If you follow what’s going on in the Linux world for a while you surely have noticed there is a distro, called Peppermint, which has found a true fanbase. How and why I cannot say. I mean its based on Ubuntu but that makes it one in hundreds, most of those not very exciting and outstanding, so we expect something a bit more in order to explain Peppermint’s almost cult status among its peers. We all know there is already one other distro that willingly deviates from the Ubu mothership and made its own thing by puting a bias on easy and comfortable operating and keeping it n00b friendly as well.
Perfect. Done. So nobody bothers anymore with developing the 348th Ubuntu fork, right? Fuk, no. I mean on one hand it’s awesome, and typically Linux, that everybody can legally take the base code and spin their own distro from it, making the old Ubuntu better, or faster or more funny or or or … On the other hand we’re allowed to ask the existence of said Ubuntu fork, to ask what makes it better and stuff. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to find out now by running Peppermint 9 on Gaga. It resides there happily since a couple weeks, but I admit of firing gag up only very rarely. I am very quick to dismiss Linux distros, don’t need much to come to the conclusion that some distros just suck.
Still, instead of telling you how crappy Peppermint 9 is, which I could have done, like, two weeks ago, I’ll check it out once again. I’ll try to find out what exactly is the allure of this particular distro.
For that let’s take a peek at Peppermint’s website:
Some claims they make here. Nothing out of the ordinary tho: Lightweight, stable and super fast is what we should expect from pretty much any Linux distro in 2018. So what they claim as a stand alone thing here so far sounds like waffling.
Nemo File Manager is a cool thing but also easily done, and in my eyes vastly unimportant. I just had to look which File Management my Mate desktop uses. Turns out it’s Caja and I couldn’t spot any real differences on first glance. Dunno about you but I push my files in and out of it, copy and delete them and usually almost never work in the file system anyway. So, yeah, Nemo is probably – most probably – better than the resident File Manager in vanilla Ubuntu but, again, it’s no big deal.
And now …
Web app integration with Ice
Peppermint’s handy cloud & web application management tool ‘Ice’ continues to put web applications on an equal footing with locally installed apps by allowing them easy integration into system menus, and delivery to the desktop via SSB’s so they mimic locally installed applications.
WTF? I had to read this paragraph twice to even catch a glimpse of its meaning. What are they talking about? Putting web applications on equal footing with locally installed apps? What does that even mean? And why would I want that? When I’m working online, as I’m doing right now when blogging, I’m online and I couldn’t care less if the blog is on equal footing … with what, please? Either I’m a few sandwiches short of a picknick or this claim is waffle again. During my time on Peppermint I didn’t notice it behaving any different than any other Linux distro. So what they did mean with putting web applications on equal footing with localy installed apps was just that the very few installed softwares (I still refuse to call installed software ‘apps’) are all online exclusive apps that stop working as soon as you’re out in the country, or sailing offshore, crossing the Sahara with your camper van or have the usual internet out when some Portuguese fisherman cuts the cable in the Bay of Biscaye. Sounds for me not like equal footing when you just kick all the usally preinstalled software overbord.
See that desktop? It’s freshly installed Peppermint, which I haven’t changed up to now. Reminds us on the similarly simple Mate and Cinnamon desktop environments, right? In fact it is a tasteful blend of Xfce and LXDE. So, yes, this seems to be really rather lightweight and a fine OS to install on your most crapy old computer. That’s why they also still have a 32-bit version on offer. Ahaaa, now I start to see why so many people swear by Peppermint and love it so much.
And yes, it is indeed much nicer than LXDE or Xfce on their own. The desktop allows for more operations and modifications out of the box and is much more comfortable to use. But everything is so fukn webcentric. 😮
This is a slap in the face. With a cold fish nontheless! What do you do when your internet connection craps out and your call to the ISP is 178th in line? Play a round of Tetris or Solitaire, right? Well, it’s what I do in those cases, shuddup! But according to Peppermint’s politics of setting online shit on equal footing with locally installed shit I’d be utterly and squarely fuked. 😮
Well, nothing that can’t be fixed by installing your software by yourself but stuff like that causes me to think less of the Peppermint devs and their product.
CONCLUSION: Peppermint is indeed a rather nice Linux distribution. At least nicer than I initially thought and what my earlier tests and reviews showed me. But it’s also a bit different just for the sake of being different. The devs broke with some Linux conventions, which doesn’t go down well with many of the older Linux users, and doesn’t get us any real advantages. If I had a super old lappy, 32-bit and with limited processing and storage capabilities, I’d install Peppermint right away. No questions asked. By installing a few of your fave softwares you can even use it without internet connectivity. Cool thing.
As long as I have a very stable connection and hardware that was made inside the past eight years tho, I don’t see no reason to get away from my beloved Namib Arch distro. And for beginners and normal users Peppermint is still way behind Linux Mint in terms of usability and creature comforts. And, believe it or not, I still spend more time offline than online.