Elementary OS – The Linux Distro for Mac Users – My thoughts

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I made a post, but this one is a biggie. I decided I’d do a review of Elementary OS, because I’ve heard good things about it, but never used it. It seems it’s a distribution designed specifically to appeal to Mac users, much Linux Mint appeals to Windows users. I like Macs, so I thought it’d be nice to try it. This will be a typed-up review, but will also have little videos to demonstrate bits of the interface. Sorry if there’s a little flickering in those sections, I’ll try to fix that soon.

First Impressions of Elementary OS

So, I headed to https://elementary.io/ to download it, and it was pretty quick, I then installed it in a Virtualbox machine, and viola:

Elementary OS just after boot up.
Elementary OS just after boot up.

Okay, so I think it looks nice, and definitely reminiscent of macOS, what with the dock-like bat at the bottom. It’s also a little-bit GNOME 3-ish, but as you’ll see in a moment it looks quite nice. I was thinking GNOME 3 might ruin it, but they did a pretty good job with Pantheon. I thought Pantheon was a fork of GNOME 3, but it turns out it isn’t so I was wrong there XD

The Applications

I have heard that the App Store equivalent is quite nice, unlike Ubuntu Software Centre (in my opinion), so I was excited to give it a try. Here’s what it looks like:

The App Centre on Elementary OS

Yeah, it’s pretty nice 🙂 Seems like my system is having some trouble running it, but it’s probably some Virtualbox glitch. I also really like the menu, what do you think? The little numbered icon in the dock-bar is a nice touch too, and a lot of Linux distros don’t seem to have anything like that. Just a shame it has to be telling me I have updates XD

So, on to the other applications with another quick video:

Other applications on Elementary OS

Yeah, I think I must have messed up the Virtualbox guest additions setup. Eh. I might do a follow-up on real hardware later. That aside, the applications that come with Elementary OS are, I think, very well designed, and they jell really well with the rest of the experience. I didn’t cover all of them, because it’d take ages, but they seem pretty nice. The only point of complaint here is the dock, because I prefer docky, but that’s just personal preference really.

How customisable is it?

Well, I was going to do this next, but as you can see from the videos, it runs really badly, so I want to install it to bare-metal before I actually try that. I’ll also try using it for a few days as a daily driver, just to see how it is 🙂

So, sorry, but I’m going to have to cut this review short, but I will follow up in good time with the other half.

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About Hamish McIntyre-Bhatty

I'm a self-employed software developer working on Free Software projects, as well as studying for my degree with the Open University. Being pedantic when it comes to detail is fortunately useful for both of these things! A strong believer in free software, I have a few pay-for programs available under the GPLv3 and enjoy reporting bugs and helping to improve various open source projects, including volunteering at Wimborne Model Town to work on their river control system.

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