Elementary OS Freya Review Of New Features

New features in Elementary OS Freya

elementary OS Freya has been released today. I have already tried out this beautiful Linux distribution. There has been several changes between the previous version Luna and upcoming Freya. If you are curious about what’s new in Freya, I am going to show you some of the new features in elementary OS Freya and a quick screenshot tour of its looks.

Call it elementary OS Freya review, if you like, but I am not going in technical details about its performance and other related things to keep the topic focused and not make it unnecessary lengthy.

New features introduced in elementary OS Freya

Did you know that the upcoming elementary OS was originally named Isis and not Freya? There is an (not so) interesting story behind elementary OS Isis to be called as Freya. Whatever be the name, here are some of the new features you would see in next version of elementary OS.

Terminal

Terminal in Freya has some of the unique features which I have not seen in any other Linux distribution. First, the terminal looks very good in the default background color. But it’s not the color I am talking about here. If you try to copy paste a command from the internet that requires super user rights, it gives you a warning:

Elementary OS Freya Terminal Super User warning

Not that it is going to help people a lot because we are habitual of copy-pasting commands from the internet. But in any case, it’s an innovative feature. Oh wait! That’s not the only unique feature about the terminal. Terminal uses the notification system and notifies you about the completion of a command in the terminal.

Elementary OS Freya Terminal notification

I particularly liked this feature because I often forget after running a command and when I go back in terminal, I have to enter my password again for the sudo commands. If you are using any other Linux distribution, you can get terminal notifications with this trick.

Multitasking view and workspace switcher

There is a new option of Multitasking View added in the plank that gives you a quick view of all the running applications. You can also create new workspaces here and change between the workspaces. This is something similar to GNOME, isn’t it?

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Multitasking view in Freya

New lightdm lock screen

elementary OS Freya has a new lock screen that uses lightdm. The lockscreen displays the date and time in the right side which looks quite elegant, trust me. Like Ubuntu, if you change the background wallpaper, it is reflected in the login screen as well.

login screen of elementary os freya

In case you are wondering, here is how to take screenshot of login screen in Linux.

Top Panel

Top panel is mostly transparent and you can see the background wallpaper beneath it. Applications, date, time and other panel indicators are always visible. But as soon as you use an application in full screen mode, the top panel goes opaque and changes its color to black so that the panel indicators are easily visible. This is a trivial feature but gives a good user experience. And if you care to notice, the animation between the transparent and opaque panel is quite nice as well.

freya top panel

Quick access to privacy settings

Privacy is a delicate issue. Remember the uproar when Canonical tried to intimidate a privacy advocate for Fix Ubuntu website? Keeping these things in the mind, elementary OS Freya has included a quick on/off option for privacy. With this mode on, the OS will not collect data or stats about application usage.

Privacy settings in Freya

Either you turn on the privacy mode for all by default or you can select which application and directly should be excluded. There is also option for adding additional applications and folders.

privacy settings in Freya

Integrated firewall

In Freya, elementary OS has also added GUI option to add firewall. This is something which was not in Luna, if I remember correctly. If you are too concerned about security, configuring firewall will be easier with this new feature.

Elementary OS firewall settings

Online accounts

Freya also includes option to add your online accounts such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo etc. Honestly, I hardly find any use of adding online accounts but I know there are people who prefer to be notified of new email and messages. While this ‘online account’ feature has been in some Linux distributions for some time now, Freya is the first elementary version to use it.

Elementary OS Freya Online Accounts

Start Up Application management

System Settings also brings you the option of easily managing the start up applications. You can see the applications that run at start up, remove them and also add new applications to run at each boot. This GUI feature was not there in Luna, if memory serves me right. Considering that elementary OS aims at beginners, this feature will be useful for many.

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Elementary OS Freya Start Up applications

Upgraded version of default applications

Customary to mention that elementary OS Freya consists of latest version of all of its default application. Which means you’ll get the latest Midori browser, Audience video player, Noise music player, Geary mail client, Maya calendar etc.

Under the hood

There are changes in things other than the visuals. Freya now officially supports UEFI/Secure boot. There is better support for Samba. Security and stability improvements are obviously there. A lot of other changes are there which we might not be able to visualize but perhaps experience while using Freya.

Screenshot tour of elementary OS Freya

After we saw the new features added in Freya, let me take you to a quick screenshot tour of elementary OS. Some of the images in the gallery below have already been mentioned in the article before but I still kept them in the collection so that you can have a quick look at all of them in one place.

[soliloquy id=”6490″]

Worth a try?

Since the final candidate is not out yet, there are possibilities that some new features might be added in near future. I’ll update the article if I find something worthy of a mention. If you find some other features which I missed here, feel free to drop a comment about it. If you are already using it, do check the list of things to do after installing elementary OS Freya. If you are not using it yet, feel free to download it from the link below:

Download elementary OS Freya

Meanwhile, I’ll leave the stage open for you. What do you think of elementary OS Freya features? Do you think it has some nice feature that would make you switch to elementary OS Freya? Do share your views.

Comments

  1. Hi Abhishek , Thanks to you I took the plunge and installed eOS in my laptop. It is super cool I’ve followed most the instructions from this site and it is working super cool now. I’d an issue twith bitstreaming audio thankfully that also got solved. one request from me, is it possible for you to write a post on how to make the best out of trackpad and touchscreen
    of a laptop in eOS ( I tried installing toucheegg, xwipe ,ginn I couldn’t make any of them work even a bit consistently)

  2. distro specific apps like midori, music and photos behaved as worst and frequently crashed and some basic codecs are missing… I think Mint is better than eOS..

  3. Just installed and sorry – not impressed. For a complete beginner maybe it would work – but I have very specific requirements that seem to work on all other ubuntu/xubuntu variants but not here. Won’t be keeping it. Looks pleasing enough but… just don’t work for me. Disk-Manager simply doesn’t run and for me (can’t be bothered learning fstab) it’s essential. Lazy I know but there you go. I don’t usually post negatives about Linux Distro’s as I know the developers work really hard at what they do – and for that I am eternally grateful I have new OS’s to play with but with all the hype I expected more and it didn’t happen – sorry

    • If you are using Elementary luna (0.2) you can do this by installing super-wingpanel otherwise in the 0.3 beta 2 you cant do this yet(still waiting for a newer version of superwingpanel). Elementary os will never add the feature you are talking about; as it would make it a really copycat of OSX. hope this helps :)

      • No, it will be copycat of Unity! This is one of the reasons, among with the no open window tabs in the panel, why i use Unity. Elementary OS looks so nice, is not bloated, but you really should fix the ugly menus!

        PS! I am not talking to integrate them into the panel, just integrate them to the window top bar.

        Here is how my Unity with integrated menus looks like: https://plus.google.com/106130063091702019782/posts/FtiEUSsqLru

        • Yeah, try to explain this first sentence to a regular Windows/Mac user. I bet they’ll call this feature copying Mac without even thinking about it.

          It will not happen in Freya. Best we could hope for is to get super-wingpanel ported to Freya. Original developer stopped working on it, so we need someone else to do the job.

        • Tanel, what unity theme and font do you use? Its really awesome! And what terminal-application and kind of “gnome-do” is this in your screenshots? That’s an perfect ubuntu! Did you modified the numix-theme, because the light-grey application-background in nautilus looks different (and much better ;))?

          • Ubuntu is the font and theme is stock Numix GTK Dark theme. Launcher is Albert.

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