Saturday, 17 January 2015

The ElementaryOS Basics

Believe me this OS is fast. It is now installed in my previous Vista computer with this hardware specifications, Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2080 1.73GHz, 2GB of RAM, 100GB of SATA HDD and with Intel 943 graphics having a shared memory of 128MB. This is an 'ancient' specification compared to the newer laptops, specially the graphics which shares it's memory with the RAM.

I like it personally, and as a matter of fact, I use it everyday. Here's why  the 'almost extinct' laptop is again 'roaming' on table taps and laps around the house!

1. Bootup process.

The boot up process is a bit slower this time as it is starting up from the hard drive compared from USB flash drive  when I was trying it without installation, but it's time is still much better than Vista. Having said that, I am impressed that it is ready to go when the desktop appears.

...related story...

2. Necessary connections are up.

Laptops and other gadgets are 'synonymous' to internet as without it there's no point of having a laptop. ElementaryOS knows about this that the connections are ready when the desktop appears. Not like the old Vista that you need to wait for a while until wifi connectivity is ready.

3. The desktop.

The desktop is very clean, and there is no way you can mess it up. Although this may not appeal to everyone, the EOS doesn't allow you to create any shortcut on it, unless you install an advance system tweak, but for me I do not need it, as this is a good thing to help create a more organized file as there is no way in creating a temporary folder to put in the desktop when you are in a rush. You need to dig into the applications button and better to create a permanent one. This way, you minimise the chances of duplicate files and misplaced items.

4. Streamlined buttons and menus.

There's only one menu at the left upper corner (Applications), and this button is where all of the menu's and submenus are located. From applications to files, from connected devices to system settings and tweaks. You just need this one button to access everything.

At the upper right side corner, you have the system's necessary functions, like the speaker, network connection, mail, empathy chat, user and the power off button. You can make changes with these by simply clicking(right or left click) a menu. Another clever thing I noticed is, after clicking one of the functions, all of them becomes active, meaning you can just hover your cursor to see the submenus of each without clicking the functions first.

The dock at the lower middle resembles an apple computer. You can dock anything from applications,  system settings and tools. Adding more items is easy as well as removing what is not useful to you. Putting them in order of preference is just a matter of dragging it to desired position.

Having experienced the positive side of it, this OS has it's shortcomings as well. But these are not permanent as it can be rectified and improved by downloading an appropriate software. The only downside is, you need a bit of a research to do it and if you want to fix it quicker, you need to access the terminal command line.

And here's a list of reasons of what  I miss from windows and apple.

A. Basic software.

Midori browser brings webpages in a flash, but unfortunately it doesn't come with addons like  flash. This means contents with flash media will not play. Although there is a tweak to this on forums which I have not tried yet, I installed chrome browser instead.

The built in media player and photo viewer are very basic. Not all video codecs are supported and you need to download add ons to use it. The same with the photo viewer, it does not have a 'resizer' which I always use to reduce file size. So you do need to install additional software from the built in software centre like a photo editor, media player and word processor to add more functionality. Although the choices are not that much, almost all of them are free and they function very well.  I've chosen Pinta for the basic photo editor and VLC media player.

B. Not straight forward to uninstall software

Not like windows that you just need to hit the uninstall button if you want to get rid of a program or just simply clearing out space, EOS needs you  to go to software center, search for the name of the application you want to uninstall, then click remove. There might be a simpler way which I have not explored yet that could make it easier to uninstall unwanted softwares.

Last  Words.

The EOS is the best alternative to Windows as per my experience. It is easy to install and easy to use. In fact this is my first time to install a new operating system in a laptop that no longer start's up. I have also tried this OS to a Windows 7 using a USB edition without installing. It worked very well as well and in fact it was faster to load. This might be because it is running in a flash drive rather than from a hard disk, or might be because, the Windows 7 laptop is far way better equipped in terms of RAM and processor. Overall, it saved me money as it is free, and saved my old laptop from being binned!

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