This is my third time with Peppermint OS this year, and I have to say, I did not like Peppermint OS the first two times. For starters, I prefer XFCE and a ‘traditional’, Desk Top seems like a waste of motion to run and application. Secondly, I was not sure what to do with the web-centric focus of Peppermint OS. Finally, compared to the heavyweight Linux distributions out there, Peppermint OS is sparsely populated.
This is my third time in as many months with Peppermint OS, and I now love it for what it does, and what it is made for. Interestingly enough, Covid-19 is the major reason for my change of how I perceive Peppermint OS. I am an instructor for English as a second language, or ESL. With Covid, ESL has moved to Zoom and Google Classroom.
Thanks to Covid-19, all meetings and training are done online, and not face to face in a room, sitting across the table from each other. It was this change that lets Peppermint OS show off its well thought out platform starting with the desktop and finishing with the choices of installed programs.
Peppermint OS is meant to use to the web applications whenever possible. As such it has a light footprint and it is very quick and nimble. Its menu is not bloated with every conceivable application one may wish to use. It is easily configurable within the programs and parameters for which it is meant to be used.
Here is where I deviated from why Peppermint OS was created. I wanted to use a dock, not a panel. I wanted an XFCE right click menu option. I wanted all my KDE programs ready in the menu system. I wanted the task bar on top of the desktop, not the bottom.
With all these wants, I was spending a lot of time and experiencing a lot of frustration trying to change Peppermint OS into something it is not to be, a mid-weight desktop environment. It was not a fun process, and I did not like the result of my effort.
Now, as my ESL instruction is web-concentric, everything Peppermint OS does and has to offer makes Peppermint OS the obvious choice. What is the reason for creating a document, uploading to the web, having to tweak and reformat to make it look how I want, when all I have to do is use the tools Peppermint OS already offers. I’m a little slow on the uptake sometime.
Once I made a real comparison of my nitpicking of Peppermint OS with my desk-centric Debian, it was easy to see they are different distributions for different purposes. Debian Linux will accept almost any change or any program. Peppermint OS will too, but it is happier if you keep the programs in the confines of the desktop environment built into it.
Hugs and kisses were not descriptive of the first day. When I would suspend Peppermint. Because I have a Nvidia video card, suspension was permanent. Waking up, meant shutting down. This is due to a flaw in the open source video drivers. The simplest fix is to download and install Nvidia drivers. Now coming back from suspend is a matter of pushing the Windows key, and not pushing the power button as I need to do with Debian.
I didn’t understand why Firefox was the browser launched when half the online office is Google-centric. It seemed Chrome would be a better choice. On the third install, I decided there was a reason Firefox is the installed browser and have stayed with Firefox.
I installed Conky with a modified script. Mostly for an easy view of time and date. I spent a minute each, placing launchers and adding the application I wanted on the panel. I added a second workspace as one is never enough. I changed the folder appearance, and the wallpaper.
I also removed the language language flag. Using the tools Peppermint OS provides, change is simple, maybe too simple for someone like me. Thankfully, there is a very handy desktop reset tool, if like me you have gone past the point of no return with your desktop modifications
Peppermint OS has made the online part of my world easier. Having a separate distribution just for ESL makes document management simple. I no longer use separate ‘Document’ folders in my home directory, one for ESL material and one for everything else. I guess that is streamlining in action?
As with any Linux distribution, Peppermint OS is not for everyone. However, if you find yourself taking advantage of the awesome online office suites and storage, you may wish to give Peppermint OS serious consideration. It really makes document creation, storage and Google Classroom much simpler and more pleasant.
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