I found myself reading a bit about Elementary OS and my curiosity piqued… I quickly downloaded the current stable release.
Around 4:00 am I decided that I was going to have to test the Linux distro that has been touted as “An obvious Mac Replacement.” and by 4:41 am it was installed and the drivers and updates were installed right along with it.
Part of me feels that I should admit up front that I am so Linux Mint biased (spoiled is the word) that I couldn’t do a fair comparison between Mint and Elementary even if such a thing were possible (currently not) so instead I’ll compare it to Xubuntu because that seems a bit more realistic.
Bodhi Linux is probably the closest feeling distro to this one in retrospect.
Elementary comes with some questionable options out of the box, i.e. Midori which is great if you love Midori, but realistically not the first choice for most end users. Likewise there is a smaller gnu movie player and music player that really just need to be removed even after enabling the third party codecs.
On the bright side it’s fast like an enlightenment desktop and seems fairly balanced (if not thoroughly stable yet.) My first hint of instability came as the software centre froze seemingly by the end of the firefox installation. This was post update and didn’t prevent firefox from operating quite tolerably after I installed a flash player.
This failure to close installer dialogs may have been partly due to my enabling third party drivers but that does seem to be something worth mentioning.
I did note that it’s still small enough to fit on a CD (669 MB) so I might very well use it on old hardware if it runs well enough in my next tests.
Does it look like a Mac? Yes but arguably Mac looks like older Linux with docks that date back to BSD. Ironic as this was listed as a monolithic kernel. (like BSD) Doing much of what the Darwin Kernel does. (Mac)
Does it act like Mac? In most cases it very much does and if that is what you are after, this is a wonderful way to experience it.
Does it replace a Mac? Depending on your Linux abilities I can say yes, you would need to enable some things like an I-Tunes replacement via OSALT. (There are several)
What was accomplished here is certainly impressive so don’t let my impression of it spoil the experience. I certainly would recommend this operating system to a friend who had the urge to go Mac.
How does it compare to Xubuntu? Bodhi? Mint? I can say it would be a nice alternative to Xubuntu if you wanted lean and mean. Bodhi yes this trumps it in many ways (namely versatility) Mint 17 on the other hand, stomps this distro into the ground.
I said I was biased though right?
Ultimately I’ll say I might find more uses for it, particularly as it may become a useful solution for older hardware if it doesn’t bloat itself past the CD size and that might keep it in business for a very long time.
Scale of 1-10 (10 being epic)
- Graphics 10
- User Friendliness 10
- Ease of installation 10
- Stability 8
- Portability 10
- Installed packages 6 (VLC would make it 7)
- Security 9
Don’t feel misled by the high ratings, my critical opinions are actually my only objections to the OS and I wasn’t even using the newest beta release in which many of these issues might very well be resolved. Overall I think it’s worth trying out just to see how it handles your day to day needs.
As for comparable to Mac it is definitely faster so whoever coined the phrase “poor man’s Mac” must have meant “Mac for people without time to waste.”
*Note to the developers “Nicely Done!”