INFORMAL EVALUATION OF ELEMENTARY OS 7
I installed “EOS” on two older computers
1. HP ProBook 4310s
4 GB memory
2. Apple iMac 7.1
3 GB memory
Both of these machines are about 15 years old, but working normally except for the iMac, which has a problem with being told to suspend or shutdown.
Elementary OS 7 (EOS) installed with no problems on both machines
The UI impressed me; it is easy to work with, and reminiscent of the Apple OS with the “Dock” and icons that bounce when activated.
On a daily basis I use Zorin OS 16.2 and I will be noting differences in Elementary from that. Both of these OSs are based on Ubuntu.
EOS has a completely different set of included apps. I believe they are all flatpaks. I discovered two apps that I liked and have since installed them on my desktop too. The are “Norka”, a text note taking app that organizes all of your notes, and “Reco” a simple audio recorder that can record you mic input OR your system audio output, OR BOTH at the same time. It doesn’t have a “recording level meter” but when I record I always have Pulse Audio Volume Control running, and it provides the level meter.
EOS does not include any “Office” apps – in fact if you open the App Center and click on OFFICE, the App Center shuts down!! The other categories I tried worked OK.
The EOS included browser is just named “Web”; it shows evidence of being based on Firefox, but with less features. I ended up replacing this with (real) Firefox via APT.
EOS website “recommended system requirements” lists SOLID STATE DRIVE; there is no explanation of what happens with a HDD. The question is answered by many people on Reddit, saying that EOS works fine with a HDD, but that it may run slower; some say “much” slower. On both of my old machines the boot up and launching of apps is quite slow. (90 sec boot) Once an app is running the latency is more reasonable, and not a problem, with the exception of the “Web” browser.
The “Web” browser is annoyingly slow to launch and load websites. I installed Firefox using APT, and it is much faster and quick to respond. Therefore I think that the included browser flatpak probably works better with a SSD rather than a HDD - just my guess. I took “Web” off of the dock and replaced it with Firefox. I installed several other apps with APT and all of them work well on EOS.
Another difference noted was that in EOS many of the app windows do not have a “-” icon that can “iconize” the window (“put it down”) into the task bar while keeping it active. If you want the window out of the way you just have to close it with the “X”. (or there is a trick I don’t know)
There were a few “glitches” in my use of the two machines, one time the App Center window hung after completing an install using the EOS App Center.
Updates are different on EOS. At least in some cases you first download an update file, and then it can either manually or automatically be installed.
I noticed some graphics problems on EOS, – at least one of the app windows could not be resized by dragging a corner. If you do that, the display gets all messed up.
Overall, I liked the look and feel of EOS, but it seems my older computers have a little trouble with it. Both of them were previously running Zorin Lite, and that worked better.
INFORMAL EVALUATION OF ELEMENTARY OS 7
I used to run Xubuntu (16) on an old iMac (2,1) - i386, with 2 GB RAM… the iMac 2,1 (coreduo) not capable of x86_64… I read somewhere it is possible to upgrade the CPU to a 64 bit capable, and use an SSD, and upgrade the RAM to 4 GB (CPU and RAM requires a firmware update).
I stopped using it when the HDD started having issues - looks like MAJOR surgery to crack open the chassis to replace the HDD… So I put it aside… like I really need another computer… but I like the design…
Some older hardware definitely runs better with 32 bit distros, i386 or i686… EOS don’t have a 32 bit version - there’s not many left that do - Debian?
Despite EOS pantheon desktop allegedly being “lite” - I found it somewhat heavy, XFCE is better (for low load and faster usage) IMHO…
elementary OS is one of those distros I want to love, and I even ran it for a year or so on an Asus “gaming” laptop (not one of those big clunkers, this thing looked more like a MacBook - but it had an NVidia GPU) - but end up being limited by some of its restrictions…
Ideally - I’d like to find a copy to try on my RPi4B 8 GB model - but to get the official arm64 builds of elementary - you have to pay/sponsor $12 a month to their github or something - so - bugger that!
Note - there was one thing I REALLY liked in eOS - the text editor “scratch” but was never able to find a copy to run on other distros, or build from source…
@daniel.m.tripp – Daniel, thanks for your inputs. I agree that it is just plain hard to throw away an old computer that is still trying to be a productive member of society. I keep thinking, “Someone could make good use of this old guy, maybe I’ll run across someone who would like to have it, or maybe I’ll think of some easy assignment I could give it around here…” I’m an old engineer, so I feel a certain kinship!
Note: I looked in the Zorin software library - they have a “Scratch” app but it’s not a text editor.
I agree. My old Toshiba laptop with 4Gb ram occasionally gets a run. It has Void Linux, and I am currently experimenting with Antix. Tbe Pentium cpu is slow…firefox takes half a minute to load. There is really nothing that it might be useful for, but I am still loath to recycle it. Why?
Elementary OS on a modern fast machine might review rather differently.
Old electronics, are like old people. we somtimes just have to let go!!!
I agree - however - I have a very soft spot for “antique” computers that were state of the art in their day - like old UNIX RISC workstation and server class powerhouses from Sun Microsystems (SPARC) and Silicon Graphics (MIPS) - I’d also like a “decent” PSeries from IBM - i.e. a PowerPC with AIX. I have an AIX 4.x compatible RS/6000 in my shed (more like a sealed carport) but those are a bit too long in the tooth, with VERY obscure hardware, like MCA bus (IBM’s failed attempt to make a decent bus replacement for ISA, which they forgot to patent).
Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger, I am as guilty as any other!!! I have two old hand-me-down laptops, and three old Desktops, that could be consolidated into one Desktop, but the only trouble is, they are all configured differently. Trying to squeeze all the use I can from the old machines, just like humans do to each other.
I have often thought that it would be nice if some of these “older” computers could be loaded up with some beginner-friendly form of Linux, and donated to elder care homes, or other institutions, perhaps even with some “support” in case of problems. Anyone know if it’s been tried?
There are community orgs doing just that over the planet… I think at least one member on here is involved… Not me though… I’m nearly an OAP myself (60) and I LOATHE users …
Bit like “Yes Minister”…Do you remember the hospital with no patients episode?
My Sun risc box went up in smoke…literally had to carry the smoking box out onto lawn and hose it.
It is no more.
How could I forget Britain’s most efficient hospital - timely right now given NHS union issues with the Tories…
I worked for some ~15 years in hospitals (government “teaching” hospitals) - and I kinda miss it… Went for a look around Fremantle Hospital the weeked before last - kinda wish I’d never left to further my IT career in the private sector…
I have donated a couple of old PC’s to my church, that were running, very tweaked down versions of WXP, all they were used for was to run libreoffice and printers.
Mention Linux and you get that are-you-kidding-look or a blank stare.
Yes, that stare. I think it’s better to just not mention it. Changing the OS SOUNDS like a much bigger change than it actually is to the user. I gave an old laptop with Mint to my daughter who was used to “apples” and I just told her it was a little different than what she was used to, and she’s been getting useful work out of it for several years now. She had a few questions at first, but she caught on fast, and she’s an elementary school teacher, not a “techy”.
Old school - Hospital IT - the IT department (called Information Management Systems) was in the same block as the telephone exchange (top floor) and the basement was the computer room (which was so primitive in 1995, didn’t even have a sub-floor), started out just 3270 (or 3178) SNA controllers with a 9600 baud link to the mainframe about 15 km away (the University of WA) - gradually got some UNIX servers, and i386 Novell Netware servers, then eventually the pox of NT and Microsoft Exchange… (truth be known, I don’t actually hate either) and some lame Microsofty thing that did 3270 over Netbeui (anyone remember that?) and another piece of crap that implemented Microsoft Mail on Novell Netware server filesystems .
Here’s a worm’s eyeview photo of the top floor of the IT building (which I took weekend before last) - with a vast doorway to crane lift a late 1960’s or 70’s** technology switchboard into :
There’s a tiny bit there sorta lower left, with a ballustrade, just above which was where us flatout desktop support-cum-novell-netware-cum-mainframe-guru-cum-unix jack-of-all-trades would convene to keep our nicotine uptake to manageable levels…
and here we are a half century later, where a PABX is about the size of a coffee table but they haven’t bricked up that door? WTF?
** I’d hazard a guess 1970’s, probably late, because before then bricklayers knew how to do lintels, but that tech was forgotten after about 1980…
Edit : just a bit further back - i.e. to the left of that vehicle - was an “undeclared” parking spot, where I used to park my Suzuki GSXR1100J (yes I am a motorcycle nerd)… Where hospital security would put parking infringement notices on my superbike 2 or 3 times a week… Which I’d then try and find in their (“they” my colleagues in site security) Microsoft Access database (which one of my IT colleagues had “developed”*), and remove (not just the row, but all references, as I’d already done “referential integrity” in IT at University), before their fortnightly mail merge to the local shire parkign fine enforcement people… I loved that job…
** fancy calling themselves “developers” for plonking a few shonky “interactive forms” onto a Windows PC with an MS Access DB backend!
With the sort of things you do, it would seem you may be better placed looking at EndeavourOS rather than ElementaryOS. It is Arch based rather than Ubuntu, but that may suit your older machines.
Only a suggestion
Comparing Elementary and Zorin is like comparing two apples, their is very little to compare.
EndeavourOS, Arch and Manjaro only support 64bit. If you need 32bit, the only true 32bit that can be had, is Gentoo.
I do remember that. Did you ever use GroupWise? I guess it worked, but was an isolated animal.
I always told people, “If it’s bigger than a calculator, it’s our responsibility.”
Neville – Thanks for your comments; I willl happily take a look at EndeavourOS.
Got one neighbour told me
Oh no no We are not ever letting our daughter anywhere near computers no way at school she is not in the computer classes.
It was me that had the blank wide eyed look, Unreal
The other one was older son of lady next door, his son desperately wanted a computer so offered my not too (four years) old with a fresh Manjaro Install show them it’s working
and what windows is this ?
No it’s Linux.
Ahh ok but no thanks
How smart is this bloke here is a computer running an Intel i7 small ssd four years old for nothing to help him out BUT he has to go and say no
These days I say “Why Bother”
Wow, that’s a good example of a sad thing. Love the graphic. Well Linux boxes do have “windows” , so maybe I could say “Well, it has windows, but it has been disconnected from Microsoft for security, privacy, and speed, you won’t get nagged by Microsoft, and otherwise you won’t notice too much difference.”