4 Oct 2012

Compare different cloud-oriented Linux-based Operating Systems

Cloud as Platform

The new form of personal computing sits in the cloud. As computer users rely more and more on Internet services, and spend most of their computing time working online, it makes sense that operating systems would begin to focus usability around the Internet browser. We see that this exactly the case with Chrome OS as they have built an entire operating system platform and corresponding hardware systems around the Google’s Chrome browser. The XPUD operating system is actually designed to run completely within the browser. The Peppermint distro is a sleek, streamlined system that relies completely on cloud based apps and web services while maintaining something of a traditional desktop look and feel.

In this article, we will take a look at three of the major cloud based Linux operating systems that seem to point the way forward in new OS design.


XPUD is a Linux distro based on the core of Ubuntu originally developed as PUD (Penk’s Underbred Distro).
xPUD boot menu

The project started as part of the Damn Small Linux initiative with the goal of being extremely fast, efficient, and as small as possible.

The xPUD distro has a boot up time of around ten seconds and takes up under 35 MB of space. This makes all traditional operating system competitors seem like bulky mainframes in comparison. The user experience consists primarily of a web browser and a media player. Beyond this all other applications or data storage requirements are assumed to be accessed on the cloud, through the web browser or media player. Using web technology an xPUD computer can be turned into a nifty kiosk that allows you to watch movies and stream content just like your family home entertainment system.

Read more: review of xPUD 0.9.2

Peppermint OS

Peppermint OS is another Linux operating system that relies heavily on cloud services. It takes up about 512 MB of space and can be downloaded via Live CD or USB.

The small size and low resource requirements are designed to run on almost any hardware specs from the past ten years.

The user experience, like xPUD, is primarily a browser and media player. However, cloud based applications such as gmail and Google Docs are given their own icons. When a user clicks one of these icons it essentially loads up a new browser instance running that cloud service. This gives the user the familiar impression of a full desktop without all of the drawbacks like actually having to deal with application installations and maintenance. There are even icon shortcuts in the startup menu for social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook.

Read more: review of Peppermint OS Three

Chrome OS

Google’s famed Chrome OS in many ways started the cloud operating system revolution back in 2007 when it announced the new product concept for an operating system completely built around a browser.
Screenshot of Chrome OS

Google Chrome OS is different from the other two Linux distros in this list because it is built not to defy hardware requirements, but in tandem with hardware requirements coupling both the software and hardware together in one packaged solution. This is similar to the proven method Apple has built a reputation on and which Google is also known by from a server perspective as all of their systems are built on their own hand rolled operating systems.

Google has partnered with Samsung to offer two versions of the Chrome OS computer: the Chromebook is the laptop version and the new Chromebox is the desktop version. While it may look like its competitors on the showroom floor, it is much different as all of its apps, as with xPUD and Peppermint, live in the cloud.

Author Bio: This is a guest post contributed by Jason Phillips. He is a professional tech writer specially writes on crm cloud and have many happy clients. Apart from that, he likes books about Vampires and a father of two cute babies.


  1. That's all ? What about JoliOS ?

    1. It is not in this list. But are you fancy it? Why not write a short article about it to tell other people?

  2. This must be cloud and peppermint os central. The cloud is the death of personal computing freedoms. Anyone or organization pushing such OS's with total disregard and or mention of ones loss of personal freedoms and dangers therein should be ashamed of themselves. Including you DarkDuck or shall I say DarkDays ahead if we all go cloud.

    1. I think you are probably the same person who put similar comments on my article about Peppermint Linux.

      I think you are being overly cynical. "The Cloud" is a buzz term for encompassing web applications, file storage, email etc.

      Since the internet first started people have used free webmail services such as hotmail. Google provides a really good office suite and if you are willing to pay Microsoft provide an online version of their office suite.

      There are thousands of brilliant web applications out there and you always have the freedom of choice whereby if you don't like the ethics of one company you can go to another.

      Thinking you have freedom by having the OS and all applications on your desktop is a myth. Do you know how every line of code works in an operating system and associated apps. They could be doing absolutely anything without you knowing about it.

      Your choice of operating system is based on recommendation, trust and past performance. (Or because it was preinstalled by the people who make the PC).

      You have no less liberty by using online web applications than you do local applications.

    2. @Anonymous: This is a guest post, not mine. Author's position may be different from mine, but I still let other people explain their point.

      As for my position, I wrote about it on my review of Peppermint OS: "The cloud era is coming. Some people can argue whether this is good or bad. Maybe that’s only the fashion. Maybe not."

    3. @Gary: Don't feed the troll. :)

    4. Gary that is probably the dumbest thing I've heard as of yet. One of the ideas of opensource is that stuff can't be snuck in behind your back doing things that it shouldn't be doing. The very point of many and any eyes on the code. So learn what some of the fundamentals are before you post such nonsense.

      As soon as you loose the hard drive you loose any control you have left. Answer me this. How are you going to try different operating systems without a hard drive? Buy a whole new terminal I'm guessing.

      Also do you really think you will be able to install anything you want on someone else cloud platform? Don't count on it, count on a list of approved applications.

      And if you don't think there will be a cloud bill on top of your existing internet bill your nuts. You should take a long hard look at handing over your freedom.

      Not just me buddy, some of the greatest minds of our age are warning of the coming abuse and loss of freedoms to the cloud. Steve Wozniak and Richard Stallman are just a couple off the top of my head.

      Don't be such a willing participant in the loss of your computing freedoms... Emails is only a small example of a cloud... it would be the equivalent of saying that because I send a post card to someone i might as well publish my journal in a nationwide newspaper.

      or I should rent everything in my house from a rental center, because well i already make some monthly payments i should just pay monthly on everything i have and own nothing... sounds stupid because it is stupid to think in such a way.

      Leave it to the masses to be totally blind and cheer for their own demise.

    5. One last thing after reading your nonsense again. I noticed you believe you have no less liberty by using online web programs...

      ok cloud vs hard drive... where is my personal information stored?... on my hard drive at my house,,, where is it stored on the cloud? ,,, where ever the company providing it is located....

      hmmmmm so here in my hands or in someone elses hands..... how is this no less liberty??

      whew thats a level of denial i haven't seen in a while.