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Distro Walk: elementary OS

© Photo by Meiying Ng on Unsplash

© Photo by Meiying Ng on Unsplash

Article from Issue 246/2021

In the past decade, elementary OS has grown from open source project to a company with a unique business model.

Elementary OS was first released in March 2011 during a time when KDE, Gnome, and Ubuntu were radically redesigning their desktops. From the start, elementary OS added to the mix, introducing a clean design that was soon widely compared favorably to macOS. Today, elementary OS continues to thrive, advertising itself on the project's home page as "the fast, open, and privacy-respecting replacement for Windows and macOS." Recently, Daniel Foré, an elementary OS founder, discussed how the distribution has developed in the last decade.

Foré got his start in open source by working on pet projects including customizing his own computer. "As the number of things I was involved in grew and as I began the share them," Foré says, "there was this natural need to distribute these things as some kind of collected work. So we really made elementary OS as a way to put together all the apps and design work we had done into something we could easily share."

Even though the first release was based on Gnome, elementary OS attracted immediate attention. However, it was not until the second release in 2013 that Foré feels that the project began coming into its own: "It was the first release featuring our [own] desktop, Pantheon, instead of Gnome, and where we had a proper build system in place instead of chrooting into an Ubuntu ISO."


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