Two years after the "Jupiter" release, elementary OS 0.2 Luna (stable) has been made available for download recently. With a bit of a delay, here's a quick overview of what to expect from Luna, along with screenshots and of course, a video.
elementary OS 0.2 Luna stable
Based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which will be supported until April 2017, elementary OS Luna ships with its own shell called Pantheon and applications that respect the elementary OS philosophy: beautiful, fast and minimalistic.
elementary OS Luna uses a window manager called Gala, based on libmutter, which comes with smooth animations along with a really cool workspace switcher (Super + s) and a beautiful Expose-like feature (Super + w):
You can see these in action in the video at the bottom of this article.
Slingshot, the menu / application launcher used by default in elementary OS Luna, lets you either search for the application you want or browse the available application categories:
The top panel, called Wingpanel, doesn't come with the "wing" design used in its first versions (though you can achieve that by following these instructions), but it still stands out from other panels such as the Unity panel, thanks to the cool design used by the indicators:
For the application switcher, elementary OS Luna uses Plank, a dock that supports intellihide along with other hide modes as well as some Unity features such as badges, progress indicators or quicklists:
Plank, along with other aspects of the desktop can be customized by using Switchboard, elementary's system settings which comes with some custom "plugs" such as the Desktop plug, which lets you set the wallpaper, change the dock icon size, hide mode or theme as well as set hot corners:
As for the artwork, Daniel Fore's beautiful GTK and icon themes are of course used by default. Through the Luna development, both have received various improvements: for instance, Luna uses new folder icons and the GTK theme has received new switches, infobars, spin buttons and much more. You can see these changes throughout the screenshots in this article.
elementary OS 0.2 Luna is truly special: the beautiful indicators, the smart dock, the lightweight default applications of which most are especially designed for elementary OS and the classy effects fit really well together and offer a clean, consistent desktop. And all of this, on top of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS which means you have access to all the applications available for Ubuntu and the long term support (supported until April 2017).
However, since besides the default applications there are very few apps that follow the elementary OS design guidelines, this consistency can easily be broken by simply installing a few extra applications and this takes away some of elementary's charm.
Another issue, some would say, is the lack of various options / customizations for some of the default elementary OS applications. The main reason behind this is that the elementary team tries to provide a good set of defaults so you don't have to tweak anything yourself.
Default applications include:
- Pantheon Files - a Marlin fork which is very fast and features multiple views, including Miller Columns as well as optional extensions for Ubuntu One or Dropbox;
- Noise (Music) - the default music player offers multiple views, including a browser based on album covers, an equalizer, iPod sync, Last.fm integration and more;
- Geary - an email client developed by Yorba (the team behind Shotwell) and the elementary team, has replaced Postler, and features new email notifications, multiple accounts support and more;
Other applications included by default in elementary OS are Maya (calendar), Scratch (text editor), Pantheon Terminal, Midori (web browser), Empathy, Totem, Simple Scan, Shotwell and of course, Ubuntu Software Center.
elementary OS Luna video
Below you can watch a quick elementary OS Luna video overview:
(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)
Download elementary OS Luna
Download elementaty OS Luna (32bit and 64bit ISOs available)
You can also purchase physical elementary OS Luna CDs (as well as branded t-shirts and stickers) from the elementary store.
Also see: The Road to Luna