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Additionally, we’re shipping the latest stable GTK+ release, 3.12, rather than Ubuntu 14.04’s outdated 3.10.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


scrachty 5 hours ago

Hey Guys,
I have a question, if i install the Freya Beta, can i updated to the final version or do i have to install it new? I’m asking because i dont want to install it twice

Louis Attfield 8 hours ago

I have absolutely fallen in love with this OS! The design is beautiful, the optimisation is fantastic even for a beta release! And the security and funtionality is perfect. There are a small amount of bugs but I am happy to run this OS and report as many as I can, keep up the good work devs!

Frozzie 13 hours ago

I love this distro and I really appreciate all the hard work you guys put into this. I really want to switch to Freya as soon as possible, but I guess I have to wait a bit longer. One bug that I found: The tap function (left click) on my Lenovo touchpad doesn´t work at all. My only option is to push the button to do a left click. Computer: Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E540. / oao and keep up the good work!!

Luis Antonio 1 day ago

Amazing job! You guys are concerned about good design, security and stability! I’m now a trial user, i will report everything that can be useful for you!

jensa 1 day ago

Seriously great job guys! I used Luna at my dayjob as coder for six months, switched to xubuntu for a while but now that I’ve tried Freya for a week I’m back on the elementary train!
Keep it up! :)

cas 2 days ago

Hmm, when I try to install it, I’m getting the error that GRUB can’t be installed. Is this a known issue? Is it possible to get this fixed?

I’m trying to install it on a Dell Latitude E6410

Roberto Kolobarič 2 days ago

I’ve got the same problem. I’m installing Freya on Lenovo Ideapad S500.
Please, help!

kanakodavis 2 days ago

TL;DR: You can install elementaryOS without grub via the terminal using “$ ubiquity -b”

I had the same problem on my MacBook, this guide from aroman helped me:

cas 2 days ago

Keep up the good work guys! I hope the final release will be available soon :D

bratac 3 days ago

There is any option to update directly from luna to freya?  There is a roadmap of Freya developement?

arildoosilva 3 days ago

I’ve never been this excited about a distro, keep up the excellent work, guys :)

Tom Sturm 5 days ago

One can only hope that the project no negotiations with Apple falls victim ... as once PearOS ...!

Tarogato 2 days ago

I don’t think they are in danger from Apple, a sunlike PearOS they are going their own way in terms of UI.This is good as newer Apple designs have some very dubious aspects.

Tom Sturm 1 day ago

That’s true ... but time will tell. When Freya is completed and can implement all features of Ubuntu 14.04, it will be one of the best operating systems.

Tom Sturm 5 days ago

On my Lenovo IdeaPad Touch 410 with Intel graphics chip Freya runs perfectly until now , even the animations . A big thanks to the developers!

Pineka 5 days ago

Why is the final not ready? How long do we have to wait? This is taking much to long. I’m out of here. I go for Mint. Mint is also beautiful, but much better!

Quinn_Diggity 5 days ago

Have you ever contributed to a project before? Or do you only complain?

Alfie Ilhamsyah 5 days ago

What an impolite! After so much hard work that the team has given to you (the user), you can only complain..

Be patient, it will be ready when it is ready. To ensure consistency within a system, everything should be checked, right? So in the final version there will be less hassle (and complain).

If you can help program, why not visit the bounties page and contribute a fix or two..

cuccos19 4 days ago

You know those people who only can complain in this impolite tone doesn’t help much. Others understand that a project like this takes time. Why are you so impatient? You will have enough time to use it, this is an LTS version. Even Luna is fine up to 2017 or so. Use that like many others if you are not in a mood to bother with betas.

Julian_Lai 6 days ago

UEFI bug has to be fixed as soon as possible!
please release beta2!

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