Freya Beta 1 Available for Developers & Testersby Daniel Foré

It’s been exactly one year since the release of the second version of elementary OS. On this, the day of our Lunaversary, we’re proud to make the first beta of elementary OS Freya publicly available for developers and testers.

What’s a Beta?

Beta is a stage in software development where we expose our progress to a group of brave testers. Allow us to quote Wikipedia here:

“Software in the beta phase will generally have many more bugs in it than completed software, as well as speed/performance issues and may still cause crashes or data loss. The focus of beta testing is reducing impacts to users […] this is typically the first time that the software is available outside of the organization that developed it.”

As tempting as it might be, we strongly recommend against using this beta in a production environment. A few more stages remain in the development process wherein we’ll be addressing serious bugs before the final release. That said, this post is going to be more technical and focus on things that are important to developers. We’ll save announcing all the cool new user-facing features for our final release.

Improved Hardware Support and Updated Libraries

Freya inherits core components from Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS such as the Linux kernel (version 3.13), hardware drivers, and graphics stack. This includes support for EFI stub-loading, which is a kernel feature that enables booting directly from (U)EFI, without the need for an additional bootloader such as GRUB. Ubiquity does not yet have support for this configuration, but one of our developers has created a guide for a GRUB-free install of Freya on modern Mac computers using rEFInd.

Additionally, we’re shipping the latest stable GTK+ release, 3.12, rather than Ubuntu 14.04’s outdated 3.10. This beta release brings a number of new features including new widgets and an improved GtkCSSProvider. Vala has been updated to version 0.24 bringing an incredible number of new bindings to elementary OS including Gstreamer 1.0, GeoCode, and more.

Online Accounts Integration

We’re debuting a GSignon-based online accounts system called Pantheon Online Accounts. Unlike Ubuntu online accounts, it’s GLib based, and unlike GNOME online accounts, it’s fully extensible. With Pantheon Online Accounts you get the best of both worlds. Out of the box, we’re aiming to support Facebook, Fastmail, Google+, Microsoft, and Yahoo accounts. Some integration work needs to happen to get apps actually using the service, but the foundation is set! At the moment, adding (for example) your google account will not sync your accounts with Calendar or Maya. Though the work on making that possible is underway.

Slingshot Search Improvements

Slingshot search is now powered by Synapse plugins. So far, we’ve only introduced one new plugin in addition to app search (calculator), but work has begun on a unit conversion plugin. We’re excited to see some handy functionality added for keyboard-driven users. You can now search for Switchboard plugs in Slingshot as well.

Client-Side Decorations

One of the great new features of GTK+ 3.12 is the ability to use client-side window decorations and we make extensive use of the feature. Every GTK+ 3 window in Freya is decorated on the client side with no extra work needed from app developers. This means consistent iconography, shadows, and sharply rendered borders over dark backgrounds. The most notable use of CSD is of course with the new Gtk.Headerbar, but you’ll also see Terminal and Photos using the new “.titlebar” GtkCSS class and Gtk.Dialog getting its own style as well.

Updated Theme

Gone are the days of Unico engine and mysterious pink widget bugs. The theme is now completely handled by GtkCSSProvider. We’ve added better support for .linked widgets, :backdrop states, “destructive-action” and “suggested-action” classes for buttons, better looking tabs, symbolic icon coloring in headerbars, and many more improvements based on feedback from users and third party developers. A brand new dark theme is also now available for app developers.

Granite Changes

GTK+ has improved tremendously since we released Luna (we <3 you, GTK+ hackers!), and many components of Granite have become deprecated as a result. Among those superseded by new widgets in GTK+ are:

  • DecoratedWindow is no longer necessary due to GTK+ Client-side Decorations
  • HintedEntry is replaced by Gtk.Entry.set_placeholder_text
  • Popover is replaced by Gtk.Popover
  • SearchEntry is replaced by Gtk.SearchEntry
  • Statusbar is replaced by Gtk.ActionBar
  • StaticNotebook is replaced by Gtk.Stack and Gtk.StackSwitcher

And a Few Hundred Other Things

We’ve closed literally hundreds of bug reports this cycle ranging from new features to better translations and support for right-to-left languages, fixes for annoying issues, and more. Here are a few of the “little big things”:

  • Maya now handles CalDav syncing (and thus Google Calendar).
  • You can now search in Files using the shortcut “Ctrl + F”.
  • Animations have been greatly improved through the use of Gtk.Stack and Gtk.Revealer. Many UI elements now slide in and out of view instead of popping up abruptly.
  • Switchboard plugs now use GModule instead of Xembed, giving us a nice speed boost and prepping us for a future on Wayland.
  • Greeter now respects the LightDM configuration which allows deactivating the guest-account and manual logins.
  • Many icons have moved from a glossy style to a flatter, matte style.

Known Bugs

It wouldn’t be a true beta without a few bugs. We have a good number assigned to the freya-beta2 milestone on Launchpad, but here are some highlights. Remember, these are all bugs we need to fix before we can release Freya:

If you encounter bugs while testing Freya Beta, make sure to report them in Launchpad. We have a guide about reporting good bugs here.

We Need Your Help!

Over $5,000 worth of bounties remain unclaimed on Bountysource. Anyone can contribute fixes to earn these bounties. It’s simple: just assign yourself to the bug you want to tackle, create a merge request with the fix, and once a team member reviews and merges your code, you’ll get paid via Bountysource! If you’re not a developer, you can create a new bounty or add to an existing one to back someone who can fix it.

Many apps are already translated in over 50 languages, but there are still gaps in some of the translations. If you are multi-lingual, consider giving us a hand with bringing elementary OS to speakers of your native language. You can view all elementary-related translations here in Launchpad.

Okay Okay Give Us The Link Already!

Please remember that this is a beta and is not indicative of the final version. We respectfully ask any press to make this clear if they decide to write about this beta. We’re pushing this beta out to get wider testing and feedback before our final release and as such, it is not intended for typical end users. Happy testing!

Freya Beta 32bit | Torrent | md5: 1d9a9f75cfa5bbccee3afdff85e4086e

Freya Beta 64bit | Torrent | md5: a5ae72c134ad3d7e214e6397145f846d

Published August 11th, 2014
Comments

216 Comments


fredi 15 hours ago

its great interface, look a like famous operating system. Good job Developer. Im waiting for new release.
anyway i have been test :
-elementaryos-stable-i386.20130810
compare with
-elementaryos-unstable-i386.20140810
in same netbook using install process
using Htop in idle process :
luna is lightweight than freya beta 1


Jeff Horn 2 days ago

Well done! I’ve been testing Freya over the last week and it’s very nice. Arguably the cleanest, most beautiful UI currently available.


moi 2 days ago

Garbage!!!


kuanaq 2 days ago

Please explain your seemingly very short explanation for this OS!


Momfer 2 days ago

Have you ever tried it? Please explain.
IMO elementary os is one of the best distro’s. I think that you know nothing about Linux!


timbog80 3 days ago

Great OS! Coming from a full time user of windows 8, definitely switching to eOS. Althought I really would want to see a better Apps store, like completely for eOS nothing else. the current ubuntu one looks ugly


racer1
racer1 3 days ago

best linux distribution that I’ve ever seen, keep it up ahead !


Gus 4 days ago

will Freya include the feature to put files on the desktop, along with a trashcan and icons for harddrives? this is the only thing lacking in Luna


supreethms 4 days ago

Next release will be Beta 2 or a stable release? :O


Gooplusplus
Gooplusplus 5 days ago

If Elementary OS wants to be taken more seriously, they should not be using a second rate web browser like Midori. The web browser is the first major software impression that a user sees. Midori and Qupzilla may be lighter weight than Firefox or Chrome but they just scream “amateur ville” to new users. I would recommend replacing Midori with the Pale Moon browser, a stripped down version of Firefox. That is the browser chosen by the LX Pup team in their new “Tahr 14.09” distro. It works great and I prefer it to Firefox. Pale Moon automatically had the VLC Web plugin installed which replaces several lesser (and conflicting) media plugins found in other browsers. IMO, Midori handles HTML5 media horribly and is unlikely to ever include the VLC Web plugin.


zamiere 4 days ago

It’s a great browser to download Chrome installer deb package.


Gus 4 days ago

i wholeheartedly disagree. it’s great to have a light, simple, fast, ram friendly browser for standard tasks.

if you need something more powerful, you’ll have no trouble installing other browsers that suit your needs.


estoc 3 days ago

+1

This is just common sense. It seems to me the philosophy of elementaryOS is the following: plug n’ play, click, it works.

Midori is nowhere near that.
If the installation of a mainstream browser is required, it will defeat the purpose of enticing new people to try Linux and this distro. 

Plug n’ play, keep it simple and stupid: replace midori and audience with FF (or Chromium or whatever) and VLC.


balconio 1 week ago

Freya is awesome. Looks gorgeous, performs great- even though it’s in Beta it’s my daily and I love it… I have it on a lowly Core-i3 laptop and it works so much better than Win8.1 ever did. I didn’t even bother to dual boot.


zamiere 1 week ago

Gala is slow when moving windows compared to Luna’s version. But it’s still better than current Mutter performance in Gnome Ubuntu. KUTGW!


a71
Marko Arcaro 1 week ago

best os. very thankful for the amazing output delivered by the eOS team. i am anxiously awaiting freya!!


rizky
Rizky Husada 1 week ago

I just want to say that Elementary OS is the best Linux OS out there.
Been using Luna for months now.
It looks clean, sophisticated, well design, and most importantly… lightweight.
Can’t wait for Elementary OS Freya stable release!
Thank you for this wonderful OS.


Gaurav Dighe 1 week ago

I am using Elementary Luna. Is it possible to upgrade it to Freya or do I need to do fresh/clean install.


Method 2 weeks ago

Ganna be seeding both 32 bit and 64 bit on my gigabit vps for a very long time.


shubh
Shubhashish Shukla 2 weeks ago

Any idea, when will the final version will come out?

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