Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 13:53

elementary OS 5.1 is a "service pack" update of 5.0 released recently at 3 December 2019. It brings really a lot of new features and redesigns. This article tries to cover 6 things from the beginning to the end including the new redesigns, its ISO contents, and Flatpak support. Enjoy the new elementary OS!

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  • About elementary OS
  • Download
  • 1) ISO
  • 2) New Design
  • 3) New AppCenter & Flatpak
  • 4) New Permission & Icons
  • 5) New System Settings
  • 6) Technical Things
  • Notes
  • My Comments
  • You Can Contribute

About elementary OS

elementary OS is a user-friendly Ubuntu-based operating system that emphasizes visual beauty founded by Daniel Fore and Cassidy James from United States since 2011. Its slogan is The fast, open, and privacy-respecting replacement for Windows and macOS. elementary OS has uniqueness compared to other GNU/Linux distros, most notably among them are 5 things: its "e" logo, its user interface Pantheon, its design (the HIG) that resembles Apple system, its file manager, and its software publishing central AppCenter. Its official website is

1. Download

Get elementary OS 5.1 at its official website.

Picture 1.1
(System Details of elementary OS now says "Hera" as its codename)

2. ISO File & Size & Contents

  • Filename: elementaryos-5.1-stable.20191202.iso
  • Size: 1.4GB
  • SHA256SUM: cd66c32d53eab6f789b8e69e499305b7af0c9b3083ed54d50b111136d2795ea1

Picture 2.1
(ISO Image file size)

When we are talking about contents of ISO image, we are talking about where are the kernel and the initrd files. In the 5.1 ISO image, they are located under /boot/casper/ with file names vmlinuz 6MB and initrd.lz 60MB. This information is important to create a multiboot flash drive with GLIM or Aguslr's Multibootusb script-based tools.

Picture 2.2
(Left: ISO image file of elementary OS 5.1 | Right: contents of that ISO file)

3. New Designs on User Interface

Now, whenever you have multiple user accounts in 5.1, your login screen displays those users beautifully with each own wallpaper. This is the new star of elementary OS.

Picture 3.1
(The new login screen)

Following Mint, Deepin, and Manjaro, now elementary OS also features a Welcome Screen. You will see a warm message Welcome to elementary OS! whenever you login for the first time after the system installation. This is called Onboarding and is also the new star of 5.1.

Picture 3.2
(Overview of the new Greeter with 6 pages)

Picture 3.3
(1st: links to online help & documentation | 2nd: toggle GPS | 3rd: toggle "Redshift" feature | 4th: choices whether to automatically empty temporary & "Recycle Bin" | 5th: link to open the AppCenter | 6th: link to open "Control Panel")

Among other improvements, I like this greeter the most. It explains elementary OS to new user as well as letting them to go to certain points or immediately change frequently used features.

Picture 3.4
(New tooltip with "Alt+F2" message addition | Example menu search goes deep into System Settings)

Start menu (or Applications Menu) now features deep search so that you can type touchpad to instantly find out Touchpad Settings at control panel and other examples you can figure them out by yourself.

Picture 3.5
(Calendar applet on top panel | Colors categories for events | Categories selection on every event creation)

Picture 3.6
(Calendar app features Today's, Tomorrow's, and This Month's schedules)

Calendar and top panel is now integrated and got new design with multiple colors available.

4. AppCenter & Flatpak

Following Fedora and Mint, now elementary OS becomes a Flatpak distro as well because it is already built-in 5.1. The new feature is the integration, officially named Sideload, that runs every time you want to install applications from Flathub Flatpak Repository.

Picture 4.1
(Web browser displays website on Inkscape page | Drop-down download menu | Install untrusted app dialog is the one called Sideload)

If you go to Flathub website, then --for example-- choose Inkscape Vector Editor application there, and click "INSTALL" button, you download a file with .flatpakref extension. That is how Flathub works for any other application. When you click that .flatpakref file, Sideload appears showing details like file size & security information, and finally click Install to get that application.

Picture 4.2
(Left: new warning bar appears while there is no internet connection | Right: simultaneously multiple app installation | Bottom: more colorful app categories now available)

AppCenter receives many improvisations, from a faster start, and new categories, until yellow bar notifying if internet access is off.

5. New Permission Dialog & New Icons

Whenever Calendar app needs an online geolocation service, a reminder dialog asks us whether to Allow or Deny such things. Also, it includes a link to open System Settings on Privacy.
Picture 5.1
(A new privacy dialog)

There are new network and mic icons. Now, when an application uses your microphone, top panel shows a mic indicator reminding that you are in record. For instance, I run Jitsi Meet (a popular video conference application) and immediately a mic icon appears on the panel.

Picture 5.2
(Left: new network icon | Right: mic icon)

6. New System Settings

The System Settings got really a lot of improvements. One among them is the Display Settings where you can change monitor resolution there. Now it is simpler to switch resolution by clicking the gear button and selecting one from resolutions available.

Picture 6.1
(System Settings -> Display -> Resolution)

Technical Things

elementary OS 5.1 is based on Ubuntu 18.04.3. This means, 5.1 is based on 3th "starter pack" update of Ubuntu Bionic Beaver LTS. That means you will see "bionic" name frequently if you install software on elementary OS today.

 Picture 5.1
(Terminal: apt-get command showing URLs both from "bionic" and elementary's PPA's software sources)

Picture 5.1
(Terminal: showing detailed information such as kernel version 5.0.0, codename "Hera", apt version 1.6.12,  the inclusion of Flatpak preinstalled, and Gala window manager version 0.3.1)


elementary OS apps have unique command line names. You cannot run Music simply by invoking "music", nor run Files simply by invoking "files", but instead you should run each app with its correct name like below.

  • Greeter: io.elementary.greeter
  • Sideload: io.elementary.sideload
  • Onboard: io.elementary.onboard
  • Music:
  • Videos: io.elementary.videos
  • Files: io.elementary.files
  • System Settings: io.elementary.switchboard

My Note & Wish

  • I advise you to not logout from LiveCD session because I figured out that I will not be able to login again. 
  • I wish elementary OS got hardware vendor endorsements so people can purchase laptops & desktops with it preinstalled. 
  • Iwish elementary OS got its own KDE Connect so smartphone users can integrate all their devices seamlessly like KDE users.
  • I wish you enjoy the new elementary OS!


You can help developing elementary OS by many ways. You can donate money or buy merchandises to fund them. If you have coding capabilities, there are many software development activities need your help. If you are a bug bounty hunter, they opens many bounties, as elementary is the first OS to open such bounty in computer field.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.