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Additionally, we’re shipping the latest stable GTK+ release, 3.12, rather than Ubuntu 14.04’s outdated 3.10.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


John Nieto 20 hours ago

Hi! I just happen to Elementary OS Luna; I am very happy and satisfied.I congratulate you! And I’m looking forward to Freya. As seen in videos on the Internet, it looks great.

Julian_Lai 22 hours ago

This OS is pretty good! Hope that the stable version is coming soon!

Dillizar 2 days ago

am i the only one that have freya outofthebox ? i have no bugs everything works good. but only one thing BUGS me why i dont have the client-side decoration? how can i enable it ?

sujit suram 3 days ago

i have md5 sum mismatch ! ? everytime!

zoom 3 days ago


isi 3 days ago

I love elementaryos and I use Luna since more than a year. With freya I have some wishes:
- online accounts with owncloud
- calendar with caldav account to owncloud
- geary mail with s/mime and pgp support
- adressbook with carddav
- foldersync with owncloud
- empathy with otr encryption
- Midori with WebRTC support

I hope the final version is comming soon.

saligari 1 week ago

Hi, amazingly beautiful congrats for the effort :)
I really like how the close and enlarge button are next to the rest of the controls on the native apps, it is really elegant somehow. However I didn’t see Midori to have the same change…Maybe the page title could appear on the url box like it does on android and then the close and enlarge buttons could go next to the others :)
Oh and i know this isn’t the place to ask this but why use midori and not make a modified firefox or chromium?

goyodiaz 5 days ago

Those are headerbars
Looks like midori’s gonna have one but it may take some time:

Only GTK3 apps can be Elementary OS apps. The team is really commited to design and you can’t have a coherent design while using different toolkits. For example you can’t have GTK headerbars or granite widgets in Firefox or Chromium.

Disclaimer: I am not an Elementary OS dev and I might be misrepresenting their stance here.

Dani Caulfield 5 days ago

for firefox and chromium
it is in spanish…

jcwilcox 1 day ago

Hola @Dani Caulfield, can you confirm that this ported icons from Elementary Luna to KDE desktop can be used to Theme the Chrome/Chromium, the Firefox Mozilla and the LibreOffice 4.2 (I believe that for last version of LibreOffice are broken) sofware running over ElementaryOS Freya Beta 2.

moi 1 week ago

Freya OS? Just a huge bugs collection!
When it’s ready? In 2020, 2050…3000?

Sucrose 1 week ago

i know its taking a long time but there is no point on being rude.

zamiere 1 week ago

There’s no such thing as a free cheese.

Dani Caulfield 1 week ago

can we install super-wingpanel in Freya?

Cassidy James 3 days ago

That’s a third-party app and elementary has no control over its development.

k92 1 week ago

Hello Friends, I’m leading small website on Facebook about new release Freya. I waiting for RC Freya! Freya it’s the best Linux system for me- simple, easy and beatiful.

Gayan Abeysinghe 2 weeks ago

so far not even ubuntu made me switch to linux from windows but elementary os just changed my mind in an instant. the interface is smooth simple and unique. i have elementary installed in my laptop and im enjoying it to the max. waiting for the next release.

mateusz st 2 weeks ago

I have a question. Many people have a problem with the internal microphones in Luna, will Freya have the drivers for these microphones ? Will be grateful for answer :D

mateusz st 2 weeks ago

Elementary OS is the best OS I’ve ever used. Great job Elementary Team! I’m looking forward stable release of Freya. I wish there was a possibility to set transparent effect of all windows and menus like in Mac Yosemite. It would be great..

Tarogato 2 days ago

I strongly disagree; it would simply be derivative and not great at all. Yosemite is a kind of a pain if you have to work with it all day long. The thrill wears off very quickly. If you try to get work done with all of that translucency, you may soon find it really annoying and distracting when you just want to easily see menus and so forth and the colors of a background intrude.
On another note, what would be the point of elementary just following Apple’s marketing/design strategy? Bad idea. I say, if you love Yosemite so much, get an Apple computer and enjoy that, and let the elementary team pursue their own design vision, which so far seems eminently sensible.

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