I’ve covered a lot of remastered versions of Ubuntu since DLR launched. But, every once in a while, I bump into one that is particularly interesting to review. Peppermint OS One is definitely in that category.
Peppermint OS One is a web-centric Ubuntu remaster that passes up common desktop applications like OpenOffice.org in favor of web-based alternatives such as Google Docs. And it doesn’t stop with office applications either; Peppermint OS One integrates video sites like YouTube and Hulu right into the desktop experience.
LXDE and Prism
Peppermint OS One uses LXDE for its desktop environment. This means that it’s very fast and should work well even on machines with limited CPU and graphics horsepower. Since it makes great use of the cloud, you’ll definitely need to have a network connection available to get the most out of Peppermint OS.
Mozilla’s Prism is used to integrate web apps into the desktop. When you click on a web app in your applications menu, it will open in a desktop window. Prism lets web-based apps run even if you aren’t using your browser.
You can also click Prism on the Internet applications menu to create your own launchers for other web-based applications. You’ll just need to know the URL of the site and you’ll need to make some choices such as whether you want a link added to your desktop, status messages enabled or whether you want to use navigation keys. You’ll also need to select an icon or try to download one from the application’s site.
Cloud and Desktop Applications
Peppermint OS One comes with a good selection of cloud based applications:
Editor by Pixlr
The Cloud Player
Although the cloud is definitely the focus of Peppermint OS, there are installed applications included as well:
See the software section of the review for a full breakdown of applications by category.
In addition to the cloud and desktop applications listed above, Peppermint OS also comes with the following:
Linux Kernel 2.6.32
Linux Mint and Peppermint OS
If the name “Peppermint OS” reminds you of Linux Mint, it’s no accident. Kendall Weaver, one of the Peppermint OS developers, is also the maintainer for the Linux Mint Fluxbox and LXDE editions.
Peppermint OS also makes use of some of Linux Mint’s tools such as mintInstall (software manager) and mintInput. If you pull up the Update Manager, both of these are at the top of the update list. Given that Linux Mint is one of the best Ubuntu remasters ever created, I’m happy to see what looks like some cross-pollination between the two projects.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run Peppermint OS One:
i386 or derivative processor (AMD64 and x86_64 are fine as well)
256 MB of RAM (possible it works with as little as 192, but not positive)
4 GB hard drive space (this is an overestimate just for good measure)
The Peppermint OS One .iso file weighs in at a very petite 427.5 MB. That’s quite small in comparison to some of the other desktop distros.
It uses the same installer as Ubuntu, which means it’s fast and easy. My install took less than 15 minutes.
I noticed that there was no slideshow while the install completed. That’s unfortunate as that is a great opportunity to teach people about what a distro has to offer.
Booting & Login
When you first start Peppermint OS One, you’ll see a message saying “Automatic Boot in 5 Seconds” and then Peppermint OS will boot into the Live CD desktop. You can install Peppermint OS or simply use the Live CD version to play with it.
After installing, you’ll see the Peppermint OS bootsplash screen pop up for a few seconds. Then it disappears and the login screen appears. This works fine until you update your system (more on that in the problems section of the review).
The login screen has the Peppermint OS logo, candy graphic and the gorgeous red/black wallpaper in the background.
When you first load up the Peppermint OS One desktop, the first thing you’ll notice is the wallpaper. It’s got a black background with fiery red swirls all over it. I really like this wallpaper a lot. It’s distinct and stands out from other distros. And it compliments the Peppermint OS mint logo pretty well (although they do seem to be two different shades of red).
The desktop is uncluttered; there are no icons on it. For the most part, I approve of this. But I would like to see a link to the file manager added. Why? Well new users might not know where to look to access their folders, the File Manager icon is buried in the Accessories menu. I found it there but I’m not sure how many people new to Linux would think to look there, it’s an odd place for it.
The panel is black and contains the Peppermint OS menu button. You can’t miss it; it looks like a piece of peppermint candy. I liked that; it’s a nice touch and distinguishes this distro’s desktop from others in a small but noticeable way. The panel also contains multiple desktop icons next to the Firefox icon. On the far right you have volume control, networking, update manager and the time.
Click the Peppermint OS menu button then choose Preferences. There are a number of different controls available in the Preferences menu. You should be able to customize your system easily from there, depending on what you want to do. I had no problem changing my screen resolution or otherwise managing my system.
The default theme is Onyx Black. It’s attractive and works well. If you find that you don’t like it, right-click your desktop and choose ObConf (or click the Peppermint OS menu button on the panel then choose Preferences then OpenBox Configuration Manager). There’s a bunch of themes to choose from and you can install others if you prefer.
I already covered how much I liked the default wallpaper in Peppermint OS. If you want to change it, just move your cursor toward the upper part of your desktop and right-click. Choose Desktop Preferences and then Open to browse to your new wallpaper. Peppermint OS does not come with other wallpapers bundled into it so you’ll need to download some or use your own images if you want some alternatives.
Peppermint OS One uses GNOME-Wine icons by default. You can use GNOME if you prefer or you can install others. Click the Peppermint OS menu button and then go to Preferences, then Appearance. Click the Icon tab and then the Install button to add different icons to your system.