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.
A flick on the mouse scroll wheel brings the Guess account into focus.
Nothing flashy about the desktop, but it also not cluttered either. The dock on the bottom edge holds icons for your favorite applications.
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.
An alternate is a classic view.
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.
Using the same application manager, installing system and application updates is just as easy.
With the Multitasking View icon on the dock, you can add many more workspaces, or virtual desktops.
The distribution’s System Settings. It has some nice features you won’t find on the equivalent application on Ubuntu.
Like an integrated firewall in the Security & Privacy module.
And parental control with Internet and application settings.
Hot Corners are also a feature, but they’re all disabled by default.
Just three online accounts are supported by default.
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.
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.