elementary OS 0.4 Loki

elementary OS is a Linux desktop distribution that’s based on Ubuntu. The project’s goal is crafting a “fast and open replacement for Windows and macOS”.

The latest, stable edition, with a core that’s based on Ubuntu 16.04, is elementary OS 0.4, code-named Loki.

This article provides a walk-through of the distribution’s most important features.

The distribution’s login screen. By default, a guest account is enabled.

elementary OS 0.4 Loki login screen
Figure 1: elementary OS 0.4 Loki login screen

A flick on the mouse scroll wheel brings the Guess account into focus.

elementary OS 0.4 guest account
Figure 2: elementary OS 0.4 guest account

Nothing flashy about the desktop, but it also not cluttered either. The dock on the bottom edge holds icons for your favorite applications.

elementary OS 0.4 Loki desktop
Figure 3: elementary OS 0.4 Loki desktop

At the top-left corner is the application menu. It’s somewhere between a classic menu and a full-screen application dashboard. This is the default view.

elementary OS desktop menu
Figure 4: Application menu of elementary OS 0.4 Loki

An alternate is a classic view.

elementary OS 0.4 Loki
Figure 5: Classic view of the application menu on elementary OS 0.4 Loki

Take another look at Figure 4. The total number of icons you see in that image, plus one not shown, represent the total number of installed applications. So elementary OS is a very minimalistic distribution – when it comes to the number of applications installed out of the box. But that’s not a problem, because hundreds of other applications can be installed easily using the application manager.

elementary OS application manager
Figure 6: Application manager for elementary OS 0.4 Loki

Using the same application manager, installing system and application updates is just as easy.

System updates elementary OS
Figure 7: System updates on elementary OS 0.4 Loki

With the Multitasking View icon on the dock, you can add many more workspaces, or virtual desktops.

elementary OS Multitasking View
Figure 8: Multitasking View on elementary OS 0.4 Loki

The distribution’s System Settings. It has some nice features you won’t find on the equivalent application on Ubuntu.

elementary OS System Settings
Figure 9: System Settings of elementary OS 0.4 Loki

Like an integrated firewall in the Security & Privacy module.

elementary OS Settings firewall ufw
Figure 10: UFW firewall is integrated in System Settings of elementary OS 0.4 Loki

And parental control with Internet and application settings.

Parental Control Linux desktop
Figure 11: Parental Control is integrated in System Settings of elementary OS 0.4 Loki

Hot Corners are also a feature, but they’re all disabled by default.

Hot Corners elementary OS
Figure 12: Hot Corners on elementary OS 0.4 Loki

Just three online accounts are supported by default.

Online Accounts elementary OS 0.4
Figure 13: Online Accounts on System Settings of elementary OS 0.4 Loki

In general, the elementary OS desktop is really nice, but the absence of a Minimize button on the titlebar of application windows is an oddity that makes it slightly not-very user-friendly. Why the close and maximize buttons are on opposite ends of the titlebar beats me, too.

elementary OS Minimize titlebar button
Figure 14: No Minimize titlebar button on elementary OS 0.4 Loki application windows

I don’t call this a review, but I think it gives you an idea of what the elementary OS 0.4 has to offer. If you can ignore the absence of a minimize button on the titlebar, this is a recommended distribution. The desktop is much nicer than that of Ubuntu. And that of Windows 10 too. So you may consider switching (from Windows 10). The installation image offers a Live desktop, so test-driving before switching is easy. Access to that installation image is available from here.

Related Post:  Fusion Linux 14 review

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12 Responses

  1. Here it is almost 2018…and TrueOS still isn’t ready…and Cinnamon on TrueOS is still horrible. Lumina, to me, is an abomination. Forget TrueOS, just go with a straight of FreeBSD install with XFCE or Mate and you’ll save yourself many headaches.

  2. What you are seeing is the current state of the porting process for GNOME3/Cinnamon to FreeBSD — it is not complete yet.
    PC-BSD simply provides users with access to everything in the FreeBSD ports tree, and does not distinguish/modify any of the DE’s or WM’s (except for the Lumina desktop – but even that has a level of separation from PC-BSD itself).

    1. In the past I have tried to use PC-BSD but it was buggy, way to buggy.
      As a ‘distro-hopper’ Ive tried too many distros to count. PC-BSD was not a keeper in my book…

  3. I don’t think there’s any doubt that if you are looking for a desktop operating system it is better to go with a Linux distribution. There doesn’t seem to be any advantage to PC-BSD. This does not negate the existence of a fan base for PC-BSD but it’s hard to imagine that such a choice is based on technical merit rather than some psychological motivation.

    1. Not saying that Linux hasn’t some advantages but FreeBSD/PC-BSD sure has some technical merit that could entice someone in choosing it has it’s desktop OS. ZFS, Jails, Boot Environments, Excellent Documentation, etc…
      Take a peek, and you could be surprised at what you find under the hood.

      1. Fully agree. That’s 13 years I have had used Linux as my main OS. I would say that BSD is at Linux what Linux is at Windows. Linux is said to be: “you have all the possible choices and that’s freedom, yeah !”. I would correct by: “Linux offers all choices but not a default robust stream”. I am migrating to PC-BSD for my desktop after having tested FreeBSD on servers. ZFS, Jails, documentation are awesome. In Linux, browsers like Firefox or Opera consumes all my 16 Gb RAM. At least, on BSD, they will be in a jail with quota. My only problem is a very slow migration process to copy my data from ext4 via ext4fuse to my ZFS file system.

        1. But unfortunately, I am in a nightmare with PC-BSD too:
          – rsync does not work correctly from ext4 partitions mounted with ext4fuse
          – USB drives badly supported
          – printers lost after reboot
          – softwares installed from ports lost after reboots
          – Linux jails are not what I have expected
          – Too hard to find workarounds for applications I need

          I don’t want to spend hundreds of hours to learn like I did with Gentoo. I just want something to work with.

          After discussions with coworkers, I move to Debian. Coming back to Linux when PC-BSD does not support correctly ext partitions is awful. I will never try again a BSD without such support.

    2. PC-BSD doesn’t have one thing that Linux does which is exactly why I made the switch and will put up with the warts. Systemd (svchost.exe lives). Linux is becoming windows lite and I really do prefer the more pure UNIX roots.

      1. Ack can’t edit. Meant to say PC-BSD is definitely raw on the desktop but still maintains its UNIX roots. Linux is going down the windows rabbit hole at this point.

  4. 😀 Seriously what a lame experience. It seems like the guys who develop this package never even tested ANY of it :DDD

    I am a FreeBSD user, and by installing everything manually or with a custom installer script (made by me, of course) I’ve never had any serious problems. The reason is that when I install Linux-spesific ports of desktop software, I always use _minimal_ feature set from official package repo.

    To me it seems that this Cinnamon packages was automatically built with all extra features (compile time options) that haven’t been tested on the spesific version of FreeBSD this distro is running as it’s base.

    Oh yeah, nobody will fix the EFI boot bugs unless you capture loader/kernel error output from serial port. If an EFI boot fails, errors go to serial port, and only those errors are meaningful to the guys who develop the EFI stuff. This is why I haven’t participated in the EFI effort yet. Too much hassle, I got other *BSD software projects to worry about 😉

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