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”?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.