The Elementary OS team has released their latest offering, Luna, which has been in development for a while now. Based on Ubuntu, this Linux distribution aims to develop its own minimalist applications, but it goes beyond that – it has its own desktop environment, window manager, human interface guidelines, APIs, and more. There’s an article on their blog detailing the road to Luna.
They’ve managed to build quite some hype, so let’s see if it lives up to it. Does anyone here use it?
Installing Luna has been a Ubuntu-like experience – not really surprising, since it is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (don’t know, which iteration of 12.04, though).
The UI is very nice and minimalistic. Tinkerers won’t be too happy with it, since the only options to change the look is the desktop background and the style of the dock. Anything else needs to be installed from a Ubuntu or Elementary repository.
Luna comes with a couple of apps of their own. Geary, a nice and simple mail client, seems to be designed to work with GMail – it won’t work with my (totally regular) IMAP account, though. Elementary’s music player imports and sorts all the music on my hard drive all right, but then complains about a missing codec for mp3 (I had checked the approriate option during installation!). And Midori, a Webkit-based browser, is incredibly fast, but so far lacks the option to use extensions or add-ons – which is why I returned to Chromium very quickly.
The minimalistic approach, however, has its upside: on my modest, 4-year-old machine, it seems to be faster than any “regular” Ubuntu flavor or (although that might be just an impression) even Debian. The team did something sensible – leaving out a lot of things that are not really necessary, while leaving it to the user to find and install those things should they become necessary, after all.
In short: Nice distro, doesn’t always work out of the box.