Linux gets interesting again with Elementary OS
I haven’t been that interested in the Linux world for some time. I had installed a version of Ubuntu several years ago and had tried a couple of other distributions but found that I simply couldn’t unchain myself from Windows XP. I couldn’t get my printer to work, had issues with WINE, and the learning curve, while not steep, was enough to be a nuisance. However the recent release of Elementary OS caught my eye for several reasons.
Elementary OS initially started out as a theme for Ubuntu but eventually developed into a new distribution package, complete with its own look and apps. The first thing you’ll notice about Luna is that it looks and acts very similar to Apple’s Mac OSX. It’s clean, sharp, and minimalist, while at the same time very intuitive. The “intuitive” part is the thing I had found most lacking in Linux distributions in the past. OSX users will probably take right to it.
Once you get Elementary installed (you can dual boot any Linux distribution alongside Windows 7 or Windows 8) the next thing you’ll notice is how fast it is. Applications load quickly and animations are quick and responsive. Elementary was designed to use a few resources as possible, so even older computers should perform well. It has a few custom apps that look very appealing, especially the iTunes-like music player. Check out the video below (courtesy InfinitelyGalactic on Youtube) to see it in action.
As with most other Linux distributions, Elementary is free (donationware), open source and community driven – very hipster. You’ll also be likely to find some of the same drawbacks associated with Linux, namely the search for odd drivers and the need to cut the ties with a good chunk of your Windows software library. If there’s a particular Windows program you need to run in Linux check the Wine database to see if and how well it performs. The good news is that there are very good Linux-friendly and open source programs out there such as Gimp, Steam and OpenOffice that are very good Windows alternatives.
I’m tempted to try this on my laptop and will report as time goes on.