It’s been a full 5 months since the release of Luna Beta 1 and we’ve been hard at work to bring you the next beta. elementary has received tons of positive feedback from happy users all over the world. We’ve also received a flood of testers and bug reports. We’re happy to announce that we’re ready to release our second beta with over 300 fixes! Here are a few of the big ones:
Since elementary is used and developed by people from all over the world, it only makes sense for us to focus on making it available in as many languages as possible. After Beta1 was released, we were pleasantly surprised to see a HUGE translation team spring up out of nowhere! We’ve been working with them to bring better translation support to all of our apps, including our app development framework Granite. We’ve also added better support for Sinhalese fonts as well as Khmer fonts.
While most default setups are single-display, we do have a lot of power users who use multiple displays. As such, we’ve worked at making multiple-display support even better in Luna. Specifically, we’ve solved a number of bugs with Plank and Wingpanel in regards to appearing on the correct display and setting this in System Settings.
Our user experience designers have been especially hard at work putting the finishing touches on Luna. Since our recent rebranding by the very talented Ian Hex, we’ve had a strong focus on providing great typography. Because of this, we’ve made sure to include an updated version of our title font “Raleway” that brings more font weights. We’ve also focused in on fixing the appearance of monospace fonts in the OS and as a bonus we’ve made some very cool new creative fonts available as an extras package.
The elementary theme has seen even more enhancements since Beta 1. We've added more focus states for accessibility (a subtle blue glow when your keyboard is focused on a widget), cleaned up the inline toolbars, improved tab styling, reworked spin-buttons, switches, and more. We've really been working on refining the smallest details of the theme this cycle and tracking down visual bugs. Read More
Our icon set has also seen a number of updates this cycle, from the panes in System Settings to a brand new set of emoticons and completely redrawn Folders, you’ll see a big difference in quality from beta1 to beta2. Read More About Folders
Photo enthusiasts will be pleased to find the latest Shotwell 0.14.1 present in Beta 2. This release brings a number of stability fixes, better facebook integration, improved support for RAW, and many more small fixes. Read More
Midori, our web browser, has been updated to version 0.5. It features better Granite support, improved responsiveness and functionality in autocomplete, improved extension loading, a reworked (and now extend-able) downloads backend, a new Cookie Security Manager, and a slew of bug fixes. Read More
When testing Beta 1, many potential switchers complained about the code name of our flagship music player. So in addition to the update to version 0.2, Noise is now called Music. We've improved album art handling, added duplicate-detection, and added the number of remaining tracks in the queue to the source list. We also pushed out some UX/design updates, improved external device support, and greatly improved performance. Lastly, we fixed a huge amount of crashers that were affecting users since Beta 1; thank you for everyone who reported these and helped us make Noise rock. Read More
The ever popular Geary has been updated to version 0.3.1, which includes support for multiple accounts, marking mail as spam, “collapsed” messages in conversations, and tons of fixes. Read More
The Terminal was updated to version 0.2. We implemented bug fixes, improved customizability, and added a few new features like color schemes and zoomable text.
While we often focus on the improvements we’ve made for less-experienced users, we also want to highlight the things we do to make life a little easier for our pro users. So for Beta 2 we’ve made keyboard-based workflows much better. You can now move windows with ⌘ + click-n-drag. Tab switching is a bit more keyboard friendly. Quit and Close shortcuts should work as expected in Noise and for our fancy light windows. Searching should be more immediately available across our apps (no need to click the box first, just type!). Also be sure to check out the "Keyboard" section in System Settings in order to customize desktop shortcuts and adjust other keyboard related settings.
In addition to the numerous changes above, we’ve fixed up a lot of odds and ends. With Switchboard—our system settings app—we’ve added the ability to switch dock themes, included brand new Keyboard and Power sections, and fixed up the way indicators and other places can launch Switchboard. Contractor—our system-wide extension service—was actually completely reworked to fix provide more accurate matching and greater functionality for contract developers. We fixed an annoyance in WingPanel that made indicators change their order. By popular request, we’ve added lights that show when windows are open to the dock. Like Music, we've changed Maya to Calendar. Lastly, we now support UEFI installs.
Overall, what we see in Beta2 is a faster, more stable, more beautiful, more accessible, more international, and even easier to use and feature rich elementary OS.
elementary OS is crafted entirely by volunteers. We happily accept any help offered to us from the community. There are a number of ways you can help out and make the final release even better.
First of all, go ahead and make sure you're registered with Launchpad. We use Launchpad for blueprint planning, code hosting, and bug tracking; it’s a tool that is very useful for us and is essential for testers to use.
What happens if you come across a bug? Report it! We’re pushing out this beta to allow wider testing before we release a final version, and it’ll only get better if we know about any bugs that might exist. There are a number of ways to report bugs.
First, if something crashes, look for the "Report a Problem" dialog which should pop up. If you encounter a bug without that happening, go ahead and click the "Report a Problem" item on the dock. This will log some system information (crash reports and app logs), let you check over the contents, and then upload it to Launchpad to a private bug. You can also report bugs about a specific app from its "About" dialog (found in the gear menu). Launchpad will open in your browser where you can double-check the bug and give us more details so we can fix it.
If you’re not in elementary OS but still need to report a bug, you can simply visit Launchpad in your browser and report the bug on our project page. No matter how you report a bug, be sure you’re including any information about what you were doing before the bug occurred so we can successfully track it down.
We’re always happy to meet new developers. If you’re a developer or tester interested in helping elementary more closely, join #elementary on irc.freenode.net. We can talk with you and help direct you toward a project you could play a big role in.
There is also the elementary Developer Community mailing list, where developers can ask questions, propose or brainstorm ideas, and discuss development in a non-real-time fashion. It’s a great place to introduce yourself as a developer and find a project to help with.
After Beta2 comes RC1, we’ll be targeting any new bugs toward this milestone on Launchpad. It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with that milestone and even try tackling some bugs as they pop up.
elementary OS is targeted to and used by people from all over the world. If you speak more than one language, you could be invaluable to ensuring that someone who doesn't speak English gets to enjoy elementary. Check out our translations page on Launchpad and look for apps that need translations in your language.
Last but not least, you can donate to elementary. We’re 100% volunteer and rely on donations to fund things like the website, travel expenses to developer conferences (where we meet incredible people, learn valuable new things, and make friends with other projects), and anything else that furthers our mission. Every little bit counts and we offer multiple ways to donate like credit card, flattr, and PayPal.
Now that you’ve read about all of the work that’s gone into this beta and how to help us out, you probably want to know how to download and install it. Downloading is simple; just click the button below for your processor type (32- or 64-bit). Then just burn it to a CD or USB disk as you would any other OS. If you need help, you can follow along with our user guide from Jupiter.
If you're coming from Luna Beta 1, you don't strictly need to reinstall: update your system as normal. However, it can be helpful in certain cases for testers to run from a fresh install when dealing with bugs; some bugs may be the result of older under-the-hood changes that are no longer an issue in Beta 2.
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.