Elementary Luna Mini Review

So for the past few days I’ve been running Elementary OS Luna from within a virtual machine. I really wanted to wait until it was fully released so that I could test it in all it’s glory but since the guys over at Elementary HQ have recently announced that their last OS, Jupiter is no longer available for download then I assumed that Luna was close to being ready – so, I just couldn’t resist taking it for a spin.

First Impressions

Before I get into this ‘mini review’ I first of all want to stress that Luna is currently in an unstable, development state. This is why I have been running it on a Virtual Machine rather than on a live machine. To stress this further, this is what the Elementary OS guys show you when you first boot up:

Ok, with warnings out of the way I’m not going to beat about the bush any more. In my opinion Elementary OS Luna is head and shoulders above any other Linux distribution I have ever tried. As the title says, this is just a mini review, I’ll save the full review for after the official release of Elementary OS Luna. This is more to share my initial thoughts about the OS.

The sheer quality of the desktop interface and attention to detail is second to none. Everything ‘just works’ and works magnificently. It’s quite simply beautiful. The guys over at Elementary HQ are famous for not abiding by any set release schedule, instead they opt for the mantra of “It’s ready when it’s ready”.

Although frustrating for users who are excited about the release, I think this is the right way to go. Rather than pushing their developers to have something ready by a pre-agreed release date and possibly sacrificing polish or usability to attain this they simply won’t release it until they are happy. This obviously means that we, as the end users get a superb product.

Ultimately it boils down to this, will I be ditching my stock Ubuntu/Unity installation for Elementary OS Luna? The answer to that question is an absolute resounding yes. Here are a couple of screenshots taken from my virtual machine:

I’m not going to get bogged down in the performance (although on my 2GB RAM VM it’s excellent), details about apps and basically run a full review. Like I said, these are just my thoughts – I’m very excited about the release and I just had to tell you guys. I for one can’t wait for the Elementary OS Luna release, what do you guys think?

If you want to try Elementary OS Luna out for yourselves (remember it’s a development build and SHOULDN’T be used on a live machine) then the download link is below.

Luna Unstable download


Elementary OS Luna now has an official beta release. You can read more about this development release and download links from the Elementary site.

Elementary Luna Mini Review
User Rating: 0 (0 votes)
  • http://www.linuxrants.com Linux Rants

    Looks really nice. I’m running 12.04 right now, but I’ve been thinking of trying something new.

    • NormanF

      Actually, its based on the 12.04 LTS release. I think its the way to go for a long term project like this one. No six month release cycles. That’s not what the EOS developers want.

  • Gayan

    Hey Kevin,

    That looks absolutely stunning!. However, there doesn’t seem to be a minimize button on the window controls (reminds me of the G-SHell, yikes! :D).

    So my question is, do you miss that minimize button ?

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      It does actually. Minimising is achieved by clicking a corresponding icon in the plank dock. I’m working on getting around that. Like I said, I didn’t want to go into too much detail so I didn’t mention it :)

      • Gayan

        Thanks Kev.

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      I’ve figured out how to do it. I’m just about to write an article on how it’s done so keep an eye out on the home page ;)

      • Gayan

        Just read that, thanks!.

        It’s good to know that it is available, LOL.

    • NormanF

      If Mac OSX has it, why not Luna? There is nothing wrong with the old-fashioned desktop. If it ain’t broke, why mess with it? Many of the recent changes have nothing to with making computing better other than to look cool. Old school works best.

      Unlike Windows, Apple hasn’t changed OSX and never will – I think that’s a good thing!

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  • http://cassidyjames.com Cassidy James

    The 64-bit build you linked to is absolutely not official, up-to-date, or managed by elementary. It’s some random project made by some random person. The other builds you linked to are ocnsidered extremely unstable and not recommended for non-elementary developers.

    We’re pushing out the beta as soon as possible, so you can definitely have people give it a spin then. But we don’t recommend using the unstable builds.

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      I didn’t realise the other link was an unofficial link, it seems Google was not my friend on this occasion. I’ve edited the article, thanks for letting us know!

  • NormanF

    You’ll notice the Pantheon desktop has no right click and icons, folders and so forth can’t be placed on it. The Pantheon File Manager (which lacks right click support) should be uninstalled and replaced with the GNOME Nautilus File Manager. Now you have a working desktop that is right click enabled. The only drawback is change desktop background does not open into wallpaper or appearance and as a workaround, you can go into system settings and change the background there.

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      I don’t really need a right click on the desktop and I’m finding that the file manager (gala I think it’s called?) is much better than nautilus in terms or performance and functionality.

      The system icons folder exists (/usr/share/icons) and I have changed the icons to faenza cuppertino but it didn’t fit well so I put the icons back to default. There are ways and means to customize Luna but with it being a Dev release and obviously subject to many changes I’m not going to broadcast many of them.

      So far I’m finding Luna to be excellent and very capable.

      • NormanF

        Agreed. The File Manager default is called Pantheon. The Window Manager is Gala.

        I’ve tried Mac-OS-Lion-Theme and paired with a Macbuntu Wallpaper, it looks amazing. Luna is a Macbuntu clone so everything nearly works out perfectly!

        I like the look of the left hand Mac OSX button theme.

  • http://abizrcmplx.tumblr.com/ Steven Abeyta

    Anyway to disable the shadow effect for windows? I was hoping maybe that’d help out with the performance? It’s runs a bit sluggish for me, unfortunately. A smooth and gorgeous distro, nonetheless.

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      Not that I know of. However, I’m running this in an virtual machine with no 3D graphics acceleration enabled so I think the graphical overheads on your system really will be negligible.

      • http://abizrcmplx.tumblr.com/ Steven Abeyta

        Much appreciated, Kev. Thank you. I found out how to do it gconf but there was no difference in performance. I was comparing the ‘better performance’ to other distros that I’ve tried with similar desktop effects. I have issues playing video given my old graphics card, and disabling certain desktop effects helps out quite a bit. I’ve found SMplayer works very well but videos online still skip pretty bad. I can’t help but stick with Luna so it’s a sacrifice I’ll have to make. ;)

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  • Peter Eklöf

    I thank you for the mini review and I am to looking forward to the Luna release. I am going to install it on my HP netbook.

  • DeobandTablighi

    you think that it will have a desktop environment for ubuntu 12.10 or 13.04?

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  • LR

    Full Luna review please,now that it’s final.

  • rogger

    hola, actualmente estoy utilizando elementary os luna, quizá mi pregunta sea demasiado tonta, pero ¿como pones tu foto como login? saludos y gracias!!!