After more than a year and a half of development, elementary OS 0.3 "Freya" has been released, bringing three new default apps, a new notification system, a redesigned multitasking view, UEFI/SecureBoot support along with many other improvements and over 1,100 bug fixes.
For those not familiar with elementary OS, this is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution (with Freya being based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, supported until April 2019) which ships with its own desktop environment, called Pantheon, and its own custom application for the most part, which look great, integrate very well with the desktop and ship with sane defaults so the user doesn't have to tweak anything.
According to the elementary OS press release, the previous version, Luna, was downloaded over 3 million times, being one of the top 10 most popular distros.
elementary OS Freya video
Since elementary's strongest asset is its design (along with its simplicity of use), a video is a must and in the video below you can see what's new in the latest elementary OS Freya along with a quick overview of the whole desktop and its apps:
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With elementary OS Freya, Pantheon, the default desktop environment, provides a redesigned multitasking view which now includes both the workspace switcher and scale features in one view (with scale still being available separately, via Super + W):
To make this feature more discoverable, a shortcut was added to Plank (the dock):
Slingshot, the default elementary OS application menu, was updated with new features like quicklists support, drag'n'drop from search and also, it can now perform quick math calculations:
One of the most important new features added with elementary OS Freya is a new notification system, specially created for the Pantheon desktop. The notifications are interactive and can be dismissed and there's a new settings pane which provides a "Do not disturb" mode for completely turning off the notifications, as well as per-app notification settings, where you can enable or disable the notification bubbles and sounds:
And speaking of System Settings, two new features were added to the Security & Privacy pane: a "Privacy Mode", which disables logging any file/app usage data, and a firewall tool:
Furthermore, the Displays, User Accounts, Applications and Date & Time settings panes were redesigned:
As for the artwork, the beautiful GTK and icon themes have been updated and they include changes like refreshed icons, a dark stylesheet for apps, rounded corners on menus and dialogs and more.
"[...] Freya also shakes off some of the trends of the early 2010s like high gloss and embraces a more matte look while preserving and enhancing our use of light and shadow", said Daniel Foré, founder and lead designer of elementary.
Other changes include:
- improved animations;
- intelligent transparency for the panel;
- better emoji support & drop-in replacements for Microsoft Core fonts for the web;
- UEFI support;
- a new captive portal assistant to make connecting to public WiFi easier;
- unified login and lock screens.
elementary OS Freya applications
Even though the latest elementary OS is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which uses GTK+ 3.10 by default, Freya ships with GTK 3.14 and it takes advantage of some of the new toolkit features, like header bars (client-side decorations), CSS support and animations, used throughout most of the desktop.
With header bars support in place, most of the default elementary OS applications were updated to use header bars (with a couple of exceptions like Midori and Ubuntu Software Center), as you'll see in the app screenshots below.
elementary OS Freya ships with three new applications installed by default: Calculator, Camera and Videos (Audience) and Photos was redesigned:
Calendar has received various user interface improvements as well as a major new feature: the app now has online calendar support (Google Calendar & CalDAV):
Since the previous elementary OS release, Pantheon's Terminal has evolved a lot and the latest version, available by default in Freya, ships with new features like natural copy & paste, smart tab labels and a warning popup when pasting commands containing “sudo” in Terminal:
The app was also updated with a search function, accessible via its header bar, as well as notifications that let you know when a task is finished (for example, a notification is displayed when running "sudo apt-get update" when the task is done, if the Terminal app is not focused):
And finally, Files (default file manager) has received search support as well as improved Samba support:
Third-party apps like Geary (0.8.3) Simple Scan (3.14.0), Document Viewer (3.14.1) and more have been updated with various improvements as well as an updated UI, with header bars:
Under the hood, elementary OS Freya uses the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Enablement Stack, so it ships with Linux Kernel 3.16, Xorg server 1.15.1 and Mesa 10.3.2.
Download elementary OS Freya
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