Released to the public this past Monday, the developers of the new Peppermint OS claim to have come up with an even lighter, faster variant called Peppermint Ice. It sounds like a limited summer edition ice cream flavor, which may not be a bad way of thinking about this Linux distro, since it is being billed as an easy and approachable OS for Linux newcomers, as well as a fast and lightweight alternative for those who just want a nice Web-centric OS.
Peppermint Ice is focused on running cloud-based applications using Chromium as the default Web browser and Ice, a Site Specific Browser [SSB]. According to the Peppermint blog:
The Ice SSB acts as software that is installed locally but is actually delivered via the Web.
The difference in using an SSB as opposed to using a tabbed browser is that only one function is assigned to the Ice SSB. In a tabbed browsing system, with several open for example, if one service or site in any given tab crashes you run the risk of losing data by crashing the other tabs and potentially the browser itself. since an SSB is isolated and dedicated to only operating the web application of your choice, if it crashes or hangs, it does not affect the rest of the system. And, because the Ice SSB's are so sleek, they are perfect for running apps that display better using the most screen area as possible.
Ice uses the Mozilla Prism technology, which, as mentioned above, makes the Web apps look like they are running directly from the desktop like locally installed applications.
The default desktop environment for Peppermint is LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). The default cloud applications included in Peppermint Ice are:
- Editor by Pixlr [Image Editor]
- Seesmic Web
- The Cloud Player
- Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Mail, Google Reader
Default installed applications:
- Chromium Web Browser
- Xnoise [Music Management & Player]
- X-Chat [IRC Client]
- Transmission [Bit Torrent Client]
If this sounds like something you might want to play around with, you can download Peppermint here. If you're someone who likes to share the Linux experience with newcomers, it might be a good candidate.
Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and IT Security blogs.