Events can be added to the calendar that span multiple days and that lasts all day. One problem I found is that once an event has been added, I could not edit it. The edit button, which is on the far left of the event addition button, is greyed out. So also is the event deletion button. The Calendar is a good effort, but it looks like it still has some edges. More features could yet be added, like the ability to export a calendar to a PDF file.
The installed Web browser is Midori. It tends to be the default browser on desktop distributions that used the Xfce desktop environment. It’s a beautiful piece of software, but one default setting I could not find a good reason for is you can’t manage (list, view and delete) cookies until you enable the Cookie Manager extension. And you cannot set site-specific cookie policies until you enable the Cookie Security Manager. Why? These are tasks that we know the vast majority of users will perform, so why not enable the tools by default?
For me, the most significant issue with this distribution has to do with the window titlebar button. And it is that the Minimize titlebar button does not exist. Only the Maximize and Close buttons are accessible. Concerning this, Cassidy James said in The Road to Luna, that:
Certain apps, like Music, were made to intelligently continue to run in the background when closed. For users, this meant a negligible difference between “close” and “minimize” with the side-effect that apps that weren’t in use wouldn’t be sitting around consuming resources.
So because certain applications start up faster than Speedy Gonzales can move, the Minimize button was banished. What the developers failed to consider is the effect on user experience (UX). For a user like me who is accustomed to using the titlebar buttons for what they were designed for, it puts a crimp in the overall UX. I know that I can still right-click on a windows’ titlebar and select Minimize, but that takes an extra click to get the same task done.
Still on the subject of titlebar, the distribution of the remaining titlebar buttons does not make sense to me. To a user, what is the benefit of having the Close and Maximize buttons on opposite ends of the titlebar? In what way does this enhance the UX? I can’t think of any.
Ubuntu’s Software Center is the graphical interface for installing applications on Elementary OS, and given the small number of installed applications, this is one system application that will see frequent usage. It’s one of the better graphical package managers available for Ubuntu-based distributions, next to Deepin Software Center of Linux Deepin, and the Software Manager of Linux Mint.
The part of using it that I don’t like is that it is loaded with stuff that’s not supposed to be in a graphical package manager. Or is there a particular reason that most of the search results for a package are books and magazines?
Security Posture: Aside from the option to encrypt users home directory during installation, there is no other physical security feature on this distribution. So the physical security posture is nothing rave about. It’s not the distribution you want to use if encrypting the target hard disk drive is important to you.
The default network security profile is even worse. Ubuntu and those distributions derived from it usually have ufw, the firewall application, and AppArmor, a mandatory access security tool, installed by default. However, on this edition of Elementary OS, AppArmor is installed and working in enforcing mode, but ufw is not even installed. I’ve made the case elsewhere for why a firewall needs to be installed and enabled out of the box on a modern, Internet-connected operating system, so I can’t think of a good reason it is not installed in this edition of Elementary OS.
At a time when people are becoming more security aware, I think Linux distributions should be pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a secure system forward, not taking steps back. With a firewall application missing from a default installation of Elementary OS, the developers appear to be moving in the wrong direction.
To Sum, from a purely end-users perspective, Elementary OS is too bare-bones, and I fail to see the justification for another one of these bare-bones desktop distributions. At a time when a few experienced Linux users are switching to Mac OS X and touting how it just works, I think we should be aiming to do better.
Elementary OS has the foundation to be a very good desktop distribution, but it still has some ways to go. Like I wrote in a precious article, we need desktop distributions with sane and sensible default system settings and applications.
Screen Shots: View a few more screen shots from my test installation of Elementary OS 0.2.
This screen shot shows the first window that opened after I logged into the desktop. I should report that clicking the Language Support module in System Settings and following the prompts took care of the problem.
The default desktop showing the calendar.
Another view of the desktop showing the menu with application categories.
Shown here are the three applications in the menu’s Office category.