I am a teacher and I love facilitating the computer to teach. There are some options that a black-/whiteboard can’t offer you. But Windows sometimes decides to just randomly update your system, which sucks if you are teaching a class. I also love productivity and productivity apps. And last but not least, I love freedom. I don’t want to feel like my computer is a jail that restricts me from using it. I also am a Minimalist and like my interfaces to be clean and distraction-free. For a long time I was looking for the best GNU/Linux Distro out there to fulfill all of my needs. I found it and it is better than any Mac / Windows system I ever used: Elementary OS.
Design and Interface
Most Linux Desktops look either weird and flashy (Gnome 3) or classy but a tad bit outdated (Mate). Some look quite nice but are heavyweight and don’t support older hardware that great. Elementary OS looks quite a lot like Mac OS. As a minimalist I like clean and furbished interfaces that aren’t overloaded. Elementary OS appeals to all my needs. It is elegant, comparatively lightweight and gives a great out-of-the-box experience.
App Store on Elementary OS
Gnu/Linux Distributions have a problem: App Support. The great thing about Elementary OS is that it’s based on Ubuntu and thus supports way more apps than most other distros. You can simply download apps from their AppCenter. The AppCenter is also the Update Manager. If you don’t want to touch the terminal at all you don’t have to. You can do all updates within the AppCenter app. Some might wonder about apps costing money. The AppCenter encourages you to help the devs out, but you can choose to pay what you want, including not a single cent.
If you need apps like Spotify, Brave Browser and Google Play Music you can install them with snappy. This needs some tinkering, but it’s so easy it won’t take you more than a couple of minutes.
Usefull tools for Productivity
The most outstanding thing about Elementary is the community driven apps which are available. One of my daily drivers is a Planner. This app allows you to create a project with task lists to monitor your progress and keep everything in one place.
Another great tool is Notes-Up. Think about a more minimalist, elegant version of Evernote with Markdown support, export to PDF and a gorgeous design of your documents without the spying and need for accounts.
Spice Up is a Keynote/Powerpoint like programm which enables you to give gorgeous presentations with beautiful designs.
Melody is iTunes but better. It supports music, Podcasts and playlists. iTunes used to be like Melody until they wanted you to subscribe to Apple Music.
Of course you can install LibreOffice, the free and open office suite. Elementary comes with Epiphany, a Safari-like lightweight browser, their own E-Mail client (which looks a lot like the iOS e-mail client).
A lot of users want Chrome (which is available as Chromium as free, open and more secure version) which will run all Web-Apps you love and/or need just fine (even though you should consider using LibreOffice, it just rocks!). Thunderbird is probably the best e-mail client out there and is available in the AppCenter. If you need to play games, there’s Steam available. It might not offer you as much games as Windows does, but 70% of my steam library is available on Linux. If you need some Windows apps, WINE will help you out installing them. I am a musician and want FL Studio with me all the time. With WINE (and the installation of some fonts) you can make it run better on Elementary than it did on Windows 10. For students (and teachers) there are tools like Anki (a flashcard app which is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and Linux) and GeoGebra (a graphical calculator which is great for (teaching) maths). There is Dropbox availabe, however, you need to tinker a bit to make the icon appear properly (which will likely be fixed in the next release of Elementary OS). Graphic designers can do all of their work with GIMP and Inkscape (these apps have improved a lot) and if you are a video creator you can check out KDEnlive, which is more powerful than most consumer-level editors.
Elementary OS is the perfect operating system if you want freedom (and gratis software) but don’t want to miss out on a productivity oriented workflow, elegant design and great performance.
You can download your copy of Elementary OS here: https://elementary.io/
Do you have additional questions about Elementary OS? Please let me know. I’m happy to answer them.