Reviewing PeppermintOS Two - My thoughts.

3 years ago, I was introduced into the wonderful world of Linux by Mark Greaves on hereand I must say, even from that day till the present, I cannot thank him enough. My first distro of choice was Ubuntu Ludic Lynx. I enjoyed that distro very much, then when Ubuntu Maveric Meerkat was released I upgraded, and then so from there, that’s when the ball started rolling.

When Natty Narwhal was released, I told myself I’d stick with that distro for as long as possible to get used to the Unity interface and see how it would grow on me. Funnily enough, after about 4-5 weeks of using it, after it had mature a little through updates I started to see Mark Shuttlesworth’s vision. A lot of people bashed Unity, and yes it’s partly is down to the design team putting it in there without it even maturing first, but it’s also because a lot of people don’t like change. I was one of those people, but I managed to hold myself back a little and give Unity a chance.

Indeed for the past 12 months Unity was awesome to use. The keyboard shortcuts, the dash, I liked it. It was definitely a new way of doing things but doing them faster IMO.

After learning a few things, like terminal commands and having the security of knowing I was in a safe environment I started to recommend it all to my friends and family. They too loved it, and so I felt as if I was able to contribute to the Linux world of free open source OS’s and software seeing as I’m no programmer or developer.

So after 2 years, where am I at in the learning stage? Well, I’m now able to take a lot more risks and not rely so much on people helping me through unless I really need it. I’ve also changed to PeppermintOS Two. I feel brave enough to leave the mother loving Ubuntu somewhat and move on to explore the rest of the Linux world.

So what do I think of PeppermintOS two then?

Well, as I was in the process or backing up, and moving things around I knew that I would have some issues and indeed some issues did arise but fixes were found and after finally setting it all up the way I like, it’s pretty neat. When you first log on, you’ll notice the first step they’ve taken to reduce the resources that Peppermint uses, by having a basic log in box. Instead of the click your username and then enter your password, you need to enter both your username and password. Personally I think this gives me a little more security as well, seeing as people wouldn’t know my username. As you log in, you’ll come to a very basic desktop top, almost Gnome 2 reminiscent. With panels at the top and bottom. After doing the fixes, the first thing I did was compare the resource usage between full fat Ubuntu and semi-skimmed Peppermint.

To say I was impressed was an understatement . It’s amazing to see how much lighter LXDE is compared to Unity. The speed comparisons are impressive as well. It only takes Peppermint 30 secs to boot up from turned off to logging in, and 4 seconds to shut-down. Now, give that to your hardcore Windows fan and he’ll faint because of the shock. Unity would boot up in a considerable 50-70 secs and shutdown in around 10-13secs. So yes, I’m impressed.

Even just now whilst I’m writing this review, I also have Thunderbird, Docky & Pidgin open and all I’m using of my 3GB of RAM is 880mbs. If this was Unity I’d be well up into the 2000s. Which brings me onto my next subject. Software.

Seeing as Peppermint is based on Ubuntu Natty Narwhal, more specifically Lubuntu 11.04, I can rest in peace that I could install most of the apps I had would run in Peppermint 2, there were I few I had to install manually, but there are tutorials listed on the forum for those, thanks to Mark Greaves. After installing most of the software I decided it was time to give my CPU a real challenge within the LX desktop environment to see how fast and responsive it really is. So I installed LFS (LiveForSpeed) which is a racing simulator for the Windows platform. I used to play this game a lot in Ubuntu through WINE and I’d only really get 30FPS max, but under LXDE I get double that without the CPU even straining. I didn’t even get that much on Windows, 3 years ago!!! Again, LXDE & Peppermint impressed me, and I’m really starting to like it all that bit more, heck I might even swear by it if I get too comfortable with it. :o

Things I like in Peppermint?

Well I like the nostalgic panels, that takes you back to Gnome 2 days. I like how it’s lightweight and even despite this fact, it comes with a bunch of really awesome things. Things such as, Faenza icons, CPU temperature applet, Dropbox comes. pre-installed and a dedicated shortcut to Youtube.

Things I dislike?

I dislike most of the applications being “web-based” to save resource usage. I dislike that everytime I log in I have to reapply my wallpaper because for some weird reason Peppermint didn’t save it and I also dislike that there’s no compositing whatsoever, not even a light-weight compositor but that’s all that I really dislike. Everything else is pretty cool.

As you can tell, Peppermint is a very light, very fast distro with the safety net of Ubuntu behind it. For those reading this, I would most definitely recommend this distro even if you aren’t on limited hardware, take it for a test drive! Once you’ve got your head around things, you’ll start to notice the little things you pick up on the way, and if you are a keen person wanting to learn how to solve some things without having to land back here for help (in a good way), then stray from the mothers den, where the full fat Ubuntu lays and test yourself with Peppermint.

Peppermint has taught me a few things, like how to install kernels, and how the command line is the most efficient way of installing or fixing things. Indeed Linux distros are a learning curve, but on that learning curve you’ll come across some interesting things, perhaps some brief moments of frustration but you’ll pick up a lot of things and I guess that concludes this review.

Hopefully it’s been somewhat helpful for you, or a good read.

Nice writeup … I especially like the praise you lavish on this Mark Greaves guy … whoever he is. :slight_smile:

Seriously though … The fact that Peppermint has online apps by default is to be expected, it IS a “cloud” type distro … I would have gone with Lubuntu, but when I tried it I just didn’t like it, can’t quite put my finger on why, just didn’t like it.

Peppermint on the other hand I felt at home in straight away … though it does take a bit of “tweaking” as far as applications go, I still prefer it to Lubuntu.

Oh I know it’s a cloud distro, but for me personally there’s just a bit too many cloud apps and what happens if by chance you’ve no access to an internet connection and need to do something like, write a document? That’s why I installed Libre writer, and a few other things as well, to be sure that I’ve got a “local” app.

I really do like Peppermint, and I’ll be interested to see Peppermint 3, because it will most likely be based off 12.04. That should bring some interesting things.

I’m actually agreeing with you … I don’t like the “cloud”(iness) of it either, which is why my tutorial covers installing some “real” applications … but neither will I knock PeppermintOS for being a cloud distro as that’s what they state its purpose is … I’ve just come to the conclusion it is SO much more than that :slight_smile:

Lubuntu DOESN’T claim the be a “cloud” distro, and DOES come with “real” apps … but I’d rather start with PeppermintOS and tweak it, than start with Lubuntu and probably find I needed to “trim” some stuff … not to mention Lubuntus default install is in my opinion just plain ugly :o

I rather liked Peppermint for the short time I trialled it. The xbmcbuntu distro’s I’m playing at the moment feel very similar. If eppermint 3 comes out with the dual display settings being developed in ubuntu 12 included it could be a very good upgrade. I’m tempted to just go peppermint anyway but I’ll give xbmc one last go.

I don’t know what is classed as limited hardware these days but mine consists of:
Intel H67 chipset Zotac itx motherboard
i3-2120 CPU
8gb Ram
6gb/s SSD

Heh, I think you’d be stretching the term “limited hardware” to include a 3.3ghz i3, 8GB RAM, and an SSD :slight_smile:

@Smiler - I’m running a dual monitor setup right now, and I’ve had no problems with it. Although I am on NVIDIA drivers.

His problem isn’t with dual monitors, even with the intel drivers, its in getting a particular application to autostart on the second screen at bootup.

The application (xmbc) wants to start on the primary screen, and there’s also the added problem of - if xbmc is started fullscreen, it completely takes over control of the keyboard/mouse.

a) we want xbmc to autostart at bootup
b) it must be in a window … or find a way to get control of the input devices back to the monitor.
c) we want it to be on the TV (second screen) when it starts

problem is xbmc isn’t playing ball :o

and just to make things more awkward, XBMCbuntu released a new version whilst we were working on the problem(s) … which may, or may not help … but there’s only one way to find out … start again from scratch, but that’s already bringing new problems, like they seem to have changed the autostart mechanism.

I reckon this is do-able, we just need to settle on a method and which distro/desktop is the best/easiest ???

Can’t he just run it in a VM through seamless mode? :o

I suppose running it in a VM (and getting the VM to autorun) is an option, but it’s a bit of a resource hungry one, and may still not solve the autostarting on the second screen issue.

Hm, this ones a toughy. The only other suggestion I’d have is two swap the names of the screens really…

Yeh, I was thinking along those lines … will test changing them in xorg.conf later.

I’ll tell you what’s baffling me … when started from a .desktop file according to smiler it remembers its position on the second screen … but when started from a script (with the SAME command contained in the .desktop file) it doesn’t … that doesn’t make sense ???

back on topic lol

firstly, peppermint does remember wallpaper and you shouldn’t have to re apply when logging on,
loads on peppermint forums about this, searching the forums are best done on google using, or whatever you want between the brackets.

peppermint two is a good hybrid using both cloud and standard apps, I found it good that not to much was preinstalled, so i could easily download programmes that I wanted.

it brings my acer one netbook to life. Very very fast and reliable. (and easy for a novice like me)

thanks to Mark for putting us on to it and for producing such a good tutorial.

Sorry, thought the i3 range was well and truly beginers teritory in todays computing world.

Still like the no-nonsense style of peppermint2, Ubuntu’s gnome 3 seems to be trying too hard to change and doesn’t seem as intuitive to me.

Nice writeup…I agree with you on your assessment. In my opinion a good OS is the one which
gets out of the way and let you do things without too much hassle.

If the OS can do this and manage to save on resources at the same time then it is winner.
Peppermint (two) with LXDE can do this and still manages to be fully functional.

I also agree with you on that, too much is made of the cloud aspect now days.
Good internet access should not be assumed (as my daughter keep telling me).

It really only bothers me when having to restart a lot of times for any given reason. Usually my laptop is left on for weeks at a time. I’m surprised it’s still running tbh.
But thanks for the tip, I’ll have a look into it later on.

Thanks Sezo! Indeed a good OS gets out the way and saves on resources. Peppermint is a winner in most aspects, I just wish there was a slight balance between local apps and cloud-based ones really. That’s my only real criticism of it. I guess I’m still stuck in that old habit of being safe than sorry. :stuck_out_tongue:

Until around 2015 cloud-based apps really aren’t going to be my thing.

I’ve never had any issues with wallpaper either … could this be a multi-monitor issue, or does it forget the wallpaper even on a single monitor ?

Does it forget ANY wallpaper you select (including the default ones), or only one in particular ?

Did it forget the wallpaper before the kernel/nvidia upgrades ?

Where are you storing the wallpaper ? … what format (eg. jpg, png, etc.) ? … and how large is the file ?

Yeah it happened without the NVIDIA drivers too. Unsure of if it happens with a single monitor as I’ve never tested it to try.

I’ve only ever seen the default wallpaper once, and then it was gone after I restarted.

I use wallpapers in the .jpg format, and it’s only like 2Mbs.

The only issue I have with PepperminOS2 is that the forum is lacking in any developer input. Members try their best to answer questions, but the last I looked the main developer has not logged on to the forum since Dec. 26th 2011.
As a matter of fact, not many of ANY of the team come on the foum to help with issues. it’s a shame too, because Pmint has a ton of potiential

Well people with issues can always come here :slight_smile: