2. An Intro to the Desktop

The Peppermint Desktop

Peppermint makes use of a desktop environment known as LXDE, which is a collection of components written and assembled to be light on resource usage and have a small install footprint. This combination of attributes is responsible for making Peppermint and other LXDE based operating systems notable for their speed and responsiveness when compared to some of the alternatives. Of note is that Peppermint does not make use of all of the LXDE components but rather replaces a select few of them with alternatives. For example Peppermint uses Xfwm4 instead of Openbox, Gedit instead of Leafpad, mintInput rather than LXinput, etc and some components, such as LXlauncher, are not included at all.

By default we’ve made it a point to keep the desktop simple and free of clutter. On the left side of the panel you’ll find no more than the application menu. On the right side, a 24 hour clock sits between the system tray and a logout button. A workspace switcher is also present. We provide no desktop icons by default.

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The menu in Peppermint conveniently breaks down application categories according to the standards suggested by freedesktop.org. In addition we add to the root level menu additional shortcuts to the most commonly used applications: the Chromium web browser, the software manager, and the file manager.

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The original Peppermint One release came equipped with Mozilla’s Firefox web browser by default. Shortly thereafter, the demand for an edition built around Google’s Chromium web browser grew to such a point that we released Peppermint Ice. Between now and then we gathered what feedback we could from users, developers, and reviewers and weighed certain upstream decisions such as the deprecation of Mozilla’s Prism SSB framework. The end result is that we’ve been using Chromium as the default since Peppermint Two.

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In Peppermint we’ve put a lot of thought into the default application selection. We’re trying to bring the maximum amount of functionality and ease of use together with our goal of a fast and light operating system by opting to use web applications in many places where locally installed alternatives would traditionally be used. For applications where there is no suitable web based alternative, we aim for a nice balance of features, simplicity, and speed.

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Next – Chapter Three – Customizing the Desktop