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Linux Top Three: Peppermint, Mint and Arch Linux Get Updates

  • July 30, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

On the commercial side of the Linux Planet, Red Hat, Canonical/Ubuntu and SUSE dominate the landscape. When it comes to the community side however there are a whole lot more choices. This past week three noteworthy Linux distro released their latest milestone releases.

1) Peppermint Three

The goal of Peppermint has long been to have the best of both desktop and cloud worlds. In Peppermint Three that goal is achieved in a number of ways. For cloud based documents, instead of just using Google Docs via the browser, Peppermint Three uses GWoffice.

"This is a desktop Google Docs client that is lightweight and runs completely independent of Chromium," Peppermint Three developer, Kendall Weaver wrote in the release announcement. "It’s still beta software, but we feel it offers a great improvement over using Docs from a browser or SSB."

SSB or Site Specific Browser is a great idea that delivers what the name implies – a browser just for a given site/application. Mozilla kinda/sorta tried to do this with Prism a few years back but Peppermint (unlike Mozilla) hasn't given up on the idea.

"SSBs allow an application to function in more of a standalone method than running them directly through the web browser," the PeppermintOS guide explains. "In addition they allow for the user to take advantage of additional screen space as they don’t include all the functions and menus of a browser."

Peppermint while full of some great original ideas, also borrows heavily from others. The core distro is based on the LXDE derivative of Ubuntu 12.04 (Lubuntu) thought the update manager is based on one from Linux Mint (itself a one-time derivative of Ubuntu).

2) Linux Mint 13 KDE

Speaking of Linux Mint, that distro also had a release update last week. While Linux Mint is well known for its GNOME based efforts, including MATE and more recently Cinammon, it also support other desktops as well.

Linux Mint KDE is one of those 'other' desktops. Unlike GNOME however, Linux Mint has strayed from the upstream desktop, with KDE it has not. Linux Mint 13 KDE uses a mostly stock KDE 4.8 release.

There is an alternative KDE desktop known as Trinity, which was forked in much the same way that MATE was from GNOME. Trinity remains an effort to keep the KDE 3.x desktop alive, though apparently it's not a cause that Linux Mint KDE officially embraces.

2) Arch Linux 2012.07.15

Unlike other distributions released last week, Arch Linux has a rolling release model. That is, it's a distribution that is continuously updated and built. That said, every so often there is a milestone announcement release that serves as a media update for new installations.

Those new installations will now be a bit more work for new users than the prior media updates.

"Most notable change is that AIF (the Arch Installation Framework) is no longer included but instead some simple install scripts are provided to aid in the installation process," Arch developer Pierre Schmitz wrote in a news release. "This means a menu driven installer is no longer available and we rely more on documentation to guide new users."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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