The Peppermint Fields

After days of venturing through the forest of Bodhi, all ragged and bruised, I stumbled upon the most peculiar view I have seen in my life. Far into the horizon stretched a vast field of what would be later known to me as Peppermint OS. I took a deep breathe and inhaled the refreshing smell of peppermint…

That is exactly how I felt about Peppermint OS. It was light, refreshing and had that spark to it. As I mentioned in one of my previous entries, Peppermint OS is considered ‘the Linux Mint of Lubuntu’. Although quite inaccurate, this statement is not so far from truth.

Looking at the basic components of this distribution, we have Chromium as our pre-installed Internet browser, LXDE as the default desktop environment, PCManFM as the file manager and Openbox as the window manager. Apart from that we also have a number of office applications which can help us get started with writing documents, preparing spreadsheets or reading .pdf files. Honestly, that is nothing special as most distributions I’ve worked with so far contained all of those or their equivalents. However, there were a few things I found truly refreshing about Peppermint OS…

Firstly, some of the applications aren’t really installed on your hard drive, but are rather applets, which link to specific sites on the Internet through independent instances of Chromium. That is exactly what authors of Peppermint OS meant by cloud-centric when talking about the operating system’s reliance on external content. Additional applets can be easily created using Ice, also part of the default installation. Back in my Windows days (how hilarious does it sound, eh?) every time I saw someone trying to incorporate a browser applet as part of an offline application, I would honestly go mad. By default that browser was Internet Explorer, probably not the most reasonable choice for handling complex scripts. Nevertheless, Peppermint OS does it right! Kudos to the authors!

Secondly, something I have not seen in any distribution before – games. Yes, Peppermint OS comes with a few of those pre-installed and I really liked them, especially the system’s hallmark Entanglement. The game is yet another Chromium-based applet, this time relying on Adobe Flash Player (also immediately accessible and functional). It reminded me of the good old office games present on Windows (Freecell, Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc.).

Thirdly, as Peppermint OS uses Ubuntu LTS repositories, the user immediately has access to countless applications through the Synaptic Package Manager. Luckily for me, a complete set of nVidia drivers (including nvidia-prime) was present.

A bit unfortunately, Peppermint OS is not without shortcomings. For instance, browser applets in reality require more resources than normal applications. Chromium, although possibly the best browser for Linux, is definitely not the lightest. Therefore, after launching several applets at the same time RAM usage can really skyrocket.

Still, I felt that Peppermint OS, much like its vast metaphorical fields of peppermint, will always be a place for me to return to when in need of refreshment…

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