> I dug into the blog a bit and all I can tell is that it's Ubuntu with some Gnome skins.
Not really. The eOS developers wrote a whole DE(Pantheon) and the included applications from scratch. The website does a very poor job of explaining that.
- Contractor (like Android's Intents): https://web.archive.org/web/20130314024115/http://elementary...
- Switchboard (unified, pluggable system settings): https://web.archive.org/web/20130314024137/http://elementary...
- Granite (GTK+ widget collection): https://web.archive.org/web/20130314024129/http://elementary...
Release notes from a previous beta that explains more about the underlying infrastructure.
Despite leading with donation panhandling.
Still, I'm using it now because I am tired of Slackware. I love Slack to bits but the amount of work involved in making my setup look and play nice is just silly. I'm looking for something like a one-click-pretty-usable Linux for random laptops/PCs I've accumulated.
PapyrOS might be nice if it's ever finished.
At home I have a collection of misfit laptops that were discarded by others or sold very cheaply. It is these laptops on which I tend to run a Linux distro (because Windows tends to be slow and no SSH; because I'm not really in the business of Hackintoshing.)
Running eOS Freya on one of them now. It's not bad. Wifi seems a bit temperamental--which is astounding given that eOS is based on Ubuntu and Ubuntu had no trouble with wifi.
That's why I said personal computer :) Another OS X pitfall is that modern, vendor-supported versions are somewhat resource-intensive and not very fit for running on older or less powerful systems.
I love Slackware for the simplicity and that's why I use it. So many of these feature filled pretty systems work nice.. until they don't. Unneeded features are just more stuff to learn and more stuff to break in my opinion. Slackware is a rock solid work horse and I know right where everything is and can change it if I need to.
But to tell the truth, just give me a nice Unix terminal and a web browser and I don't really care that much what it's sitting on.
I don't think their blog post is offensive at all. Ubuntu does this too. 
People consider Sublime's popup and "unregistered user" acceptable. How often do you install/download eOS? Once in a year? And you use it every-day, not only when you do text-editing. And there is no difference between paid or free user.
Some people could find that offensive, especially when eOS gets the vast majority of its codebase for free from Debian, Ubuntu and the rest of the FOSS world. What the eOS guys said was offensive to some people, and downright idiotic to everyone else!
On the substance rather than the wording, surely Hacker News does not agree, as a group, that open source software should never be monetized, especially on a voluntary basis. They have rewritten the Linux desktop environment from scratch, which is an enormous amount of work, and in my experience it works very well. Why not expect that you could find 10,000 users, many of whom people spending their professional life on computers, willing to pay $20 (which in the UK is about 4 cups of coffee), and actually be able to support some developers working on the project full time? That is not at all an unreasonable goal.
I know about 20 people over the age of 70 who I periodically help with computer problems, I would say about half of them still using XP on computers that cannot be upgraded to Windows 8. They principally use their computers for checking webmail and browsing the internet.
I have tried Ubuntu, but unfortunately it has all sorts of minor UI ruffles which make it difficult for many non-technical people to use. Some examples are: people really struggle to use its pop-up scroll bars, partly because the concept is apparently non obvious, and needs to be explained, and partly because they're fiddly. Then, programs often open in the background, and don't come to the front, so the only sign they're ready is an illuminated icon to the left. And, you get regular pop-up which say 'serious system error detected' which never seem to amount to anything.
And in general, I would say my experience is that it is not beautiful, polished or consistent enough to justify to non technical users the change in user interface which it asks them to make.
Linux is effectively a developer market, it is written by and for developers, to stratch and itch or for infrastructure. But there has been a consistent failure to produce an operating system that ordinary people want to use. In my opinion, Linux also needs a consumer market, which is willing to pay to bring in other professionals, principally designers, and support them in polishing the user interface, in the way that users want, to a heavy sheen. Elementary OS was a step in that direction, and it's very disappointing to see it apparently shot down for a lack of ideological purity and/or just being abrasive. Hopefully, despite the level of outrage which many people feel, they will be able to find their 10,000 users out of the general Linux community, and carry on regardless.
> They have rewritten the Linux desktop environment from scratch
is entirely not communicated on their homepage.
People here are not familiar with the work that they've done. And I don't blame them. In the software world being able to market/communicate your work to the public is as important as actually doing the work.
I've been in plenty of threads on HN recently where people have praised the work on Gnome for improving Linux desktop usability/design (after some initial hiccups). Gnome releases videos like this that clearly demonstrate what they are adding:
Elementary OS should have similar information for their release.
Maybe it's just me, maybe eOS runs perfectly on everybody else's computers, but the standard install has proven a little buggy and I've had to make adjustments from the command line to make it usable.
I think if Windows or OS X didn't work out-of-the-box, I'd want a refund and I'd consider a free alternative. eOS is great for free, but for money? Not so sure.
Disappointed? Yes. I wrote this post on my Cr-48 running Elementary OS Luna. Instead of running Apt to update my laptop now I'm browsing DistroWatch in another tab to see what else has come out.
I think it looks pretty slick, and will give it a try, why are people so nitpicky here?
Really, it's just an ubuntu clone with a pretty osx-like gui. This isn't really anything amazing or new, and it makes it seem like they're trying to tap into the elitist osx market. If that is indeed what they want, they should really check out 
So it's not really the software that's bad, really it's all what you can get on any other distro with a little work, it's their attitude about it.
I think it would be more accurate to say that they are trying to expand the Linux market by wooing those whose main barrier to using Linux is the UI/UX. Whether or not you find the endeavor to be "noble", the attempt is worth something to the Linux landscape even if your takeaway is "don't run it quite like them".
No, their clone can bitrot, they deserve it.
If you don't see much difference between the UX of the two DE's, I don't think the difference between the "request for donations" UX is that big either. Perhaps there should be some smallish text saying "$0 is a valid custom amount", but that's it.
Now, there are of course issues to be discussed about this kinds of donations requests, such as, for example, how much of the funds received make it upstream to the developers whose software distros are repackaging. But I have nothing against the idea that you might be asked whether you'd like to pay for the software or get it for free, with the understanding that both are equally valid options, even if the website is designed to suggest that they'd much prefer if you paid them for their service (added software and distro maintenance). I see nothing there that implies that I am a thief, or even a free loader, if I decide to pay null dollars for their distro. You can view it as either a free project that emphatically asks for donations (which sounds OK), or a paid free-as-in-freedom software project that allows you to get it for free if you don't want to pay (that is also valid, it's like Fedora and Red Hat, except in this case it's the exact same distro, as opposed to "practically the same").
Not saying their site is useful, btw, I had to dig through their blog to even know what ElementaryOS was. But I don't think asking for (optional) payment is the issue there.
> We want users to understand that they’re pretty much cheating the system when they choose not to pay for software.
They are still within their rights to decide that their add-ons are proprietary non-zero cost software, at least those add-ons that don't link GPL code/modify LGPL code. But if their main value added is indeed modifying GPL code, and they would consider people who share those modifications for free or get them for free from a third party to be "cheating the system", I can see the issue.
One counterexample: Contractor, an Android Intents-like system for sharing data between apps.
(archive.org link because this info doesn't seem to be on their new site, for whatever reason...)
There are other technologies like Switchboard and Granite that are unique to Elementary OS, and many of the user-facing apps were written from scratch.
As for the negativity, I think people wonder about the "why" of this. As far as I can tell, it's basically "Ubuntu is ugly so we'll make it look like Mac".
It sounds like promising a lot. So after confirming the suspicion of it not being something that would actually allow to run some essential software we still don't have replacements for (AutoCad, Native Instruments stuff, Ableton Live, etc.), but simply yet another Linux distro with custom DE I wonder if this lack of information on the website is on purpose.
What? You actually expected somebody to come up with a whole new OS that runs software written for another proprietary, closed source OS?
eOS is a replacement for those users who want to browse the web, read email, watch videos and look at photographs. These people are its target demographic, not professionals who rely on specialized software to do their job.
> eOS is a replacement for those <..>
I would argue that for that matter it isn't a "replacement" whatsoever. If you are somebody capable of suddenly finding eOS on the internet and understanding what this thing actually is — there's a ton of "fast and open replacements" for you already. (Except, well, they are not "replacements" because they do not fulfill everything you might want to do with mentioned operating systems. But whatever.) If not — you don't even really care if you "pay" for your OS, because you're using the one that came pre-installed on your laptop, without thinking much how much money you spend on the processor, on the RAM, on the OS… it's just a "computer", you paid what you were asked for that. Nd if you would, it doesn't matter because, well, why would it matter if you want to use something you don't event know it exists?
Because the average user totally uses those programs...
Anyhow, I've installed Ubuntu for 'average' users with old, virus riddled machines and they love it. I use Linux every day for University stuff, and have for nearly 4 years. My wife uses it for her computing needs. Linux, any Linux distro, is 'enough' for the average user. Elementary OS is enough too, just a little prettier out of the box (I don't use it, my laptop has openSUSE, but eOS does look pretty).
One thing that concerns me is the upgrade path, it mentions in their docs that if you are using a previous version of the OS, you need to back up your data and reinstall.
That said, I do like the enhancements they have made to some of the 'classic' native apps (Geary is a great email client, Maya calendar works well, and I really like the shell history search baked into the Pantheon Terminal UI). Here's to hoping this release forms the foundation that allows them to tackle some of the sticking points above in the future.
I'm not sure about touch screens, I think most people view them as optional extras. And although of course people are shifting towards other form factors, huge numbers still use a desktop or laptop, and have no expectation of convergence between the devices.
I agree about automatic backup. I actually wonder whether that might be a route towards monetization which would be more palatable to the general community - an edition which is provided free with donations as is, and an edition which has automatic cloud backup built in, along with integration with Android and iOS devices for things like photos.
The website never sees your card number and your card number and info is never transmitted over a non-encrypted connection.
Stripe explains that TLS is required in their docs: https://stripe.com/help/ssl
You can make live transactions just fine from a regular HTTP page - whether that's a good idea or not is another issue, but making Stripe payments from an HTTPS payment page is not required from an API point of view.
The page that sends the POST request should also be verifiable as owned by the domain, otherwise I could inject a different "payment system" library, that looked like stripe to the user (unless they analyzed the traffic), but actually sends me the CC details.
> Do I need to use SSL/TLS on my payment pages?
> Yes, for a couple of reasons:
> - It's more secure. In particular, it significantly reduces your risk of being exposed to a man-in-the-middle attack.
> - Users correctly feel more comfortable sharing their payment information on pages visibly served over SSL. Your conversion rate is likely to be higher if your pages are served over SSL/TLS, too.
Which is ironic.
"Many people new to free software find themselves confused because the word "free" in the term "free software" is not used the way they expect. To them free means "at no cost". An English dictionary lists almost twenty different meanings for "free". Only one of them is "at no cost". The rest refer to liberty and lack of constraint. When we speak of Free Software, we mean freedom, not price."
Canonical ask for donations on the download page too. The BSDs have donation drives. eOS are monetising in a different way. I have not seen the "cheating the system" comment/article and if they did say it, it was wrong. That said, it isn't there now.
The "little more than a glossy sheen" remark is off too. They are considering usability and are adding to the community. But hey, pretty doesn't belong in Linux does it? This attitude stinks and is largely why designers won't engage with the community, that and this self righteousness that pervades.
I am looking for a lightweight linux OS for some old laptops I am refurbishing and giving away to homeless people, so I was interested in this.
The price thing threw me for a moment...paying for software without knowing its value?
I did the $0 hack and downloaded the iso. Stuck the USB in my worse-case system (totally broken screen, low memory etc) hooked to an external monitor, and...
Nothing, except for a screen full of mountains, which was odd because every other lightweight distro I've tried worked fine.
I think maybe it detected two monitors and used the external one without the taskbar, but I couldn't really tell. The OS definitely loaded as I tried to log off and the screen for that popped up.
An OS targeting low-end machines should definitely default to dupe-ing the display on boot.
 ok...can someone clue me into what I've done wrong with the explanation of my experience with trying to use it?
But I'm willing to bet it's... no, it's just a !@#$ty comment.
Same as all comments. People should give up on this concept. No-one can do it right.