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Should Linux Mint Users Switch to ElementaryOS?

 Linux  Comments Off on Should Linux Mint Users Switch to ElementaryOS?
Feb 142019

As a long time Linux desktop user, I’m often tempted to try out new distros to see if any of them can match my current favorite – Linux Mint.

So as part of that experiment, I downloaded ElementaryOS 5.0, which debuted in October 2018, and installed it as a guest OS via VirtualBox.

Like Linux Mint’s latest version (Linux Mint 19.1), ElementaryOS 5.0 aka Juno is also based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. This means the distro get extended support, till at least 2022.

At the time of writing this post, ElementaryOS 5.0 has been out for about four months, enough time to iron out any major wrinkles.

Given its larger and happier user base, Linux Mint thrives on voluntary user donations.

Purchase ElementaryOS 5

Unlike Linux Mint, before download ElementaryOS upfront asks users to “Purchase ElementaryOS” by paying a fee of $10, $20 or $30, or a Custom Amount. However, the fee is not a must and you can still type 0 (as in zero) in the Custom amount box and get the distro for free.

ElementaryOS 5.0 First Impressions
At first glance, ElementaryOS 5.0 has a Mac look-and-feel, particularly with the dock at the bottom-center a la the Mac.

Besides the browser, the dock has icons for Multitasking View, Mail, Calendar, Music, Videos, Photos, System Setting and App Center. I wish the terminal was also included in the dock but it’s not a big effort to add it to the dock.

Unlike Linux Mint, Elementary has gone with the Epiphany aka Gnome Web as its default browser.

After installation, I was pleased to note that I did not experience the screen size issue that still causes pain on some Linux distros (but not Linux Mint) when I run it as a VM on VirtualBox.

Application Downloads
App Center is Elementary’s app store and has applications in a bunch of categories (audio, graphics, Internet, Office, etc.)

ElementaryOS 5 AppCenter

Some categories like Office, Internet, Development have apps divided into two groups: Curated and non-curated apps.

Curated apps can comprise of both paid and unpaid apps.

Although some Curated apps carry a price tag, again users are offered a pay-what-you-want option.

Just to try out the App Center, I downloaded Agenda, a task manager app for making a To-Do list. Default payment listed was $3 but you can pay more, less or even nothing (zero).

Vexing ElementaryOS Issues
Unfortunately, ElementaryOS 5.0 has some serious issues for desktop Linux aficionados.

I just cannot understand the logic of the missing minimize button in ElementaryOS 5.0.

It should have been included as default.

For over 20 years, PC users have been conditioned to expect the minimize button, whether they are in Windows, Mac or Linux desktop environments. When we don’t have one as in Ubuntu or some other distro, we can use the Tweak tool to install a minimize button.

There are, of course, a couple of round about ways to minimize a window in ElementaryOS 5.0. You can do minimize a window by clicking on that app in the dock or by using the Windows key + H.

The second issue is even more bizarre. There’s no Desktop folder and no way to place a file, folder or icon on the desktop.

In ElementaryOS 5.0, the desktop is just a pretty wallpaper image with nothing but the dock at the bottom. That’s it.

Next, the Epiphany browser is not merely sluggish but has limited customization capabilities compared to the default Firefox browser in Linux Mint.

ElementaryOS 5 AppCenterElementaryOS 5 Epiphany Browser

I couldn’t find a way to add plugins to the Epiphany browser although I checked the box for Add Plugins in the browser’s Preferences.

Also, even after checking the “Try to Block Advertisers” box in Epiphany’s Preferences, some ads squeaked through.

By the way, if you’re looking for a way to whitelist on your favorite web sites you’re out of luck. There’s no way to do it.

There are a few other niggling issues, nothing serious but a bit irritating. For instance, Linux Mint has been offering the extremely useful command line system information utility Inxi by default for at least a couple of years. This is not so in ElementaryOS 5.0 although you can install it.

Overall, ElementaryOS looks slick but has miles to go before it can match the sophistication of Linux Mint.

Perhaps, there’s a reason this distro is called ElementaryOS.

I cannot imagine any long-time Linux Mint user will be pleased with ElementaryOS 5.0

Until I find a better Linux desktop distro, I will stick with Linux Mint.

 Posted by at 6:51 pm

How to Perform Shasum Checks in Windows 10

 Windows  Comments Off on How to Perform Shasum Checks in Windows 10
Dec 252018

In this post, I will demonstrate two ways to perform Shasum verification on Windows 10 computers. Shasum checks are useful to ensure the integrity of your software downloads, i.e., making sure that the files are not tampered with. When you run a shasum256 or shasum512 check on a file, you Read More

 Posted by at 7:07 pm

How to Simplify User Management in CentOS 7

 Linux  Comments Off on How to Simplify User Management in CentOS 7
Dec 192018
How to Simplify User Management in CentOS 7

Of course, you can add, modify or delete users and groups on a CentOS 7 system via the command line. You can even set the default shell, create Sudo users (by adding the user to the Wheel group), set account expiration and password policies like password aging reminder to change Read More

 Posted by at 3:21 pm

How to Install & Use KVM Virtualization on CentOS 7.5

 Linux  Comments Off on How to Install & Use KVM Virtualization on CentOS 7.5
Dec 042018
How to Install & Use KVM Virtualization on CentOS 7.5

If you want to learn virtualization, there are many avenues. You can use Oracle VirtualBox, VMWare, KVM, Xen, HyperV, etc. Since I was already familiar with other virtualization routes like Oracle VirtualBox, VMWare and HyperV, I decided to take the KVM plunge. KVM stands for Kernel-based Virtual Machine and has Read More

 Posted by at 8:21 pm

Fedora 29 KDE Plasma – First Impressions

 Linux  Comments Off on Fedora 29 KDE Plasma – First Impressions
Nov 022018
Fedora 29 KDE Plasma - First Impressions

Although my go-to Linux distros are CentOS and Linux Mint, I occasionally give Fedora a spin. So when Fedora 29 debuted on October 30, 2018, I decided to take the upgrade out for a spin. Fedora 29 KDE Plasma Fedora is always about choice and, besides the default GNOME 3.3 Read More

 Posted by at 4:25 pm

10 Key IP Commands on CentOS 7 & RedHat 7

 How To, Linux  Comments Off on 10 Key IP Commands on CentOS 7 & RedHat 7
Sep 232018

Getting a good handle on IP commands will prove useful if you’re managing a Linux box. Although ifconfig was deprecated and replaced with ip several years ago, some folks sill use ifconfig. But it’s good to be aware of the basic ip commands when you’re managing a Linux server. Here Read More

 Posted by at 2:19 pm