Elementary OS is renowned for its elegant minimalism and friendliness, benefiting from a solid fan base. Its latest version, Hera 5.1, has been absent for a while now, but the company recently made an interesting step in one of its updates. In this basic operating system review, as we test Hera, we will explore what is new, what to expect if this is your first use of the operating system, and how it turns out. compare to rival desktop computers.
Since this is a minor version (5.x), the changes made to Elementary are mainly evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Nevertheless, Hera comes with two big changes. First, users can now install updates without administrator permission. It certainly made it more convenient for the user, although many will think it was a bad decision.
The second big change, and the one that brought about the change above, is the use of the default Flatpak apps. The reasoning is that Flatpak applications are in a sandbox, so there is no real need for administrator authorization to install and update it further.
Head over to the website, and you’ll be presented with some sort of paid wall, but don’t panic, it’s a matter of paying whatever you want. This price can be $ 0 if you are tight or just elementary-curious. There is an ISO file, which is only 64-bit and works perfectly under any USB boot creator. It started on each machine tested.
Since Elementary is based on Ubuntu, USB Live follows the same desktop-based installation structure, so you can try the operating system before installing it. It leaves an excellent first impression. From icon sizes and fonts to carefully chosen wallpapers, the creators of Elementary have strived to make everything as simple, elegant and enjoyable as possible.
As for the installer itself, it’s the regular price of Ubuntu. There are no unpleasant surprises in store, and you can do something else while the elementary is installed.
Startup times are fast and it doesn’t take long before the desktop is fully charged. If you’ve never used elementary before, expect a mostly Mac-inspired interface with a large icon dock interface instead of a Windows-style Start button and taskbar.
The dock hides when not in use and is used to launch and minimize applications. The docking station acts as a central point and is intended to be personalized by the user, deleting all applications that are not regularly used and adding your own regularly used applications in the Applications menu.
By exploring the rest of the operating system, the team’s design philosophy is evident: minimal documentation, immediate ease of use, and limited configuration. The system parameters stand out in particular: easy to navigate but certainly sparse.
The App Store is divided into two sections: one for getting new apps, the other for applying updates. It’s very simple and easy to use. There was a bit of a lack of choice in version 5.0 but is now greatly improved with these additional Flatpak packages.
However, it is when you press the Windows key that the elementary really comes to life. Behind the simple GUI hides a powerful set of keyboard shortcuts that work in combination with an intelligent virtual desktop system.
When it has just started, Elementary has only one empty office. But then you start opening single windows in new offices, quickly switching between them with two buttons, and the experience becomes incredibly satisfying.
Obsessive-compulsive clarity comes into play when you close these windows and find that the now unused desktops have been deleted behind you and that there is only one desktop left. Everything is very neat, very impressive, very OCD.
Some necessary warnings
Sometimes Elementary’s bare philosophy goes a little too far for its good. I appreciate that restricting the configuration helps not overwhelm the user, but at some point most users will probably have to change something that isn’t there. In addition, plugging in a USB drive does not show any type of automatic mounting prompt – you must open it manually in the file manager.
Then there is the problem of minimizing windows. This is easily done, either via the dock or using a shortcut key, but it is not obvious to all users and is not even listed in the Elementary keyboard shortcuts screen. You can decide if a minimize button should be present by default, but Elementary Tweaks – which lets you add a minimize button – should probably be installed by default.
In addition, some libraries and packages that would normally be included with other distributions are not installed, which really hinders basic operations. If you want to add a repository, you must install
software-properties-common, and that requires a Google search. The basic ISO is only 1.48 GB, so it would be worth adding a little flab for convenience “it works”.
Elementary OS is a wonderful product that will leave an excellent lasting impression and will probably appeal to new Linux users. However, there are situations where all of this tasteful minimalism can become an obstacle. Sometimes elegance has to give way to brute force, and if you have a desktop PC and rely on intensive customization, you’re probably better off with something like KDE, MATE or Xfce.
However, on laptops, this system is at home. There are times when you really seem to be using the future of Linux. I personally use KDE Neon on my main workstation, but when I’m on the go, I use Elementary on an ultra-mobile PC. The two machines complement each other well, and together they form a very powerful and satisfying combination.
Is Elementary Too Much Mac Like For Your Tastes? Check out our list of the best Linux distributions for Windows users. Or maybe you just want to see the competition? Check out our list of the top 5 Linux distributions for Mac users.
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