[UPDATED] Peppermint OS 11 Out Now, With Debian Base And Xfce Desktop

An early screenshot from Peppermint OS 11
An early screenshot from Peppermint OS 11, courtesy of cavy

Peppermint OS founder and lead developer Mark Greaves tragically passed away in January 2020, but the dedicated developers of Peppermint OS vowed to continue work on the stylish, lightweight Linux distribution. Following his passing, new forum administrator cavy told me the community was “sorting thru the voluminous work [Mark] left behind” to take the distribution forward. True to his word, a private release candidate of Peppermint OS 11 is being seeded to its developers and trusted forum testers later today, with a public release intended for February 3, 2022.

The new Peppermint OS release will now utilize the Calamares installer and the ISO will only ship with the bare essentials. Users will get to pick and choose a variety of software and browsers during installation. But that’s not remotely the most significant change.

Peppermint OS 11 abandons its Ubuntu LTS base in favor of Debian (presumably Stable).

Peppermint OS 11's live desktop and welcome app.

“We collectively agreed with the admins team to drop Ubuntu, due to the direction they have taken,” says Cavy. “I have seen all arguments for and against this switch. I genuinely believe this to be the optimum move in Peppermint’s evolutionally development.”

In addition to that, the devs will “eventually drop the fixed release cycle” and transition to a semi-rolling release cadence. Once in place, this will effectively mean that users can have “one and only install for the lifespan of your computer.”

I first tried Peppermint OS 10 in 2019 after purchasing a cheap ($165 at the time) Asus VivoBook E203M. It had a paltry Intel dual-core 2.1GHz laptop and 4GB of RAM. When I slapped Windows 10 on it, it frequently threw “Not Responding” messages at me, and ran with the enthusiasm of a drunk snail.

But when I installed Peppermint OS, it just screamed.

For me, the distro stood out because of its modular “Frankenstein approach” to distribution development. Mark Greaves had cherry-picked the best elements of the LXDE, Xfce and Cinnamon desktop environments! He used both the Mint and GNOME software centers. Multiple package managers. On paper, it should have been a disaster, but it was fast, lean, and elegant.

It should be fascinating to see if and how Peppermint OS 11 continues that approach. Regardless, it’s terrific to have this distribution back!

UPDATE, FEBRUARY 3: The new Peppermint OS is here, and it seems to be referred to as simply “Peppermint.” That’s likely a nod to the fact that it’s now a “continuous delivery OS.”

There are other notable changes in the release notes. Here’s a few that stick out:

  • LXDE elements have been removed in favor of Xfce 4.16
  • Calamares replaces Ubiquity for system installation
  • Users are able to switch to Debian Testing repos.
  • Terminal based ad-blocker called hblock is bundled in.
  • A minimum set of desktop wallpaper is included during installation. Download additional wallpaper in the Welcome to Peppermint app.
  • Nemo replaces Thunar as the default file manager.

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13 Responses

  1. Happy to see Peppermint coming back, But way Debian? its just not my fav. older packeges, then Ubuntu. I think you should give people choice and make Debian and Ubuntu spin. I think that would be good for all.

  2. I’ve used peppermint 10 for some time and it is my favorite distro on older hardware. If flies on an old Acer aspire one and can’t wait to try 11.

    1. Great question for the developers, but I would suspect they still want to be on the “super stable” path with regards to kernel?

  3. The direction of Peppermint was set By Mark before he past. He was heading towards a Debian based Peppermint. The team that was put together was following his path.

  4. I am always waiting for a new Peppermint OS release after the aging 10 respin. Peppermint captured my Linux-ness from the moment I looked into it after a series of distro-hopping. I would’ve used it almost everywhere but unfortunately it used to older kernels and many of my devices and gadgets would fail to work. But as a desktop workstation, it really brought much competitive edge as my daily driver against Mint. I am just hoping that version 11 would bring in a newer kernel so that more devices could be supported. I hope they can look at how MX does AHS too.

  5. The Linux Mint Debian Edition experiment has proved that this isn’t the right decision.I see, in these days, a lot of people love re-inventing the wheel.

  6. I am pleased to see a new Peppermint release. I am all for a Debian stable base, with the understanding that those who want testing can simply switch repos. I am used to both Ubuntu-based and Debian-stable-based. Each has its advantages.

What's your opinion?