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War of the peppermint gargantuas

August 11, 2010

When I was a kid, I used to watch the Creature Double Feature on channel 56. The Creature Double Feature was something I loved tuning into every Saturday, it was basically a double blast of monster movies. What could be better than two monster movies for a kid to watch on a Saturday?

One of the best movies was called War of the Gargantuas. The film was about two brother gargantuas who go to war against each other. One was brown (the peaceful one who lived in the mountains) and the other one was green (he was psychotic and lived in the ocean). During the course of the film, the two gargantuas went to war with each other and mayhem resulted. The green gargantua still gives me the willies, even after all these years.

The trailer for the movie is below, along with another clip. A true monster movie classic!

The Peppermint Gargantuas
Now – many years after the War of the Gargantuas movie – there are two more gargantuas that are at war. These two aren’t brown and green, these two are peppermint. I’m referring, of course, to Peppermint OS One and Peppermint Ice. Both are web-centric Linux distros, designed to give Ubuntu users easy access to some of the best web applications available.

Which one of these peppermint distros is the best? Which one should you download? I’ll answer that in this column as I explore the pros and cons of each version.

Why Two Versions of Peppermint OS?
The decision by the developers to create two peppermint distros is, at first, somewhat puzzling. After all, wouldn’t it be easier to simply maintain one? After an email exchange with one of the developers, I finally understood why. It seems that there were many in the Peppermint OS community that really wanted a version that used Chromium instead of Firefox, and thus Peppermint Ice was born to give those folks what they wanted.

The Peppermint Ice desktop.

The Peppermint OS One desktop.

Some probably think this is a bad idea, but I respect the developers for listening to their users. As long as the two distros can be maintained at parity with each other, having two shouldn’t be a problem. But the developers should be very, very clear on their site about why both exist and what each has to offer.

Peppermint Ice Review Follies
Before I delve into each of the peppermint gargantuas; it’s necessary to convey an amusing aside about the recent review of Peppermint Ice I wrote for Desktop Linux Reviews. When I first heard about Peppermint Ice, I assumed (never a good idea to assume anything) that it was the upgrade to Peppermint OS One. So the review I wrote was totally from that perspective.

Well shortly after publishing my review and beginning to market it on various social media services, I got an email from one of the developers pointing out that Peppermint OS One and Peppermint Ice were two different distros. Peppermint Ice was not an upgrade for Peppermint OS One.

Oops! How horrible! I had made a really stupid error and had no choice but to frantically rewrite the review even as people began to come from various social media sites to read it. This was absolutely not what a writer wants to be doing at the last minute. Thankfully, I was able get the rewrite done very, very fast. It’s amazing what a little adrenaline and potential large-scale humiliation can do for the speed of an edit.

:dizzy: :whistle:

The Differences
Now let’s take a look at what each distro has to offer. All things considered, there aren’t very many differences between the two distros. Here’s a brief list of each:

Peppermint OS One
Firefox as the Default Browser
Prism SSB
Red and White Peppermint Wallpaper and Logo

Peppermint Ice
Chromium as the Default Browser
Blue and White Peppermint Wallpaper and Logo

I’ll cover the SSB issue below in the section about speed, including the term’s definition.

Regarding the issue of browsers, I have to give it to Chromium. I still love Firefox, but I can understand why some people would drift away from Peppermint OS to Peppermint Ice to use Chromium as the default browser. Firefox has been lagging behind Chrome/Chromium and that seems to have affected its usage among some users.

Hulu running in the Prism SSB in Peppermint OS One.

As far as wallpaper and logos go, Peppermint OS One looks much better to me than Peppermint Ice. Peppermint Ice’s blue and white colors just strike me as lacking in energy, I find them blase and rather dreary compared to Peppermint OS One’s. Of course, this is simply wallpaper aesthetics. It’s quite simple enough to change the default wallpaper.

The Best SSB
For those who aren’t familiar with the term, SSB simply means Site Specific Browser.

Here’s a more detailed definition of that from Wikipedia:

A site-specific browser (SSB) is a software application that is dedicated to accessing pages from a single source (site) on a computer network such as the Internet or a private intranet. SSBs typically simplify the more complex functions of a web browser by excluding the menus, toolbars and browser chrome associated with functions that are external to the workings of a single site.

Site-specific browsers are often implemented through the use of existing application frameworks such as Gecko, WebKit, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (the underlying layout engines, specifically Trident and JScript) and Opera’s Presto. SSBs built upon these frameworks allow web applications and social networking tools to start with desktop icons launching in a manner similar to standard non-browser applications.

Chromium is the default browser in Peppermint Ice.

Peppermint OS One uses the Prism SSB from Mozilla; Peppermint Ice uses the Ice SSB that was written by one of the Peppermint developers. Which one is better? Which one is faster?

In an email with one of the Peppermint developers a while back, he mentioned that they thought that the Ice SSB was a bit faster than the Prism SSB. But is it really?

I did some informal testing and, frankly, I did notice a difference between the Ice and Prism SSBs. The Ice SSB edged out the Prism SSB when loading web applications like Facebook and Pandora. It wasn’t that much faster, but it was definitely a little bit faster. The Ice SSB was about a second or two faster than the Prism SSB.

Final Thoughts
So who’s the ultimate victor? Well, in the movie, the ending is rather dismal as both gargantuas are killed. So neither of them ultimately wins in the end. Fortunately, our peppermint gargantuas are alive and well. But there can only be one winner and the winner is…Peppermint Ice.

The combination of Chromium and the Ice SSB edges out (barely) Peppermint OS One. It’s not a big enough difference that you could go wrong using Peppermint OS One, but the Chromium/Ice SSB combination was just fast enough to warrant using Peppermint Ice.

Facebook loaded just a tad bit faster in Ice than in OS One.

I am, of course, assuming that speed is the most important thing to you. If I were going to pick a winner based on aesthetics, I’d have picked Peppermint OS One. The logo and wallpaper are far more attractive than the washed out, blue and white colors in Peppermint Ice.

So Peppermint Ice wins our War of the Peppermint Gargantuas. Unlike in the movie, at least this time nobody got eaten or stepped on as the gargantuas fought it out until the bitter end.

What’s your take on Peppermint OS One and Peppermint Ice? Which do you prefer and why? Tell me in the comments below.


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29 Responses to War of the peppermint gargantuas

  1. Lyle on January 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I think I remember Peppermint OS having print support. While Ice is mention to use Google print.

  2. eaz on January 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I have been a xubuntu fan for a long time, and it was about the best distro on my AO751 (yes the one with the terribly supported intel gma500 chip).
    But now, pepermint wins easily. It is so much faster than other distros, even after installing the terrific psb module (1366×768) that slows down quite a bit.
    My netbook is almost like a normal computer now :smile:

  3. stevels on December 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    In the last 7 days on DistroWatch a new cloud OS called Jolicloud has broken into the top 100 and of the 30 or so dists I have on uTorrent it is second in peers only to BackTrack 4 with 250. It has built in capability to install onto a Windows partition and dual boot from a Windows .exe file.
    I’m going to try it out tonight and see what’s up.

  4. stevels on December 1, 2010 at 6:51 am

    @ Jake:
    Finally someone else that recognizes Google is becoming an evil empire. Their motto of “Do no Evil” is ironic for sure.

    I smell anti-trust lawsuits in the next decade against Google… They are trying to own every aspect of our on-line life.

    As for speed of browsers: Palemoon fork for Firefox along with flashblock, adblock, bartab (prevents tab loading till you ask for the load), noscript, WOT and PrefBar (allows adding buttons on Firefox menu to turn images, script and such on or off at a whim) is unbeatable in speed of any browser around. There are tweaks to enhance Firefox even further and it can be made more secure than any other for online banking and purchasing.

    These two distributions are just marketing gimmicks. There is so little difference that they could just release one dist and give the option to install Chrome or Firefox. They are going to have to compete successfully against MeeGo, Moblin, gOS and others so we’ll see.
    I’ll try both dists but this little marketing gimmick gives me a dirty taste in my mouth at the start.

  5. Brian Masinick on November 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    In the comments between Josh and oldrong, I am more with oldrong – although choice is a GREAT thing in free software – it’s great to have choices, since we each have different interests and a different level of tolerance for various things.

    I happen to be using antiX core today. So far, everything I’ve done has been over the Web – reading Web mail, checking the news, sports, weather, researching my industry, and looking for work.

    When I get to deciding about where to send job applications, I will definitely access my local information, but I have found Web based locations where I am willing to store my resume, and I keep local copies as well.

    As far as trusting an environment, a well crafted firewall and device encryption will certainly protect anything sensitive, but a poorly chosen password will open the door to both of those things, so make sure you have and manage a good password protection scheme, and don’t be foolish about writing it in an accessible place either! :-) (Of course you would not do such things, but there are those who do and who will, so this is a gentle reminder to them!)

  6. oldrong on November 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    @ Josh:
    All the office products are in the software manager, and synaptic for those to afraid to go with the cloud. That’s why Peppermint is so attractive to folks willing to take a real look. It is the most configurable Linux disto I have ever used, and I have used any, and all that will install to my hard drives. That being said, a closed mind, is a closed mind, and not much will change that for anyone. ;-) If real speed isn’t your thing, then so be it. I personally like to pick what software I want, and don’t wish to spend hour, upon hour finding, and removing stuff I never wanted. JMHO.

  7. Josh on November 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t like the idea of a web-centric distro due to the seemingly lack of personal security. This may sound overly paranoid — I just don’t think my personal documents should be out there on a Google server somewhere for someone to hack, I don’t think that I should be online to use my computer all of the time, and I don’t think that a distro like this is so user friendly for beginners simply because of how dangerous this could potentially be! I believe there is far too much potential for personal disaster having a computer that is only functional when connected to the Internet.

    Nope, I’ll take my regular old desktop OS (Ubuntu, for now), save my personal files and information on an encryted hard drive, have my firewall set up for when I’m online, and have the feeling (or illusion, however one chooses to see it) of my information being secure.

  8. True Reality on October 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Your question is simple to change the peppermint ice splash follow these simple steps.

    1. Navigate to: /usr/share/peppermint-ice/wallpapers this is where the splash screen and wallpapers are.

    2. To edit the images there goto tools on the menu and click open current folder as root. This will allow you to edit the pics.

    3. Do not change the names of the picks just the picks. Now you can simply drop in your own pic just keep the names of the pics the same. Also notice that some are jpg and some are png make sure that suffix stays the same.

    The easy way to do this is use your photo editor. Open only one pic such as ice-wallpappers.jpg in your photo editor I use kolourpaint. Once you have opened that pic delete the pic in the photo editor and add your own, then [save as] the last name to all the pics. Your done!

    4. Reboot to see your splash screen.

  9. Richard on October 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I find PeppermintOne to be close to what I’ve been searching for since Mandrake8, Mepis, Kanotix, sidux, Debian testing, Ubuntu, LinuxMint and now Peppermint. Fast install, good out-of-the-box and easy to install my essentials make it my distro of choice. :happy:

  10. Ron Gibbs on September 22, 2010 at 12:18 am

    @ Brian Masinick:

    Personally, Chrome is buggy, and never works as well on the Linux systems I have tried it on, while Chromium has never given me any issues, and continues to work well on all my systems. That simple.

  11. Brian Masinick on September 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Ron Gibbs wrote:

    Chrome, no, Chromium, yes. There is a huge difference.

    There is a difference, sure, but please explain why you consider it to be a “huge difference”. Chromium is the project that makes the source for the browser available, and from it, Google produces their branded Chrome Browser. Why do you feel that is a huge difference? Functionally, I see little difference other than the branding.

  12. Ron Gibbs on September 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Chrome, no, Chromium, yes. There is a huge difference.

  13. Brian Masinick on September 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Jake wrote:

    Been using Pep almost from day one. Since Opera has been my default browser since ver 3.6, no matter the OS, I usually had Seamonkey as 2nd. I stopped using goog a month or two after it hit the web because–& this should be no surprise, it bloody well is evil, and trying very hard to be the MSFT of the web. It is banned from all my, & my client’s, computers. Yes, I have tried chromium as it came with PartionMagic. I found it to be not quite as good as SeaMonkey or Firefox [using 4.0b5, now], & none are as fast as Opera–particularly since I surf much of the time with no graphics, plug-ins, java, or script and enable them with a click when wanted–can’t do that with anything but Opera. As for fully enabled, I believe Epiphany beat them all.

    Jake, good mention of some alternative browsers. While I have not developed as much fondness for Opera as you have, I do use it fairly often – interestingly enough to view video content for the most part. I can identify with turning on or off added features. I first started using the Web and rich content in the early days of the Web from a UNIX workstation. That workstation had a 2 MB video cache, tiny in today’s world, and the CPU had what was then a fast 200 MHz RISC chipset, but let’s face it, what that could do and what things can do today are worlds apart. I used to disable most Web features and only turn them on if I really wanted to see something. That made getting to most Web pages a LOT faster, but things were comparatively slow back then, and frankly, I preferred to see pages that had predominantly text, perhaps just with some nice color, but few pictures. With today’s bandwidth, rich sites are fine, as long as they provide both wide bandwidth and fast processors.

    As far as Epiphany goes, I don’t remember to test that very often because I do not use GNOME very often, but Epiphany got a very nice speed boost when they changed their rendering engine from Gecko to Webkit, and I did manage to check that out and confirm that the Webkit interface definitely outpaces the Gecko one handily.

  14. Jake on September 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Been using Pep almost from day one. Since Opera has been my default browser since ver 3.6, no matter the OS, I usually had Seamonkey as 2nd. I stopped using goog a month or two after it hit the web because–& this should be no surprise, it bloody well is evil, and trying very hard to be the MSFT of the web. It is banned from all my, & my client’s, computers. Yes, I have tried chromium as it came with PartionMagic. I found it to be not quite as good as SeaMonkey or Firefox [using 4.0b5, now], & none are as fast as Opera–particularly since I surf much of the time with no graphics, plug-ins, java, or script and enable them with a click when wanted–can’t do that with anything but Opera. As for fully enabled, I believe Epiphany beat them all.

  15. Sonicfrog on August 23, 2010 at 10:42 am

    @ oldrong:
    You’ve probably found out by now, Peppermint is not a native Gnome desktop. I installed on mine, and it’s still extremely quick.

  16. oldrong on August 21, 2010 at 12:42 am

    @ Aaron:

    The thing I like most about both peppermints is they are modular. If you don’t like something, remove it, and put in what you like.pcmanfm had a glitch, and Kendall posted the cure for it, and it was fine after that, but some have preferred Thunar, so they simply remove pcmanfm, and install Thunar, no problems. It seems any changes made make very little change in the speed, and that is a plus. :smile:

  17. Aaron on August 20, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I tried Peppermint OS One when it initially came out and liked it but started to have issues with the version of PC Man so I left it for the LXDE version of Mint (Kendall maintains this as well). When Ice came out I gave it another try and I am glad I did because I love it. I have made a lot of modifications to suit me but I prefer Chromium to Firefox these days and I actually prefer the color scheme of Ice. One thing not mentioned in the review is that Ice does not come with any kind of print manager, unlike One. Here is the solution if your using Ice and want to print.

    In lxterminal:

    apt install cups hplip system-config-printer-gnome

  18. oldrong on August 17, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    @ amv:

    I am burning a copy of the live Cd as I type this, but I already see two things against it for me, and those are gnome desktop (too bloated with things I don’t need), and over 200mb larger in size than Peppermint. But I like test driving distros, so I will give it a look. I did look at the supplied screenshot, and it was really boring, but of course, that can be changed. Thanks for the suggestion though. :biggrin:

  19. amv on August 17, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    to oldrong August 12, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Try Paldo Linux os

  20. EmuDan on August 17, 2010 at 1:31 am

    What I really like about both distros is that they have excellent wireless support. Probably the best I’ve seen from linux so far. Also, very easy to use and installing was a breeze.

  21. Sonicfrog on August 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve been using Pep-One for a month. I have been a disrto-junkie for the last ten years, and this one is a keeper! It is by far the fastest I’ve ever used. For the heck of it, I installed Gnome in the thing… and that hardly slowed it down! I’m probably going to try and tweak it into an audio station and see how that goes.

  22. Brian Masinick on August 12, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    @oldrong: I don’t expect that antiX core will have a very large following. Peppermint OS is much more likely to create a nice niche, and if the DistroWatch ratings are at all meaningful, for a few weeks over the past three months, Peppermint OS has made it into the top ten in terms of site visits. That says a lot considering Peppermint was new this Spring.

  23. oldrong on August 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    @Brian. More power to you, and I hope your creation is exactly what you want. I am not one who has the time, or knowledge to “make” a core of any distro into something I would want.
    I simply find One, and Ice so simple to customize with little or no knowledge of the “innards” of an operating system, I think they could easily appeal to MS users, and may even entice them to try Linux, and leave the bonds of Windows. I think that is some of the reason Kendall, Shane, and all the developers at Peppermint began this journey, and I applaud them for it.
    Good luck to you, and I hope you version of Linux serves you well for many years to come. :smile:

  24. Brian Masinick on August 12, 2010 at 11:58 am

    @oldrong: Perhaps Peppermint OS is the fastest of the thirty or so distributions that you have tried out, and it indeed ranks among the fastest I’ve tried too, but as I mentioned in my comments, I applied some of the ideas I learned from Peppermint and took them to some of my other favorite distributions and found the effect to be the same. Moreover, I experimented with a rather raw, but functional antiX core (not your every day distribution, but one in which you can create whatever kind of system you want), and I was able to make my own Web app custom distribution that even beats One and Ice on boot speed, and definitely on snapping up the desktop upon login. It’s clearly not the “drop in and run” distribution that Ice and One are though. On the other hand, it wasn’t tough, and it didn’t take long at all to create precisely what I wanted, and it sure is FAST!

    I’m not in any way diminishing the great work that Kendall and Shane have done. All I am saying is that there are other alternatives, too, especially for people who prefer to customize their own work. Ice is nice, but core is cool.

  25. oldrong on August 12, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Anyone who hasn’t at least tried out Peppermint, is just missing out. The Ice version is the quickest distro of the 30 or more that I have ever tried. They don’t come with a load of crap most folks will never even use, but they have anything a NORMAL person could ever want in the package manager ready to be added, or removed at the owners whim. I think Peppermint is the future, and the future is now! :devil:

  26. Mark on August 12, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I’ve never used either version of Peppermint OS but Creature Double Feature on channel 56 ruled! I spent many Saturday afternoons as a kid glued to the TV with that show on.

  27. Ferre on August 12, 2010 at 6:56 am

    After using Lubuntu 10.04 I decided to have a go with Peppermint OS One and everything went just great. I liked the overall look better than Lubuntu and I “was sold” immediately ! Sadly enough I had to change to Lubuntu again because of HDD-problems. Even reinstalling three times the problems kept coming. The fact is that my external HD flipped out of sight when selecting it. That’s why I’m staying with Lubuntu. Actually there’s no much difference between them ….

  28. Yves14 on August 12, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I had started using Peppermint One on my eee 701 netbook because the machine has low ressources. So speed and memory usage are essential and Peppermint Whichever is really good at this.
    What’s more, it so happens that Chrome has a better rendering on my tiny computer screen than Firefox, and is faster too. So I recently shifted to Ice.
    But it is true the Ice splash screen is just ugly… How do you change this?
    Thanks to the Peppermint people anyway: they’re doing a great job!

  29. Brian Masinick on August 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I quickly determined that the only significant difference between Ice and One were the browsers and the wallpaper. I, too, preferred Peppermint OS One’s wallpaper, so I solved the browser thing like any true geek would do – I just downloaded Chromium and that was it.

    Then I created my OWN SSB instances using Chromium in addition to the ones created by the distro makers. Voila, I have both, plus what I consider the nicer appearance.

    Moreover, I’ve taken the SSB idea and carried it to numerous other distros. I’ve used combinations of Mozilla Prism, Adobe Air with application instances, and Google’s Chrome and Chromium. Based on my very informal, but very widespread usage of multiple browser based platforms, I can tell you that Google’s platform performs faster than the others, but Mozilla’s Prism is not very far behind. Adobe’s implementation definitely lags significantly, both in performance and appearance compared to the Google and Mozilla offerings.

    I’d don’t need Peppermint OS, but it gave me some additional ideas to try out on my own. I still keep it handy, but I mostly do my experimentation on sidux and antiX. Speaking of antiX, a new development of antiX called antiX core makes it possible to make super light implementations. It starts without X and without anything except the core system and utilities. This means that it is very light and fast. I then add an X server to it and a lightweight desktop – so far, I’ve added TWO: LXDE and XFCE. Man, that XFCE is the fastest XFCE implementation I’ve ever seen, because it has ONLY what I included in it. I added some SSB instances of Chromium, then added IceWeasel and IceApe, just so I’d have a bit of status quo around. What a great system, and it’s all mine – my own custom core, based on antiX core.

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