Elementary OS team have been developing this release for a long time since the release of the long term support release Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. After using Luna OS, I understand how much effort they did in this release to became what it is right now.
1. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin
Elementary OS Luna is based on the long term support release Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. Which mean it will receive official security updates and packages from Ubuntu until April 2017. Unlike the previous version of Elementary OS “Jupiter” which based on Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” non-LTS release, it usually received official security updates for 2 years. So, this a really good point to make the base of Elementary OS on LTS release.
2. Pantheon Desktop Environment
A lovely lightweight desktop environment built using Vala and GTK 3. It has been developed by Elementary OS team since 2011 after releasing the “Jupiter” release. Pantheon desktop brings the simplicity to its user interface and the ease of use for the desktop functions.
Applications menu brings a couple of ways to navigate through your currently installed applications, either viewing applications using “Grid” style or viewing it using categorizes to easily find a specific application.
Hint: Keyboard Shortcut for Applications Menu is ” Alt+F2 “. Also, you can use the same shortcut for running commands or applications by name.
3. Pantheon Dock “Plank Dock”
One of my favorite docks ever released, as we talked about it earlier in this post, you will find some tips for [How To]: customizing Plank Dock and installation instructions for it on Ubuntu release and its derivatives. Plank dock is developed by Docky team using Vala programming language.
Plank Dock is a convenient choice to go with Pantheon desktop environment, because it is a lightweight dock and does not uses a big amount of system resources and it provides the simple function for running applications through it. Also you can simply drag and drop applications icons to pin an application in the dock.
Plank Dock is Customizable
Elementary OS team gives you a graphical user interface “GUI” to customize plank dock, unlike the old days we used to edit the configuration file for plank dock as we discussed in this post.
To open Plank Dock preferences, open “System Settings, then you will find “Desktop” icon under “Personal” category, then select “Dock” tab.
You will find options for changing the plank dock icons size. Hide mode which provides intelligent mode in case you have moved windows near by the dock it will hide itself, hide on maximized windows, and you can keep the dock visible all the time.
By default Plank dock comes with “Pantheon” theme style along with 3 more themes for Plank dock. Also, we have posted earlier a Top 10 Plank Dock Themes you might consider viewing them if your would like to change the theme.
4. Desktop Hot Corners
Another feature comes by default in Pantheon Desktop, we used to “CCSM” compiz configuration settings manager or Ubuntu Tweak to activate this feature. This feature comes handy for several reasons such as by simply hovering you mouse cursor in your desktop corners you can overview applications windows, overview active workspaces, minimize or maximize current windows, also you can use it for with custom commands.
5. WorkSpaces Switcher
A pretty neat Workspaces switcher, it shows currently active applications icons beneath each workspace. Also, you can set one of the “Hot Corners” to reveal the workspaces.
Hint 1: Keyboard Shortcut for revealing the workspaces is ” Super+S “.
Hint 2: Keyboard Shortcut for Switching between Workspaces is ” Super+Tab “.
6. Pantheon Greater “LightDM”
Sorry for the low quality of this picture. No screenshot capability on the display manager.
Pantheon Greater is the styled LightDM display manager used by Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin. When you first start your system it comes with a zoom in effect, it feature a large digital clock with date in the right side. Also, it changes the wallpapers for each user as LightDM does.
7. Applications Developed by Elementary Team
This release comes with many applications beside the desktop environment which are developed by Elementary OS team such as “Pantheon Terminal”, “Pantheon Files” file manager, “Pantheon Dock” which based on Plank Dock, “Pantheon Greater” based on LightDM, “Pantheon Printer”, “Maya” Calender applications, “Noise” Audio player for Elementary OS.
Pantheon Terminal is a simple lightweight terminal emulator supports multiple Terminal tabs and it support the basic functions for Terminal emulator.
Noise Audio Player
Shotwell image organizer and editor
Pantheon Files “File Manager”
Maya “Calender Applications” it could be used for setting events.
More applications comes with Elementary OS Luna
Geary E-Mail client “Developed by Yorba”.
Midori web browser.
File Roller “Archive manager”.
Scratch Text editor.
Simple scan applications for scanning papers.
Empathy Instant messaging client.
Ubuntu Software Center is the default software center for Luna.
Elementary OS Team did such a great work in this release as we have seen all these features mentioned up here. I have installed Elementary OS Luna in my laptop with these hardware specfication “2.1Ghz dual core CPU, Intel Corporation Mobile 4 graphics and 2GB of RAM” Even though it’s quite old laptop, the operating system runs really smooth and no lagging at all with the system transition effects when you switch between workspaces or switching windows.
Drawbacks of Elementary OS Luna
In my opinion it’s missing some necessary applications such as a “Disk Utility” or “Gparted” for managing hard drive capacities and formatting USB flash disks. Also, it came with the Ubuntu Software Center as the default software center for Luna, it’s quite laggy sometimes and to be honest I am not a big fan of it, so, I usually use “Synaptic” or “Aptitude” for CLI. A system monitor applications with a graphical user interface does not exist as well, however “top” CLI system monitor is pre-installed.
So, if you would like to install these missing applications you can use the following commands
Gnome Disk Utility
sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility
sudo apt-get install gparted
Gnome System Monitor
sudo apt-get install gnome-system-monitor
Aptitude CLI software manager
sudo apt-get install aptitude
Synaptic graphical software manager
sudo apt-get install synaptic
Chromium web browser, if you would like to replace Midori web browser