Welcome to Desktop Linux Reviews!

Find the best desktop Linux distros!

Member Login
Lost your password?

Peppermint OS One

May 12, 2010
By

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.

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.

Bootsplash
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).

Peppermint OS One takes you to the login menu from this bootsplash screen.

Login Screen
The login screen has the Peppermint OS logo, candy graphic and the gorgeous red/black wallpaper in the background.

The login screen features the colorful Peppermint OS One wallpaper in the background.

The Desktop
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.

Controls
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.

Themes
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.

Wallpaper
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.

Icons
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.

The Internet applications menu in Peppermint OS One.

Bundled Software

Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.

Games
No Games

Graphics
Editor bypixlr
Simple Scan

Internet
Dropbox
Facebook
Firefox
Prism
Seesmic
Transmission
XChat
pyNeighborhood

Multimedia
Asunder CD Ripper
Cheese
Exaile
GNOME MPlayer
Hulu
Last
Pandora
Sound Mixer
The Cloud Player
Xfburn
YouTube

Office
Google Calendar
Google Docs
Google Mail
Google Reader
ePDFViewer

Others
Openbox Session

As I noted earlier, Peppermint OS comes with some great web-based applications. If you prefer desktop-based applications, you can download them via Software Manager.

Software Management
Software Manager is actually mintInstall, the same software manager used by Linux Mint. It’s very easy to use and there’s a LOT of software available. Favorite applications such as OpenOffice.org and VirtualBox are all waiting to be downloaded in Software Manager.

It’s a great idea to have desktop-based alternatives to the web applications bundled by default into Peppermint OS One. That way, if you lose your Internet connection, you can always use your desktop applications as an alternative to your web applications. You should definitely spend some time in the Software Center, poking around for applications that you might need if you lose your Internet connection.

Software Repositories
If you want to add or remove software sources, just click Edit in Software Manager and then click Software Sources. Given the huge range of software that’s already included in Software Manager, you really don’t need to add any more repositories. There’s so much to choose from, right at your fingertips that you’d have to be a real software junkie to bother adding another repository.

Adding & Removing Software
Adding or removing software is easy. Just find the application you and click the Install or Remove button. You’ll need to type in your password before the application will be installed or removed.

Updates
To update your system, click the Peppermint OS menu button on the panel, choose Preferences and then choose Update Manager. Or simply click on the Update Manager icon on your panel.

Use the Software Manager to add or remove programs.

Use the Update Manager to keep your system up to date.

Choose your application and then click the Install button in Software Center.

Sound and Multimedia

YouTube & Flash
I did my usual test of YouTube videos and I was pleased to note that I didn’t have to install flash or otherwise configure anything. YouTube videos looked and sounded great.

Web-Based Multimedia
One of the more intriguing things about Peppermint OS is its inclusion of web-based video sites like Hulu in its Sound and Video applications menu. This makes it, in a webbish-way, an excellent distro for multimedia. It adds a greater range of multimedia content choices to the desktop, with little or no effort on the part of the user.

I tested Hulu and I had no problems watching Glee. Sound and video both worked perfectly. I also tested last.fm by playing a Michael Jackson song and it worked perfectly. Pandora Radio also worked well.

Flash is installed by default, so YouTube videos play without the need to download anything.

Once I got used to being able to access sites like Hulu from your application menus (via Prism), I started feeling that this is something I’d like to have in all of my distros. It adds a whole other dimension to multimedia on the Linux desktop. You’ll see what I mean if you try it in Peppermint OS. It just feels so right for those links to be there and for you to be able to fire up sites like Hulu with one click, outside of the traditional browser interface.

Problems & Headaches
As I noted earlier, there is no slideshow while the Peppermint OS One install happens. I’d like to see the developers add one in the next release. It might seem like a small or unimportant thing to experienced Linux users, but a slideshow can help educate newbies about the features offered by a distro. It’s a great chance to educate and every distro maker should take advantage of it by including an install slideshow.

There are no games bundled into the Peppermint OS One desktop. Given that Peppermint OS is cloud-oriented, it would be nice to see links placed in a Games menu to browser-based games. That would add a “fun-factor” to Peppermint OS that would lighten things up a bit. The developers could probably also include a few desktop games as well. There are plenty of games available in the Software Center though (1160 packages last time I checked it).

I ran into the annoying problem of giant fonts in certain application menus. I didn’t have time to fix this but the fonts should adjust themselves when the screen resolution changes. In my case, I bumped the resolution up to 2560 x 1600. I have a 27-inch monitor, so a higher resolution is a must for me. Plus I love the extra screen space.

Another problem I ran into was seeing an ugly GRUB menu when I rebooted, after updating my system. Before the update, I simply saw the Peppermint OS bootsplash screen for a few seconds and then the login screen appeared. After the update I saw the ugly black and white GRUB screen. This really isn’t a huge problem; it’s more a cosmetic thing than anything else. The Peppermint OS developers might want to dress up the GRUB screen with the distro’s logo and colors, or find a way to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Peppermint OS One features web-based office applications by default.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum (registration takes less than a minute and you can login with your Facebook account if you want); everybody is welcome. You are welcome to post a message in the Linux Help section and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, but also many other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the Common Questions/FAQ, and Release Notes. You should also keep an eye on the Peppermint OS Community page for news about the Peppermint OS community. There is also a community-based support option available at GetSatisfaction. You can also make a donation to support Peppermint OS One.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Peppermint OS One is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

It provides a great blend of desktop and cloud computing, and it wraps all of it up in an attractive package. Peppermint OS One is fast and I found it to be extremely stable too. Distrohoppers will have a ball with this one; it’s definitely not your run of the mill Ubuntu remaster.

Peppermint OS One also has an informative and well-designed web site. I write a lot of distro reviews and I’m dismayed by some of the icky sites I see. Some of them have very little information about the distro and it makes my job as a reviewer much harder, since I have to track down information to include in the review. The Peppermint OS team did a fantastic job on their site, and provided a great deal of helpful information. I urge other distro developers to take a look at it and consider using it as a basic template when setting up a site.

Peppermint OS is a breath of fresh air and I’ve had a lot of fun using it. Grab a copy of it; I think you’ll enjoy it.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit the DLR forum for more discussions. Visit JimLynch.com for opinion columns.

Summary Table:

Product: Peppermint OS One
Web Site: http://peppermintos.com
Price: Free
Pros: Excellent selection of web-passed applications built right into the desktop’s application menus. Fast and very stable. Software Manager includes a huge range of desktop applications. Attractive wallpaper, unique logo and brand identity. Fast and easy install.
Cons: Lacks educational slideshow during the install. Does not include bundled games or links to browser-based games. Updating the system resulted in a GRUB bootsplash screen appearing at boot up time. Font size errors appeared in some menus.
Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.
Summary: Peppermint OS One is a breath of fresh air. It provides a terrific blend of cloud and desktop computing that is accessible to any kind of user. Highly recommended for those looking for such an interesting blend and for those who simply want a fun, new distro to play with in their virtual machines.
Rating: 4/5

 

 


Tags:

Leave a Reply

You can unsubscribe to follow-up comments or new posts via links in the email notification message.

27 Responses to Peppermint OS One

  1. Cloud Security Guy on February 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Peppermint OS is one of those “hybrid” operating systems, offering functionality both locally and in the cloud. It’s crucial for users to be aware of the risks and advantages of taking it to the cloud. We at the csskguide.org take a look at the security issues surrounding cloud computing and help prepare candidates for the CCSK Cloud Security Certification. Check our blog post on Peppermint OS:
    http://ccskguide.org/2011/01/peppermint-os/

  2. chelle on September 6, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I love this os. It works very well with my Acer Aspire One (d250). It's your average 10.1 inch notebook and Peppermint OS really gives this netbook a serious boost. The system specs are perfect for an os like this.

  3. Barista Uno on August 29, 2010 at 5:18 am

    For me, this is the best distro for netbooks and the best distro employing lxde. Bravo to the PeppermintOS team!

  4. chuck on May 27, 2010 at 10:40 am

    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.

  5. Brian Masinick on May 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

    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.

  6. Brian Masinick on May 19, 2010 at 10:02 am

    @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.

  7. OtterNZ on May 19, 2010 at 5:32 am

    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.

  8. Barista Uno on May 17, 2010 at 9:58 am

    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?

  9. TK on May 15, 2010 at 1:43 am

    is anyone able to set an automatic login?

  10. Brian Masinick on May 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    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).

  11. Brian Masinick on May 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    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.

  12. Brian Masinick on May 14, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    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.

  13. Brian Masinick on May 14, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    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.

  14. dbn on May 13, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    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.

  15. tlmck on May 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    @ tlmck:

    Oops! Meant 1gb instead of 1mb ram.

  16. tlmck on May 13, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    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.

  17. meanpt on May 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    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.

  18. Squirell Liberation on May 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    We have issued a Fatwa against you for defaming our prophet!

  19. wally on May 13, 2010 at 8:45 am

    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?

  20. Martijn on May 13, 2010 at 8:34 am

    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.

  21. bert barten on May 13, 2010 at 7:14 am

    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.

  22. gino on May 13, 2010 at 4:21 am

    why the hell are you watching a video of a squirrel being skinned ?

  23. Zyonin on May 13, 2010 at 12:49 am

    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".

  24. Sam on May 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    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!

  25. Brian Masinick on May 12, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    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.

  26. whitespiral on May 12, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    The wallpaper would fit best a distro called CinammonOS. :-)

  27. coman norbert on May 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm

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



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Ads and Amazon

Read more about the kinds of ads I run, and the kinds I don't allow on Desktop Linux Reviews.

Thank You!

Thank you if you've whitelisted this site or made a purchase via the Amazon links, your support is very much appreciated.

Google+ Posts