Peppermint OS is based on the LTS (Long Term Support) version of Ubuntu and as such the latest version (version 5) will presumably be supported until 2019 the same as Ubuntu 14.04 will be.
Why Peppermint OS instead of Ubuntu? No reason really. But Peppermint by default doesn't have the Unity desktop environment instead it uses LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). Not that there is anything wrong with Unity as such it is just not my cup of tea. There are hundreds of distributions based on Ubuntu LTS. It could have been any one of them. But I gave Peppermint OS a try via Live USB and decided to install it. For more distributions based on Ubuntu see the search at DistroWatch.com.
So how hard is it to install? It isn't hard. It follows the same procedure as Ubuntu pretty much.
- Download the ISO file (either 32-bit or 64-bit).
- Use Unetbootin to write the ISO file to a USB thumb drive (I've had varying success with Unetbootin in the past and usually just use the dd command (sudo dd bs=4M if=somedistro.iso of=/dev/sdb). But as the Peppermint OS website recommended it I thought I'd give it a go. And it worked first time).
- Boot from the USB thumb drive.
- Select Peppermint Live.
- Once it has booted to the Peppermint OS desktop; double-click the icon labeled "Install Peppermint 5".
From here it gets hard to explain as everyone will have different choices. Each step is pretty self explanatory so I'll just tell you what I did. If in doubt about any of it read the 'install guide' on the Peppermint OS website.
- First screen in the installer asks what language you want to use. I chose English.
- The next screen checks you have at least 4GB of disk space and are connected to the Internet. It also has two check boxes - one asking if you want to download updates while installing and the other asking if you wish to install the MP3 codec. I checked both.
- The next screen is where the fun begins. It asks how you would like to install Peppermint OS. Options include wiping the drive, encrypted, LVM, or 'Something else'. I chose 'Something else' because I wanted to install to a partition. WARNING: ONLY COMPLETE THIS BIT IF YOU ARE SURE WHAT YOU ARE DOING OTHERWISE YOU MAY LOSE DATA.
- Because I chose 'Something else' in the previous screen I was presented with a screen showing all the partitions on the hard drive. I chose /dev/sda4 - a 15GB partition, formatted it as ext4, and had the bootloader install to the same partition. WARNING: THERE IS NO TURNING BACK AFTER THIS POINT. IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL DO NOT CLICK CONTINUE.
- As the installation takes place it will ask you to select the time zone, keyboard layout, username, password, hostname, and whether or not you want to login automatically.
- If you made it here sit back and relax while the installation completes. Total time for install will depend on whether or not you selected to download updates and the MP3 codec and the quality of your internet connection. Mine took about 20 minutes.
- When it is all finished you will get a pop-up asking if you want to continue testing Peppermint or reboot. The choice is yours.
I used the 64-bit version. I installed to /dev/sda4 simply because it was an empty partition. As mentioned this will not suit everyone. I had the bootloader install to /dev/sda4 which really never gets used as I have other versions of Linux (Mint, Crunchbang, and Bodhi) and Mint installed the original bootloader, and Grub Customizer is used to update it.
Altering, resizing, and creating partitions can result in data loss. If you are unsure of anything then don't do it. If you want to learn to do it then try it in a virtual machine such as VirtualBox on your present operating system first. You can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs is my theory; but some don't backup data and then when the eggs start cracking make scrambled eggs instead. If in any doubt ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to either answer or point to somewhere that can answer.