One of the most popular Linux distribution, elementary OS is gearing for its next major release. Beta version of elementary OS 0.4, codenamed Loki, has been released today.
elementary OS 0.4 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. It will bring a number of GUI changes. GUI (Graphical User Interface) is one of the strong points of elementary OS and it is actually known for it.
If you read my previous article about the logic behind the codenames of Linux distributions, you know that elementary OS chooses gods and goddesses from the Roman-Greek and Nordic mythology. Loki is no exception. There are various references about Loki but we are not going to discuss that except that he was a clumsy and mischievous character.
New features in elementary OS 0.4 Loki
As Loki is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which means that it now has Gtk 3.18, Vala 0.32, and Linux 4.4 along with a number of other updated libraries. With that, there will be some visual changes and applications will have native overlay scrollbars.
The notification system gets an upgrade as well. Users will be able to control which app sends them notification and which doesn’t.
Continuing with visual changes, there have been new icons introduced and old ones refreshed. You’ll see a polished icon set.
There are more changes that can be discovered while using the system. Of course, since it is only a beta release, more features will be added to it before the final release.
The most important change in elementary OS 0.4 Loki is software installation process. elementary OS wants to tighten the security around the software and it wants users to install software from trusted sources only. And this is why there is no default tool to install .deb or add a repository. As per their official announcement:
In the interest of promoting secure software installation methods, as of this release there is no default app for handling .deb packages and the command line tool add-apt-repository is not available by default. These tools are available to install from the default repos, but the stance going forward is that software should come from vetted, secure sources or in sandboxed package formats. If you’re worried about how users will be able to get and install your apps, don’t panic! We’ll have a follow up announcement soon.
If you take my opinion, this is going to irk a lot of people. Even I am not happy to be restricted in such a way. Freedom of installation, anyone?
Download elementary OS 0.4 Beta
As I had mentioned in my earlier article, beta testing is one of the several ways you can help Linux grow. Since beta version will be full of bugs and crashes, I won’t recommend you to install it immediately, especially on your regular system.
However, if you want to experience Loki and help them in beta testing the OS, grab the ISO image and install elementary OS 0.4 Loki, either in a VM or in a separate partition.