Elementary OS: The second attempt at a review, this time it worked!


This time, I have it installed on bare-metal, so the issues I had with virtualbox shouldn’t get in the way. I’m going to start from scratch, because it’s been a while since I’ve looked at this. I’ll also be doing a video review so you can watch it that way too if you want.

What could possibly go wrong this time? Not much, it turns out.

The video review

This video is literally me recording myself trying out Elementary OS for one of the first times; I’m learning with you, so it isn’t beautifully done, but hey ho. The text below summarises what’s in the video in a more buffed, shiny way XD


I was trying to compare is to macOS, which meant I ended up saying stuff looked “quite a lot like” the macOS equivalents. However, while some of the applications do bear a resemblance, I’m not accusing the elementary OS team (or anyone else) of copying the design of anything. The designs are fairly different, but they do sometimes remind me of macOS. That’s all I’m trying to say here 🙂

The written-up review

So, as you might know, I tried to do this review in a Virtual Machine first, here. It didn’t go well. It ran terribly, for some unknown reason.

Therefore, this review was done using an external hard drive instead 🙂


As I installed this a while ago, I had to do some updates first. It does at least give my the opportunity to show you AppCenter, which looks similar to the macOS equivalent, but also quite a lot like how the Ubuntu software centre used to look.

While I was updating, I looked at the Applications menu, which is quite nice. I was glad it didn’t look too much like GNOME 3 XD.

The “dock” also hides when you full-screen an application, much like on macOS. I had a brief look at the desktop backgrounds, they all seem quite nice 🙂

Now on to better things!

You can tell I hate doing updates.

Next I had a look at the settings, seeing that you can change the size of the “dock”, and you can have hot corners like in other Linux distros. As for software, there’s not a lot installed by default:

  • Epiphany (a web browser).
  • Scratch (a text editor).
  • A mail client.
  • A file manager, a little bit like the Apple file manager. It does have an up button either…
  • And some other applications that don’t seem to have names beyond “Music”, “Photos”, “Videos” and so on. They’re all pretty nice 🙂

I had a look for themes, both in settings and as a separate application, but I couldn’t find any! Please tell me if I’m being stupid here, I’d like to see more Elementary OS themes 🙂

Beyond that, it has some useful tray icons, one of which tell you which programs are using a lot of power, and a Wi-Fi networks one, amongst other things. Unfortunately, I kind of ran out of things to say at this point. I was hoping there would be more to talk about with a fresh installation, but there funny thing is there’s not actually a lot of software installed on it.

The Installation

Isn’t this in the wrong order? Well, yes, but I only thought of this later, and I’d like to reflect on some things I learnt about Elementary OS when I was doing the review.

This part is video-only, because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to show you much installation XD.

Note: It turns out I was wrong, and there is an easy way to install themes in Elementary OS, but not out of the box. Nevertheless, it’s very easy 🙂

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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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