Elementary OS

I recently began trying out Elementary OS on an older iMac. In a word, the experience has been elegant. Installation went quickly and without much input beyond entering my name and password. I set it up to dual boot between Mac OS X and Elementary OS. The system is clean and simple, and seems to be more responsive than the base OS X system on the same hardware. The base system includes apps to connect to email, browse the web, do basic photo management, and basic word processing/text editing.  The software manager is easy to use and fast, and I was able to install all of my personal favorite productivity apps.

The interface is extremely clean; one could argue that it is even more easy to use than Mac OS X. However, I quickly found myself frustrated with some things I wanted to do but ran into system limitations. The included e-mail client, for example, doesn’t support signatures. Not even one.  Apparently that’s on the list for future inclusion. Menus are almost non-existent. The only one I could force to display was in Firefox. What I found was that if the basics of the system and your added software work, and as long as you don’t want to do any further customization, then Elementary OS will work just fine for you. Because it is a Linux system, you can get to all the nuts and bolts and change everything, but if you want to do that level of customization, you wouldn’t be starting with Elementary OS in the first place.

On older Mac hardware, Elementary OS makes sense. You can also try it out with the liveCD option from disc or USB drive without modifying your system. Visit Elementary OS for more information and downloads: http://elementaryos.org/