A Tour of elementary OS, Perhaps the Linux World’s Best Hope for the Mainstream

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elementary OS began life over a decade ago as a set of icons. (Yes, seriously.) If ever there was a group of developers who started at the bottom and worked their way up to the top, it’s Daniel Foré and the rest of today’s elementary OS team. From a set of icons designed to improve the look of Ubuntu’s then GNOME 2 desktop, the elementary project expanded to include some custom apps, including a fork of the default GNOME files app, Nautilus, called nautilus-elementary. As with most open source projects, the borrowing went both ways: Ubuntu’s Humanity theme was a fork of elementary OS’s icon set.

Over the years, the elementary project continued to grow and encompassed ever more apps and ever more customizations for the desktop. Eventually, things got to the point where it became more and more cumbersome for users to install everything. But there was enough momentum behind the project that Foré decided the logical thing to do was for the group to create their own distribution. The project took Ubuntu as a base and began layering in their custom apps, and the highly refined look and feel of elementary OS was born.

elementary OS 5 Juno

For a bit of logistics, elementary OS Juno should be version .5, following the previous release, .4 or Loki. However, since .5 implies incomplete and elementary OS is more or less complete (in terms of stability certainly) ,the project is calling this release elementary OS 5.

Whatever the version number may be, one thing is for sure: there’s ton of new stuff in Juno. Enough features, in fact, that the release notes, written by elementary OS’s Cassidy James Blaede, are an impressive John Sircusa-style essay of some 8,000 words. If you want to know everything that’s new, Blaede’s notes are worth a read. If you want to know what it’s like to actually use all that stuff, read on.

Read more at Ars Technica