Elementary OS – Linux Distribution

Elementary OS is a Linux-based operating system designed for IoT devices. It offers a simple, yet powerful interface and a wide range of apps. It is lightweight and fast, while still being stable and secure. It’s used on all new development at Particle, the most successful IoT company in the world. Elementary OS is a Linux distribution designed for use by those who want a simple, efficient operating system for personal computers. It features a user-friendly graphical interface consistent with other aspects of the OS, as well as extensions and utilities that ensure ease of use. It is a Linux distribution that uses the Pantheon desktop environment as its default user interface. It is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and allows users to use a multitude of native applications and third-party applications from a pre-configured AppCenter store. If you want to develop IoT products, then Elementary OS will help you get started quickly and easily. The goal is for users to quickly pick up the necessary skills they need to start building, without getting bogged down in the details of the toolchain or learning how Linux works. 

History of Elementary OS

Elementary OS was created by Joe Walnes in 2015 with one goal: to offer programmers an easier way to get started with making connected products for the Internet of Things (IoT). Elementary was first released as version 0. 1 on May 27, 2012. Elementary OS Beta 1 was released on October 11, 2012. It was followed by beta 2, released on November 15, 2012. On December 10, 2012, the latest Beta 3 was released with a new theme and minor changes to the interface. The latest version of elementary OS is 1604 “nibbles”, which has been in beta since December 22, 2016. Elementary OS is a trademark of Jupiter Broadcasting Corporation in the United States and other countries.

With more than 2 billion connected devices worldwide and more than 1 billion new products expected to launch this year alone, there is no doubt that we are living in an era of unprecedented innovation fueled by IoT. It was only a matter of time before other people started using Elementary OS on their devices too.

How does it work?

Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu 14. 04 LTS, which will be supported until 2019. This means that, as users build more IoT products, they can use the same operating system on every device. All of this is managed and updated through the Elementary OS AppCenter, giving users complete control over which applications they want to use on their computer. The AppCenter offers users a curated store that allows them to find apps for all their needs, while still giving them the ability to add other repositories if needed. The Elementary OS developers also host some of their projects in the AppCenter, such as elementary-tweaks (a settings app for Elementary OS), Plank (a dock app), and more.

It is expected that Elementary OS will be open-source someday, but for now, it’s not quite there yet. The Elementary OS developers use an open-source license called 3-Clause BSD, which allows users to take the source code and run it on their devices. But this does not allow them to redistribute the source code or make modifications to it. To do those things, they’ll need a more permissive open-source license like the GPLv3.

Features of Elementary OS? 

The concept is to make Linux easy for inexperienced users. The GUI runs on top of GNOME by default, with themes and plugins to change the look and feel. The default theme is “Aluminum.” A new theme can be selected through the Settings dialog by changing the active theme. A new icon set called “Elementary” was also introduced with version 1.0, making an appearance in its application launcher. The Arch User Repository (AUR) contains many applications including Emacs, Firefox, Thunderbird, Spotify, VirtualBox, Pidgin…

One of the most notable components of Elementary OS is the plugins based on GNOME Shell Extensions. Unlike GNOME shell extensions, Elementary OS plugins are written in Vala. They include network settings, fonts, themes, and other system-wide customizations.

Elementary OS applications

Elementary OS is available in 32-bit and 64-bit variants. An image for the ARM architecture is also in development. As of version 0.4 “Loki”, GNOME Shell is the default desktop environment, replacing Pantheon shell which was present in previous versions of Elementary OS. For backward compatibility, it also offers a Classic mode similar to that of previous versions.

The desktop edition of Elementary OS can be installed on PCs with up to 1 GB of RAM (1 GB RAM + swap size).

Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu LTS-based releases with long-term support. It uses the Linux kernel but may have minimal hardware requirements, making it accessible to older computers. Although Elementary OS is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories, it does not make use of its Update Manager to provide updates promptly. When updating using the built-in Update Manager, updates are applied in a specific order, typically starting with the most critical security updates and finishing by applying bug fixes. This is in contrast to most distributions which will apply all available updates when one update has been applied. The default shell is GNOME Terminal instead of bash. Elementary OS uses the Adwaita theme for GTK+, which is the default GNOME theme. Its icon set is called “elementary” and is not compatible with GNOME Shell or most other themes by default. However, the Elementary OS theme plugin allows users to use classic GNOME themes.

The OS uses font config to manage fonts, but additional font packages can be installed if desired. Elementary OS supports many languages including Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian out of the box with language packs being available for download on their website after installation of an OS version that supports your language. Appearances are also customizable by selecting new GTK+ themes in System Settings → Themes.

Elementary OS supports the following architectures:

  • An image for the ARM architecture is in development.
  • Elementary OS has repository support with an AUR package called ‘elementary-os-aur’ that enables easy package upgrades by using a simple command-line tool built into the elementary-os repo on AUR.

There are several alternatives to Elementary OS, but they either provide more features, a different graphical desktop environment, or a lower level of security on a CD iso file. These alternatives include Ubuntu Studio and SolusOS.

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