Elementary OS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It uses the pantheon environment for the desktop which is aesthetically pleasing and some what reminiscent of OS X. As far as Linux distributions go elementary os is fairly young and maintained by a small team of developers.
When you first boot into elementary you’ll notice the dock at the bottom of the screen where you can launch applications quickly. Just like a mac. Elementary OS is rather light in comparison to other distros when it comes to the software it’s bundled with. They have done this so they can keep a consistent look across the operating system. Beginners who are not familiar with Linux will feel comfortable navigating through different applications but the more comfortable they get the more they will realise that these programs are not enough. Elementary doesn’t come with pre installed office applications like the libre suite or open office so you’ll have to manually install them yourself through the app center or terminal.
Which brings me to the appcenter , this is where you install all your programs unless you use the terminal. This is very easy to use but feels a bit bare in comparison to the software center on other desktops. The developers of elementary OS have recently reached a goal on indigogo to bring pay what you want applications and further expand the experience of the Appcenter so this all could change.
One thing that bugs me about elementary is the lack of support in the online accounts. As of right now it doesn’t support Google accounts service out of the box so I can’t sync up the calendar app with my Google calendar which is my go to calendar as it’s right there on my phone. Currently I’m using a chrome plug in to view appointments and events I have to do. I hope this gets added sooner rather then later.
Multi tasking on elementary , for me is actually quite good as it allows me to work on things relatively easy at the same time whilst allowing me not to be so distracted by what’s in front of me. I use hot corners but only have one active that shows me all the windows open when I hover the mouse cursor over the top right corner.
If your coming to linux for the first time and your previous machine was Mac then the transition to elementary OS is easy, the installation is quick and error free and dumps you at a familiar desktop with your dock full of apps right there.
If like me you were more of a windows guy the UI will take a bit of getting used to but after that it’s a joy to use and let’s be honest it’s one of the nicest looking operating systems out there! Make sure you install tweaks though so you can enable Windows like buttons for minimise maximise and exit cos by default they aren’t there, then uncheck single click.
The file manager is simple but functional with a tabbed interface but not many advanced features you’ll find on other file managers. The default music player is much the same but fits the aesthetics of of the user interface very nicely. The bundled calendar app is fine but as mentioned earlier not being able to sync it with my Google calendar is a massive drawback so I don’t use it, instead I use a Google calendar app extension on chrome. The email app again fits with the overall aesthetics and feel of the distro but I find myself using Thunderbird over this as it’s my favourite email client.
Elementary OS performs very well, transitions are smooth and snappy and I didn’t notice any lag while doing this review. Your experience may vary depending on he hardware you have it running on. It’s currently installed on an FX 8350 with 16GB ram though I’ve ran it in a virtual environment with very reduced specs and it’s still perfectly usable and gets the job done!
Overall i really like the design across the operating system and the minimalist approach the developers have taken. None of the applications that come pre installed look out of place although the lack of an office suit like libre office pre installed makes it feel incomplete out of the box. Watch out for the incoming full video review where i go more in depth and try to cover everything i may have missed in this write up