The quote in the header is from Linux Help Guy’s YouTube review of said Linux distro. Now everybody who’s interested in Linuxy things and watches YouTube in regards of it knows Steve (Linux Help Guy) is quite an overly excited guy when he gets a distro to run on his test computer. Then he’s happy and doesn’t shy away from throwing around superlatives and absolutes. That is until he uses a distro for longer than a couple hours and finds the first flaws within it. Then that certain poor distro quickly turns into the world’s worst crap. Anyway, for my post about Peppermint OS I’ll use Steve’s quote to provoke you a little. 😉
My personal feelings about Peppermint are a bit different tho. It sure is a very nice distro, lightweight and fast, easy to install and use for noobs as well as experts, which makes it a nearly perfect substitute for your defunct Win XP (or even Vista, Win7 and Win8/8.1 and maybe even for the upcoming Win10), according not only to Steve. But I digress, for my spoiled taste and my powerful computer it just doesn’t offer enough pizzaz, is too bareboned and skimpy.
But let’s look a bit deeper into Peppermint OS, particularly its newest rendition, Peppermint six, which is built on the Ubuntu 14.04.2 code base. So it’s not the latest Ubuntu but the latest version of the LTS (Long Term Support) base. So far so mundane. There are literally millions of Linuxes in existence right now built on the same Ubunt base version. Many of them are built on the Lubuntu flavour, with its pretty lightweight, LXDE spartanic look and feel and performance. So what makes Peppermint so special? Heck, I’m no coder and no modder, so fuckall do I know what the Peppermint team did under the hood. Ya, they are trying to go a bit in the Chromebook direction, by having as few as possible apps and softwares installed locally on your machine but source it all out into the cloud. Of course this system will run super fast on your old outdated hardware. But of course you have the full Ubuntu software center on your disposal so you can download and install as many additional wares as you fancy.
As a standard operating system Peppermint doesn’t come equipped with an awful lot of software tho. But the very few programs that are there are the right choices: VLC as your media player is always a rock solid stable choice but I had wished for one dedicated music player as well. In other parts Peppermint’s lightness turned into sillyness straight away. For example you won’t even find an office suite preinstalled. Come on, Libre Office is a kinda integral part of any Linux distro worth its salt! Some developers are obviously swerving off the proven software path with the sole goal to be different and oh so individual and smug and … shit, you end up with no office software!!! Eeeps! 😦 Well done Peppermint crew, well done.
And then there is the Internet compartment, which is dominated by the Chromium browser. Ya ya, I know, you youngsters don’t want Firefuck anymore but coolio Googly smartness and shit. But … you know what just happened, right? So according to Orca you gotta clear Chromium off your new system and install the good old Firefuck anyway. Hate to say I told you so.
One thing I didn’t like about LXLE and LXQt – the other lightweight distros I tested before – was the very subjective gut feeling to work on some kinda testbuild, a wobbly experimental construction that could go b00m anytime. I can’t quite put my finger on it but well … call it female intuition for what it’s worth. 😉 Peppermint felt different from the others. Despite its severe lacks and weaknesses I never felt like a lab rat strapped onto the nose of a primitive space rocket, with only a tiny little pilot goggles as protection, but I was working with an overly simplistic but stable and well thought out product.
There is a lot of stuff missing from the Peppermint standard install, but what is there is good and makes sense. I’d even say I would’ve ended up with an almost similar choice of programs if I had to populate my own Linux distro, if it wasn’t for the bad misjudgement of integrating the Chromium broswer.
So, here are a couple vids Steve made about Peppermint 6:
And here’s AJ Reissig’s far more objective review:
A thing both of the guys mentioned is that you have to install additional software to this very bare OS in order to make it a functional and useful tool for you. Fortunately this ain’t a biggie with Linux. Just browse the friendly and well sorted Software Center (also borrowed from Mint), decide on the piece of software you want and download/install it with a single click. That’s so easy, shouldn’t even be too hard for total beginners. But why the devs didn’t include at least the most useful standard applications as … well, standard I’ll never understand.
I kinda like all those lightweight Linux OSes, the philosophy behind them is cool, their heart is in the right place. Best examples of the lightweight family are probably LXLE and Manjaro LXQt, both distros Orca has installed and tested for herself and blogged about. LXQt goes even a step further then Lubuntu and Peppermint, by getting rid of the GTK toolkit and jumping on the newly developed Ot kit. I see a great future for LXLE and other Qt based distros but that is the future. In the here and now Qt is a system for freaks, not ready for the primetime yet. For the time being Peppermint is your OS of choice if you are completely new to the Linux world and/or your hardware is old and slow.
For all the others, normal people with normal hardware, normal cognitive skills and normal expectations I still think the best starting point into the wonderful smooth world of Linux would be Linux Mint Cinnamon. As it so happens the new version 17.2 will come out in one or two weeks. No panic, I’ll let you know when the time comes, as I’m gonna install it myself on this here groovy production machine.