I was idly browsing through Distrowatch today and noticed that at Number 5 on their list of popular distros for the past six months was one called Elementary OS.
It’s not one I’ve ever heard of before, but it’s Ubuntu-derived, and I got to wondering (a) what it was like and (b) would it run Oracle?
In regards to question (a)… it’s a fairly weird desktop and I don’t particularly like it. The default browser is Epiphany, which is about as non-mainstream as you can get and sets the tone for much else. Fancy changing the colour theme of the default terminal? Well, you can’t (at least, there’s no obvious place to do it that I could find). Fancy writing a letter? Or doing a quick bit of spreadsheeting? Tough, then… because there’s no default Office suite installed (you can add one, obviously. But the point remains that the distro appears to be lacking much of what you’d expect to be included in a modern Linux distro). Windows are closed by clicking on the left-hand side of their top bar, where most “normal” folk are used to clicking in the top right-hand corner. You can’t minimise windows, either: there’s one button that acts as a generic ‘resizer’. Click once to maximise and click twice to resize back to its previous non-maximised size. If you want actual minimization, you have to right-click the app’s title bar and select that option from the context menu… which doesn’t seem terribly sensible to me.
It’s mostly all remediable, I suppose, but you’re in for a lot of configuration and downloading …and I can’t frankly see why you’d go to the effort.
On the other hand, I found the distro very fast (to start, to reboot, to open apps, to close them). It seemed extremely responsive… but I still don’t think that makes the lack of normality a sensible trade-off, personally.
So it’s not a distro I’m going to be doing much with, albeit after a fairly cursory look at it. (Read this article for lots more screenshots and what seems to me a reasonable overall assessment). But I can see that someone wanting a fast, straightforward distro that doesn’t invite a lot of tinkering, would find a lot in it that pleases. (I can imagine parents finding its interface useful for young kids, for example).
I guess that means I needn’t worry too much about whether Oracle runs on it or not, then: there aren’t going to be too many young kids clamouring for it, after all!
But it does. Its Ubuntu heritage means you can download my Mandela script, and make one alteration to it: change line 122 to read:
if [ "$VERCHECK" != "Description: elementary OS 0.4 Loki" ]; then
(i.e., alter the text that the command lsb_release -d is tested to return). Once that’s done, run the script and reboot …and then proceed as if the distro were actually Ubuntu (as described in this article) and you’ll have 12c Enterprise Edition running on it in no time at all:
Anyway: for a bit of fun on a wet Wednesday (or Monday!) afternoon, it’s worth a dabble, but I’m frankly surprised the distro rates as highly as it does on Distrowatch and I wouldn’t be losing sleep over it if you’ve never tried it. 🙂