The first public beta of Elementary OS 'Freya' has been released

The Elementary OS desktop of the user johnnyftw, posted in our monthly desktop thread.

Elementary OS Freya is a favorite of Neowinian GNU/Linux users, and rightfully so. Something that GNU/Linux users had often suffered in compared to Windows and OSX users is a beautiful out-of-the-box design (although some would disagree that Windows still deserves to fall in that category). Something that came out of left-field for GNU/Linux users, initially as just a desktop environment that slowly progressed to a full-blown distribution, was Elementary OS.

Elementary OS has incorporated a significant amount of the OSX design language, however, it went one step further with simplicity and minimalism-- one thing immediately noticeable to users is that the desktop is locked, ensuring that the desktop background is not cluttered with files. Minor things are also taken very seriously by the Elementary OS team, and even things such as the header bars of windows receive a very detailed analysis.

The team at Elementary OS have just released the first beta for the latest iteration, Freya (formerly known as Isis), and it is already looking extremely polished. Introducing a newer design language such as a unified header (or in some cases, removing the header altogether) and adaptive UI elements, such as the status bar's opacity. The icons have also been updated, new screen transitions, and various updates to the Elementary apps (such as the Noise media player, Calendar, and the Midori browser). Freya is based on Ubuntu 14.04.1, and as such, inherits core components such as the 3.13 Linux kernel and various hardware drivers. Doing away with Grub, it also includes support for EFI which allows the user to boot directly from EFI.

According to the Elementary OS team, some programs are recognizable by their appearance, so a title bar would act as just visual noise.

As an operating system, Elementary OS attempts to fill a void similar to that of Ubuntu's. It's difficult to deny that there is a fairly large learning curve when it comes to GNU/Linux, and some of the most common desktop interfaces such as KDE, GNOME and Xfce focus much more on being lightweight than being "modern" or visually polished. Ubuntu's Unity interface attempted to introduce a desktop interface that would make the learning curve much smaller and it has been extremely successful in attracting newcomers to the world of GNU/Linux. Elementary OS takes it one step further and includes the concept of minimalism and the outcome is something that is extremely polished and friendly to both novices and veterans.

The Elementary OS Freya Beta 1 can be downloaded from the links provided here.

Here is a video from one of the developers excitedly demonstrating features from Freya back in April:

Source: Elementary OS | Image via Elementary OS

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40 Comments

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The ONLY distro I ever enjoyed using. That being said, the lengths one must go through to install nVidia Optimus drivers is insane. Just like anything else in Linux excluding the very basic stuff - and even then it's a hassle to have to CONSTANTLY use the Terminal to download new crap you didn't think you needed.

SHS said,
You all should take a look at Deepin http://www.linuxdeepin.com/

When I first saw the site, i thought "whoa, this looks better than elementary"... Then I clicked through to the screenshots and laughed.

Rule 1 for good OS UI/UX is consistency. Elementary has it. Deepin does not.

cyberdrone2000 said,

When I first saw the site, i thought "whoa, this looks better than elementary"... Then I clicked through to the screenshots and laughed.

Rule 1 for good OS UI/UX is consistency. Elementary has it. Deepin does not.


Don't knock it in tell you try first as the old saying goes you can judge a book by cover or this case sceenshot

It looks super beautiful, and the animations are amazing! Other Linux developers should take notes from Elementary team if they want Linux to be popular among mainstream.

Wow! A GUI with wallpaper. Whatever will these pointy-headed open source geniuses think of next? Maybe they'll innovate live tiles? I'm going back to sleep.

Wow what a beautiful UI, its almost identical to OS X (which is a good thing), good work to the devs...I also like the no grub EFI boot and that elegant menu bar

Wonder if they changed from Isis because of whats going on in the middle east right now?

Sonne said,
Wonder if they changed from Isis because of whats going on in the middle east right now?

That is exactly the reason they gave, unfortunately

Interesting, and it is unfortunate...not for us not being able to use the word Isis but for the folks in the middle east going through the current turmoil

haha this guys enthusiasm is 'amazing'

ah the amazing splash screen! headers! auto opacity! Tip of the hat to your energy levels sir.

As a windows user though this looks very mac inspired if not its what freeOS cousin?

Also given certain current geopolitical affairs ending a video with ISIS is coming might worry some :p

Err, Elementary OS uses Pantheon, not Gnome. Pantheon was fully coded from scratch and not a Gnome derivative.

swarrior216 said,
What are the requirements for this OS?

Very little. Installed on my 2010 Netbook and it flys! As long as you have a decent amount of RAM (>2gb) then you're good to go, even on decade-old machines.

A340600 said,
It's a gorgeous OS; it looks like OS "ex," but that's not a bad thing. I would be willing to pay the $10 for it.

It's free! The $10 is just a recommended donation to help further development.

patseguin said,
You'd think Apple legal would be all over this.
No, likely they still remember 1988-1994 in the Microsoft/Xerox case.

Always liked Elementary although it's not for me, too simplistic.. new version looks nice.

That said, somebody's had wayyyyyy too much coffee.

wow! i just know elementary OS by this article. after a little search, its actually pretty neat. Somebody want to share instruction how to easily install or try the OS via USB or anything?

Alvin Nukman said,
wow! i just know elementary OS by this article. after a little search, its actually pretty neat. Somebody want to share instruction how to easily install or try the OS via USB or anything?

get live linux usb and install it on a usb, plug in your usb, reboot, boot from usb, run the live cd