Elementary OS

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Elementary OS
Elementary logo.svg
Elementary OS 0.3 "Freya".png
Elementary OS "Freya"
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release 31 March 2011; 5 years ago (2011-03-31)
Latest release 0.3.2 "Freya" / 9 December 2015; 7 months ago (2015-12-09)[1]
Available in Multilingual
Update method apt-get (Ubuntu Software Center)
Package manager dpkg
Platforms x86, x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic
Default user interface Pantheon[2]
License GNU GPL, LGPL, and various other free software licenses
Official website elementary.io

Elementary OS (styled "elementary OS") is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It is the vehicle to introduce the Pantheon desktop environment,[3] similar to how Linux Mint was the vehicle to introduce the Cinnamon desktop environment before Cinnamon was available in other Linux distributions.

Design philosophy[edit]

The Elementary OS project aims to solve a number of perceived deficiencies in the established desktop environments, namely:

  • better global aesthetics by streamlining the user interface;
  • reduce software dependency by using core applications written in the C language or Vala;
  • diminish the need to access the terminal.

Although not contrary to the GNU philosophy,[4] these deliberate design choices diverge from what most GNU/Linux distributions opt for: a freedom to set up and customize one's own desktop environment. The Human Interface Guidelines of the Elementary OS project focus instead on immediate usability with a gentle learning curve,[5] rather than full-fledged customization. The three core rules the developers set for themselves were "concision", "avoid configuration" and "minimal documentation".[6]

Since its inception, Elementary OS has received both praise and criticism for its design, which closely resembles that of OS X both visually and in terms of user experience.[7][8]

Pantheon's main shell is deeply integrated with other Elementary OS applications like Plank (a dock), Midori (the default web browser) and Scratch (a simple text editor). This distribution uses Gala as its window manager,[9] which is based on Mutter.[3]

Software components[edit]


The Elementary OS distribution initially started as a set of themes and applications designed for Ubuntu which later turned into its own Linux distribution.[10] Being Ubuntu-based, it is compatible with its repositories and packages and uses Ubuntu's own software center to handle installation/removal of software. Its user interface aims at being intuitive for new users without consuming too many resources.[11]


0.1 Jupiter[edit]

The first stable version of Elementary OS was Jupiter,[10] published on 31 March 2011[12] and based on Ubuntu 10.10. Since October 2012, it is no longer supported and thus no longer available for download in Elementary OS official web site apart from in a historical capacity.[13][14]

0.2 Luna[edit]

Elementary OS 0.2 "Luna"

In November 2012, the first beta version of Elementary OS code-named Luna was released, which uses Ubuntu 12.04 LTS as a base.[15] The second beta version of Luna was released on 6 May 2013, carrying more than 300 bug fixes and several changes such as improved support for multiple localizations, multiple display support and updated applications.[15][16] On 7 August 2013, a countdown clock appeared on the official website with a countdown to 10 August 2013.[17] The second stable version of Elementary OS, Luna, was released that same day, along with a complete overhaul and redesign of the Elementary OS website.[18]

0.3 Freya[edit]

Elementary OS 0.3 "Freya"

The name of the third stable version of Elementary OS, Isis, was proposed in August 2013 by Daniel Foré, the project leader.[19] It was later changed to Freya to avoid association with the terrorist group ISIS.[20] It is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which was released in April 2014.[19] The first beta of Freya was released on 11 August 2014.[21] The second beta of Freya was released on 8 February 2015.[22] The final version was released on 11 April 2015, after a countdown clock appeared on the website eight days before its release.

0.4 Loki[edit]

Elementary OS 0.4 is currently codenamed Loki,[23] although the name is subject to change.[24] Elementary OS 0.4 beta was released on 13 June 2016.[25]

Version table[edit]

Version Codename Date Base
Old version, no longer supported: 0.1 Jupiter 2011-03-31 Ubuntu 10.10
Old version, no longer supported: 0.2 Luna 2013-08-10 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Older version, yet still supported: 0.3 Freya 2015-04-11 Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
Older version, yet still supported: 0.3.1 Freya 2015-09-03 Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
Current stable version: 0.3.2 Freya 2015-12-09 Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
Future release: 0.4 Loki TBA Ubuntu 16.04 LTS[26]
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release


In 2015, the Elementary OS developers changed the download page to default to a monetary amount before providing a direct HTTP download for the current stable release. Despite the fact that the user was able to supply any amount, or no amount at all, it sparked controversy about how such practices are typically not perceived as being in alignment with FOSS distribution philosophies.[27][28][29] The Elementary OS team has defended the action stating that "Around 99.875% of those users download without paying", and have justified an amount populating by default as a measure to ensure the continued development of the distribution.[29]


  1. ^ Daniel Foré (2015-12-09). "Freya 0.3.2 Released". Elementary blog. Elementary LLC. Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  2. ^ Cassidy James (14 November 2012). "Hello, Luna Beta 1". Elementary OS. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  3. ^ a b Cassidy James (14 November 2012). "Hello, Luna Beta 1". Elementary OS. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  4. ^ "GNU philosophy". GNU Project. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  5. ^ "eOS Human Interface Guidelines". Retrieved 2015-04-16. Users will accomplish tasks more quickly because you will have a straight-forward interface design that isn't confusing or difficult. 
  6. ^ "eOS Design Philosophy". Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  7. ^ "Elementary OS Luna Released". 11 August 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-20. 
  8. ^ Klint Finley (25 November 2013). "Out in the Open: Say Hello to the Apple of Linux OSes". Wired. 
  9. ^ Daniel Foré; Sam Tate; Tom Beckmann; Sergey Davidoff (15 September 2012). "Meet Gala: The Window Manager". Elementary OS. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  10. ^ a b Vishal Gupta (19 April 2011). "Elementary OS "Jupiter": Awesome Linux Distribution Based on Ubuntu". AskVG. Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  11. ^ Tom Nemec (13 August 2013). "Elementary OS ‘Luna’: Eine Mac OS X ähnelnde Linux-Distribution" (in German). Weblogit. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  12. ^ Daniel Foré (15 August 2015). "How old is Elementary's project?". Elementary blog. Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  13. ^ Javier Pastor Nóbrega (19 October 2012). "Elementary OS "Jupiter" deja de estar disponible" (in Spanish). MuyLinux. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  14. ^ Alin Andrei (12 October 2012). "Elementary OS Jupiter no longer available for download, makes room for Luna". Web Upd8. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  15. ^ a b Alin Andrei (14 November 2012). "Elementary OS Luna beta 1 available for download". Web Upd8. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  16. ^ Michael Larabel (6 May 2013). "Elementary OS Luna Beta 2 Released". Phoronix. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  17. ^ Robin Jacobs (9 August 2013). "Mysterious countdown appears on Elementary OS website". Muktware. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  18. ^ Robin Jacobs (11 August 2013). "Elementary OS Luna says Hello World". Muktware. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  19. ^ a b Daniel Foré (16 August 2013). "Luna+1's Name and Some Other Stuff". elementary-dev-community mailing list. Retrieved 2013-09-14. 
  20. ^ Cassidy James (22 June 2014). "Elementary OS Isis is now Freya". Elementary OS. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  21. ^ Daniel Foré (11 August 2014). "Freya Beta 1 Available for Developers & Testers". Elementary OS. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  22. ^ Daniel Foré (8 February 2015). "Freya Beta 2 is here!". Elementary OS. Retrieved 2015-02-09. 
  23. ^ https://launchpad.net/elementaryos/+milestone/loki-beta1
  24. ^ https://plus.google.com/+CassidyJames/posts/GzwFLE2mvH5
  25. ^ http://blog.elementary.io/post/145881464631/loki-beta
  26. ^ http://linux.softpedia.com/blog/elementary-OS-0-4-Loki-Will-Be-Based-on-Ubuntu-16-04-LTS-Development-Started-477618.shtml
  27. ^ "Online Community Goes Nuts After elementary OS Devs Say People Should Pay". softpedia. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  28. ^ "Should you pay for Elementary OS?". InfoWorld. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  29. ^ a b "Payments". blog.elementary.io. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 


  1. ^ "Pantheon Login Screen in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  2. ^ "Wingpanel in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  3. ^ "Slingshot in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  4. ^ "Plank in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  5. ^ "Plank readme". Launchpad.net. 23 January 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  6. ^ "Switchboard in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  7. ^ "Midori in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  8. ^ "Geary". Yorba. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  9. ^ "Maya in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  10. ^ "Noise in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  11. ^ "Scratch in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  12. ^ "Pantheon Terminal in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  13. ^ "Files in Launchpad". Launchpad.net. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  14. ^ "Pantheon Files readme". Launchpad.net. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 

External links[edit]