What’s coming to elementary OS 5.0 Juno!

Brief: This is a continually updated article to inform you about elementary OS Juno release date, features and everything important associated with it. 

The development of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is ongoing in full swing. This means that other Ubuntu LTS based distributions have also started on their new release. I already covered Linux Mint 19 in an earlier article. Now it’s time to look at another Ubuntu-based popular Linux distribution, elementary OS.

It will be elementary OS 5.0, not 0.5

If you are familiar with elementary OS, you know that its releases are numbered in decimal points like 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4. You would expect the upcoming release to be numbered 0.5 but that is not the case here.

The upcoming elementary OS version doesn’t follow this pattern and instead, it has been numbered 5.0.

Daniel Fore, the founder of the elementary OS, told It’s FOSS that “0.x was confusing for new users who assumed that this meant elementary OS was in beta or unstable”. But that’s not the only reason for the bump in the version number.

elementary OS team has been holding off on 1.0 since it used to depend on many 3rd party components in the desktop. Now they have a functioning and growing 3rd party app ecosystem, a complete set of default apps, a full set of system settings panes that’s been tailored to the elementary OS. So 5.0 really reflects how much more complete and bespoke Pantheon is as a desktop environment compared to its first release.

In other words, elementary OS 5.0 signifies that it is the fifth major stable release.

Codename Juno

This one is no secret for hardcore elementary OS fans. The upcoming version has been named Juno.

For those who are unaware, elementary OS releases are codenamed after Roman/Greek gods and goddesses. That’s why you see names like Jupiter, Luna, Freya, Loki etc.

Juno is the goddess of love and marriage and wife of Jupiter in Roman mythology.

Jupiter and Juno
Jupiter and Juno: Painting by Franz Christoph Janneck

Since I am a trivia fan, let me share another anecdote with you. elementary OS 0.3 Freya was initially named Isis. But since the ISIS terror group was rising at that time, the codename was later changed to Freya. Wise decision?

If you like trivia, you can read this article about codenames and version number facts of other Linux distributions.

elementary OS Juno release date

Now comes the important stuff that you have been waiting for. But unfortunately, there is no official release date for elementary OS Juno. Their philosophy is to release when it’s ready. There is a list of tasks to accomplish before Juno could be released.

Daniel does have some consolation though as he assures, “we’re trying to do our best to release as close to the Ubuntu 18.04 release as possible”.

So, you can be sure that it won’t be released before April but it should not be going as far as September.

New features in elementary OS Juno

Here are the new features that would be coming to the new version:

  • Night Light
  • Redesigned sound settings
  • Text editor Scratch is rebranded as Code with features of a basic code editor
  • Improved App Center
  • New system sounds for notifications etc
  • Look and feel changes due to new features in the latest Gtk+ including some animated panel icons
  • elementary now has an official color palette. All icons should adhere to that palette. There won’t be major changes to the icons but you’ll notice more vibrant and lively colored icons in Juno.
  • Not many major redesigns, but there’s a lot of small, meaningful changes that add up to a much nicer and smoother experience
  • Under the hood: clean up on oldest code bases, closing out issue reports, increasing performance and stability
  • A new installer in collaboration with System76 (unconfirmed)

Not to forget that elementary OS Juno is based on Ubuntu 18.04 so some of the non-visual changes of 18.04 will also be propagated to Juno.

As in the previous versions, elementary OS Juno is also restrictive on customization. Its aim is to provide an aesthetically looking platform that provides an ecosystem for developers to build apps on. If one wants to play more with the customization and configuration, Debian is a much better option. elementary OS was conceived for entirely different purposes.

What else?

Since things are under development, there might be more elementary OS Juno features added to the above listed. You can follow elementary OS blog for more development stories.

Of course, I’ll be updating this article over the time but if you see something missing here, please notify me and help me improve this article.

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