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elementary OS 0.4 "Loki" beta was released today, and it includes over 800 closed issues and 20 implemented blueprints.

elementary OS loki

elementary OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution (with Loki being based on Ubuntu 16.04), which ships with its own desktop environment, called Pantheon, a Mutter-based window manager, called Gala, Pantheon Dock (built on the foundation of Plank dock), and its own custom applications for the most part, which integrate tightly with the desktop.

The official elementary OS 0.4 Loki release notes do not provide a complete list of changes and new features for users. For now, the release announcement lists major changes for developers. Among these are:
  • the Ayatana AppIndicator API is no longer supported by Wingpanel. The announcement notes that the proper way to have quick application actions is to use the FreeDesktop Actions spec, and have the quick actions appear in the dock, when right clicking apps in the applications menu, and in the applications menu search. That means AppIndicators like Dropbox, Psensor, Calendar Indicator, Weather Indicator and so on, are no longer displayed on Wingpanel; Update: elementary OS Loki Beta 2 was released, and it brings back support for Ayatana Indicators;
  • there's no default app for handling .deb packages in Loki, and the "add-apt-repository" command is not available by default, though they are available to install from the repositories. The reason behind this decision is to promote "secure software installation methods";
  • more.
Read more about these changes, HERE.

I tested the latest elementary OS 0.4 Loki beta in a virtual machine and here's a list of changes I noticed on a first look:
  • a new software store, called "AppCenter", is available by default. The application provides categories, search, application descriptions, and screenshots. It also allows updating packages. Right now, AppCenter doesn't support user ratings or reviews;
  • a new notifications indicator was added to Wingpanel, which displays a list of important notifications, and allows enabling the "Do Not Disturb" mode, clear all notifications, and access notification settings;
  • Epiphany has replaced Midori as the default web browser;
  • redesigned Mouse & Touchpad and Power Switchboard (system settings) plugs;
  • new Switchboard plugs: Online Accounts, Printers (replacing the old plug), Sharing, and Parental Control (which allows limiting computer use, accessed websites and or access to certain applications).

Note that since there are no official release notes for users, some new features and changes, including possibly important ones, may not be listed above. We'll see all the goodies that come with the latest elementary OS 0.4 Loki once the final release is out.

Here are a few screenshots with some of these changes:

elementary OS loki
AppCenter

elementary OS loki
AppCenter

elementary OS loki
AppCenter

elementary OS loki
Notifications Indicator

elementary OS loki
Updated Mouse & Touchpad Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Updated Power Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Online Accounts Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Parental Control Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Sharing Switchboard plug

elementary OS 0.4 "Loki" beta is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and it ships with GTTK 3.18, Vala 0.32, Xorg server 1.18.3, Mesa 11.2.0, and Linux 4.4, along with other updated libraries and applications.


Test elementary OS 0.4 Loki Beta


elementary OS 0.4 Loki is currently in beta, so it may contains incomplete features and various bugs. Use it for testing purposes only!

Download elementary OS 0.4 Loki beta (64bit only) | please read the release announcement (and more importantly, the known issues part)