Peppermint OS One

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.

You can add other web applications to your system by using Prism.

Cloud and Desktop Applications
Peppermint OS One comes with a good selection of cloud based applications:

Editor by Pixlr
Facebook
Hulu
Last.FM
Pandora
Seesmic
The Cloud Player
YouTube
Google Calendar
Google Docs

Although the cloud is definitely the focus of Peppermint OS, there are installed applications included as well:

Firefox
Drop-Box
Exaile
Prism
X-Chat
Transmission

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
Xorg 7.5
Openbox 3.4.10
PCManFM 0.9.5
LXSession 0.4.3

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.

You can run Peppermint OS as a Live CD before deciding to install it.

Hardware Requirements & Installation

Hardware Requirements
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)

Installation
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.

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Comments

  1. chuck says

    I tried Peppermint. Not for me. I'm basically a "surfer" and long-time fan of Ubuntu. 8.10 worked great on my 256MB Compaq E-500. Could not load 9.04. Now using 9.10 and it works perfectly. 10.04 sucks on my computer, so I re-installed 9.10. I always remove the "garbage" I'll never use. …(Open Office, games, evolution, tomboy etc.) 9.10 is lightning fast on my AT@T DSL Lite(max. 81.9 kbs download). Peppermint looks like Xubuntu to me. Prefer the look and layout of ubuntu. I even stay with the orange! Familiarity breeds recognition. If I'm bored, I load Puppy OS in about 2 minutes and go live. Why mess with success! Even stay with 3.59 browser, more stable.

  2. Brian Masinick says

    dbn wrote:

    I would like to know how secure you feel the OS is. I have been using Windows Vista, but have had trouble with viruses. I am interested in finding a version of linux to replace it with.

    I consider this software to be easily more secure than XP or Vista. I think that Windows 7 is finally getting a bit better in that regard, but without extra Anti Virus protection, I'd take an unprotected Linux distribution of any kind against any unprotected version of Windows, for the simple reason that Linux is not as frequent a target of invaders as Windows is.

    A well secured Windows 7 and a well secured Linux system are both solid; I'd say that it takes less extra work, very little extra work to have a reasonably secure Linux system; this one, for instance, can run live, in which you do not have to make any provisions at all. IF you install it, simply use good passwords – random combinations of letters, number, and symbols not easy to figure out. Disable any network services that you are not using, and it will not be very easy for an intruder to find success accessing your system.

  3. Brian Masinick says

    @Barista Uno wrote:

    I would like to give this distro a try. Can anyone tell me if it can be installed on a hard drive for dual-booting with Windows without the risk of messing up Windows?

    You can most definitely install this system alongside other operating systems, including Windows. If you already have your disk subdivided into multiple disk partitions, and you have at least one of those partitions set aside to install other software, then it will be really easy to do.

    If you already have Windows installed, but you don't have a lot of data saved, you can install Windows again, and instead of using the entire disk for the Windows installation, leave 20-30 GB of the disk for other operating systems. On disks with anywhere from 160 GB to 750 GB – or even 1, 2, or 3 TB of space, this is not an issue. If you are not familiar with such things, ask more questions, visit the Desktop Linux Review Forums – we can help you there, or just do some reading. It's not hard, but if you are venturing into this space for the first time, it might seem daunting at first until you learn all of the terminology. We can help with that too.

  4. OtterNZ says

    Barista Uno – If you have the hardrive partitioned into 2 or more, and install linux on one, you should be fine. In most linux distros grub automatically sets up a dual boot between it and windows, letting you choose one at start up, with the linux distro as the default if you don't select an OS in a short period of time.

    I don't have any personal experience with this distro though.

  5. says

    I would lke to give this distro a try. Can anyone tell me if it can be installed on a hard drive for dual-booting with Windows without the risk of messing up Windows?

  6. Brian Masinick says

    I find that this software loads at around 330 MB on my 2 GB system, and that jumps up to around 430 MB with Seamonkey running (I installed Seamonkey on my own).

  7. Brian Masinick says

    Trent, who wrote another review of Peppermint, found a system with only a terminal and htop would consume only 82 MB, not bad at all, explaining the speed.

  8. Brian Masinick says

    Well, I now have PeppermintOS One installed on my Gateway in place of gOS 8.04 and it is looking good. The installer even had an unobtrusive (but still available) option to allow me to install GRUB to /dev/sda1 where I had gOS instead of rudely taking over the MBR.

    Performance is fast, and I wasted no time in bringing in Seamonkey in place of Firefox (especially after that nasty behavior I saw last night with Firefox 3.6.3 on Xubuntu). All is well with Seamonkey 2.0.4 and with htop and Seamonkey running with an LXTerminal window to check, we are consuming 430 MB out of 2048 MB memory, not bad, considering Seamonkey running.

  9. Brian Masinick says

    Jim, according to DistroWatch, yours is one of only TWO reviews available on PeppermintOS. The other one, however, is done by a guy named Trent, who has been ALL OVER this distribution, loves it overall, but was part of the early private test, gave them some great feedback, and as a result, was able to get the team to make a few nice changes.

    Among them, he got them to change the default music player from Songbird to Exaile. I know neither of them personally.

    Trent had trouble getting Aviary Phoenix to work, so he complained about that, too, and as a result, the development team decided to take that to heart and go with pixlr instead.

    Finally, Trent had issues with PCManFM, the file management program. It turns out that PCManFM is in the middle of a rewrite, so just like other, more well known efforts (think of the KDE SC project), in the early stages of a rewrite, things get worse before they get better. The solution there is to simply install something else, such has Thunar, the XFCE file manager. Rox Filer would have been a really lightweight alternative too.

    Kendall Weaver is the one responsible for several of these rapid responses. He is the Linux Mint LXDE community developer, and he developed this distribution as well.

    I tried it last night in a Virtualbox instance and I like it well enough to install it. I think I will have it replace gOS 8.04, which has done a good job. It was one of the first Internet-centric distributions out there, before "Cloud" talk was common. It's lived a good life, but now Peppermint OS deserves its place on my Gateway 17" PA6A laptop.

  10. dbn says

    I would like to know how secure you feel the OS is. I have been using Windows Vista, but have had trouble with viruses. I am interested in finding a version of linux to replace it with.

  11. tlmck says

    Here typing this from the LiveCD of Peppermint. Also ran it in VMWare. In both instances it performed well. I did give it 1mb ram in the VM, and my laptop has 4gb. Not really into the cloud stuff, but I did download a few regular apps and games on the VM install. All ran well.

    I would have to say this is definitely one of the better 'buntu derivatives. Also one of the better LXDE examples.

  12. meanpt says

    Downloaded and tested it in a VBox's vm with 256 MB allowed for RAM. After testing PCLOS Openbox with the same machine configuration, I can say Pepermint isn't as good as the former. Moreover, if you use the cloud or the "prismatic" applications you'll notice long lags and the system freezes.

  13. wally says

    This seems like maybe a good candidate for netbooks, but I'm not sure – it may be light and quick and not need heavy resources, but doesn't it also load up your net connection? If you had a slow wireless hookup, would you be bogged down?

  14. says

    I was about to link to this review, but that was until I saw the YouTube screenshot. Was this really the best YouTube screenshot you could find ?!? I second gino, a previous commenter on this review.

    I really hope you can include another YouTube screenshot, because this takes the quality from your Peppermint review.

  15. bert barten says

    I installed Peppermint Os today. In the past I used PcLinuxOS XFCE which I found too slow on my Thinkpad R40e. In the few hours I am using it I am very surprised about this fast distro. It looks also very stable and has all the new updates including Firefox 3.6.3. I am very enthusiastic and going to use it for a while. Therefore I want tgive the developer a compliment and advice others to use this new exciting distro.

  16. Zyonin says

    Looks interesting though some parts (such as links to Hulu, Last.FM, and Pandora) are useless for non US users. Still, an interesting idea in a "cloud OS".

  17. Sam says

    So if I add Mozilla Prism, Google Docs, and Dropbox to my Ubuntu install, do I have a cool "cloud OS" ?

    Wait, for that matter, I could get an even cooler "cloud OS" by adding Google Docs, a VPN, and an online storage service to Windows Vista and I'd be living in the cloud!

  18. Brian Masinick says

    I have gOS 8.04.2 or whatever the latest update is and it's on my Gateway laptop. It is one of the oldest of the early distros that started experimenting with the Web and the cloud. Maybe I ought to replace it with this Peppermint OS. I'll consider it. gOS has actually been a pretty good OS for me these past couple of years.

  19. coman norbert says

    Superb distro! I love Mint, and PeppermintOS is a fantastic LXDE distribution. Lubuntu/Mint combination, super!

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