Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Elementary OS Freya - Part 1

I've just started using a new Linux Distro that impressed me so much I have installed it as my secondary OS.  However, I seem to be using it far more than my primary one.

I've enjoyed KDE for years, with my current favourite being the Mint variety,  and I love the way I can set it up in so many ways with themes and tools.  But I also run XFCE because it is faster and very configurable once you get to know it.

But Elementary OS is in a class of its own when it comes to simple.  It installs pretty well as a bar bones OS, but in a beautifully themed way.  I have to admit it screwed up my GRUB menu and I will make a separate post on how to fix that, because I've had that happen often enough with side by side installations of other distros. 

Elementary OS Freya is available here:  http://elementary.io/  and the first thing to do after installation is to open a terminal and issue the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks

That will add a means to configure various parts of Freya because Elementary takes minimal to new lows.   Now when you open the Settings Menu there will be an entry in the top row (personal) called tweaks.

I added LibreOffice, Openshot, Firefox, PlayOnLinux, Dolphin, OpenVPN and the Gnome configuration too for openvpn, VLC, SMPlayer, Geeqie, Xsane, Gimp, Xara Extreme, ImageMagick and a few other odd dthings I use in my day to day life that I can't remember for the moment.

One interesting thing about Elementary OS Freya was that it found a heap of software already on my system and put it in the menu under 'Other'.  That is not too unusual, most other distros do that.  What I didn;t expect was for quite a lot of them to actually start, without having to install them, while others did not.  So for example, Shape Collage showed in the menu but did not start, but one of the best Drag and Drop website editors ever, QNEWB did run.

Installing my VPN provider onto OpenVPN took all of 2 minutes to add one server.  I have yet to add the other 20 or so.

I have a two monitor system with one being a Samsung TV connected to the DVI out, and the other a VGA LED monitor connected to VGA out.  Freya picked up both and configured them without any input from me.

The desktop is clean and simple and one thing it lacks is the ability to extend the dock or the panel across two screens, or even to have a separate panel or dock on each monitor.  Easy fixed:       sudo apt-get install docky 

In System Settings > Applications  a simple couple of mouse clicks made Dolphin my default File manager and Firefox my default Browser.  Then I did the same to make LibreOffice my default Text Editor.  I realised Geary was my only real option for email, but I use Gmail, so I installed Gnome Gmail from the Software Centre an set that as Email Default.

Ok, Enough form the moment.  Part 2 will be in the next few days I think.



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