Jack Wallen takes a look at the beta release of elementary OS 6 and finds himself breathing a sigh of relief that the developers haven’t “fixed” what isn’t broken.
Every so often I’m reminded of the Rush song, “Circumstances.” Back in my days of high school, I remember first hearing the line, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” (“the more things change, the more they stay the same”), and being absolutely floored by its paradoxical statement. Since then, I’ve run into so many instances where the idiom applied. Within the realm of open-source, elementary OS is living proof that the saying can have perfect relevance.
I’ve been following this particular Linux distribution since its early days. For a few years, it was my go-to desktop Linux. That came to an end when I purchased my first System76 Thelio desktop and realized that Pop!_OS was a better fit for their hardware. I do miss the elegance brought to life on the desktop by Pantheon and elementary OS. When the first beta of the sixth iteration of the platform arrived, I had to install it and see what the developers and designers had to offer.
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I was not surprised when I fired it up and instantly thought of that Rush song, because elementary 6 looks very, very familiar. If you used elementary OS 5, you might think you’ve mistakenly installed that release, instead of the beta for 6—that’s a good thing.
You see, so often a group of developers and designers get something so right that their best path forward is one of refinement, not change. That’s what Cassidy James Blaede and the gang have done. Instead of making change for change’s sake, they simply improve on what they already know works. elementary OS has worked to perfection for a while.
It should come as little surprise that the Pantheon desktop, which elementary OS uses as its default, remains (on the surface) the same (Figure A). That doesn’t mean the developers haven’t brought some serious goodness to bear on what lies beneath the surface.