Elementary OS 0.3 Freya – Review

Elemantary OS is an Ubuntu based distro (with Debian roots). The OS is still in “beta” though it has been for several years, and is the 11th most popular Linux distro according to distrowatch. I recently gave it a go for a while as my primary OS, and had some thoughts to share with others that are considering installing Elementary OS.

elementary OS freya


When powering on for the first time, after a pretty generic Ubuntu install one will immediately be impressed with the appearance of ElementaryOS. It’s Pretty. The OS definitely draws inspiration from Mac OSX. Using a Gnome based backend called Pantheon, Elementary has a nice menu, and a simple dock (Planky) for quick app access. The appearance of Elementary is second to none.


Elementary Advertises itself as UI/UX centric, and while it’s definitely pretty, the UX leaves a bit to be desired for a power user. While I admit things are easy to find, things feel really half baked for the power user. The thing I was most irritated by was the lack of seemingly any hotkeys working.


Elementary is a pretty lightweight system, landing somewhere between Xubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome in terms of performance… Which for your non-linux person… is pretty darn good. My one complaint here is getting guest tools to work right in Virtualbox was a bear… and the system still did not run all that great on VBox.


Nope. While most Linux based systems are very stable… this is where Elementary earns its “beta” tag. I wouldn’t say it froze frequently, but I had to deal with lockups a couple times a week… which is no fun at all.


Elementary is the prettiest Linux distro you’ll find. It’s pretty lightweight, and will run well on older hardware. Unfortunately, I found the usability and stability left something to be desired. This is a great OS to check out, or use on non-production older hardware, but I can’t recommend it for everyday use. 68% Awesome.


  1. It may just be related to my hardware, but I’ve been running Ubuntu Gnome (15.04) on the same hardware for sometime now without issue… though the updated Linux kernel differential may actually be what is making the difference here.

    Side note, one other thing I found a little annoying with elementary was the lack of hot keys that seemed to be setup. Sure, that’s customizable, but with many distro’s it works out of the box. I suppose if I were more into keeping elementary as my primary OS I’d script the setup of hotkeys.

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