27 Aug

Interview with Peppermint's Co-founder Shane Remington

DuckDuckGo's interview series with our browser, distribution and data partners.

An interview with Shane Remington of Peppermint -- a DuckDuckGo partner .


1) Who are you, and what do you work on?

My name is Shane Remington and I'm the project lead for Peppermint.

2) Tell us more about Peppermint? Who are your users?

Peppermint just launched its 4th version in June and the whole team is really proud to be offering it to the world, free of charge and community driven for four years running. Peppermint users are from all over the globe, in over 100 countries and territories. The only location we haven't had a download from is the Sahara Desert, but we're patiently waiting.

3) Why did you decide to build Peppermint? What makes it unique?

According to legend, and chronicled in Wikipedia, my business partner and I envisioned Peppermint one late winters evening while enjoying a cold pint at The Black Rose Public House. I knew who Kendall was but we had never had a lengthy conversation until that night when we both discovered we were Linux users and he had been contributing to Linux Mint.

Peppermint has been developed from the beginning with the same philosophy we agreed upon that night. We fashioned it to be an easy crossover from Windows or Mac, with a very familiar look and feel. Super lightweight and easy on processes. No bloatware. Lightning fast and responsive.

But what really sets us apart from the others is that unlike other Cloud Operating Systems on the market who rely solely on an internet connection, Peppermint is a full featured and customizable desktop OS that happens to have a very unique and trustworthy delivery of the Cloud to your machine.

In order to offer the best and most reliable performance of these web applications we developed our own utility in-house that we call "Ice" . Ice, technically, is an Single Site Browser [SSB] framework that allows you to deliver cloud/web based applications to your desktop where they look, act and operate as if they were directly installed on the machine. The best way to experience Ice is to install Peppermint and use it to see how powerful it is and how it will increase your workflow when you are in online mode.

Kendall Weaver on the left/CTO of Peppermint, LLC, Shane Remington on the right/COO of Peppermint, LLC

4) What are your future plans for Peppermint?

The vision for Peppermint has been the same since the beginning: To create the best possible desktop operating system that anyone can pick up and use immediately out of the box. It just works. The plan for Peppermint has also remained the same and will never change: Community developed and Free for Everyone, Forever... We like to keep things clean, simple.... and minty fresh of course.

5) What tools do you use to build Peppermint?

Machine, Terminal, Hands, Eyes and Brain.... and something to sit on :-)

6) What recommendations and tips would you give to someone interested in building a distro?

Get involved with another distro for several years and get used to working with others, especially those across great distances and time zones. We didn't walk home from the pub one night and pull Peppermint out of a box. Its a lot of work. Every day. Every month. All year long.

It was never the intention to build a desktop operating system, get a link up on Distrowatch and then sit in a cave. We understood going into this from the start that we needed to allow a community to grow up around us and interface directly with everyone who uses it on a daily basis. We also intentionally made certain that everyone was welcome in our community regardless of skill level. We're not your typical computer curmudgeons who make new users feel out of place: Peppermint is here to serve and educate. We all have to start somewhere.

And another tip: Create something that you will be proud of regardless of who says what. We knew we'd get laughed at for making the claims about Peppermint in the beginning when we first launched. But, we took the heat on Slashdot and got grilled by some tech bloggers who had never even used Peppermint and didn't fully understand what it was. You stand your ground, keep putting out solid work and eventually you make it onto Lifehacker, your installation CD's are on the cover of Linux User, and you start working with search engines with Ducks on them.... Do what you love and everything will follow.

7) What would your dream distro contain?

Peppermint is almost close to perfect.... but, we are waiting on 3D printing technology to catch up with us. In the future, machines running Peppermint can also cook and dispense bacon at one end and pump hot waffles out of the other side :-)
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