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peppermint linux osTry a lightweight operating system built with the cloud in mind. Peppermint OS is a Linux-based OS that combines desktop and cloud apps. Whether you want to revive an older piece of hardware or seriously speed up a relatively new machine, Peppermint just might be the right taste for you – especially if you already do most of your daily tasks online using web apps like Gmail.

Linux, in case you didn’t know, isn’t like other operating systems: put simply, no one owns it. This means anyone who wants to, can legally make their own Linux-based operating system using the work of others as a starting point. There are famous versions, or distros, of Linux you’ve probably heard of, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. There are also sub-versions of these distros.

Peppermint OS 3 is independent, but based on Lubuntu Lubuntu: A Lightweight Version Of Ubuntu [Linux] Lubuntu: A Lightweight Version Of Ubuntu [Linux] Love Ubuntu, but feel skeptical about 11.04's new Unity interface? Try Lubuntu 11.04, an extremely lightweight alternative to the main branch of Ubuntu. You'll find the menu-driven interface familiar and the resources hit remarkably low.... Read More 12.04. This means Peppermint uses the LXDE desktop and has access to the complete Ubuntu repositories (which basically means you can run almost any Linux software on it easily).

What sets Peppermint OS apart from Lubuntu, beyond its unique design, is a focus on the web in general and cloud-based apps specifically.

The Peppermint Desktop

Peppermint doesn’t look like much to start, and if you’ve used LXDE before, Peppermint should mostly feel familiar to you. There’s the desktop with the menu bar at the bottom.

peppermint linux os


It’s all very Windows-like (unless you’re using Windows 8). Click the menu button and you’ll see an easy-to-browse menu:

peppermint os

Explore the menu and you’ll find a few common pieces of desktop software, including the Office suite, have been replaced with web apps. Gmail is the default web client, Google Calendar is the default calendar app and GWoffice, a desktop app for accessing Google Docs, is the default office suite.

Web Apps!

This is part of the point: Peppermint Linux OS goes out of its way to integrate web apps. The operating system features it’s own site-specific browser (SSB) called ICE. It basically runs websites in full-screen mode, making them seem like desktop apps. Here’s what Google Reader looks like, for example:

peppermint os

A few such applications are included by default, but you’re free to add as many as you like. Just open Ice from the menu and you’ll see this simple window:

peppermint os

Add the URL, name your app and add an icon; it’s all you need to do. You can now run your favorite website as a desktop app. Read more about Ice on Peppermint’s “About” page.

Some will find this gimmicky, and that’s fine: it isn’t for everyone. If you like web apps but hate running them inside a browser you’ll love this feature.

Of course you’re not limited to just using web apps. There’s the entire Ubuntu repository at your fingertips. It’s easy to browse, so check it out:

peppermint linux os

Like I said before: Peppermint OS 3 is based on Lubuntu 12.04, so you’ll have access to any and all software available for Ubuntu. Have fun exploring.

Download Peppermint OS

Ready to check this out? Head to PeppermintOS and download the latest ISO. You’ll need to burn that ISO to a CD, of course; alternatively you can use software like Linux Live USB Creator Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive Read More or uNetBootin How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin We've already talked about Linux and why you should try it, but probably the hardest part of getting used to Linux is getting it in the first place. For Windows users, the simplest way is... Read More to boot from a flash drive.

You can try out Peppermint OS from the live environment before installing, so there’s no reason not to try this out if you’re curious: you won’t break anything just by trying.


Open source is about choice, and while Peppermint might not be right for everyone, it may be right for you. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Also feel free to recommend any other Linux distros I should check out. I’ve been way too comfortable with Ubuntu alone lately and need to change that. Educate me!

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  1. Anna
    December 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I tried using Peppermint 3, and I think it still needs some work. The package manager I found hard to use, as when a dependency wasn't met, it just wouldn't do anything when you click to install a program. No error messages, or anything. Just the "Install" button. Also, the volume for the built-in mic on a Dell Vostro 1500 was set for a crazy low level even at the highest volume settings possible, I tried all the fixes I could find, with alsamixer, gnome-alsamixer, etc, but it still wasn't working. I haven't tested the mic issue on any other laptops, but I expect the same thing to happen. I was able to fix any mic issues with other distros like Knoppix with the same exact tools, so I found it irritating that I couldn't fix it in Peppermint.

  2. Frosch Polster
    October 24, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I've 'resurrected' a couple of throw-away and/or under-powered laptops using Peppermint... it's a pretty neat & lightweight distro; however, I probably wouldn't use it as my main install.

  3. Shibesh
    September 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I'm using Fedora 17, and am more than happy with it. I tried Ubuntu a couple of times and Bodhi Linux too, but both of them started acting up when it come to the ATI Graphic Card I have on my laptop. Maybe it's an Ubuntu problem, because Fedora runs great, effects and everything. And I don't have a fast enough Internet connection to run purely cloud based systems. Also, GNOME 3! :D

    • Justin Pot
      September 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      I'm glad you found a distro that you like. I keep meaning to re-try Fedora, and probably will when I get my new laptop. Keep having fun!

  4. Rajaa Chowdhury
    September 13, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Would certainly try this. However, have used JoliOS with JoliCloud previously and absolutely loved it. :)

    • Justin Pot
      September 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      I used to really like it, but later versions kind of lost me. I should try it again, though...

  5. tarzan2001
    September 13, 2012 at 1:07 am

    This seems similar to JolieCloud, which I installed on my mom's laptop and she loved it! I'm curious though, do you have to register for an account to use Peppermint OS? And are any apps every actually installed on the computer, or do you have to use the cloud services provided by Google? I apologize for the noob questions, but I'm not very experienced with Linux. :)

    • Justin Pot
      September 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      There's no need to register to use Peppermint. Web apps you add won't work offline, even in Peppermint; they simply run in their own window.

  6. Alex Perkins
    September 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Looks really nice, would it work well on a raspberry pi? I think it would as its mainly web based. Just put it on Raspberry pi, plug in wireless usb keyboard and mouse, plug the raspberry pi into the tv. Instant smart TV.

    • Justin Pot
      September 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      I don't think there's a version for the Pi, no; I only see x86 and 64-bit downloads. Sorry!

  7. Knut H. Flottorp
    September 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Isn't it strange how they now "invent" a concept introduced by Sun Microsystems about 25 years ago. They made systems where the network was used to provide functionality, databases distributed, and X11 Window manager provided the user interface - "Thin clients".

    Sorry, but we had HTML and SGML, but no Internet. We had the services and deamons for management, supervision, load distribution and capability to move processing to provide resilience and fault tolerance. The availability of these systems exceeded vastly what is asked for today - 5 minute for service per YEAR.

  8. Serra Stone
    September 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I may have to try this one out again, it's been a while.

  9. Hiren Patel
    September 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Me too Comfortable with Ubuntu But will try by this method : "uNetBootin to boot from a flash drive."

    • Justin Pot
      September 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      It's a great tool – I haven't burned a Linux CD in years.