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