Elementary OS: an amazing Linux distribution!

In this article you will find a small review of Elementary OS, a GNU / Linux distribution derived from Ubuntu but with particular attention to design and performance.

I have a fairly dated PC and it has now passed the 10 years of intense use during which it has seen all the colors; I think it is was a good buy, at the time I remember paying out 600.000 £ (or 600 €?) for a full screen PC composed of:

  • AMD Athlon X2 4200 CPU, one of the first dualcore in shopping malls
  • Ram 1GB (now they are 2Gb)
  • Nvidia GeForce 7300 video card, replaced over time with a Geforce 8400GS

after the 10.10 version Ubuntu started acting up especially for the video card, and with the 12.04 version I realized that I would have to opt for other lighter Distros.

A few years ago, I "permanently" installed Xubuntu 11.10 version with which I found myself really well, but lately it announced a partial upgrade of the distribution to be able to make certain updates: since I always prefer to do a clean installation of the system I reinstall from scratch the all with a nice Live CD, so I took the opportunity to try a new distribution.

A few days ago, thanks to a comment on this blog, I came across Elementary OS, a name that didn't mean anything to me until I landed on official website of the distribution: a really accurate presentation that showed an operating system based on ubuntu but at the same time with a graphic (by default) different from all the other distros tried in the time (sidux, mint, lubuntu, kubuntu etc etc) such as a very nice menu , a fantastic dock, a well-done file manager, small touches like the transparent terminal, the sound of the photo shoot when we take a screenshot, the volume panel perfectly integrated with the general style of the distribution etc. etc. so I immediately verified the minimum installation requirements:

  • Cpu from 1Ghz
  • Ram 1Gb
  • 15Gb of free space on Hard disk

perfect! there should be no problems with my hardware so I download the 64bit version, partition the hard disk and install Elementary OS v2.

Elementary OS

At the first start it shows a clean and very nice desktop, it seems that the icons along with the images are specifically designed to create a greater definition of the screen;

there are very few pre-installed applications, only the essentials:

  • Midori as a web browser
  • Geary Mail, for the management of electronic mail
  • Emphaty
  • Noise for music reproduction
  • Totem for video playback, with a theme specially created for Elementary OS
  • Shotwell for viewing images
  • Ubuntu Software Center

The user is given the possibility to customize the distribution with the desired software, personally I really appreciate this choice so I step to install everything that is missing: Brazier for burning, Deluge as a bittorrent client, Libre Office, Chromium, Gimp and finally ubuntu-restricted-extras to install all the codecs and plugins.

The initial impression is that Elementary OS is very responsive, more than Ubuntu, the RAM occupied at startup is around 120Mb and on my old PC the fluidity is like Xubuntu but with a graphic that has nothing to do with XFCE.

Elementary OS uses as desktop environment Pantheon,  developed to be light and intuitive with several built-in effects and a simple and minimal look, while its gorgeous Call Dock Plank will certainly not have the amount of customization possible in Cairo-Dock but does what it should in an excellent manner, a little in Apple style, the use of the dock is essential considering that it is not possible to add icons to the desk.

 elementary-menu

THE MENU

this is a purely subjective opinion, I am one of those who hates Unity and who loved Gnome 2, I found comfort for years in the menu of Linux Mint and finally I discovered a pleasant alternative: Elementary OS integrates a menu that from a graphic point of view is simply gorgeous, modern and minimal, which lists all the various applications installed in alphabetical order or can be ordered by category.

From the center of the Settings, which is the same as Ubuntu, we can assign actions to be performed when we touch the 4 screen angles with the mouse pointer, this possibility is very convenient since in this distribution there are some "buttons" that we are often used to such as the minimize key of the windows or the possibility of switch between the various work spaces from the top panel.

elementary

elementary

elementary os

to further customize the distribution in the repositories are included some themes for Plank and for the icons, while to add the trash to the dock, from terminal:

gksu pantheon-files / usr / share / applications

the file manager will open with root permissions in the folder / Usr / share /, in this window create an empty text file by clicking with the right mouse button in an empty point and rename this file cestino.desktop, inside paste the following lines:

[Desktop Entry]
Name = Trash
Comment = Trash for files and folders
Exec = pantheon-files trash: ///
Icon = user-trash
Terminal = false
StartupNotify = true
Type = Application
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts = Empty;
[Empty Shortcut Group]
Name = Empty
Exec = trash-empty
TargetEnvironment = Unity

save the file and drag it to the dock, we'll see the trash appear.

to activate the function empty bin we give this command from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install trash-cli

Now we will have the basket in the dock fully functional.

CONCLUSIONS

my opinions on this distribution are very positive: it has the fluidity of a light environment like XFCE but with a graphic that I find even superior to that of Ubuntu, in a few days I replaced Xubuntu with Elementary OS.

I recommend trying it in Live CD / USB, especially for those who use Xfce or other light distributions because of their slightly outdated hardware and all those who badly digest the latest Ubuntu versions.

And what do you think? Comment by writing your opinions on Elementary OS!

NB: Elementary OS can be downloaded from homepage of the official website, it is possible to make a donation or download it for free by entering "0" in the amount of the donation.

 

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