Elementary OS Review: Delight to Use, Few Issues Persist

Elementary OS is unlike many other Ubuntu derivative distros out there. Instead of simply rearranging applications in a different order to create a new distro, Elementary project concentrates on actually building a full blown Linux distro with a consistent user interface that include custom applications and themes. The first stable release of Elementary OS codenamed "Jupiter" happened sometime last week and here is our review of it. Read on.

Elementary OS Jupiter Review

Elementary OS - What Makes it Special?
The sheer number of *new* applications, new themes and new hacks, that's what makes Elementary OS special. Nautilus Elementary hack, which now has de facto status in almost all major Ubuntu derivatives like Pinguy OS, Bodhi Linux etc. is actually a product of Elementary Project. So is the widely popular Elementary GTK Theme. Following are some of the new applications custom designed for Elementary OS.

Dexter Contacts Manager

Dexter Address Book

Dexter is the new light weight address book application custom made for Elementary OS. You can add, edit and view contacts and live searching is also enabled. Importing and exporting of vCards also supported. Very useful addition IMO.

Postler Email Client

Postler Email Client
Postler is ultra simple desktop mail client built in vala. It integrates well with the Elementary desktop and has good solid IMAP support. Other features include an option to hide read mails, support for multiple accounts, Gmail labels, attaching of files within emails and lots more.

Lingo Dictionary App

Lingo Dictionary App

Lingo, formerly known as purple, is a dictionary application for Elementary OS. Similar to other custom designed applications, Lingo is feature rich, lightweight and clean-looking.

Apart from the above listed applications, Elementary OS Jupiter also include Midori web browser(heavily modified), Docky, Abiword word processor, GNUmeric spreadsheet app, Gloobus Preview,  Ubuntu Software Center among others.

Elementary OS Review - Quick Wrap Up
There are lot of things that I really like about Elementary OS "Jupiter". First thing being the overall slickness of the Elementary OS desktop environment. To put it lightly, Elementary OS is blazing fast, much faster than the Ubuntu 10.10 which it is based upon. It has also got an absolutely beautiful and grey and "working" 'e' Plymouth boot screen.

Elementary OS Jupiter

Default Elementary OS desktop has got a Docky instance running at the bottom and a gnome panel on top. Default wallpaper(not the one in the above screenshot) looks nice and gives you a spacious, airy feel. Nautilus with Nautilus-Elementary hack enabled and Elementary GTK theme looks nice and classy.

Elementary OS 'Jupiter' has its share of problems as well. There is no default music player application(the promised BeatBox music player and organizer is still undergoing development I believe) within Elementary OS and many of the issues that we coined out in our review of Elementary OS beta still persists. Scrolling is still not working in my Lenovo laptop. I had to click and drag the sliders(be it Firefox, Midori or Nautilus) every time which was very annoying. And of course, there is no Plank, Slingshot or Marlin yet.

Elementary Project is undoubtedly one of the most promising community driven open source projects out there. And the first results are really promising too. Elementary OS is a true work of art and it is very fast and slick too. But the latest release is largely a preview of things to come in the future. Make no mistake, Elementary OS Jupiter is a very usable Linux distro, but the amount of changes that is going to come in the future releases makes Jupiter a very early release after all. Download Elementary OS and let us know what you think.