone to virus and malware attacks in everything they have ever offered then there is real reason to be frightened. The other major player is too busy with their Closed System and mp3 players to put the job in their hands. Linux servers will deliver the cloud securely to your home and mobile device and Linux operating systems will keep you safe as you interact with them no matter where you are. Peppermint and other distributions like ours will lead the way in educating the world when it comes to your data storage on the Cloud and its security. Most of the personal data and identity theft issues we are facing can be corrected with better educating people on how to keep yourself and your data secure. Using operating system software that is Not Secure should be at the top of that list of subjects.

Whilst Firefox is a great choice as the default browser, what was your reasoning behind choosing it over say Chrome or Chromium? Since Peppermint facilitates the excellent Google Apps and with reports claiming faster browsing than Firefox more in line with your speedy distro?

Kendall Weaver:

During testing in the beginning, there were a lot of issues with partially rendered pages and some pages that simply would not render at all.  Speed is not the only main goal here, stability is every bit as important.  With an issue like the default browser, we decided that opting for stability was the wisest course of action.  I do want to make it very clear that the default application selection is just that, a “default application selection”.  We want people to install other browsers, we want people to create Prism launchers to other web applications, we want people to screw with it and play with it and make it their own in every way.

I’ve long been a fan of not judging a system by what they include by default unless they don’t give give the option to easily switch.  Sometimes the defaults simply represent a preference of one of the developers which is great so long as other options are available.  Sometimes the defaults represent an attempt at forced adoption by large corporations with few or obscure alternatives which I think is still the predominant mentality that most people use when approaching situations like this.

For those who like Chromium more than Firefox, it’s an extremely painless procedure to install it.  The same can be said for other browsers.  Personally Midori is my browser of choice and has been for quite a while, so one of the first things I do on any clean install (regardless of distribution) is to install it.

However, In the near future we’ll be releasing Peppermint Ice.  It will feature Chromium as the default browser and will likely be even more cloud focused as we’ll likely drop printer and scanner support for it and replace more of the default applications with either smaller ones or cloud based alternatives. Once we launch Peppermint Ice we will be working towards bringing integration with Google Cloud Print as the next logical step in development for Ice and all other Peppermint versions

Shane Remington:

Very funny that you asked that question. We made a decision last week to pull our minds together and create Peppermint Ice, which would feature Chromium as the default browser. Prism will still be there for those web/cloud applications that simply perform best in its delivery. Again, Peppermint is based upon freedom, the freedom to take it and make it into your own hot-rod. We are also a forward thinking company that listens and delivers, next week, not next year for more money. We were finding a large group of people who love Peppermint and Chrome and this is our gift to them, we are excited to see where we can take this one as well….

What features can we look forward to in the future with Peppermint?

Shane Remington:

Peppermint Ice and a 64 Bit version will be in  the immediate future. Kendall and I have a lot more planned for Peppermint for the long term and this is what we are working on now. More news on that later.

Prediction time now, how far do you think we are away from a complete desktop cloud operating system in the home?  or do you think that the future will be more reliance but not total dependency on, the cloud?

Kendall Weaver:

I think “more reliance but not total dependency on” is going to be the direction things go in the future.  Regardless of the advancements in cloud computing there is still going to be a market and a need for locally stored files and locally installed applications.  Downtime and immediacy of access are things to consider here.  I’m all in favor of moving things to the cloud, but I still want a functioning system if I’m offline and I don’t believe I’m the only one with that sentiment

Shane Remington:

I can’t ever see a complete and total “Give up” of all data to the Cloud. Its this “all-or-nothing” and “the-sky-is-falling” yammer that makes me concerned the most. There will always be a need for locally stored data. Its not going away. So, why create a total Cloud OS that leaves a single point of failure which is the connection itself? When your Cloud OS loses connection, Peppermint can keep on trucking until the connection comes back. To be honest, I think the most amazing things that Linux and the Cloud have to offer will be seen in home appliances and the management of energy consumption from remote locations. Its not all about your personal files and Mp3’s, you know?

Are we going to see Peppermint on Twitter soon?

Kendall Weaver:

We’re already on top of that.  The official Peppermint accounts are @PeppermintOS for the main account and @AskPeppermint for support questions.  My personal Twitter account is @Kendall_Tristan, Shane is the notorious @roadhacker, and Nick (our support guy) is @Asheguy.

Shane Remington:

You can also find us on Facebook

If you had to name one FOSS application that for you represents the value of FOSS, what would it be?

Kendall Weaver:

For me it would be the GIMP.  What was originally “just a program” has been used, developed and modified to where now it’s so much more.  Think about GTK, the framework for what the majority of desktop Linux is built upon.  Think about the improvements in what can be done with image manipulation.  Think about the fact that it’s a free application that easily holds it’s own against the $700 industry standard.  Sure the learning curve is different, but I fail to see the downside of learning something useful.

Shane Remington:

I’m with Kendall on this one: The GIMP. Its the first FOSS application I show to a new Linux user and  Its the first one I showed to my own two daughters. Learn the GIMP and the LAMP stack and the Web is yours….

And that concluded the Q&A with the Peppermint.  I hope you’ve had a chance to download the ISO and take a look yourselves.

Peppermint, like many distro’s do need your help and support, whether its reporting bugs, telling people about your good experiences with the distro, making a donation or visiting the Peppermint store….it all helps to support and enables the development of excellent projects like this.

The Peppermint site can be found here:

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

REVIEW: Peppermint – Cloud/Lightweight distro & Considering the cloud?

Posted on Updated on

Part Ubuntu, part cloud, all Distro! Can users be tempted into breaking the ice, with a partial cloud desktop?

Linux and its diverse range of distributions are developing at a very fast pace.  Nearly every day on Distrowatch I see something new and whilst I would like to take a look at everything, the popularity and demand for Linux distro’s means that I do not have the time to review everything.   In today’s Linux world it takes something a little unique or new to get me to look at a new release (or it has to be one of the titles I champion regularly).

Peppermint Linux and its coming to pass is something akin to Puppy Arcade 8 (which we covered recently).  Like Puppy Arcade is derived from Turbo Pup (which in turn came from Puppy Linux) Peppermint is derived from Mint which in turn comes from Ubuntu.

For me when the name Ubuntu is mentioned I usually get a feeling of “out of the box”.  Speaking personally I have had only few, very minor issues when installing an Ubuntu distro and of all thats available in the Linux world, in my opinion its the simplest most “out of the box” there is.  So Peppermint building upon those solid foundations is a recipe for success? Read on and find out!

The first thing that drew me to Peppermint was the fact that it depends in part (but not completely) on the Cloud.  I think we are still some way off users wanting a total desktop cloud experience but as we head towards what will probably be inevitable, this is certainly a good way of breaking the ice.

Peppermint’s choice of Ubuntu foundations are a great choice ,  for those who are taking their first steps into the world of Linux and seasoned Linux veterans alike.

OS in the cloud or head in the cloud?

It’s funny how my view of cloud computing and indeed “always on” has changed over the years.  During the early internet days, the thought of always being connected frightened me slightly with visions of a vulnerable PC on the world-wide web for people to drop in on whenever they wished.  I remember only staying online for as long as I needed then logging out and continuing with my computing offline.  How things have changed….

Now (and I hope some people can relate to this) if, for whatever reason, my net connection is down, my computing experience feels rather lonely, rather isolated and not very pleasant.  I like my social media products to hand, I like my email to pop up and sometimes my Waves at my fingertips, often, if the net is down, my computer is off.   I have read Mr Stallman’s views on the cloud and I do appreciate some of his concerns, however time will tell if a migration does happen and history will record if those concerns come to pass in respect of computing in the cloud.  I will be running another article shortly looking at the question of cloud computing.

I think though when/if the time comes for a complete cloud migration, I’ll be more than ready to jump into the brave new world and (hopefully) 10 years on look back at this time and think how isolated/ narrow-minded I was.  Either that or I will be held to ransom by the firms that provide me with my cloud experience and look after my data and look back with regret!

My diversion about the cloud has taken this review completely off track, so lets now return to Peppermint.

Looking at Peppermint

Peppermint is a tight distro using kernel 2.6.32 which whilst being light in the area of defaultly packaged software, balances that with cloud based offerings.  Coming in at a 446mb download, within a few minutes the shiny new ISO was ready to burn.  I don’t need to explain how simple and straightforward the installation process is, all I have to say is, Ubuntu simple.

Seeemic integrates very well into the Peppermint desktop.

Offering Google Docs in the taskbar menu, opens your Google Docs in a light window client (via Prism)  as if it was a locally installed package.  This seemless integration of online services is consistent with all the cloud packages incorporated into the Peppermint desktop.  Under your “Office” menu you also have Google Calender, Google Mail, Google Reader and ePDFViewer.  It should be noted that you do have a local text editor, if you are wanting to create a simple file locally and of course you’ve got a wealth of more traditional alternatives to install locally through the Software Manager.

Default packages

Whilst this distro does lend heavily towards the cloud, it still does have a nice selection of default packaged software.Python 2.6.5, Leafpad 0.8.17, Gnome-mplayer and many more.  Its all pretty academic though with the software manager, you have a huge selection of software to download after install.  Firefox 3.6.3 is packaged as default though for me this was an instant removal.  I am an advocate of Chromium which for me has been a wonderful experience in the main since the very earliest builds.


Yes, this is a speedy distro!  Boot up times are exceptionally fast as is shutdown and even with numerous tasks running on one of the many desktop’s around the house, my now prehistoric 1.8ghz processor never went above 22% on CPU usage.    I took out ram to see how well Peppermint ran on half a gig, which is probably more relevant to those who intend this to be deployed on a low spec netbook or laptop and I can report that barring a little extra disk activity from time to time (as to be expected) the whole operation was still very fast with a reasonable amount of facilities being run at a price of only half my available ram.


Since Peppermint doesn’t come with any “play once” games and many of its apps are cloud based, the small 446mb file will be a very quick download for many.

I was very impressed with the cohesiveness between the cloud based apps and the locally installed ones.  Ive used web dependent distro’s before, but never within a traditional desktop environment and previous reviews have been of “Web kiosk” type distro’s.

If I wanted to be really fussy I would mention that upon default install the browser shortcut is located very close to the “menu” button, which means from time to time you will miss and bring up another instance of your browser when what you really wanted to do was access the menu.  This is a minor issue though and Im sure most people customize a distro to their own tastes after install anyway.

Whether you want a cloud experience or not, this distro is an excellent lightweight option for daily use, the cloud features whilst well-integrated are not “set in stone” and there’s nothing wrong with you replacing them with more traditional solutions.

I think Peppermint Linux serves two purposes, one its a great lightweight distro that will sit very nicely on any machine old or new, but also its a nice introduction to cloud computing which doesn’t “throw all your eggs into one basket”.  For me personally it has eleviated some of the fears/myths about computing in the cloud and Im happy to say that Peppermint has a permanent home on one of my rigs now.

A strongly recommended distro which not only gives a solid desktop experience that is capable of handling any task you throw at it, but also introduces you to cloud computing in a very non-committal way.

Just like many of the distro’s I feature here, I encourage you to support this project, the hard work and professionalism this distro displays for me means its one I will be following with great interest in the future and as far as Ubuntu derived distro’s go, this is up there with the best of them.

I have been contacted by the devs behind Peppermint and have the pleasure of saying that a Q&A session will follow in a future article.

The Distrowatch entry for Peppermint can be found here:

You can visit the Peppermint home page here:

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.