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Additionally, we’re shipping the latest stable GTK+ release, 3.12, rather than Ubuntu 14.04’s outdated 3.10.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

361 Comments


dimitrakhs1 3 days ago

I have HP Pavilion 15 n221sv.I have installed several linux distros,mostly based on Ubuntu including Ubuntu 14.10 AND Freya.Still no Bluetooth,Nvidia and i’m not even talking about DTS sound.I’m only hoping for Bluetooth


jeonghojung 3 days ago

Maybe your hardware is way too up to date. Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu, so when it comes to hardware compatibility, it is similar to that of Ubuntu. Freya is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, so it seems that your hardware is so new or recent that latest Ubuntu doesn’t support.


PorscheMan
PorscheMan 4 days ago

After looking at a number of Distros over the past several months and running into items ranging from stability issues to hardware compatibility to painful user experiences I have been VERY impressed over the last 24 hours!  I downloaded and installed Freya and have been happy from the installation process to now.  Very, very good distro!

And….!  To think this is the first(!) beta release is just plain unreal.  I can’t wait to see the final product.  The only question is WHEN?


PandaNation 3 days ago

Agreed :). Registered to say that I’ve been using Freya for several weeks and it’s been nearly flawless so far (ran into a bug involving full screen Wine applications staying minimized unless I minimize everything else currently running, such as a web browser). Thanks, Elementary Team. Freya’s UI is beautiful =)


e-lectron
Ilmar Burzynski 3 days ago

Mhm? I think, in next century, just subscribe up for newsletter, and wait! :D


tkralphdev
tkralphdev 4 days ago

Hi guys, of all the hype on other new distros, I really like ElementaryOS most, hoping to replace my licensed Windows 8.1 OS with your distro by December.  Please push on UEFI.

@MyRig
ASUS F550CC
8GB DDR3
15” LED Touch
500GB HDD


jeonghojung 4 days ago

I had issues installing eOS freya on UEFI mode, (a bug needs to be fixed), so I switched to Legacy Mode. I recommend you to do so.


skyler
skyler 4 days ago

UEFI works fine if you don’t use GRUB

https://github.com/skylerseverns/elementary-os-freya-uefi


hoang 4 days ago

people say that shutdown windows and disable secure boot to install grub


Rob G 4 days ago

you can install Freya without grub and boot via efi stub-loading and refind(secure boot not supported)


tkralphdev
tkralphdev 3 days ago

Its ok guys, I do tend to wait it a little more to use it with a UEFI without some hacking around.


Rob G 3 days ago

It’s not hacking, it’ just another way to boot your os’s. Personally I prefer rEFInd.Awesome theme http://sdbinwiiexe.deviantart.com/art/rEFInd-Next-Theme-407754566. I’m using it with black background.


tkralphdev
tkralphdev 2 days ago

Very cool :) by the way “hacking” isn’t really a term for bad use, its something to do what others input above, and also with rEFInd.


Spectre 4 days ago

Well at first I had a couple of crash here and there, but now after a few updates Freya Beta 1 is very stable, I use it everyday and is amazing ! Thanks Elementary team.


queiroz 5 days ago

Hi, guys! i’m new around here and I’m chosing a distro to learn more about Linux. Is elementary reliable? Won’t it be discontinued? Is it better than Ubuntu? I’m in love with this system and it’s extremely fast, even in older hardwares. What could you say to a new, lost user?


mike77 5 days ago

Hello!

When will be released the final version. Maybe this year, any luck ?

Thank you!


skyler
skyler 5 days ago

I’ve created a guide for PC users to install Elementary OS without GRUB. Due to difficulties with the installer attempting to install GRUB (and failing).

https://github.com/skylerseverns/elementary-os-freya-uefi


chemdream 1 week ago

Hi there, just curious, if we install the beta, if another beta or master is released, can we simply upgrade? Or do we have to do a re-installed?

Thanks!!


jeonghojung 1 week ago

Yes you can. just update your system using Software Updater.

If you are familiar wit command line interface, launch terminal, type and execute

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade


jeonghojung 1 week ago

I mean you can update the system using Software Updater application (recommended for new users)
OR
You can simple execute those simple commands in the terminal if you want.

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