These days you only get about 15 minutes of originality before someone grabs your idea, swirls it around into a slightly different shape, and then rereleases it as their own. That’s a good thing really. But it does mean that mentioning Peppermint Linux immediately after mentioning Lubuntu is the appropriate thing to do, considering it came hot on the heels of Lubuntu’s imprimatur.
I have to admit up front that I am not a netbook owner, a Linux Mint fan nor a proponent of cloud-based computing. If anything, I find it amazing that (for example) in the midst of so much negativity over Facebook’s supposedly obtuse privacy policies, people are still interested in foisting all their computer habits out into the wild.
But it’s always possible that you are one, two or even all three of those things. In that case, a Mint rendition of Lubuntu is probably quite attractive. The system profile is almost indistinguishable from its progenitor — roughly 100Mb on cold start. And the framework is obviously still Lubuntu, with the addition of Mint’s flair — things like preinstalled Flash, or the Mint software upgrader.
But Peppermint subtracts almost all the standalone software that I mentioned yesterday, and in its place are shortcuts to web-based alternatives. You can see some of them in the screenshot — things like Pandora, pixlr, the Google suite, Facebook, Hulu and so forth. Almost everything is wired to run through Prism, which I don’t really know as much more than a stripped out version of Firefox, intended to reclaim screen space for web-based applications.
Maybe that’s the underlying principle here — tear out the generally accepted tools to make “space” for remote substitutes. I’m not sure I follow the logic, but if that’s conventional wisdom, I won’t fight it.
And I also wonder why there is such a press for lightweight systems among netbook users, when even some of the most basic models appear to have speedy processors and gigabytes of memory. Why squabble over the difference between a bland Ubuntu Gnome installation and a Lubuntu-based cloud-computing system when you have hardware that can probably handle either one?
Ultimately it all falls to preference, and we’re back to the most important idea: Freedom to change and choose. So if Peppermint appeals to you because you believe you’re sparing your netbook the effort of thrashing through the Gnome desktop, and at the same time undercutting the system requirements of Lubuntu … well, you are always welcome to use it.
But the clock is ticking, and there are only a few minutes left before someone carves up Peppermint, and rereleases it as something new. Move fast.