back to article Elementary, my dear penguin: It's the second beta of Freya

Elementary Linux has released the second beta of the imminent Freya release of its OS. Elementary follows a somewhat unusual release schedule of major updates every 18 or so months, with two betas at the six- and 12-month marks. That's not the only way Elementary differs in relation to other distros. Almost everything on the …

  1. RonWheeler


    Tickbox dreadful linux distro review.

    Longwinded discussion of relationship with GNU / Linux. Check

    Discussion of FOSS philosophy. Check.

    Discussion of complicated payment strategies. Check

    Barely a mention of what it actually does. Check..

    1. frank ly

      Re: Huh?

      "Barely a mention of what it actually does."

      Isn't it just a fluffed and re-skinned Ubuntu?

    2. Rob Gr

      Re: Huh?

      Personally, as those seem to be the main differentiating factors of this distro. I found the article raised a number of valid points. It seems very dodgy to me their approach to raising money, particularly trying to claim "years of development", when the vast majority of that has been done in the FOSS community.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: Huh?

        Huh indeed. I have at times supported distros by paying for the discs just because I felt good about supporting them. I can understand the "Donate" you find on most websites and why not donate if you like to. However, I think the guys at Elementary should remember that Linux users are very free indeed when it comes to choosing a Linux distribution. Stepping on thin ice here especially with the explanation why they ask for help with something no body ever asked them to do. And damn it I don't want to sound rude.

  2. Dr. Mouse

    And don't forget, you're being asked to pay for beta quality software at this point. Even Microsoft doesn't do that.

    *COUGH* Vista *Cough*

    1. mythicalduck

      I was going to quote this too - however, my take is different.

      Microsoft don't, because they're a big business with cash. However, Indie games for example, are a rising number of early/beta access... which you also pay for.

      So this is nothing new with smaller vendors

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Microsoft don't, because they're a big business with cash.

        Yeah, exactly!

        When Microsoft rips us off, people say "ohh, there's nothing wrong with that - they're a business". But when the independant person wants a few quid so they can support themselves, they're greedy bastards spitting at the whole OSS community!

        Me? I begrudge every single penny I shovel at Microsoft - yet I get satisfaction when I give to OSS.

    2. Hans 1

      >>And don't forget, you're being asked to pay for beta quality software at this point. Even Microsoft doesn't do that.

      >*COUGH* Vista *Cough*

      *COUGH* Win95*Cough* NT4*Cough* Win98*Cough* Win98Me*Cough*XP*Cough* Vista *Cough*Win 8*Cough*

      Fixed that for you.

      BTW, who in their right mind thinks Gnome 3.x is not alpha quality ?

      Alpha quality usually means it is not feature complete, beta quality means it is feature complete but may have undesired/undocumented features (aka bugs). Now, in Gnome 3.x, go look at the desktop theme control panel app, or, say, the ... power saving control panel app ... now, go back to Gnome 2 and do the same ... yes, Gnome 3 has many settings missing in those two apps - oh, it has a cute illustration for remaining battery power, great looking, sure, useful ? No!

      Xp was alpha quality when it first shipped, Vista was and still is pre-alpha ... so is 7 and 8.

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Yes, I was going to quote several Windows versions, but couldn't be bothered. Vista was just an example.

        Microsoft is well known for shipping beta (or at least RC) quality code on launch. Most techies I know will wait until at least the first SP before committing to a new MS OS, as you don't know what the "finished product" will be like until then.

        I have yet to see an MS OS released without a long list of bugs, which are either a flaw in the fundamental design (e.g. Vista) or are fixed by the first SP. IMHO this is "being asked to pay for beta quality software".

  3. Tromos

    Take the minimum suggested payment of $10 in conjunction with the statement "We feel that an entire operating system that has taken years of development and refinement is worth funding." Generously estimate the additional lines of code and resources that have gone into this as about 0.1%. This prices each copy of the entire OS at $10000.

    As Duncan Bannatyne would say - "That's a crazy valuation. I'm oot."

  4. bill 36

    doomed to failure

    When there are now so many distros that are more than capable of matching MS or Apple

    including Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora and Suse.

    And thats before we add the Enterprise Linux outfits like Redhat.

    Sorry lads, not today!

  5. Montague Wanktrollop

    Paid for desktop linux?

    They've clearly copied the Lindows/ Linspire and Mandrake/ Mandriva models.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "And don't forget, you're being asked to pay for beta quality software at this point."

    Reminds me of Steam Early Access... Good for the makers to work out if it's worth continuing, or if they should just scrap it due to underwhelming demand. (with no refunds whatsoever, of course)

    Personally, I really don't see why we need yet another bolt-on for Debian/Ubuntu, much less why we should pay for it. Also, Ubuntu is relatively fast-paced, and many users use it for that reason (more current features, drivers etc). Why anybody would choose an Ubuntu fork with a slower release cycle is beyond me. There are plenty other distros out there already, which focus more on robustness/business rather than staying on top of the very latest stuff.

    I'm all for variety, but only up to a certain point. There's a number of distros out there, which make sense for different purposes:

    RHEL/Centos - robustness, slower-moving, enterprise-focus, mostly on servers

    Fedora - RHEL's testbed for more current stuff

    Slackware - for more geeky people who like robust stuff

    Gentoo - with a BSD "we'll compile on our own, thank you" approach

    Debian - traditionally in the server space

    Ubuntu - major contributor in making Linux desktops usable and current

    Mint - Ubuntu + what Gnome should have become (Cinnamon is better than Gnome ever was, yet somewhat compatible)

    This list isn't complete, of course. I'd consider these the main distros (with exception of Mint, which is newish and essentially only changes Ubuntu's UI).

    So why would anybody pay for an unfinished product, which mimics Mint, but slows down the release cycle and will as a result make itself less compatible with recent Ubuntu releases? Variety is great, clutter isn't. Asking others to pay for unfinished clutter with no obvious advantage over existing distros is asking for trouble. I doubt we'll see the 18-months-from-now release happening.

    1. fishman

      Don't forget SUSE.

      1. Hans 1


        Yeah, they committed ritual suicide with the Redmond patent deal. A bunch of traitors ... I used to love their distro.

  7. nematoad Silver badge


    "Keep in mind that this was a really difficult post to right."

    Or even spell!

  8. marky_boi

    Pompous Twats

    I saw them on the Linux Action show and the 2 developers I saw came across as whiney Gen Y's. If the software is good I'll pay a donation for it as I have for countless other projects. For this project it's a BIG thumbs down. Bloody hell, Deb-Ian started just like that, Deb and Ian and it was like that for quite some time, didn't hear them whine..... To prove a point I downloaded it and paid $0... so I am another of the 98%+ people who tried it out.....

    Personally I am using Ubuntu Mate, a distro that has been spun for the Gen what-ever(46) I am users.. it just gets shite done....

    I won't give these twats a second glance good luck with eOS (p.s. I know they hate me saying it like that)

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Pompous Twats

      Hang the frig on, don't tar us "Gen Y's" with them lot.

      I can see why they want the money. They'd like to go full time doing something they love. They'd like to give it more of their time before they even get more people involved. I'm in a similar position, I'm working full time for a job I used to love and working on a project that will get me out of that job. But it takes time, and the only available time I get is for seeing the girlfriend and sleeping. I can tell you burning the candle at every end possible may be physically possible, but your love life and mental health suffer.

      That said, as far as I can see from using Elementary (I used Luna for 12 months), there isn't actually enough for me to warrant payment. It's a theme for Ubuntu. Elementary uses Ubuntu's software centre, Geary and Midori are separate projects. From the blog post I read, if I gave them $10 would it filter down to the projects that they use? I highly doubt it.

      While Elementary is a lovely OS to use, it's a theme dressed as a distro. I forsee the project folding soon, and Pantheon (the window manager Elementary has) will be made available just like Gnome and KDE.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pompous Twats

        Hell, I've been donating or purchasing theme packages since the '90's. I've always had a preference for the NeXT desktop [tear-off menus, docks, &c.) over and above anything else out there. Unfortunately for them, I don't donate/purchase alpha/beta software. I want to kick the tires and give it a test drive for a month before I plunk down the cash.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pompous Twats

      Deb+Ian, I never knew that.. haha.

      I would be more willing to donate to distros if they would limit themselves to just integrating a solid base system, rather than the usual exercise in world domination. I try to reward the people who actually develop/improve/maintain the few softwares I *like*. Package systems unfortunately make it a bit too easy to install software without giving a thought to those people, and then in Debian's case especially, you get some old alpha version (Midori browser, for example).

      There are better ways for free/open/indie software to be economically viable: A) cultivate a direct relationship with users, or B) keep it very simple and make your money elsewhere.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Pompous Twats

        I would be more willing to donate to distros if they would limit themselves to just integrating a solid base system, rather than the usual exercise in world domination.
        In other words:"Do one thing, and do it well"?

  9. Swarthy Silver badge

    MIght be worth the money

    ..And they might get a lot of donations, if they make their distro systemd-free, rather than a Ubuntu-with-a-nice-skin.

    That would be a project I would spend speculative money on. I will not, however, spend money on a beta UI.

  10. circusmole

    Seems to me...

    ...that they took a basically working system (Ubuntu) fcuk'ed it up then said "We want your money if you use it, you tight-assed freeloader."

  11. Andrew Hodgkinson

    Elephant in the room

    Amazing nobody's mentioned that this "nice skin" is an utterly shameless rip of OS X pre-Yosemite, including Finder with sidebar, pre-Yosemite full screen arrows in the same location on the title bar and even including the stuff OS X users complain about like hard-to-see "running application indicator lights" in the faux 3D dock under the icons. The Calendar interface screenshot is also disturbingly unoriginal.

    I can only assume they don't get sued to oblivion via design patents is that nobody's paying for the OS so they aren't big enough to worry about.

    1. The New Turtle

      Re: Elephant in the room

      Elementary looks like a shameless rip of Pear Linux, which was a rip of OSX (though better in many ways) but without Pears' refinements and slick operation. Unfortunately Pear was pulled when the original designer (David Tavares) was hired to work in a related area and was not allowed to continue the project.

      I have eOS on a 'testing' drive, but although I like some aspects, TBH I'd rather continue with Mint Cinnamon for the time being.

  12. The New Turtle

    Is that a foot? Pass my gun.

    Having given this a little more thought, I seriously wonder if they've not shot themselves in the foot. One would download the distro of choice FOC, evaluate it, and if it worked for you then you could contribute, either in time or money, to the project. Distro doesn't work for you? Move on quickly and try another. Things are far less 'pot luck' with mianstream now than they were 10 years ago, but still need evaluation, particularly if testing minor versions like this.

    Now trying to decide whether to become another leech for beta 2 or just simply ignore this distro in future.

  13. jbuk1

    Looks very OS X like to me.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022