elementary OS 7 Takes Its Place Among the Best Linux Desktops

The anticipated elementary OS 7 "Horus" release is here, continuing to compete for the prize of best Linux desktop. Here's our review!

Hundreds of distributions compete to become the preferred choice for Linux users in the desktop segment. Each has a different vision and approach for achieving this, which is wonderful because diversity and choice are two major aspects that make Linux attractive to all of us.

Elementary OS is a bright star in this constellation. It is a Ubuntu-based Linux distro designed to provide a visually appealing and user-friendly experience for desktop and laptop computers. It has its desktop environment named Pantheon, its own set of applications, and third-party software compatible with Ubuntu.

After more than a year since the last stable 6.1 release, elementary OS 7, codenamed “Horus,” is here as one of the best Linux desktop distributions. So let’s see what this new release has in store for us.

What’s New in elementary OS 7 “Horus”?

elementary OS 7 (Horus)
elementary OS 7 “Horus”

Based on the most recent Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS release and powered by the Linux kernel 5.15, elementary OS 7 has a slew of new features that make using the operating system even easier.

Improved AppCenter

The AppCenter is the beating heart of elementary OS enabling users to centrally manage by installing, updating, and removing applications from their system. In addition, the developers worked on making app descriptions more engaging with more information, making it easy to upgrade to their latest versions, and strengthening support for sideloading and alternative stores.

Also, when viewing the information for a specific app, the relevant screenshots are much better positioned, and the information is generally displayed more user-friendly manner.

AppCenter
AppCenter

Furthermore, the app’s sizing visualization (responsive design) has been improved, allowing users to use it easily when tiling and on small displays. How navigation works in AppCenter has been rewritten, and two-finger swipe gestures to navigate back are now supported.

Automatic App Updates

The timely installation of software updates is critical for a system’s stability and security. Elementary OS 7 supports Flatpak packages; however, users sometimes forget to update them during installation. Fortunately, this is no longer a problem, thanks to the improved AppCenter, which automatically updates all currently installed software packages.

AppCenter automatic updates
AppCenter automatic updates

On top of that, AppCenter now installs operating system updates offline, ensuring that essential services are properly restarted and avoiding unexpected crashes or version mismatches when updating. In other words, the packages are downloaded and prepared during your session and then quickly installed whenever you choose to restart the system, with no forced or automatic shutdowns.

Initial Setup

The installer now has fewer displayed screens, making elementary OS installation easier than ever. It also includes other changes, such as detecting if you use the right mouse button for clicking during initial setup and offering to switch to a left-handed mouse button order.

In addition, the welcome page that appears immediately after installation and allows you to set up your new elementary OS 7 system has also been revamped. It now has a new view for configuring automatic updates and a “Sunset to Sunrise” option for dark mode.

elementary OS 7 initial setup - "Sunset to Sunrise" mode.
elementary OS 7 initial setup – “Sunset to Sunrise” mode.
elementary OS 7 initial setup - setting up automatic updates.
elementary OS 7 initial setup – setting up automatic updates.

Mail & Multimedia Improvements

The Mail app has been updated with a more modern, flatter style, but the big news here is that the unified inbox now supports Microsoft 365 accounts. Moreover, offline support for CalDAV accounts and the option to set a refresh rate for IMAP accounts are now available in the Online Accounts settings.

The music player has also received its due attention in elementary OS 7. We strongly applaud the developers’ approach with this version — fast and simple music playback. What exactly does this mean? Music 7 has a single purpose – to instantly play the music file of your choice. There is nothing more or less.

Music 7 audio player.
Music 7 audio player.

Yes, many other music players are crammed with extra features such as fully managing your entire music collection, searching for lyrics, updating the meta-information of music files, and so on, but Music 7 focuses on simplicity. And we love that.

Moreover, Music 7 includes improved support for retrieving track metadata like album art, works with system-wide media controls, and can be tiled and resized to fit small and large displays.

Other elementary OS 7 Highlights

Several improvements to using alternate stores are included in elementary OS 7. At the same time, the devs removed the warning dialog while installing an app from another store.

Printer settings were given special attention, with several redesigns and new features such as the ability to clear the print queue per printer and a clearer view of ink levels.

Finally, elementary OS 7 includes the management of power profiles and a performance mode for devices that support it. As a result, users can expect significantly improved battery life for mobile devices while using Power Saver mode.

You can refer to the official announcement for detailed information about all changes.

Download elementary OS 7

You can download Elementary OS 7 “Horus” from the project’s website through a “pay-what-you-can.” If you don’t want to pay anything, you need to manually enter “0” in the custom amount box for a download link to appear.

Of course, we encourage you to donate to this amazing Linux distribution if it is within your means.

Bottom Line

Elementary OS 7 has solidified its position as one of the top Linux desktops, offering a user-friendly experience with its sleek design, intuitive interface, and improved performance.

However, if we had to pick a weakness, the lack of a minimize button is one. This is similar to GNOME’s view on user interaction, but we believe that the absence of such functionality leads to user confusion and degrades the user experience.

Aside from that, almost everything else in elementary OS 7 has been improved, with attention to detail. Moreover, with its “Horus” release, the distro makes a strong case for its place among the top desktop Linux players, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Manjaro, openSUSE, etc.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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