There seems to be a lot of feedback here which basically says "this trying to rip off OS X". I would like to offer you some insight into our internal assessment of these claims.
Is elementary OS reminiscent of OS X? I can't disagree. Did we actively intend for it to be reminiscent of OS X? Absolutely not.
We build upon good ideas from all sources. We don't have a dock and silver window chrome because OS X does. We made those design choices because they work (Windows has slowly made its task bar more and more like the OS X dock) and because they look good.
Could we have changed the window chrome to be, say, green, just to try to make ourselves stand out from OS X? Sure, but frankly, we don't feel we have to. I think there is a strong sense in our design team that we shouldn't change things simply for the sake of being "different" -- we should change things to actually improve them.
Disclaimer: I wrote this post myself and it reflects my own personal opinions, though I'd be happy to ask other core team members to back me up here -- I think they'd agree.
Designers, people who make their living giving life to a "look" or a "user experience" feel pretty strongly about their work (this is typical of many artists, programmers, architects, musicians, Etc.) In part because they often see their own work as a reflection of them, and in part, and I speculate here, because the creative process is mysterious and it is easy to feel like a fraud when you don't really know how you come up with something, you just do.
So designers look at Elementary OS and they evaluate its look, its theme, its "presence." And what they see seems to remind them strongly of Apple's OS. I completely understand that because that was my first thought as well and I'm not a designer, I thought "Oh, this looks like they put an OS X shell on top of Linux."
I happen to think the other stuff you did, the performance tuning, the application integration, the "fit and finish" if you will is very impressive and it reminds me of how Ubuntu took something mashed up and made it more cohesive.
How ever the design elements always dominate product discussions, even if they shouldn't. Look at the discussion around the Honda Element (car) are they about its innovations in how it converts its internal spaces? Its motor design? No, people talk about how stupid it looks to them (which completely misses the point of the car).
What I'm saying is the Elementary team is going to get razzed a lot about the design elements. Try not to take it personally. The correct response is the one you've latched on to, "We built an OS we wanted to use based on technology we wanted to use, we built it this way." Own the vision.
 "rip off" sounds bad "homage" sounds good, both mean "it looks like."
I think you're spot on, particularly about . A lot of the flak we get seems to stem from the fact that we're very very much a design-oriented (as in, design at the top) community. We don't have business people saying "But people will think this looks like XYZ and that's bad for our bottom line".
I personally think there must be a happy median between the "design purist" approach we currently lean towards and the "market differentiator" style. We haven't quite hit on it, as some the feedback we've received today suggests, but with thoughtful insight from people like you, and lots of internal discussions, I think we'll get there :)
ElementaryOS settings screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/vnjmHrQ.png
It's got the same left-aligned, bolded categories, in the same order, with almost identical text. It even senselessly copied the choice of the Apple Magic Mouse as the mouse icon. That tiny smudge at the bottom represents the Apple logo!
I don't mean to suggest that an ElementaryOS designer is responsible for this instance. A similar layout and icon is used in Xubuntu. But Linux is clearly doing more than "building on ideas" in its relation to OS X.
It's getting late and I don't want to write a whole book about it's design (though I could), but basically here's the story:
I saw some mockups Daniel Fore (the project's founder and lead designer) created for a hypothetical system settings app. Here's an example: http://danrabbit.deviantart.com/art/User-Accounts-Plug-19860...
I set about coding the app. I was painfully aware of the visual similarities between OS X and Switchboard. I spent literally MONTHS wracking my brain trying to find a better design which was as elegant and efficient. I argued with Dan (who had created a mockup which would become the main interface for switchboard, which you linked), I talked to other designers, I mocked things up by hand. And I/we came up with some really creative alternatives which looked very little like System Preferences in OS X.
In the end however, I was faced with an ultimatum. Do I change the settings app JUST to look different than OS X, and lose out on the well-established excellence of Apple's design?
I truly felt awful about having to face that question. Frankly, it made me upset and depressed for quite a bit. Ultimately however, I was convinced and just said "screw it".
You're absolutely right that I'm not the first one to "copy" Apple's settings program. Here's Ubuntu's. It's extremely similar to the two ones you linked: http://zeth.net/archive/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ubuntu111...
You could say that I failed. You could say I failed to come up with a better interface. And in that sense, I did. But I get extremely frustrated when people dismiss the product of my careful investigation and thought into this matter as "oh, he just wholesale copied OS X". Because it ignores the fact that I really tried to come up with a better solution.
In the end I couldn't, and it seems nobody else has either.
I will say though, I did really try to innovate on the technical side. And in that sense, I think I succeeded. You can see that in some of Switchboard's finer points, such as exposing APIs to the settings panes (which are called Switchboard "plugs") which allow them to actually interact with Switchboard's internal UI, providing, among other things, progress bar support in the title bar.
I wrote an article for the elementary Journal announcing Switchboard here: http://elementaryos.org/journal/attack-settings
And I put together a quick presentation highlighting Switchboard's vision and architecture here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF37THZoNsA | https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0Aah2wnTpXrZAZGRuaDI...
Hopefully, you can see that we did not just "senselessly copy" anything.
It's better to either do an exact copy or to be different enough that you don't invite comparison, otherwise what you've come up with will always look like an inferior copy of the original. At least until the user has spent enough time with it that it becomes the new default. But don't forget that user acquisition is just as important as long-term usability.
So "user acquisition" isn't really a concern for us, though frankly, I believe it should be. And until it is, I guess we really can't complain about the flak we get for being "copycats".
And for what it's worth, I am an active user of both OS X and elementary OS and Switchboard feels 105% native on elementary OS. They each feel right in their native environment. Then again, I'm about as biased as possible (though I'd like to imagine my views are somewhat normative ;)).
I think the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks (I can't really see any), so you'd probably do well to ignore the negative feedback and keep doing what you're doing.
That's us, thank you.
In other words, this is constructive criticism. Don't ignore it because it's "negative" and you're doing something "positive". All progressive positive things are born out of a criticism of the existing state of affairs. Any effort can be improved. If you ignore criticism – not just mine – you are doomed to stagnation!
Than why have you released the project to the public, made a nice website for it, made documentation, etc? Why do something good in the world if you don't care if it benefits people? Rather, if you've done something that you hope will benefit people in the world, don't you think you should try to benefit as many people as possible? The design choices you've made encode that goal, wittingly or unwittingly.
Indeed you are as biased as possible, which is why you have to listen to others if you hope to have any true understanding of your situation. Take what I said into consideration – it effects the spread and usefulness of your efforts whether you care or not.
We care about spreading our efforts. We care about having a nice public face and benefiting as many people as possible.
I was reacting to the more crude notion of "user acquisition". That is absolutely NOT our goal; our goal is to build something great. I was viewing the term "user acquisition" as "focus on getting as many people to use our product as possible".
I think you mistook what I intended to say, and if I was not clear, I apologize. But please don't think that I'm saying we couldn't care less about spreading what we've created and making it beneficial to as many people as possible. I'm saying that we care deeply about building something great, and that is our primary focus, not convincing people to use it.
Incidentally, I did notice the nice little "importing wallpapers" progress bar after clicking on the Desktop icon. Kudos for that.
(And while I have your attention, I also noticed inconsistencies in 'and' vs '&', e.g. "Time & Date" vs "Mouse and Touchpad".)
I meant "senseless" to apply specifically to the choice of Magic Mouse as the icon. The Magic Mouse is a good icon for OS X, because it looks like the mouse that comes with a Mac. But most ElementaryOS users will use a mouse that looks very different, and may not even recognize that icon as a mouse (where's the buttons, the scroll wheel?) The Magic Mouse is indeed pretty, but its use as an icon only makes sense on Mac OSes, just like a rectangular game controller icon would only make sense on the Wii.
I agree with you about the mouse icon. The logo at the bottom is in fact a gear in the original svg, but I agree that is an example of something which would probably be better served by a different, less OS X ish icon. Speculating on Dan's behalf (he created that icon), I think he just liked the design of that sort of icon. Frankly, I think it should be changed to something more generic. I'll see about bugging him about it.
I think it's still a clean, elegant way to present OS settings on modern computers (large display, mouse input). The best way "discovered" to date. So if anyone is copying anyone, it's that people are copying the best known way to do it.
Side Rant: Microsoft started diverging away from the above with Windows XP (or was it Windows ME?) by buring things:
...and made it extremely difficult to navigate by Windows Vista/7/8 by sticking things inside sub-categories inside of sub-categories:
It's a different, more complex way to do the same thing. Nobody is copying them though. ;)
God MS screwed 95 up so badly.
However, you didn't comment on the mouse icon. Maybe the inspiration from OS X's in this particular (and very minor) case went overboard. I think that things like this give lots of ammunition to naysayers and people who are destructively critic in nature.
Maybe it would be a good idea to make sure there are no isolated UI elements (like icons) that draw a high amount of verbatim visual inspiration from Apple's. ;-)
Personally, I agree with you that the mouse icon (and I've stated this elsewhere) is needlessly similar to OS X's. Frankly, the designer likes Apple' design aesthetic and probably liked their icon, and tried to create his own take on it.
Which is fine, but yeah -- it probably shouldn't be something we ship with, given our long-standing history of perceived similarity to OS X.
I want to single that statement out and go on from there. I'm a bit hesitant to write this comment because, well, I'm about to criticize you and Apple, and at least the latter tends to invite downvotes and a not so nice discussion. But I think it is important to try to get that message across.
When I see an OS X clone or designers trying to copy OS X, like Ubuntu did with Unity (placing the windows title buttons to the left just because, global menu and so on) I don't think it is bad because it is copying something. I feel when something like this happens like an opportunity is missed to do something better, and that someone must have made the decision who sees himself as designer and uses OS X and now copies OS X. Which is bad mainly because: The "well established excellence of Apple's design" is questionable. It is just not there, from my perspective.
Apple made good stuff. The iPhone was groundbreaking, like maybe other of their stuff before - I won't argue with that. But that doesn't mean all of it is great. And especially on the software side. When judging the software I tend to think that it is not always that great - one finds clear usability errors, weird graphical designs, whole concepts that only seem to work for people being strongly accustomed to them. To copy them blindly leads to disaster, not only when copying the errors Apple made, also when copying sound concepts.
Take the global menu Ubuntu copied. It sacrifices visibility and therefore discoverability of the menu items for visual appeal. And yes, that leads to issues - just yesterday I looked a guy over the shoulder on a crypto party who came from windows, had unity freshly installed and didn't find the option he should have because it simply wasn't visible. I had to show him that the item was hidden, that he had to hover the global menu bar. Clearly, from an usability perspective, Unity became worse because it tried to copy OS X (guess which system its designer at the time was using. You won't need three tries.).
What I'm trying to say is: You say you tried to come up with your own design. I applaud that. And now you copied something which was there, which is alright (though to copy the Mac OS Icons is a ripoff in bad style, completely unnecessary, even if that wasn't you fault). But I want to invite you to free yourself from the thinking that a design is excellent because it is made by Apple. Don't fall into this trap. Don't regard good design as process which is a restyling of old Linux programs with their own design history or windows influenced stuff to stuff that looks and feel like OS X and therefore is good. Stuff is good because it works and is beautiful or whatever you want to achieve, and it is not necessary to copy Apple when trying to build something useable and beautiful. And it is especially not necessary that when already copying Apple, then even to copy the visual characteristics like the icons or the colours or the font. Elementary is a name in some circles by now already - please use that to try to find your own style (Linux would profit!).
Maybe you personally don't even do this. Maybe you are not a designer who uses OS X and defines himself by that and therefore only copies OS X. But the presentation of the elementary OS sure gives the feeling that this is exactly what happened - OS X guys building what they already have, just in "free", just running under Linux. That would be a pity, because the Linux desktop can use people trying to design it into a better form - what it doesn't need is to become OS X.
PS: It would've been really easy to find better categories. That the whole thing is just x sections with one or more rows of Icons in it, that is alright - one could easily come up with that solution when designing it from scratch, it is sound. But why the section names? Just by glancing on it one has to realize there are other possible and sound options.
If you're criticizing us for not being perfect and not innovating enough, I can't argue. But don't assume (I am explicitly rejecting the claim) that we simply love OS X and want to make our own free version of it, or that we treat Apple as some sort of standard of "proper design". All I can do is invite you to come down to the trenches with us and see what it's all about. I think you'll find it's harder than you might imagine.
P.S It absolutely would not have been easier to find better categories. Those categories are the result of the manual naming tens of thousands of Debian packages going back a decade or more. We give users the option of browsing (as has been the tradition on the Linux desktop for the last 7+ years) by the traditional categories, or by using a free-form fluid list.
P.P.S Frankly, I find your dismissal of our design efforts mildly insulting, though I know you only meant to provide constructive and thoughtful criticism (which I appreciate, at any rate). A bit of constructive criticism for you would be to avoid assuming that because something seems like an obvious solution that it must have been the first or easiest solution. This can come across as arrogant and belittling, and has the tendency to undermine the constructivity of your feedback.
Trying to be constructive: You might want to try to use visual distinction to minimize the appearance of copying, especially if that wasn't what happened. Things like the font and the OSX-icon are unnecessary in every case.
Thanks for the invitation, if it's a serious one. I'm using my own ambiance-themed icewm-desktop with my own dock at the bottom, had a look at a lot of window managers, and HCI is what I do atm. If I someday want to work on a desktop for more user than myself I might even remember the offer and will count on a proper introduction^^
Part of my point was that it is harder than just to copy Apple. I'm happy to hear you say that.
In every case I give you the benefit of the doubt that it might behave so much in its own way that the resemblance would be insignificant when actually using it.
And have fun with your release - I bet it will be quite popular.
I might have older icons because I'm running Lion on this hard drive (I've got Mountain Lion on my other drive, I don't recall any icon differences) but their icons do not look the same as mine.
Your previous comment was a slew of accusations that they have copied OSX (with few examples of such copying), along with ranting about how unspectacular Apple is. They never stated there was no influence from OSX; it's obvious there is, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I don't like it when my comments are called rants when they aren't. I tried very carefully to walk the line here, especially I didn't want to (and didn't) bash Apple.
It's obvious that there is influence and I argued why that may be dangerous. Software design is in a special position, copying Apple can be a bad sign and so on... I won't repeat it.
 e.g http://elementaryos.org/journal/whats-still-window-controls
Which can be rephrased as: I'm a hack and could think of no original ideas of my own, so I opted to copy another OS verbatim.
Thankfully Apple doesn't think that way not even for their own design -- they improve (or at least attempt to) OS X's design with each release. And they have even more excuses than you to rest on their laurels (namely, that the laurers are theirs to begin with).
I think you are missing some context.
Early Apple experiments in GUI design initially used multiple menu bars anchored to the tops of windows, but this was quickly dropped in favor of the current arrangement, as it proved slower to use (in accordance with Fitts's law). The idea of separate menus in each application was later implemented in Microsoft Windows and is the default representation in most Linux desktop environments. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menu_bar
This was in 1983, when Tognazzini was working on the Lisa, inventing some of the UI concepts we still use and very carefully considering efficiency when choosing them. You may disagree with him—his stance that the mouse is faster than a command line shell is widely controversial—but visual appeal was not nearly his main concern.
PS: Hiding the items has nothing to do with Fitts Law, it even destroys its applicability...
* The designer did it, not me!
* I argued with him for months and ended up saying "ah, screw it".
* Ubuntu and Gnome do it too!
I don't see any of these as exculpatory. Not that what you've done is necessarily wrong per se, I'd just rather you come by it honestly. I don't think any of these designs (or for example some of the icons - or even the decision to group elements into these categories) are "inevitable".
What kind of "hacker" community does not allow room for the occasional independent thought expressed with a hint of abrasiveness? I welcome downvotes from passive aggressive screwballs on this site. They are a badge of honor.
> Did we actively intend for it to be reminiscent of OS X? Absolutely not
This statement is a total lie.
As others have pointed out, I never said that it isn't in fact reminiscent of OS X, or that we did not evaluate the design of OS X along with a handful of other platforms when we created our designs.
The argument here is about intent, not the result. And there's positively no way you can prove the former, as much as you might dislike the latter.
(I would be happy to describe in greater detail the design process if it might help convince you that we didn't set out with the intention of copying OS X.)
I hope this was a typo. But other than that you have a point.
Personally, if I wanted to make an OS look like MacOS, I'd advertise it as "We wanted MacOS on the PC, but Apple don't give it. So we made an OS based on Linux that follows the same attention to design."
Or better yet - change the look. I doubt that stylish grey is the only possible colour. I can see that it's not MacOS, but it feels dirty when it looks a lot like MacOS, down to using a Mac look-alike laptop in the ad, and you claim to have made something original.
It may be. But it doesn't feel like it.
Frankly, I expect we'll try to get that amended soon.
Our desktop interface and apps are actually quite different from Ubuntu, though we are an Ubuntu-based distribution.
To give some concrete examples:
- We use our own desktop environment and window manager, Pantheon and Gala, respectively.
- We write many of our own apps in-house or work closely with the third-party apps we ship with. For example, our music player, settings application, and calendaring program (to name a few) are all written completely by us. Our mail program, web browser, and photo management app are developed by third-parties who we have strong developer and personal connections to.
- Similar to the above point, we have our own human interface guidelines. You might find you like it more than Ubuntu's.
- elementary OS is extremely fast and lightweight. Our ISO is ~200 MB less than Ubuntu's, and our OS boots faster and is more responsive. A simple youtube or google search should back me up here.
I hope this was helpful to you and perhaps others. Again, we really appreciate your interest and curiosity. I'd definitely encourage you to give it a whirl once you've aced your exams :)
I dont mean it in a "resistance is futile" kind of way - but more in terms of not-immediately-needed kind of way. Especially the browser. Webmail suffices for now - I know people want a Sparrow-like mail app on the desktop, but there is so much more effort that can be put in on projects like color calibration, Redshift-like functionality , etc.
You are off to a decent start - I really, really hope that you guys dont start building Twitter apps. Instead you should expose API guidelines for things like Contractor (OSX Services?) and have something like extensions.gnome.org - but maybe in Vala for performance.
Just my $0.02.
I'm not sure what you meant about Contractor, because we definitely do have API guidelines for it.
Also, there is an excellent third-party Twitter app for elementary OS called Birdie: http://birdieapp.github.io/
I appreciate the input :)
Good job btw!
And like you say, a lot is simply good design. Apple didn't invent nearly as much as their marketing department (and legal) would have us believe.
Tangentially, I've fallen in love with tiling WMs, but they all seem mediocre at best. @aroman it'd be awesome if you guys made an alternative tiling WM that was as sleek as your windowing manager.
I still switch to Windows occasionally for gaming (although I try to limit my gaming habit). Another reason for using Windows for me would be screen capture software (Webcammax [best], Manycam, more...) which is completely absent from Linux (hint hint, elementary. I think this could be revolutionary).
1) tile movement is very dynamic; it's tree-based
2) supports transparent terminals; I like seeing my pretty wallpaper
3) mod key works well for switching desktops, and moving tiles between desktops
4) good multi-monitor support.
I don't like:
1) no dropdown application menu. dmenu is ok, but I need to find a good menu bar app.
2) You can mouse drag-resize, but not drag-reorder tiles. It's on their todo list.
Can we work on making optimized hardware in the same way Apple products are. Can we work on optimizing power consumption, apparent load time etc etc. I can't wait to give this OS a shot.
By the way, I'd definitely encourage you to get involved with elementary. New collaborators are always welcome, and it seems like you've got a lot of our same design principles in mind.
Have a look here: http://elementaryos.org/get-involved
Right now I have some experience in PCB design and I am just building my skills to design full blown ARM and i7 based laptops to cover both low/high end markets.
We'll see where things so.
Really? Are those really worth complaining about? If anything, successful OSes (based on user base) have taught us that marketing should focus on user-centric features first, technical ones second.
It currently has package signing, right? What's the problem? I'm confused at how a historical problem that has been fixed even matters when discussing why or why not to use it. It's like saying you wouldn't use OS X because 10.1 didn't support Intel processors.
And this is HN, man. For the average poster here, "technical" features and "user-centric features" are one and the same.
What they don't realize is that there are a bunch of howtos out there around customizing Ubuntu to "look like OSX" and this looks like one more.
I wish this discussion could be around performance enhancements and innovations in usability, but I cannot get past the OSX clone-ness.
In an admittedly egoistic sense, I am a loner Latitude/Ubuntu user in a world of Air/OSX all around me. This is not something I will be able to explain off. And this is in India. I assume it will be much worse in the US.
It was created to be beautiful and usable, not as an OS X clone. I can assure you OS X was used (along with Windows, iOS, and Android) purely as inspiration -- not as a target or design guide. There are only so many neutral window control colors. We use silver and black (apps can request to use the dark variant), Windows uses transparency, Ubuntu uses a muddy brown, and OS X uses chrome.
If you really feel opposed, as you pointed out, there are dozens of excellent GTK+ themes. Some people have even written them specifically with elementary in mind. Feel free to use them :)
I don't think you will find many people able to believe that. I have no opinion formed on the OS, but claiming for the similarities to be "coincidence" is not going to fly.
If the you guys get into Apple's radar I think it's pretty safe to assume you will get sued. Which is why I understand this kind of public statement. Otherwise it wouldn't make any sense to me.
Anyway, regardless of superficial concerns it looks like you are doing a good job, according to some reviews I've read.
Taking steps to differentiate from OS X a bit more would (arguably, perhaps) be an improvement, albeit not a technical one.
I'm sure other people with rMBPs will be trying Luna in the coming days, so hopefully we can assess what the current state of affairs is and make any necessary changes.
Speaking on behalf of the whole elementary team, it would be greatly appreciated if you gave it a shot and reported your findings to us via Google+, Twitter, or via direct bug report here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/elementaryos
You can use this guide to prepare the USB drive with Luna: http://www.maketecheasier.com/install-dual-boot-ubuntu-in-ma... The relevant steps are the first few. Obviously replace the filename of the Ubuntu ISO with the Luna one :)
I personally used that guide this morning to create a bootable USB Luna liveCD with the final ISO to install it on my Macbook Air, so I can vouch for its credibility and compatibility.
Also, I'm no pro on this, I'm not even sure if retina is that high DPI feature they keep talking about. However, if it is, Luna+1 (code name for next version of elementary OS) will use GTK 3.10 (or a newer one) for sure.
If you're really interested in a completely customizable and hand-tailored OS, I'd honestly suggest you look into something like ArchLinux or Gentoo. Both platforms have made available most of our applications and components, so you can pick and choose to build the desktop you personally want :)
Besides that, we do offer some customization, you just have to use dconf-editor to change the configuration keys and not a GUI for several things. And there's also "elementary Tweak" which adds even more configuration.
The simple answer is: we don't know yet. We actually had a conference call with some folks from Canonical a few weeks ago discussing this very issue. At present, it seems like there are three options (I'm taking these points mostly from the minutes from that call):
1. Port everything to Qt and use Mir (because GTK+ might not work under pure Mir -- they've been backing Wayland so far). This would require an IMMENSE amount of work and would be tantamount to rewriting almost every line in our codebase.
2. Help port GTK+ (or make an extension/fork of it) to Mir. This might honestly be less work than #1, but elementary would be at a specific disadvantage because most of our developers (speaking for myself as well) don't really have the skills needed for something like this.
3. Do nothing and use XMir until we absolutely must switch.
We don't have an official or internal consensus on this point yet, to my knowledge. However, I would personally tend to think we'll be leaning toward #3, depending on how XMir shapes up.
This is definitely an area of interest and importance for us, and it's something that will undoubtedly continue to be discussed as we begin the L+1 cycle and beyond.
- we rely very heavily on Launchpad
- we rely on the hardware support and testing work they do
- the Ubuntu userbase seems to be a bit more in-line with the kinds of people who will enjoy elementary OS (this isn't a technical reason)
- we have some close relationships with Canonical/Ubuntu employees/developers
It's definitely a possibility, though personally I don't see it becoming feasible in the near term.
Kubuntu have already said that they will be using wayland and not switching to Mir, so you may want to talk with them, too. It doesn't seem like anything but stock Ubuntu will be using Mir.
What is concurrency and multi-threading support like in the language?
With Vala's object system built upon GObject, wouldn't targeting Qt be a problem?
For concurrency, I have personally written async vala code (which has some excellent support, including closures), but there is full thread support via GObject. The thread safety stuff is the same as the underlying library, and lots of work goes into GLib/GTK+ to make them thread safe where appropriate.
Yes, targeting Qt with Vala would a real problem. That's why we have absolutely no plans to move to Qt :) Not that it hasn't been brought up -- I remember some very vocal discussions in IRC a few years back when a few developers (mostly who have since moved on, interestingly) tried to convince us to jump ship and go to Qt. It was a lot more feasible back then too, since we were still pretty early in the Luna cycle. But the insurrection was ultimately quelled with practical concerns and majority mindshare :)
Doesn't GObject basically mean all the languages supported are compatible and we can write libraries/applications (which are generated into C code) and they are binary compatible with each other without extra code or configuration.
I think that's really interesting and could make very fast, and robust applications very flexible as well.
I am actually watching a talk on PyGObject by the author Tal Liron.
Unfortunately, my first impression from the video was that this is a direct copy of OS X, down to the apps, and in terms of UI and experience, not in terms of skin-deep chrome. The reasons for that were:
General window chrome - toolbars, buttons
Dock on bottom (why not sides, our screens typically have too much horizontal real-estate?), bouncing icons in dock, similar 3D shelf feel to earlier Mac OS dock.
iTunes app demonstrated has a UI which is almost exactly like the iTunes in Mac OS - there's plenty of room for innovation here, why present things in the same way?
Finder app again presents exactly like Finder in Mac OS, but with tabs
System preferences again has a layout very reminiscent of Mac OS - in isolation this doesn't mean much, it's cumulative
Exploded windows view is very like Mission control, X symbols on top left look like iOS
Spinning progress indicator is similar to the style introduced by Mac OS
Typography is reminiscent of iOS7 because of use of Raleway which is reminiscent of Helvetica Neue - not a big deal and it is a nice font.
Window chrome is a close match to the current Mac OS grey, fullscreen buttons top right, titles centred etc. Again, in isolation this means nothing.
So those are some reasons people might think you are copying from Mac OS X - NB the grey window chrome is the least of your problems. Individually they don't mean much, but cumulatively they give the impression you haven't spent enough time rethinking the way these apps and OS services work and have by default chosen the Mac OS way - I think if you want to call it an OS (built on Linux) it should provide a different experience, which is different enough to be new and interesting. One other tip on your video was that to me it feels like you're rehashing the discussions you had in making a video for the first 20 seconds - I don't care about all that meta stuff, I just want to see the OS in action. Just jump in with something impressive.
So all that negativity out of the way (and I thought it necessary because you don't acknowledge that you did intend it to be reminiscent of OS X), this is a great effort, and I might even try it out sometime (like most people I have a very high resistance to switching OS, but this one is intriguing). You have clearly put a lot of work and polish into this, so congratulations on the effort, and I think it's a really worthwhile project, but be wary of sticking too close to existing designs.
Mac OS X is not the apotheosis of interface design, far from it, it's just one of a million possible pathways, and is probably at a local maximum where you can't easily escape without trying things which are radically different.
Personally I'd put some effort into differentiating yourself visually from other OS's, not just for the sake of it, but because there are so many other possibilities to explore - there are tons of areas you could improve - launchers, overlapping windows, window chrome (do we need toolbars there all the time), as that's an important part of the first impression, and if you have something sufficiently different it can really help people remember you and be tempted to try it out. Think for example of the tabbed windows in BeOS, it immediately gives it a different identity and makes it stand out, without sacrificing usability.
That's retrogade copying: http://www.apple.com/osx/preview/#finder
>Or maybe you're just all very good..
We have some great programmers in the team accomplishing the seemingly impossible every now and then, I'm still amazed at some of the things we've pulled off.
How do I make the terminal background solid? I can't read the terminal when open over another window. I could not discover any way of changing the settings in the terminal application.
Booted my ancient workstation (quad Xeon, nvidia GT520 graphics card) and had the usual issue with 'composited' dekstops and nouveau - very slow screen refresh.
This is not a LunaOS specific problem, it happens with Gnome Shell based distributions. (Ubuntu 12.04 drops down to the Unity 2d shell which is much more responsive, XFCE is fine with built in compositor). My guess is that LunaOS UI is built on top of Gnome shell somehow?
I'd have to install the proprietary drivers for this particular card.
Sorry but this is pure BS
I was on a beta version of elementary OS a couple months ago, and it was like a breath of fresh air.
elementary OS sets out to settle the number one complaint casual users have of other Linux distributions: design. Other Linux distributions look like a mish-mash of a bunch of different designs by many different people. elementary OS has a beautiful, striking, and (most importantly) consistent vision driving the look and feel of all its applications.
The only thing that previously kept me suggesting elementary OS to people who don't normally use Linux was its instability as a beta release. If this release is as stable as I hope it is, then elementary OS is without a doubt the best distribution to introduce new people to Linux.
I think the following quote pulled from an update on elementary's website defending some unconventional decisions they've made illustrates best what they're trying to do:
We know there are many traditional Linux users out there exclaiming that Linux is all about choices and we should make everything configurable because that’s freedom. But that isn’t why most of you are here in the first place. You’re here because we’ve been making choices for you. Lots of them. We always have and always will. We’re the open source OS with opinionated design. That’s what makes elementary so good. We trim the fat. We optimize. We organize. We rethink.
That's an attitude that's sorely missing in the Linux community. elementary is tackling hard problems and succeeding.
I look forward to the the success of elementary OS.
Linux problems include:
1. Hardware compatibility
2. Office compatibility (also Adobe + games)
3. Easy to mess up your system with no hope of fixing it
I don't see how any of these address the problems with Linux.
I run Gentoo with XFCE as my main OS, SUSE at work, and Windows to make presentations.
Fun things to do include: tight WINE integration, better genkernel, modular configuration structure so that it is harder to mess up and easier to restore.
 (I couldn't find an elementary journal article explicitly about this, but here's one from the Gentoo wiki): http://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Pantheon
That's the main point of them making decisions for you. The more opinionated the software, the less decisions the user has to make, the harder it is to mess up the system.
If the data has an open format, then this problem is reduced, but many applications out there have a proprietary data format.
#2 -- Specifically Adobe applications & Excel present big roadblocks from companies rolling over from Windows on OSX. Much of the other software that stopped companies in the past is now web browser based.
#3 -- Definitely an issue.
I've seen many users who have (but shouldn't have) Administrator on their Windows boxes mess them up beyond fixing, usually because of malware.
I am far from a Linux/Unix expert, but I think this has to do with updates and dependencies. Using an Ubuntu LTS release along with not messing with any of the system settings seems to be fairly fool proof. Windows has its share of problems but the only complete failures I have experienced in two decades of use were hardware or malware related.
Never had any issues with the things you mentioned for the last 3 to 4 years.
In this regard Elementary seems to be part of a larger trend in the linux desktop world, rather than unique. GNOME 3 has been heavily influenced by designers, to the point where there's been developer backlash.  Canonical employs thirty people to work on the design of Ubuntu and their other products, and they're still hiring. 
 E.G. https://mail.gnome.org/archives/desktop-devel-list/2012-Apri...
I'm pretty sure we'll keep innovating and I'm pretty sure OS X's updates won't contribute to our failure in any way possible.
this desktop seems good-looking and simple to use, I'll give it a try.
That said, it's tough to get in the mindset of someone who isn't already comfortable in linux, so I really don't know.
I have gone so far as having installed it onto actual live / production (networked) environments (who were previosly running M$ junk).
Apart from a few minor quibbles (most of which were easily fixed) it has been absolutely flawless!!
The biggest testament to the design philosophy / directions that these guys have taken is, in my opinion, the simple fact that I was able to transition non-technical end users from using Windows to using eOS (and therefore Linux) in a live SME environment without any downtime and very, very minimal training! Try doing that with some other OS's or distros!! And this was with the beta/unfinished version!!
Given how well that went, I have also now managed to get it installed successfully on at least 4 Macs (iMacs, MacBook Pros and a recent MacBook Air). And I didn't even bother with rEFIT or any dual booting shenanigans.....I literally downloaded the ISO....burnt it to a CD ....booted the Mac from the CD ans clicked "Install Elementarty OS"..... and in about 10 mins flat I have brand new, screaming FAST, lightweight and beautifully thought-out Linux OS running perfectly!
Oh, and just for the record....as someone with a background in design and who has used every flavour of Apple hardware and software since the AppleII 'Euro Plus' (the one with Steve W's signature on the box!;) .....this is NOT a simple 'knock off' of OSX or anything else. The people who say this I would wager have either not used it so are basing it off a few screen grabs which tell you nothing..or, just have no idea about UI/UX whatsoever. As someone who has been using this day-in day-out now for quite some time.....this already is way ahead of Apple in a lot of respects (and wherever it isn't yet, I have total confidence that the eOS team will keep improving it!).
This is not a paid advert, I have absolutely no affiliation with this project, I just thought I should put my 2 cents in so hopefully some others can benefit from my experiences with this GREAT project!!!
Keep it up guys
(Why not Ubuntu, you might ask? Simple: Ubuntu ships off their users' desktop search results to Amazon by default. I know it can be disabled and all that, but that's besides the point. I can't recommend software from people who don't respect their users' privacy.)
Obviously, people make their own decisions. Sometimes they ask recommendations, and I respond with my honest opinion. So when it comes to Ubuntu, I tell them that I would not recommend it, for the reason I explained above.
Your first comment implied that you're moral absolutist on this front.
Okay, you might be suggesting that they not use those other things, but your attempt to debase the previous comment on the grounds that they might like Ubuntu is silly and worthless.
If anything here is silly and worthless, it is engaging any further in this thread with you.
 Here's a video I found of someone using a pre-release version of it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYwIQ9HcWZU
 (Note: images seem to be broken for the time being as a result of the website relaunch in tandem with Luna): http://elementaryos.org/docs/human-interface-guidelines/appm...
Full disclosure: I am an elementary developer and core team member.
I agree that we would be well served by highlighting the features of elementary OS which are visually dissimilar to OS X, but frankly, Apple doesn't own light color schemes and multi-desktops. The latter has been on Linux long before Apple implemented them in OS X with Leopard in ~2005. Furthermore the "dock" wasn't invented by Apple (RISC OS had it first, iirc).
I hope I'm not coming across as overly defensive. I definitely appreciate the comments and I understand that you are expressing your opinions about what you got out of the video. But, as I've said elsewhere in this thread, we're not embarrassed by our dock and multi-desktop implementation (which, by the way, actually works rather differently than any other implementation we know of, particularly with regard to dragging apps around). We're proud of them, and we want to show them off -- aesthetic parallels to OS X or not.
This is completely understandable. I appreciate taking pride in your work,—we all do—but it's detrimental to adoption. You're sacrificing mindshare because of fondness for your work.
It boils down to a straightforward question: Are you more committed to creating a beautiful design (regardless of similarities to OS X) or are you more committed to bringing elementary to users?
If you're more dedicated to the former, I can respect that 100%, but it's important that this is the question you ask yourselves.
We don't have folders, you can't move the icons around, you can browse by category, and the layout (other than the fact that we have icons in a grid) is completely different.
Because we lay icons out in a grid, we're copying Apple? Come on.
There was no reason to insult my eye-sight :-)
Also, it should be noted: that window control control does not behave the way OS X's similar one does. Fills the screen but does not take the application full screen.
Can you suggest an alternative to the bounce?
I'm nowhere near an expert but I thought this could help.
Can you suggest specific aspects of our OS that would judged to be too similar to Apple's products so as to warrant a claim of infringement, other than a general aesthetic similarity and the color of our window borders?
Here's the icon at a larger size: http://i.imgur.com/Hnc53Yd.png
* The side-swipe at Apple in the video for doing "one thing well" is a misleading statement. Apple build computers that do a lot of things, not just to enjoy music.
* The sly dig at Apple product videos at the beginning gets more and more ironic as the video slowly transforms into the Apple product video style towards the end.
* And the side-swipe is just poor form considering the OS does look OSX-inspired. I know this is an old argument about eOS but it's worth mentioning when the sly digs in the video bring it up.
I only intend this criticism as constructive because I know you guys are on to a great thing here, I just don't think you need the hints towards other OS's to put yourselves ahead of the game, you are better than that!
* I commend you guys for the hard work you have put into this OS. Elementary was my distro of choice when I was a Linux user, it's fast, beautiful and task orientated, so keep up the good work
* It's fantastic to see the base install apps conforming to a visual style whereas on other distros the theming can look quite disjointed.
Here's a suggestion for designers: the age of the Linux user base is aging at a rate of one year per year. That doesn't mean there are no young ones, only that we are going where no Linux user has gone before (I joined various Linux projects back in 1992.)
Every human on earth, after there mid 40s, experiences changes in the geometric optics of their vision system. As my eye doctor says, the denial rate is 100% and the participation rate is 100% -- if you are lucky enough to reach that age.
Please design an accessible operating system we can still use in our 80s. This is a very big opportunity. How old will you be in 2038 is maybe a good design target. ;)
Accessible on a mobile device, a desktop, and able to function smoothly with presbyteropia is the basic design spec.
Get your team an old geek geezer or two to tell what works and what doesn't. When I forget my reading glasses at work, I have to use the Magnify app on Win7. Go ahead and try this, and see what the experience is like and if it's so perfect it can't be improved on you are done. Otherwise, work on that aspect of your design.
Even if you are young and not 'there' yet, try out the Magnify app, and try whatever Linux has to offer on your distro of choice for the same thing. It completely changes how you size windows and operated effectively. It will give you insight into important principles of design such as navigating windows, scrolling, keyboard usage, etc.
There is no need to make the very best of what exists today -- make the very best that will be needed tomorrow.
You will appreciate this advice one day.
I don't believe that you try to mimic OSX because I have used it and they are not as similar, I think the people say it because they see the elegance you have put on it.
I'm downloading the OS right now and I hope I'll like it. It always makes me happy to see people trying to get casual users to use Linux. I hope they succeed. Having said that, the introduction video left a bad taste in my mouth.
Update: I'm using it right now and I love it! Great job. I have to give it more time, but I may even use this as my main OS on my notebook if everything goes smoothly. Looks very promising.
I'm trying hard not to assume the people in the thread saying it's a copy are more than just Apple zealots but it's difficult when no one provides any evidence.
1 login screen has a picture of a galaxy.
2 windows are white-themed, with rounded corners, and minimalistic buttons/scrollbars.
3 music player is reminiscent of iTunes with time bar and track info top-and-center, and large album art pane.
4 system settings window has radio-buttons-like-normal-buttons reminiscent of OSX system settings. Also has a search bar in the upper-right of the window, with minimalistic magnifying glass.
5 windows have no visual border on sides and bottom.
7 Expose-style viewing of all windows.
8 top-of-screen menu, with system icons in upper-right.
As I said in a previous comment, Apple didn't invent many of these, if any. Many, perhaps all, of these points are simply good design. However, they all combine to make the GUI "feel" like OSX to me.
Furthermore, it isn't a "copy." You can certainly identify as many differences as similarities. It simply shares a certain design aesthetic.
The galaxy login pic at the beginning didn't help :P
She loves the simplicity and says that what she does on the net and her PC is completely covered by Elementary. Document writing, web browsing, text chat, email, video viewing, audio listening - all can be done easily and user-friendly.
Elementary is not enough for my advanced needs (I don't like docks, I prefer taskbars), but looks like Elementary might have some traction in the regular-user market.
Keep up the good work guys!
Wikipedia to the rescue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_(operating_system)
Also, worth reading: http://elementaryos.org/docs/user-guide/technical-specificat...
It's based in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Linux kernel 3.2.0).
Luna is built on the rock-solid foundation of Linux (the same software that powers the US Department of Defense, the Bank of China, and more). It has no known viruses, which means no pesky anti-virus software to slow down your system.
Linux has "no known viruses"?!
Also nice to see a project that goes beyond simply building on top of Linux -- rethinking how apps are open/closed/minimized is a great example of this.
I doubt I'll ever use it for anything other than fun, though. I need my legacy apps, I can't work with a mouse (due to RSI and efficiency -- I've become addicted to xmonad like tiling wms, and vim/vimperator keybindings).
But if they can provide a solid alternative desktop experience, that's great!
edit: As are the Amazon and Sony e-readers...
About the move from Linux to Darwin:
Hmm, that sounds a lot like what Ubuntu did. :-)
by ripping off osx as much as possible.
Even android has some parts copied from ios, and yet you don't want to complain about it because it lets you get similar experience within your budget. It gives you a likeable option, copy or not.
Just give it a try. Don't judge from the video alone.
Also my first port of call was to remove Midori and install firefox.
I must admit though, the interface is a lot lighterweight than unity and much better in my opinon. Whenever I install Ubuntu on anything I immediately remove unity and install gnome-classic.
sudo apt-get install dconf-editor
Go on org>pantheon>terminal>settings and you'll find plenty to configure. Feel free to report any bug on bugs.launchpad.net/pantheon-terminal.
We just don't have a GUI for the settings, but they're there.
Whilst some of the designs are similar and may offer some familiarity to OS X users initally. The user experience is very different and has clearly been well thought out and crafted. My only gripe is the time between updates/releases otherwise I'm a happy user of OS X and eOS.
P.S. I still think self contained applications like in OS X & Windows are way better than the Linux model. Other than that and hardware support, UNIX-like systems are superior to Windows in all aspects. I can't live without a decent shell & decent support for dynamic languages.
The single-folder application is a focus of Canonical's new package format project. I would actually prefer a more LXC-style container format (similar to Docker.io) than another deb/rpm zip file, but that is personal preference.
P.S. To the Apple lovers out there; dock was used before Mac and please go learn design and/or get contact lenses or something before you come saying it's a knock off.
Unfortunately, Elementary OS seems to have fallen victim to the aesthetics-over-functionality trend that's currently plaguing the software world. The user interface is just too simplistic for this to be a productive OS for day-to-day work. None of the applications specific to this distro seem to have menus or configuration options. I can't put files or directories on the desktop. I tried to use what it came with, but it ended up being to frustrating; I had to install Firefox, Thunar, and Thunderbird instead of using the out-of-box browser, file manager, and email client.
I really like some of the basic work that's gone into this OS, but it just doesn't seem like it can be a viable substitute for more full-featured distros.
I might actually change my Ubuntu setup for this, but I still haven't decided.
Edit: To make it clear, I've considered elementaryos before. I've even booted a live-installation once or twice. But now I'm considering putting this on one of my main systems. This is snappy. This is an improvement.
To the devs, congratulations on a truly stunning OS, I think I will be swapping out my Linux Mint install very soon.
Will my apps work on it? What architecture is this thing supposed to work with? Is it for smartphones or PC's? etc.
Pictures are pretty, btw (so I don't sound all negative ;p )
Am I missing something here? Sure, the design looks nice, but I don't see what compelling reason I have to use this, nor do I know how compatible it'll be with anything.
Downloading it to try in a VM, if only out of bewilderment and lack of detail.
So as far as I can tell, any hardware that's supported by Ubuntu, should be supported in eOS too
It's not really much of an upgrade from just running Xubuntu or one of the more minimalist window managers out there.
After having a quick look using virtual box, it's really handcrafted nicely and could be a good alternative to Xubuntu. Great job! :)
I like Ubuntu better. Why? Because Ubuntu offers some real innovations not just copycat/mimicking OS X like Elementary OS.
You can also put Elementary OS on a computer of your choosing and for a price of your choosing, which isn't so with OS X.
Any Linux distro with its own UI spent more time on elegant, usable, and consistent design than Elementary did.
The multiple desktops is on the bottom and not part of exposé. It includes a new desktop button. It has a dark background rather than blending in with the desktop. It appears you can drag app icons from one desktop to another-- I've never seen that feature before.
The header is black/dark grey, not silver. The colors, gradients and layout of their music player and iTunes look significantly different when compared side by side.
The file manager is greyscale: it doesn't appear to use blue tones like Finder, except for folder icons.
Windows in OS X have 4 buttons, all different colors. Windows in Elementary have 2 buttons, styled the same.
This may seem like a pedantic critique of your comment, but my point is that it's clearly not a "carbon copy" of OS X. The statement "none of the effort was done for design" is not a fair criticism of the Elementary development team.