Review: Elementary OS 2 "Luna"

Main Screen + Slingshot Menu
About 9 months ago, I checked out the first beta release of Elementary OS 2 "Luna". Since then, the final release has been put out for everyone to see and try, so I am trying it now. I tested this as a live USB made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it's like. Also note that I will not go over all the same things as I did last time, but I will take note of any changes.

The boot process and desktop are the same as before. The only changes are that the wallpaper actually looks nice now instead of being a garish blue dotted background. Also, the Elementary icon and GTK+ themes have been slightly updated; I have to say that I prefer the older icon set, as the newer one just looks a little too generic for me (though it still looks quite classy).

Software Center
Midori is still the default browser. At this point, though, I can't excuse it much longer for not easily supporting Adobe Flash, for not supporting common keyboard shortcuts like 'CTRL'+'ENTER' to prepend "www." and append ".com" to an address, and for not rendering certain sites properly. I realize that the Elementary OS developers want to create a unified experience, but frankly, people will be turned off if they can't do their day-to-day browsing without any hitches. Really, the kicker in this is that the Elementary OS website has a YouTube video, and that won't play out-of-the-box in Midori in Elementary OS. Thankfully, the Software Center (i.e. the Ubuntu Software Center minus Ubuntu branding, and also the only application that really sticks out like a sore thumb, but I hear changes are on the way) is easily accessible in the dock, allowing for installation of Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Flash.

Elementary Files is still the default file manager. It has gained a few changes. One is that the menu button is no longer present; I don't know how users will change settings now, unless that is exactly the point. The other is that the tab bar is now visible all the time along with a button to open a new tab, which is useful. On a related note, there is no longer a button to open Elementary Files from the dock. I feel like such a button would still be useful, and I'm not sure why it was removed; do the Elementary OS developers really believe that users should only open the file manager from the Slingshot menu?

There are a couple of applications that have been removed. Chief among them is the GNOME System Monitor. Now it is necessary to use the terminal to check out resource usage and to terminate programs. I'm not sure how good this is for new users. Are the Elementary OS developers just that confident that users will never have to manually terminate a program for any reason? Granted, I never experienced any stability issues or problematic programs, but it's a pretty big assumption regardless.
Elementary Files + Shotwell + Workspace Overview
On that note, Elementary OS used about 300 MB of RAM at idle, according to the command "free -m". The only change I noticed in opening and closing applications is that closing applications takes a fraction of a second longer so that a nicer animation can be made visible. The workspace overview and slide effects are still present in the Gala WM. The issues though are that the hot corner to show the workspace overview has been removed by default, and the keyboard shortcuts to switch workspaces are different from practically every other mainstream Linux DE. On the one hand, Elementary OS seems to be discouraging new users from using workspaces by not making how to use them particularly visible. On the other hand, Elementary OS seems to be discouraging experienced users as well by changing the keyboard shortcuts (even compared to the first beta) for no good reason. Is Elementary OS then trying to discourage use of multiple virtual workspaces altogether? If so, that's fine, but then the developers should be a bit more forthright about that.

That's where my time with Elementary OS 2 "Luna" ended. Much of the rest of my experience was the same as before. The changes are mostly in the vein of Elementary OS becoming even more restrictive and demanding that users follow its workflow exactly with minimal redundant controls. These are more minor changes though compared to the major changes that appeared in the beta, so I can't say that I feel too much more strongly about this. I would just say that my opinion from last time is strengthened slightly: people who don't have too many needs and could easily adapt to an Apple-esque desktop and workflow will love this, while others will not.
You can get it here. Note that the suggested download link asks for a donation, but there is a slightly less visible link that allows for a free download.