Final Thoughts on Elementary OS

How I Use elementary os (Applications and Tweaks)

In my last post, I described my journey of moving off of OpenSUSE Tumbleweed and installing elementary os. This week, I want to describe the apps I have installed and use and what modifications I’ve made to make the workflow fit just a little better to my muscle memory.
The first thing I did was poke around a bit and see what the default set of apps installed from the iso had to offer. I got Mail setup to use my google suite mail. That was fairly straight forward, however, because I use my own domain with google apps, I had to use the manual set up. The documentation from google was helpful. I use two-factor authentication on my google apps so I also used this article on setting up Apple’s Mail to use google 2FA and applied it to the elementary Mail app ; if there is interest I could do a tutorial post or video on how to do this. I am using Files, Terminal, and AppCenter out of the box as intended and everything just works. The pantheon desktop itself is a huge departure from my beloved XFCE, but I am addressing the challenges head on. Here are some of the things I have done to ease my transition.
In XFCE, the desktop has a setting for randomly changing the wallpaper from a specified folder of images. Over the years, I have collected a set of wallpaper images I like and I like to have them change regularly. Pantheon does not have this feature built in, but I installed Variety, “an open-source wallpaper changer for Linux.” Variety can pull images from various online sources and your local filesystem to create wallpaper slide shows which change the background on your specified schedule.
In addition to XFCE, I have used the i3 window manager quite extensively. My time in i3 has really broken me of my ‘mouse addiction’ and I am used to using the keyboard to do most things on my system. The default key combination to launch a terminal window on i3 is Super+Enter so the first thing I do on a new desktop in find the keyboard shortcut control panel and add that combination. On elementary, pressing Super+Space opens the applications menu. This menu provides search to launch applications but again, due to my time spent with i3, I am used to using dmenu to launch apps. dmenu is available in the default repos and I set it’s keyboard shortcut as Super+d. (Actually, I use j4-dmenu-desktop from the repos. Google is your friend here.). My one big complaint is that elementary has done away with app indicators in the Wingpanel. I have read their explanation of this and I get where they’re coming from. However, I still use applications like Nextcloud which rely on a panel indicator to access their settings and to monitor syncing. In addition, I do not like the stock sound settings / control panel. I am used to pavucontrol which provides many levels of control over which interface does what. The Sound Settings in elementary os leave much to be desired on that front.
However, much more than that, I haven’t changed elementary very much. I have populated my dock with many apps and I have enjoyed the experience. But, it’s time to move on. Time to scratch that distro-hopper itch. It took me a while to decide, but I am going to revisit Gnome shell. I haven’t used it in several years and I want to see what the hype is all about. I have decided to try Pop_OS! from System76. I hope you will check back later to see how it goes!