Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: Fedora 13 "Goddard"

With one extra day of delay over the already postponed release date, Fedora 13 is finally out today. Codenamed "Goddard", it is supposed to be another step forward for this RedHat sponsored distro.

NOTE: Keep in mind I have always used Fedora KDE flavor exclusively, I like it that way. My opinions and the foundations of this review are based around this setup. I haven't tested Fedora 13 GNOME, so some statements below may not apply to that version.

FEATURES

Out of the distro releases I have seen so far in 2010, Fedora 13's release notes and list of features were probably the least attractive. You can read through the full list HERE. The following list includes some highlights:

- Automatic printer driver installation: Pretty self explanatory. Enhanced support for printers in general. Automatic installation of drivers on demand when a given printer requires them to function correctly.

- Better webcam support: An effort was put in place to provide better support for webcams in general, specially focusing on dual mode models.

- Rebase to the latest KDE4.4.X SC.

- NetworkManager enhancements: GUI included, as well as enhanced support for several pieces of hardware and functionality.

- Enhanced support for both Raddeon and Nvidia video cards.

- The latest Sugar Learning environment.

- Parallel support for Python 2.x and 3.x.

Not that exciting, huh? I guess the parallel Python bit is interesting for developers, but most of the other features already feel a bit obsolete out of the box. Don't get me wrong, these are mostly great features, it's just that they are pretty common and other distros do a better job at implementing them anyways.

A LITTLE ABOUT FEDORA

RedHat realised several years ago that creating a Linux distro that was good for both the corporate and the home desktop world was pretty much impossible. As a result, they decided to split their efforts, keeping RedHat tight, conservative and safe, while using Fedora to incorporate the latest technologies. Fedora is free and provides a nice testing user base so that things are solid and stable before they get implemented in RedHat.

If there is one feature that defines Fedora, though, is that of being on the edge technology-wise. No other distro out there does a better job at incorporating the latest versions of Linux software into their repositories. As a result, Fedora users don't have to wait for the next release before they enjoy the latest version of their favorite audio player, web browser or even desktop window manager. This is indeed a very nice feature and the main reason I have used Fedora over the years, but also one that comes at the expense of stability at times.

What I just mentioned should be kept in mind when reading this review, because Fedora's objectives are different to those of other distros out there. Fedora is first and foremost a test lab for RedHat.

ON WITH THE REVIEW

I set up a virtual machine and installed Fedora 13 straight away. In terms of resources, I granted it with 512 MB of Memory and 8GB of disk space. These resources were low intentionally, as I wanted to see how this Fedora release would deal under such conditions.

INSTALLATION

One of the elements that was a pleasant surprise was precisely the installation process. The wizard has been reviewed and improved and is now clearer and simpler, better suited for users who may have never seen Linux before.

Fedora 13 once again "forces" the user to boot the LiveCD before the installation can be started. As we have discussed in previous reviews, I like this approach because it makes it easier to spot any potential hardware support issues when it does matter.


The LiveCD boot process starts...

As soon as the first Splash screen appears, we can start to get a feel for the new Fedora style, backgrounds, etc. I particularly liked the login screen and the load of KDE components, both of which have been very well integrated with the new release branding.


The Fedora13 default login screen.


Loading the different KDE components tightly integrated in Goddard.

The new installation wizard comes up after clicking on the "Install Fedora" shortcut from the LiveCD desktop. This new wizard feels a bit more current, with a more up to date interface and not so heavily relying on blue colors as it did in previous releases. For the most part, the installation follows all the standard steps, like setting up the keyboard language, the time zone, etc. Eventually, we get to the step where we manage partitions. It is this piece that has been reviewed and redesigned, with an interface that I find better looking and easier to understand.


The new partition manager makes its debut for Fedora 13.

From there on, except for the new interface style, there is not much worth sharing about the installation process. Fedora does ask for the ROOT password to be setup, though. The next interesting bit appears after restarting from the newly installed hard drive. The first screen we get appears halfway through the boot process and involves Licensing, creation of users, etc.


After booting from the newly installed drive, we are asked to accept the License agreement.


Creating a default user is also part of this configuration wizzard.


As a last step, a hardware profile is presented to the user.


The configuration is over!

That pretty much marks the end of the installation and configuration process, which then leads us to the Log in screen I showed already.

THE FEDORA 13 DESKTOP: FIRST CONTACT

As soon as we login, we get a pretty standard KDE desktop setup. Other than the wallpaper, almost everything is very much pure KDE here, as opposed to other distros such as Mandriva or PCLinuxOS, which add their customizations and give it a more personal touch. The default wallpaper is nice, but it is the only one installed! I am guessing they will release other wallpapers which can be downloaded from the repos, as they have done in the past, but I think it would have been nice to add a few more.

As usual when installing a guest OS on a virtual machine, the screen resolution was not detected. This is never an issue, for Virtualbox includes its "Guest Additions" package, which helps in getting the necessary drivers registered. Fedora13 did not allow me to run the autorun.sh script that would install those drivers, so I was stuck with 800x600 resolution. (That's why you will see my green Linux Mint 9 desktop in the background of pretty much every screenshot!)


The Fedora13 desktop.

Strangely, KDE SC is still on version 4.4.2. Considering Fedora is focused on including bleeding edge software, I believe this is a significant miss. On top of that, KDE SC 4.4.3 was a bugfix release, so it could only help to include it.


KDE SC is disappointingly still on version 4.4.2.

Browsing through the main menu (which sports KDE's "kickoff" style) I can't help but feel that the Fedora13 desktop is a bit archaic. Don't expect any "lifesavers" for new comers here, this is raw meat, pretty much. In fact, getting this up to current home desktop standards would take quite some time, even if following one of those "Things to do after installing..." lists.

APPLICATIONS

I personally find the application catalog quite weak. Don't get me wrong, there are applications on board to cover the basic needs of any user, but I feel they are actually quite far from the current "standards" in the Linux world. I have no doubt certain people will favor KOffice over OpenOffice, Dragon Video Player over Totem, Juke over Amarok or KolourPaint over GIMP, but they probably live in Mars. In fact, Fedora KDE still uses Konqueror as the main (and only) web browser (!). As you surely expect by now, no signs of mainstream applications like Dropbox or Skype were found. Similarly, video and audio codecs have to be installed manually.

Something else I realized was that I could not find the backup application that was announced during the testing phase. I have even seen YouTube videos of this application being tested, but I can't find it anywhere in the menu. If it is there, it is a shame that it cannot be found easily. Anyways, I couldn't test it.

FINAL VERSION?

One thing that surprised me is that I found a pretty big number of updates waiting on the server. This is pretty unusual considering I am testing on the day of the release, so it makes me wonder how close to the final version this final release really was.


Where did all those updates come from?!.


WOW! That's a lot to be processed.

PERFORMANCE

Ever since I found PCLinuxOS, every other KDE distro feels slow in comparison, but Fedora13 is specially slow or at least it feels that way. I have installed it on a USB drive just in case my new VirtualBox 3.2 setup was not being appreciated, but it was pointless. I am not sure what it is, but Fedora13 feels slow in general. In fact, what concerns me is that it definitely feels slower than Fedora12 (at least on my tests using the same hardware). Other distros, like Ubuntu are achieving better, snappier performance release after release.

This slow overall performance could very well be related to how early I am testing and may be fixed in days/weeks to come. I certainly hope so.

LOOK & FEEL

Fedora13 doesn't do very well on this department. There really isn't much to talk about other than the Log in screen and the default wallpaper. Take that literally, though, there is ONE wallpaper. Not that I would expect every distro to provide as many wallpapers as Linux Mint, but come on... Along the same lines, don't expect any custom Fedora window or icon themes here. Similarly, font sets are 100% standard, so you will need to download Android fonts if you want them.

I want to give a special mention to the extremely ugly splash screen that made it to the final version of Fedora 13. When I tested Fedora 13 during the Alpha and Beta periods, I was thinking this was just a temporary thing while they put together some gorgeous Plymouth theme. Boy, was I wrong.


The TERRIBLE splash screen in Fedora 13.

I am not really sure I understand this one, to be honest. Fedora 12 had a simple yet classy splash screen, so why take such a huge step back? I wonder if this could be a "backup" splash screen that is displayed in case the Plymouth one can't, maybe as a result of a display conflict. I doubt it, though, because Ubuntu and Linux Mint both displayed their Plymouth themes at least when booting from the LiveCD, which Fedora 13 does not.

ALL IN ALL...

Once again, my comments should be put into perspective and understood within the context of Fedora, a distro that serves a purpose supporting its corporate sibling. This should also be taken into account if you are thinking of using Fedora on your desktop. It is far from being a bad Linux distro, but it will take time and effort to "tame" it.

As far as I am concerned, I consider Fedora a distro suited for experienced and advanced users, and Fedora13 is no exception. Certain people will surely appreciate YUM, Presto and other Fedora technologies, as well as that constant "living on the edge" feel, but I don't find anything critical that cannot be achieved with other easier to use distros. If anything, the capability of running Python 2.x and 3.x in parallel is interesting, but mostly for developers and the like.

As for Fedora13 specifically, I don't think it is that big a step forward. I believe Fedora12 was a better rounded release, with more significant enhancements, so I wouldn't recommend upgrading if you are using Constantine. If on the other hand you have never used Fedora and don't have much experience in the Linux world, I would recommend using a simpler distro to begin with, like PCLinuxOS 2010 or Linux Mint 9.

Thanks for reading!

POLL RESULTS: A Majority of Ubuntu users

The "Which OS rocks your computer?" Poll finished yesterday, with some very interesting results.


Ubuntu is a strong leader judging by this graph!

As can be seen on the graph above, more than half of the voters use Ubuntu. Windows 7 is also showing a very strong following. I think this is the Windows release that has made most friends amongst Unix/Linux/MacOS users. Windows XP does OK as well, which contrasts heavily with Windows Vista, clearly not a favorite amongst computer enthusiasts. All in all, it is nice to see that many Windows users interested in Linux or using it already.

The different UNIX flavors get a strong following, which I found a bit surprising. I didn't think UNIX was that popular in terms of desktop usage, but I am happy to be wrong here. MacOS users do have their share of interest for Linux as well.

Finally, among Linux users, those on Mandriva form the biggest group of visitors after "Ubuntuers". Fedora users show the smaller following.

Many have raised the fact that PCLinuxOS wasn't among the options available and neither was Linux Mint. That is right, I left several important distros out, but realistically it was impossible to get them all in there anyways.

BIG thanks to all who voted!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Linux Mint 9 Isadora

Linux Mint 9 (codenamed Isadora) was released just two days ago, on May 18th. You can read the official ANNOUCEMENT from their site, which explains what the main changes/improvements are, as well as highlighting the most notable new features.

To begin with, I want to stress that Linux Mint 9 is derived from Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. As a result, it gets the best from the latest Ubuntu improvements, but also suffers from its shortcomings. This is something to keep in mind before installing Linux Mint 9 and something I have also taken into account when putting together this review. In other words, I won't go into those issues explicitly, but I recommend reading the full LIST OF KNOWN ISSUES, which is part of the Ubuntu 10.04 Release Notes.

The good news is that Isadora makes up for many of Ubuntu's mishaps while keeping the best of its strengths very much alive. Before you start reading the review, though, make sure you are ready for a healthy overdose of GREEN!

INSTALLATION

As was the case in previous Linux Mint releases, the installation wizzard in Linux Mint 9 is almost identical to Ubuntu's. There are some branding adjustments and some application information has been updated where necessary, but no significant changes. As you can imagine, the Ubuntu 10.04 branding colours and logos have been substituted by Mint's, but the overall vibe is certainly similar. This is actually a good thing, for the installation wizzard in Ubuntu 10.04 is one of the best and most informative in the Linux world today.

If you have not seen Ubuntu's installation wizzard for the 10.04 release, you can check out some of the screenshots I included in my REVIEW.

BOOT UP

As expected, the splash screen was not displayed correctly in Linux Mint 9, just like it wasn't in Ubuntu 10.04. This is a known issue with Plymouth installation and can easily be fixed installing certain extra packages.


Something tells me the Linux Mint Logo should be around somewhere...

Other than that cosmetic little issue, the boot process was very fast, certainly benefiting from some fine tuning which was put in place for Ubuntu 10.04.

The login screen is the first of many screens where green is all over the place. I personally find it fresh and appealing, but it could be tedious for some. Fortunately, Linux Mint 9 includes applications to customize the Splash screen, GDM theme as well as the usual appearance settings manager available in GNOME.


I told you to get ready for some green overdose!

DESKTOP

As soon as we get to the desktop, we start to see some of the subtle but important differences between Linux Mint 9 and Ubuntu 10.04. Aside from the default wallpaper, we can see that there is a single panel located at the bottom. The default icons on the desktop include Home and Computer. As you can probably tell, there is a subtle overall MS Windows flavor, which should help new users feel right at home from the start.


The Linux Mint 9 Isadora desktop

One element that I find convenient, specially for anybody who is using Linux for the first time, is the "Welcome" dialog. New users will surely find help and documentation easily with this component. If we add to that that the many customizations already installed (Video and Audio codecs, DVD playback, Flash Player, Droid fonts, etc.), we can see Linux Mint 9 is a great choice for anybody willing to give Linux a spin.


This convenient dialog will surely help new users.

The main character role clearly goes to the Linux Mint menu, though, which is quite a radical departure from the GNOME default one. I personally didn't like it in previous releases, finding it a bit cumbersome and slow, but I must say I loved it this time around.


The Linux Mint 9 menu showing the Favorites section.


The Linux Mint 9 menu showing all Applications.

In fact, one interesting addition in this release is the improvement of the main menu configuration, which includes more options and the ability to tweak the menu opacity. In my opinion, this new feature would have been a nice addition if it was only the background of the menu that got transparent, keeping icons and letters visible. At its current state the whole menu becomes transparent, which makes this feature impractical in my opinion.


Some further configuration for the main menu is now available in Linux Mint 9.

Obviously, this is a not a major miss, considering the configuration available for this main menu is thorough and flexible. From changing the icon displayed to setting up favorites or showing/hiding applications, it's all pretty much in there.

LOOK & FEEL

I was quite disappointed with Ubuntu 10.04 in terms of Look&Feel. In my opinion, and I know this is totally subjective, it lacked the quality I was expecting, specially when a much anticipated branding change was in place. On the other hand, Linux Mint 9 seems to have pulled the right strings and it simply looks better than ever. Instead of pushing for tons of window theme changes or changing the window buttons location, they have kept their signature Shiki theme as default and have concentrated on providing a great and very professional set of wallpapers. I believe this piece was outsourced to a third party and the quality is there.


The wallpapers in Linux Mint 9 are of excellent quality... That's a good looking gnome-terminal!

There is one element that I found lacking in Ubuntu 10.04 and it's also a miss in Linux Mint 9 as well: The default icon set leaves much to be desired. When you browse those gorgeous wallpapers, set up fonts to your liking and open the good looking main menu, you can't help but notice how bad those icons actually look! I did find a solution which seems perfectly fitting: Get the Oxigen Green refit icon theme, which feels custom made and looks awesome. (For those interested, you can download it from GNOME-LOOK.ORG)


A good example of how well Oxygen green fits in Linux Mint.


The home folder also looks good in Oxygen green.

I very much like how Linux Mint 9 looks overall. The screenshots included are using only default wallpapers and window themes, even Droid fonts come pre-installed. The only external customization I added, as already mentioned, was the Oxygen green icon theme. I guess that makes Linux Mint 9 the best Linux distro ever in terms of Look&Feel for me, because I always end up customizing the hell out of everything!

APPLICATIONS

Luckily, the Linux Mint developers kept a cool head and decided to pass on most of the new application choices introduced by Canonical on Ubuntu 10.04. Gwibber makes it into the application catalog, but Empathy is out in favor of Pidgin.


Linux Mint 9 provides a nice catalog of social networking clients.

Thunderbird continues to replace Evolution, as has been the case in previous Linux Mint releases. Unfortunately, because Linux Mint 9 is derived from Ubuntu 10.04, it also suffers from Thunderbird lacking Lightning calendar functionality. I get this issue is being worked out as I type these lines, though. Firefox is the default Internet browser, installed under the latest stable version (3.6.3).


Thunderbird is the default email client in Linux Mint.

The GIMP is in, which should be good news for those who, like me, enjoy having it as part of the default installation. PiTiVi is nowhere to be found.


GIMP made it into Linux Mint 9.

Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint includes the full OpenOffice suite (v3.2.0), which is good for those who do use Base and Draw.


You will find the complete OpenOffice Suite installed in Linux Mint 9.

In terms of security, Linux Mint comes with a firewall interface pre-installed, but as is the case in Ubuntu, the firewall is deactivated by default. Gufw (Graphical Ubuntu Firewall) is extremely simple, allowing end users to enable protection with a single click.


Security duties are handled by Gufw.

SYSTEM APPS

Linux Mint 9 does include some interesting system management applications, some of which I want to show in this section. The disk analyzer is a neat little tool to run quick analysis on the whole or a part of the hard drive.


Linux Mint 9 Disk Analyzer.

The backup tool deserves some special attention. This application has gained momentum and is very solid and simple to use at this stage. I did some quick tests and it worked reliably and quickly. I believe this is a great tool to have around, specially handy if you want to back up your home folder and keep your copies in a network share or some external media.


Ain't that terminal getting too much in the way!?.

Another application I found interesting is the graphical Hardware Analysis tool. This application apparently provides a graphical interface to the lshw command, obviously making it very easy for unexperienced users to get to that information. In fact, I think this tool can be very helpful for troubleshooting hardware problems. It even includes a "Copy to Clipboard" function, which should prove useful when trying to get help from forums or IRC channels.


The Linux Mint 9 Hardware Information tool should help new comers with troubleshooting.

The user administration tool also got a nice new face, which I find simple and clean. Once again, I think this is just another feature which helps positioning Linux Mint 9 as one of the easiest distros out there.


User administration is particularly simple.

SOFTWARE MANAGEMENT

One other area in which Linux Mint departured from Ubuntu's ways is the management of software. Linux Mint has been using a Software Center application for years, which I think is what inspired Ubuntu to do the same. Additionally, Linux Mint uses its own Update Manager, which is docked in the system tray.


Linux Mint 9 Software Center.

When I first tested the Software Center and the Update Manager back in Linux Mint 7, I used to think they were awfully slow. I liked the overall concept, but its performance was terrible when compared to Ubuntu's Software management tools. I am not sure if that was related to the Linux Mint repositories lacking resources or bandwith back then, or if it was related to a design problem, but the good news is that both applications performed very well this time around. It seems that whatever the problem was, it is fixed now.


Searching for packages is simple and quick. Chromium is available from the repositories.

I was glad to see that the Chromium browser made it into the Mint repositories. The search was simple, quickly returning all related packages. I must say this is something Synaptic or the Ubuntu Software Center don't do all that well. You often find yourself getting results which have little or nothing to do with what you were searching for, so it was a nice treat to see my search results were spot on in Mint 9. Drilling down on one of the package entries shows more information, as well as user scores, which I find particularly useful.


The main Chromium package screen with scores from other users.

The Update Manager is also performing well this time around, and now I find that its very simple and clear interface can definitely be put down to good use.


The Linux Mint 9 Update Manager sports a nice and simple interface.

THE FINAL WORD

I personally had my share of issues with Linux Mint in the past. I felt that many of its customizations were actually intrusive. I was so used to configuring Ubuntu to my own taste that Mint's own customizations felt a bit alien. This time around, though, Ubuntu 10.04 has taken such radical twist that Linux Mint 9 feels like the more familiar now. No MeMenu, no window buttons on the left, no push towards social interaction... In short, I have found myself very comfortable using Linux Mint 9. It obviously does include applications such as Gwibber, Pidgin and Thunderbird, it's just that it does not feel like you are supposed to use them.

Being derived from Ubuntu, Linux Mint is always released a few weeks later, guaranteeing that some early bugs get fixed by the time it hits new users. This release is no different and although some of the known Ubuntu 10.04 bugs are still being worked out, Linux Mint 9 feels solid enough from the get go.

Performance is also quite good, as is the application catalog. Ease of use is one of its obvious strengths, but I have also noticed a very strong effort towards making the default Look&Feel convey a good and professional quality to it. A successful effort, I have to say.

All in all, Linux Mint 9 has been a pleasant surprise, probably the best 2010 distro release so far along with PCLinuxOS 2010. I obviously recommend it for anybody trying Linux for the first time, but also for experienced users, who should equally enjoy its great features. If you are an Ubuntu user who wanted to upgrade/install 10.04 but were disappointed with the end result, make sure you give Linux Mint 9 a try.

Thanks for reading and have fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: Peppermint OS

While we wait for the release of some of the major distros' mid year upgrades, I thought I'd present a new Linux flavor which looks and performs very well: Peppermint OS.

I recommend you pay a visit to their official SITE for a full summary of features, but here's a list with some highlights:

- Peppermint OS foundations are designed to provide optimum performance. As a result, it is particularly fast overall, specially with the default window manager, LXDE.

- Along those lines, many of the popular applications usually preinstalled in other Linux distros were left out in favor of low disk space usage. Instead, Peppermint OS approach heavily leans towards the cloud, including Google Docs, Gmail and Google Reader among others.

- Ease of use is another priority, with applications working from the get go. In my experience, minimal tweaking was required, none for basic functionality.

INSTALLATION

Peppermint OS uses the popular LiveCD for installation. You can download the ISO image from HERE. Simply copy it to a CD and boot from it.

The boot process is not worthy of any special attention. Starting with a simple text menu, the OS loads considerably fast for a LiveCD and before you know it, the LXDE desktop is in front of you. From there on, simply click on the "Install Peppermint OS" shortcut and follow the usual steps.

Peppermint OS lineage includes Debian, Ubuntu and Linux Mint. That shows on the installation wizard as well as on many internal features.

PEPPERMINT AT WORK

So how does it do? Pretty well, actually!

As expected, the boot process is quite fast. Getting to the login screen is particularly quick, after briefly passing through a splash screen similar to the latest Ubuntu's.

There are three window managers available: KDE, OpenBox and LXDE, which is the default. For me, it was the first time using it and I found it interesting and quick. Don't expect much in terms of eyecandy tweaking, but I can't say it looks bad either.


The Peppermint OS desktop and the Internet applications available.

As I mentioned already, Peppermint OS is Internet and cloud oriented. Using Prism, it presents several such applications wrapped as if they were installed locally. Gmail, Google Reader, Google Docs, Seesmic web and others come as default Internet and Office applications. I particularly liked finding Dropbox preinstalled as well.


The Peppermint OS Office applications installed are all cloud based.


Seesmic is among the Cloud based applications available, a great Twitter client.

File management

Using LXDE, the PCMan file manager is the default. For those favoring speed over other criteria, PCMan is a dream. Look&Feel changes are very limited, though.


The Peppermint OS LXDE PCMan File manager.

Interestingly, you can access Dolphin from LXDE, so it is a bit of having the best of worlds.


KDE's Dolphin is also available for those leaning towards good looks.

System stuff

Most system features I tested were working smoothly and fast. Reconnecting to the default wireless connection when logging in was particularly simple and quick. Inserting a USB drive brought up the usual dialog, as displayed below:


USB plug-in dialog.

The system appearance settings are managed through the LXDE manager as expected, but I found it confusing to see the System settings managed through KDE's own manager. In fact, that happens as well when using KDE, which shows the LXDE system manager. For instance, trying to change system fonts from KDE was apparently changing those of LXDE and viceversa. I guess it is easy to work around the problem once you get the vibe, but seems like this piece requires some polishing.

Another system application I found very interesting is the Disk Utility.


Peppermint OS Disk Utility.

Among the features available, I found the Benchmark one to be very nice. After just a few seconds I was getting a nice graph showing read speed on my drive. (As you can see, I installed Peppermint OS on a USB drive)


Peppermint OS Disk Utility.

Firefox is the default Internet browser, sporting the latest 3.6.3 release. Although not as fast as in PCLinuxOS, it feels quicker than in does when running in Ubuntu. Flash player codecs were installed during installation, which is a nice thing.


Firefox is included and on the latest stable release.

Installing and updating Software

Peppermint OS uses Linux Mint's Update manager and Software Center. If you have used Linux Mint, you know they are both easy to use. My main complaint about both has always been their poor performance in general.

The Software Center is quite nice, using an interface that is very similar to that in Ubuntu. I don't know who's copying who, but they are almost identical. In all fairness, I think it was Linux Mint who first started using this concept, back when Ubuntu relied solely on the Synaptic Package manager.


Mint's Software Center main screen.

Many of the applications available have user reviews, as well as long descriptions which provide great explanations for the end user. Screenshots are mostly missing, but I am guessing they will be populated eventually. Aside from the categories displayed, the search feature works pretty well, returning search results quite quickly. It is the installation process that can get painfully slow.


Mint's Software Center search results screen for Minitube.

The Mint Update manager particularly can get ridiculously slow. I am not sure if this is down to Linux Mint's own repositories lacking bandwidth, Peppermint's repositories or both, but it can easily get frustrating.


Mint Update main screen.

Audio & Video

As could be expected, most audio and video apps are cloud based. Some interesting ones are installed locally though, such as the great Banshee audio player or the lightweight Asunder CD burner.


Peppermint OS has Audio and Video covered with a number of cool applications.

All in all, I think there is enough here to get your thirst for video and music satisfied both while connected and when offline.

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...

Peppermint OS is a very nice project with a fresh and very interesting approach to how Linux should shape up for modern users. Far from the extremely minimalistic approach taken by Google with Google Chrome OS, Peppermint OS actually keeps enough local weight to keep your attention when you can't go online.

In fact, one thing I specially like about Peppermint's approach is that it provides lots of flexibility. On the one hand, you may choose to go minimalistic, going for an OS that can take as little as 512MB of hard drive space. Nothing would prevent you from installing many of the applications available and beefing up the local catalog though, consequently getting closer to a standard desktop OS.

All in all, Peppermint OS is a very nice Linux twist which I definitely recommend trying.

Have fun!