In the world of operating systems, we run the reasonable risk of thinking that everything has already been said. Microsoft Windows is and will be the absolute king of “corporate” desktops; macOS maintains its dominance position among the most creative and companies that favor BYOD and Linux has installed itself in a very comfortable position in the Cloud, gaining a prominence that I did not expect. In the field of mobility, iOS and Android have not had a third party with which to share market share for a long time.
So, that there are still entrepreneurs who are convinced that Linux can occupy a place if not prominent, at least interesting on the desktop , is almost a miracle. This is the case of Daniel Foré , founder and CEO of that precious project that goes by the name of Elementary OS .
Like Mark Shuttleworth , with the development of Ubuntu, or Clement Lefebvre with Linux Mint, Foré aspires to package Linux not only in a distribution that is easy to use and that does not “scare” the home user, but is really attractive to use, which can even be “bragged”.
The elementary OS development guidelines focus on ease of use and smoothing the learning curve . The three basic rules that guide design are precision (avoid overloaded applications), minimal configuration (use sensible defaults), and reduced documentation (“self-explanatory” applications).
These principles have not changed since the Foré team launched in 2011 the first version of its Ubuntu-based operating system (Elementary OS “Jupiter”) and which, in recent days, have crystallized with the presentation of Elementary OS “Odin” the sixth major update of the platform.
Inspired by macOS and supporting developers
As in its previous versions, the new Elementary is based on Ubuntu. In this case, “Odin” builds on the basic Ubuntu 20.04 LTS framework . Unlike Zorin OS , a distro that looks in the mirror of Windows, Elementary is heavily inspired by macOS.
At a first glance, we discover a minimalist bet that stands out for wallpapers chosen with “care”, a precious Dock in which to anchor applications and a user interface inspired by that less is more and that encourages productivity.
Unlike other Linux distributions, Elementary OS includes by default its own native applications, such as an email client, calendar, task manager, video player … with the aim that the user has everything from minute zero you need to get started.
Of course, the classic application store cannot be absent either, and in this case, in AppCenter, users can find all kinds of additional software to install on their computers. Unlike, however, the totum revolotum of other Linux application stores, here the boys of Elementary strive to “cure” the store, betting on criteria of quality and usefulness.
Following that philosophy, they make it easier for developers to monetize their Apps from AppCenter, in a model that includes free applications, as well as paid applications, such as (the most) those that ask the user to pay what they consider appropriate. In addition, those who wish, can install Flatpak applications from other repositories or use the terminal to install all kinds of packages that are not shown in the App Center.
Thanks to this model, which also applies to the download of the operating system itself, Daniel Foré explains that “Elementary Inc. now has several regular employees and partners to work on the operating system, and we have sparked extensive conversation about paying customers. application developers in the wide open source ecosystem, while avoiding advertising or data extraction “emphasizing that unlike its competitors, Elementary OS is betting on one of the securities that are trading the most on the rise these days : privacy .
What is new about Elementary has focused on making the dreaded terminal available only to the most advanced users because for any average user, with an out of the box in which perhaps they will only be forced to install LibreOffice, they will have everything they need to start working productively.
Perhaps the effort of the kids at Elementary is not enough to convince many to abandon Windows or Mac, but of course, projects like this are the ones that allow us to move in new directions.