Elementary OS is one of the clean and good-looking Ubuntu LTS based Linux distributions that excites me the first time I heard about it. Recently after three years, they launched their biggest upgrade the Elementary OS 6 Odin and immediately it create some noise in the Linux communities.
Officially in 2009, the Elementary project began with the release of an icon set for Ubuntu. Then slowly they went to develop a custom Gnome desktop for the Ubuntu OS and eventually they created a full and functional operating system.
Elementary OS takes this Ubuntu base and adds its modifications to the OS to make it even easier to use. On the surface, you really wouldn’t know that elementary is based on Ubuntu. It has a completely different visual interface using a macOS-style dock versus the left-hand taskbar style of Ubuntu.
It inherits the legacy of Ubuntu OS and shares Ubuntu’s software Center for package management but with this big update, Elementary OS 6 leverages cutting-edge sandboxing technology to enforce privacy and security protections at a technical level.
After 2018 there are no major releases and in this year10th August 2021, their sixth version Odin releases based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The all-new Elementary os 6 Odin is a massive update that comes with new features improved design and major changes under the hood that redefine their older ones.
in this article, we’ll be having a look at what’s new and what’s improved in this new version and the performance, look, usability improves or otherwise, Let’s jump in to find out…
History and Releases of Elementary OS:
Elementary started its journey in 2006 as a theme when Daniel Foré a technology enthusiastic fed up with Windows and started using Linux but feels there is some modification needed.
Then he designed a set of icons and tweaks some settings in the OS to run faster and was eventually involved in a theme creation project called Elementary.
The first Full version of OS was released on March 31, 2011, called Jupiter based on Ubuntu 10.10. It featured a customized Gnome desktop.
The second release, 0.2 Luna, was released in August of 2013 based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS featured the project’s new Pantheon desktop environment. The third release, 0.3 Freya, was released on December 9, 2015, based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
The fourth release, based on Ubuntu 16.04 Loki 0.4 released on May 7, 2017, and the fifth one is 5.0 Juno, which was released on October 16, 2018, based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
There was a 5.1 version Hera also released in 2019 based on Ubuntu 18.04 and finally this year 2021 they released version 6.0 Odin based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
Hardware Requirements to install Elementary OS 6:
The minimum requirements to install Elementary 6.0 OS in your system is as follows.
- 1 GB RAM
- 10-15 GB space in your hard disk
- Intel or AMD Dual-Core 64-bit processor
- Access to the internet for updated packages
Note: to run Elementary OS 6 flawlessly without any delay we recommend you should use at least 4GB of RAM, Intel i3 or AMD ryzen 4-5 type processor, and SSD minimum 32GB.
Features of Elementary OS 6:
In terms of naming the Elementary project, developers used the names from Norse mythology and Odin is the great magician among the gods. The OS is packed with a lot of new and exciting features, UI improvements, performance updates along some new apps too.
First of all, we get a fresh new pantheon desktop environment here, the pantheon is the homegrown desktop made especially for elementary os and this has received a lot of flow this clean and modern desktop might be the single biggest reason for elementary success now it gets even better.
One of the flagship feature to be released in Odin is the dark style or the dark mode feature. When you enable dark mode, all apps and features will automatically change to the dark theme. Everything looks so clean and premium here while all the system apps and most installed apps do follow this dark mode.
Options are also provided to enable dark mode automatically based on your sunrise and sunset in your city. With Odin, you can change the look of your desktop and apps by changing the accent colors, wallpapers, and themes, etc.
Elementary os 6 also brings enhanced customization with 10 different accent colors to choose from this is pretty much akin to changing themes but this is going to be more polished. You can also choose the primary color in the desktop background which is a nice touch.
Before Odin customization space on elementary os was close to zero I like that they have added these while also making sure that the final experience will be both highly polished and uniform.
New system fonts which are crisper and professional looking and the borders context menu shadows that add a 3d depth effect everything gets a finesse now. The notifications are completely redesigned and now come as these gorgeous-looking 3d badges in the notifications panel the whole thing is completely rebuilt.
From the ground-up notifications are now richer complete with app icons full emoji support and action buttons that enable us to respond to or take action regarding the notification right from this badge itself without having to open the app just like we do on our smartphones.
Overall the gorgeous pantheon desktop is now more polished and more enjoyable but it still has the same loved and adored look feel and workflow this is particularly significant because consistency in how you use your computer is very important for many people.
Sandboxing in Elementary OS 6:
Maybe the OS did not change much visually when we compare it with the previous version but there are some specific changes in terms of functionality.
Under the hood, there has been a huge change in how apps are installed how they are updated how they run, and consequently your experience with applications.
When you open the app center here in Elementary OS 6 the first thing you notice is the number of apps available here is very few compare to other versions. The reason is elementary os 6 with its application sandboxing paradigm has taken a huge step away from the commonly expected native .dev packages from ubuntu repositories to Flatpaks.
Elementary 6 is still based on ubuntu 20.04 but to provide better privacy and security, better usability, faster updates to the apps all the app center apps are now packaged and distributed as Flatpaks.
Flatpak is a modern packaging format that sandboxes all the apps to reinforce the already robust security on Linux this is a unified package manager. Flatpaks run on all the distros are easier to install get faster updates and work fine on all the distros without any dependency.
What does this mean for you as the user? Right now app center doesn’t have all the apps so we’ll be installing most apps from Flathub this site loading is supported you just go to flathub on your browser and click on install and once you install an app from flathub any app this repository will be added to app center and all the flathub apps will be populated here.
The apps are received updates too and if you prefer to use .dev packages instead of Flatpaks you can install software from Ubuntu repositories using the terminal, just type sudo apt-install and then the package name and you can install the software without any hassle.
We love using native apps on all the Linux distros but snaps and Flatpaks are undeniably revolutionary many fantastic apps are available on Linux only because of these fantastic unified package managers.
There are hundreds of Linux distros and a software developer cannot package their software for 100 plus different distros, so Flatpaks and snaps make their life easier and concentrate more on development.
Flatpaks and Snaps also run better in the sense that they give very few issues to the users in almost all the cases and everything will be working fine with better security and privacy apps are run smoother now.
Even updates are faster as the software developers themselves will be pushing the updates to the users, not the package maintainer for each distro.
One thing to clarify is that while elementary OS uses Flatpak, it does not use Flathub, which is the official third-party store for Flatpak applications. AppCenter is a separate store with a curated selection specifically for this distro and suggested pricing set by the developer.
You’re encouraged to pay on AppCenter, but you don’t have to if you can’t afford it. Right now the AppCenter selection is fairly small, and you could find the need to turn to Flathub.
Other features of Elementary OS 6:
Stable operating system:
Elementary os has always been very stable and dependable it is based on the solid ubuntu base and is a great system for homes students, offices, software developers, and businesses where it’s created with a high degree of professionalism and it is evident everywhere.
The system is very nimble and responsive we enjoyed this system and for gaming and larger tasks like compiling the performance here is good.
OS update and Support:
Elementary os 6 Odin will be supported for the next four years it will continue receiving app updates bug fixes and security updates regularly so wherever you want to deploy elementary 6 you can do without any issue.
From a usability point of view, elementary os has always shined this pantheon desktop is highly productivity-oriented when you look at this system you get a good feel of where everything is and how to use this system.
Overall elementary os 6 Odin is a very simple system that looks gorgeous and is highly functional and dependable we highly recommend this to all levels of Linux users including newcomers.
Portals the app Permissions in Elementary OS 6:
Related to the new Flatpak apps is a new privacy-centric feature called Portals. This is found in Settings > Applications > Permissions.
Here you can see exactly which system access permissions each app wants, and then turn them on or off as required. It covers permissions for built-in apps, apps from AppCenter, and anything installed with the Sideload utility.
Multi-touch and Notifications:
The new elementary os brings multi-touch gestures, three-finger swipes can be used to switch between workspaces and this feels so natural you can also summon the multitasking view with a three-finger swiper.
These gestures add a very natural feeling touch to the system the system is very lean and simple the settings are easy to comprehend and modifying these settings according to your needs is very easy. The only thing you’ll need to change here is binding the super button to the application menu.
You can also use multi-touch to swipe through paged layouts, go back in a web browser and other apps, or switch users on the login screen. You can turn on multi-touch by going to System Settings > Mouse & Touchpad > Gestures.
Desktop notifications also got a boost in OS 6 with badges, and action buttons that let you deal with your notification right from the pop-up.
The web browser, known simply as Web, is now loaded with “intelligent tracking protection” and ad blocking—both are enabled by default. There’s also a new reader mode in the browser, and the mail app uses web process sandboxing for each message reducing security threats.
The new Mail is using native widgets instead of custom drawing in places like the message list and conversation view, greatly improving support for right-to-left languages and platform-wide accessibility features.
Notification bubbles now feature badge capability, enabling apps to send richer information like a visual status indicator while ensuring you always know which app notification is coming from.
Apps can also now send actions along with notifications, which are displayed as buttons right within the notification bubble- it’s easier than ever to not only be informed by apps but to take quick actions without ever needing to open the app.
Notification Center has also been redesigned; notifications here now match the look of notification bubbles including full-color emoji and badges. They’re also more clearly grouped by app and support multi-touch swipe-to-dismiss.
The brand new Tasks app debuts in elementary OS 6, helping you tackle your to-do list whether it’s stored on your device or synchronized with an online account.
Firmware updates are provided for supported devices by hardware manufacturers like Star Labs, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Intel, Logitech, Wacom, 8bitdo, and many more—now supported devices can get the latest updates for security and stability straight from System Settings → System → Firmware or by searching the Applications Menu for “Firmware.”
The calendar also supports the Online Accounts integration, and its events and tasks will show up in the Calendar and Tasks apps. They’ve also added ICS support to improve offline support and fixed several issues around all-day events and timezones.
The camera app was also revamped in OS 6 with a fresh UI and several new features. The camera now supports switching between multiple cameras, toggling mirroring of the image, and brightness and contrast adjustment.
When a recording is finished, Camera now sends an in-app notification with a button to open the video—perfect for making sure it looks how you want.
Easy and New Installer in Elementary OS 6:
Please note that Elementary OS 6 has paid what you want to model and it’s mainly because they are not backed by any major players and mainly rely on the contributions donated by the User’s and Linux Lovers worldwide. So purchasing the OS absolutely make sense and actually, you are contributing to the open-source movement but if you want to try Elementary OS for free select 0 in the custom section and you are free to download.
- Installing elementary os 6 is very simple first go to the official website and download the iso file, Click here to Download.
- Once the iso file is downloaded write it onto a USB stick and boot into it the installer. If you don’t know how to create a bootable USB drive then you can use the Rufus software, it will get the job done very easily. All you have to do is just follow the instruction on the screen after opening the Rufus.Download Rufus here.
- After creating a bootable USB drive Next, boot from the media (USB drive or optical disc) you just created. You may need to adjust your machine’s settings related to boot order, as well as UEFI (more on these later).
- Choose your language keyboard layout and the drive for installation and elementary will be installed you can use gparted to modify partitions if you want.
- After installation reboot and then it will ask you to create a user and a password then a welcome screen will take you through the introduction elementary os 6. It’s very easy just like installing any other Linux distro.
- Computers with AMD and intel integrated graphics will have the drivers included in the kernel itself for Nvidia open-source drivers are provided but installing official drivers is a bit of a hassle, so here we provided you with some step-by-step commands to install Nvidia drivers.
- Run the commands given here before rebooting this method will work fine for installing official Nvidia drivers on elementary os 6.
But before installing these drivers make sure you install timeshift which is a backup utility for Linux and in case you do anything wrong it helps to recover the OS.
Install NVIDIA Driver on Elementary OS 6 Odin:
1. Make Timeshift Backup (sudo apt update; sudo apt install timeshift)
2. Install software-properties-gtk
sudo apt install software-properties-gtk software-properties-common
3. Install Kernel Headers
5. Install NVIDIA-460 from additional drivers tab
6. For UEFI Installation Run:
sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu/grub/grub.cfg
For Legacy System Run:
Note: If driver installation fails, roll back using Timeshift.
A final thought on Elementary OS 6 Odin:
Elementary OS has always been a fantastic operating system it’s elegant, lean, and functionally rich this system provides a superb computing environment for its users. The OS 6 Odin is a big leap and we always knew snaps and Flatpaks will be the future of Linux applications.
Ubuntu is doing the same thing with snaps they are daring to be the first ones to change the game and these newer package managers have their advantages and they are improving at a rapid pace.
Elementary 6 is very polished it looks stunning both on laptops and desktops and the pantheon desktop is pure brilliance it’s usable by everybody students and professionals even professional Linux users also loved this one.
In the end, all we can say is nothing is perfect but as long as it makes sense and made our life easy we tend to use that thing more and more. Windows, macOS, and even Linux have their downside but Elementary OS 6 gives you the right combination of style and substance that, as a long-time user, you have been waiting years for Linux to deliver.
We love everything about this major update now you have access to a vast library of the latest software a dependable system underneath the whole experience. Feel free to share your thought and experience about Elementary OS 6 in the comments section below.