As cloud storage and online services became a big thing, I moved as much as possible of my computer life online, into the cloud. The idea of having everything stored online was intriguing to me as I was living in an area that wasn’t totally safe and I was worried I could loose all my data if my laptop “disappeared” one day.
That brought me to Peppermint OS. They had put together a light system that was meant to be used like Chrome OS on a Chromebook while still retaining a fully accessible Linux system. The star at Peppermint OS was and still is a simple little app called ICE. It lets you open a website in a stand alone web browser window without navigation controls, making it appear as an app.
Linux Mint has now also decided to add the app, calling it appropriately the Web App Manager. They are collaborating with the Peppermint team in order to have 100% compatibility with ICE and benefit both projects.
The advantage of Web Apps is that they are searchable and show as separate entries in your menu. They can also be pinned to your panel or desktop. You can have separate Web Apps for everything like YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, Twitter, Flickr, your email site etc etc. I found it works with both Firefox and Chromium.
If you’re on any other system and using Chromium, you can already achieve the same result. Just go to the website you wish to add as a web app. Click on the three dots on the right to access Chromium’s options. Click on “More Tools” and select “Create Shortcut”. This will save the “shortcut” as if it were an app and you’ll find it was added to your system’s menu for quick access.
Linux Mint’s Web App Manager is still in Beta but fully serviceable. You can download the .debi file and install it on any Debian or Ubuntu based distribution from here.
Alternatively, you can use the original ICE application from Peppermint OS found here.
I’m glad Mint decided to work on this feature. It’s a little app that I’m sure many will find useful. You can read all about it on Mint’s blog page. I have added below some screen shots showing how Deezer is added.
Peppermint OS has always been a small distro with a loyal but limited user base. It will be interesting to see whether Mint’s engagement will make the concept more popular and if we’ll be seeing more distros following suit.