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Additionally, we’re shipping the latest stable GTK+ release, 3.12, rather than Ubuntu 14.04’s outdated 3.10.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 10th, 2014


sgr 8 hours ago

Sorry folks -  I’m fed up with waiting for final release of Freya, my current Luna is just too outdated.  I’m switching to SolydX/XFCE for reasons below:
1)Latest Software Updates The rolling release model delivers the newest versions of software.
2) It’s based on Debian, so it should be as solid as you expect it to be.

I’ll give a try to final release of Freya, though. Hope it will happen soon.

andrew89 4 hours ago

Suit yourself. You’re really comparing apples to oranges; elementary will never be geared towards power users. I used to think the rolling release model was the answer, too, except that it’s MUCH more difficult to maintain such a distro, and the longer you have it installed and updating, the more it starts to fall apart at the seams and get unstable and weird on you (and you need the technical know-how to counteract that). That is one of the reasons that Arch is for the daring. Mint Debian Edition was first billed as a rolling release but with all the problems they have scaled it back almost to the standard one-release-per-half-year model.

sgr 2 hours ago

Don’t get me wrong -I really enjoyed time with elementary 0.2, but Luna was released ~ 1,5 year ago, while Freya is still in beta 1 stage.  Luna is great, but outdated, many apps that I use are missing new exciting features.  I really hope Freya final will be released soon.

kanishkdudeja 2 days ago

Will Freya Have HiDPI support? If yes, does HiDPI support mean the same as scaled resolutions like OSX?

Hojung Jeong 2 days ago

I guess it will support it, but only after installing another software.

danielschier84 2 days ago

Hey guys,
will i be able to install elementaryOS (Freya) on my brand new Macbook Pro 13” Retina Mid 2014?

Hojung Jeong 2 days ago

I guess you can, but way too up-to-date hardware often causes problems with linux. Just try to boot Freya from usb. Check whether everything works fine (especially graphics and wireless card). If it works like a charm, go for it!

danielschier84 13 hours ago

Hmm k,
i give it a try. My Fedora 22 finally works well. Let’s see :)

Anoop P 2 days ago

I wish to congratulate the developers and designers at Freya for the elegant and beautiful version. Speed is not the best of Freya’s virtues, I’d say.

I also needed assistance with the “Online Accounts” under “System Settings”. I could successfully add my Google account, for instance, on this. However, it displays a message saying that no apps are currently installed that are associated with the Google account?

Has anyone been able to successfully use this feature yet?

What are “apps” in this context? Are they regular application packages?
Please assist…

Hojung Jeong 2 days ago

I have not used it (I just do every account-related tasks on browser), so I have little knowledge in that. However, I guess it may not work right now because Freya is still in beta state. Just report the bug on launchpad if you think it is a bug to fix.

nico87 3 days ago

I think that the Beta 2 is coming really soon because on launchpad the b2 milestone is completed!

Daniel Arenas 4 days ago

If you check or try the eOS beta, you might see that there are some updates that came in any moment. So, this isn’t dead, don’t be impatient, they are working, this isn’t his work, it’s just a hobby, no one is paying them. I’d be tired of all the coments that you said here, but, they still working for us. Give some respect and merit, they make a really nice OS.

andrew89 3 days ago

If the project got enough donations for even one full-time programmer, it would be fantastic for quality and for getting things done on time. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.

luckrk 4 days ago

If you are able to improve Luna, then you will probably achieve perfection, guys! Elementary OS Luna is much better than Ubuntu or Mint (too bloated), Debian (austere) and… every other OSes for beginner and intermediate users. Thank you and good luck!

jcwilcox 4 days ago

Please, Can anyone assist me by giving me an explanation or a link that explains how to update ElementaryOS on a usb pendrive. It is more than 2 months that when ever want to update it appears the message “Error in Handling software update ” and not allowing me to update.
I guess it is out of space to update or something like that (It is a 16gb USB with nothing more in it).
I went back and reinstall the ISO from zero into the USB pendrive and it says the same error after downloading and start installing the updates in a Terminal window it ends the installation with the “error message” and no update at all. Thanks in advance.

goyodiaz 3 days ago

Here you are:

andrew89 4 days ago

Dead OS projects don’t get to have shiny new websites.

andrew89 4 days ago

To all the people who say elementary RIP I say: you will never get anywhere with your attitude of negativity, disrespect, impatience, condescension and hopelessness. You should be donating or otherwise supporting the project, which however, will still get on fine without you. elementary OS is still top ten on Distrowatch. Development continues unabated. Need I remind you that Luna came out August of 2013, so if Freya comes out by mid-year it will be in the same timetable following the LTS of Ubuntu? Need I also remind you that there is no other Linux distro that emulates the goodness of Mac OS’s interface experience so well, let alone being so lightweight? Freya already has few bugs. I and many others prefer an OS they don’t have to upgrade every six months.

nghiahust 5 days ago

Check out the new website:
I think it will be released soon!
Be patient, folk!

lrcaballero 6 days ago

For those that can’t wait for elementaryOS Freya final release try evolve OS…

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