Archive for August, 2010

Peppermint OS review

Posted: August 16, 2010 in OS Reviews

Here’s something I haven’t done in far too OS review of course.  So, my latest offering is called Peppermint OS.  Yes, the name is why I chose to review it (she says defensively)  This particular Linux OS has two versions..One and Ice.  I am reviewing Peppermint OS One.  The Ice version is all cloud based.  The operating system is a fork of Lubuntu, which is Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment, a lightweight desktop.

Using the Live CD method, still to date my personal favourite way of trying out a new OS, I rebooted and waited for Peppermint to load.  The loading time wasn’t that long, about the same as Ubuntu 10.04 and Mint 9, just a couple of tads shorter 😉

The desktop is nice in appearance, a red and black (& white) Peppermint theme.  Openbox is the window manager, of which I’ve been a fan since TinyMe OS.  There are many themes and you can always download more.  There is a nice looking panel at the bottom of the screen and there is a standard menu.  My only gripe in the appearance is the Peppermint logo itself.  It could use a bit of refinement with light and shadow to polish it up a bit.  Other than that I felt it was a nice looking theme. (I do prefer dark themes)

As for the items on the panel, there was a file manager icon, which brings up PCManFM, which was something I haven’t used before (I don’t think lol).  It was lightweight and fast, without a lot of extras that I enjoy with Nautilus; however, if I were to use this on a daily basis, I might find that I enjoy the simplicity more.  Clicking on the Network icon revealed that my internet connection (DSL) was detected just fine and wireless connections were also detected with no problem, although 2 of the wireless connections were missing from the list that I am seeing right now but it’s possible they weren’t logged in 20 minutes ago (benefit of the doubt here)

One thing I really liked about Peppermint was its ability to surprise me.  They should have called this Surprise! OS because of all the little interesting quirks in it.  For instance, as stated, Peppermint is a fork of Lubuntu.  So I was surprised (and delighted) to find a Mint Updater and Mint Software Manager lurking in the menu.  Other interesting bits involved a really neat item called Prism.  Prism is a GUI that assists a user in making a launcher for web applications.  This is put to use in the OS.  For instance, in the Internet menu, there are Pandora, Hulu, YouTube and Facebook launchers that take you right to the respective sites.  They worked just fine for me.  Another interesting offering was Seesmic Web, which was a Twitter web client that also could use Facebook and a couple other social networking sites.

There was something else that came as a surprise, the Cloud Player.  I opened that up to find a music player that has music in several different genres.  The first song I played was an interesting remix of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.  Searching music was a mixed bag.  Searching common rock bands like Nickelback took a long time and yielded few results.  No doubt there are many people who would find it extremely useful but I don’t think I would give up Pandora or Lastfm for it.

No doubt to keep the size of the OS down, the Office Menu didn’t contain the usual items I’m use to seeing.  Everything was a Google product, calendar, Docs and such.  I don’t use office tools much but I don’t see an issue with this; not to mention Openoffice is just a Synaptic away if you need it.

For graphics, GIMP is conspicuously absent.  In it’s place was something called Pixlr.  Apparently this is a cloud based image editor, with two other ‘parts’, one of which is the ability to click on a web pic and then edit that.  The regular editor was suprisingly (again?) full featured.  You can add layers, masks, add custom brushes and there are some filters too.  It’s no GIMP but it is not bad at all and the developers are expanding on it all the time.  It’s Flash based and since it worked just fine for me, I surmise that Flash is working too 😀

All the applications, including the Prism made launchers worked just fine, Flash worked great, and I had no problems with anything freezing up or quitting.  I wasn’t overwhelmingly wowed by Peppermint but I was definitely wowed in a more subtle kind of way.  Peppermint is stable and useful, and fun to play with.  I definitely recommend it, so I will give it a B for appearance and an A- for performance.