Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, October 8, 2021 at 22:15

It's a review of elementary OS 6, codenamed Odin, a computer operating system that proudly released with the slogan Thoughtful, capable, and ethical replacement to Windows and MacOS that's now empowering modern laptops that ship worldwide. Let's see OS 6 through this review.

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1. Overview

Features of OS 6 are as following: 

👉 Beautiful user interface.
👉 Easy to use.
👉 Basics OS ability like to run apps, explore files, browse internet etc.
👉 Free/libre open source software OS based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
👉 AppCenter, as easy as one click to install any applications.
👉 Offers tens of thousands applications for all purposes.
👉 Can run your 64-bit laptops and desktop computers.
👉 Out of the box hardware device detection and support.
👉 Available already as preinstalled laptops.
👉 Parental Control feature.
👉 and many more ...

2. Branded Computers Availability and User Installation

elementary OS 6 computers are available to ship worldwide from three shops namely Laptop With Linux 🇳🇱, Slimbook 🇪🇸 and Star Labs 🇬🇧. Just like its slogan says, people now have opportunity like what previously they only experienced with Windows or MacOS, that is, purchasing a computer preinstalled with elementary OS instead. Thanks to this, end-users do not need to install the OS by themselves. Visit The Store.

For advanced users, they normally download and install the OS by themselves. Brand new thing in this version is in this point: it features a new system installer, not Ubiquity anymore not Calamares either, but this one's named elementary OS Installer. This technology makes OS 6 branding shinier and more luxurious, the system installation simpler and easier, considerably better than OS 5.

3. Appearances

elementary is beautiful looking. It's among the most pretty-fancy choices of GNU/Linux systems. Basically, its appearance does not change since OS 5 as panel and dock are still there. However, OS 6 now brings adjustments to the visuals by the introduction of Dark Theme, Welcome Guide and new system Installer among other things.

OS 6 also now brings Shortcut Guide when user presses Super button. It's completely similar the late Ubuntu Unity's.

4. Software Things

User installs applications with AppCenter. Advanced user can install more using Terminal which is actually fairly easy to drive.

Default Apps

    OS 6's Apps
  • AppCenter
  • Calculator 
  • Calendar
  • Camera
  • Code
  • Documents 
  • Files
  • Mail
  • Multitasking View
  • Music
  • Photos
  • Screenshot
  • System Settings
  • Tasks
  • Terminal
  • Videos
  • Web

Above is list of built-in applications on elementary OS 6. They line up with the OS' principle Apps You Need, Without Ones You Don’t which we can read on its front web page. Please note that OS 6 comes without any office suite app (just like Windows and MacOS also did) so user should add more apps by themselves. The new kid on the block on OS 6 is Tasks, a to-do app that is simple.

With its built-in apps, plus their really simple names, a user may do their daily activity, job, school, amusement as well as simple computing like simply web browsing, reading PDFs, calculating purchases and scheduling events. This simplicity (similar to what you find on Android and iOS) would allow OS 6 to be used by practically anyone including kids and elderly. For advanced users, teaching someone would never be easier, as (for example) telling him to "screenshot" would mean literally Screenshot, the app, on the Menu.

Available Apps

Aside from default apps, there are a lot of available apps use could install by themselves. In general, applications offered by elementary OS are divided in two groups: first is the apps displayed on AppCenter (FLATPAK) and second is the standard apps (DEB) not visible on Appcenter but installable using Terminal. The second group is further divided into two as well: first's apps from OS 6's PPA and second's tens of thousands apps from Ubuntu 20.04.


Third-Party Apps

This is a good news! Since elementary OS is basically Ubuntu and further embraced Flatpak too, then the users now got not just 1 but 2 additional sources of third-party applications, PPA and Flathub. Thanks to this, a user may add whatever apps from PPA and whatever apps from Flathub (or any other Flatpak repositories in the future).

Apps Installation 

Open AppCenter → search → Install  → run it from Applications Menu. AppCenter is the place in elementary OS for user to find and add applications for any purpose.


Surprisingly, OS 6 offers no games on AppCenter. It's because to date there is no game developer publishing their games to AppCenter. And AppCenter by default only displays Flatpak applications from its own Flatpak repository, not However, elementary OS offers many many games by default, like 0AD and TuxMath, if the user installs one using Terminal.

Flathub App Store

Happy news! There is a new app store where you can simply search, install and get an app installed on OS 6. Sideload is the new default program that helps you automatically doing that. To add an app or game:

  1. Open Web.
  2. Visit
  3. Explore apps and games available then pick one.
  4. Click INSTALL button. 
  5. Click flatpakref file downloaded. 
  6. Sideload will open and display the app details.
  7. Click check mark I understand and click Install Anyway.
  8. App installed. is a community-maintained software download central run by Flatpak technology team itself.


Today in GNU/Linux world, there are two technologies, Xorg and Wayland, which major distros are slowly transitioning from the former to the latter. OS 6 uses Xorg technology and does not switch to Wayland. In comparison, Debian and Ubuntu already switched to Wayland in their latest version this year (11 and 21.04 respectively). Either one, this affects logins to end users, as Ubuntu users by default login to Wayland session while elementary users login to X11 session.

Appeals to Software Developers

Hello, software developers! Did you find Google Play Store or Apple App Center appealing to you because they could pay you well? If you did, now elementary OS is your new friend, as AppCenter allows users to pay the application developer with pay-what-you-want system. In short, you could earn money by developing Free/Libre Open Source Software. Moreover, today elementary OS 6 integrates Flatpak to AppCenter, a unified technology to help you deliver software as well as its updates easily to all your users. Interesting, right? You can learn more to join the market.

5. Hardware Things

Compatibility, performance, and power management are important to users.

Memory Load

OS 6's load's about 800 megabytes RAM when idle. It's a pretty fair load today, not too heavy not too lightweight either. As a comparison, we know for idle that modern Ubuntu's ~1GB and Windows Ten's ~1.5GB. We installed GNOME System Monitor with apt-get immediately after OS 6 installed, without running any other apps, and run several restarts to get several memory read results and the average number is around mentioned eight hundreds.

Compatibility with ThinkPad

This review is written based on elementary OS 6 installed on my T430. Short summary is below while a long detailed one is available publicly.

  • UEFI: works
  • Bluetooth: works
  • Touchpad: works
  • TrackPoint: works
  • Hard disk: work
  • Wifi: works
  • GPU: works
  • DVD: works
  • Sound: works
  • Microphone: works
  • Camera: works

6. Star Features

OS 6 introduces several new features incredibly awesome and some are simple but long awaited by many. 

Faster Performance, Smoother Updates

Context Menu
Yes, OS 6 runs considerably faster and definitely smoother than before. When we updates ours with AppCenter, all updates go smoothly and without errors. We did several times OS 6 installation and did the same updates with same results. Note that we install it on a 32GB USB flash disk, so if you try to do it on better storage you can expect it'd go even smoother. We're impressed with the Flatpak upgrade and download speed (we did this multiple times) which could go stable over 2MB/s fast which we normally never experienced before especially in Indonesia.

Dark Mode

Mentioned already, and it looks seriously cool you should try it yourself.

Context Menu

Surprise, now you can right-click your desktop!


Small app size
elementary is now clearly a Flatpak-based GNU/Linux OS, and further, they made OS 6 a fair & commercial market for FLOSS developers, and even stronger, with Flatpak itself, when any other Flatpak-based distros did nothing near that. With the laptop mass production, this could go even better and better. We think OS 6 implements Flatpak correctly and is heading on the right path. This is clever, we admire this and we support this very much -- we wish elementary success in this. 

If you use Fedora, you would see Flatpak apps size too big -- they look not normal to advanced users. But if you use OS 6, you would see Flatpak apps size very small -- they look normal. Why's that? Because OS 6 already includes needed Flatpak runtimes by default and it only head to their own Flatpak server, not Flathub. This creates good user experience and we could say it's better than Fedora in this case. We could say that we never felt happy with Flatpak anywhere before except now in OS 6.

Parental Control

Now parents are able to decide rules of what time, what apps, what website allowed/not for their kids with ease thanks to new improvements in Switchboard, aka, System Settings. For example:

  • there's a laptop
  • there's user named kids for kids
  • kids can only login on weekends
  • kids can only use computer from 13 to 17 PM
  • kids cannot visit and some other websites,
  • kids can access everything except some games and administrative tools

Such rules can be done under Screen Time and Limits on OS 6 like below. That's awesome.

7. Issues

👉 Web does not support video call
👉 Videos does not support by default MP4 format
👉 Mail failed to function
👉 Files does not have proper searching feature
👉 No OS upgrade, mandatory reinstallation required
👉 External issue: too big individual apps size from download center, installing one might require >=600MB

There are serious usability issues on elementary OS 6 to modern end-users. Under COVID-19 pandemic, we see increase in work from home so video calls today became a norm but elementary OS does not support video calls. By this fact, we think elementary is more suitable for modern users with 1TB free capacity or more. Next is lack of searching on its file manager and this is deeply not comfortable to users with many files and folders. If you come from any other OS, its search is not what you expect, as it only displays results as drop-down list right from address bar not in the main area and no previews either.

Note: short time solutions to above issues are as following. To video call, use Firefox instead of Web. To do search, use Catfish tool or simply use another file manager like Nemo. To play unsupported videos, install required codecs or simply use VLC instead of Videos.

8. Conclusions

  • OS 6 is a beautiful, easy to use, and user friendly computer operating system.  
  • It is considerably lightweight and works fast for its beautiful looks.
  • It just works for generic purpose uses.  
  • It features Dark Mode that is really cool.
  • It paves a good road to build FLOSS market, empowers users and developers to pay and be paid for libre software, with its computer mass production, its download payment and AppCenter.
  • It is heading to Flatpak technology future, with Flatpak-based software center and Sideload tool, but its own Flatpak implementation is still new and needs time to improve.
  • For advanced users, it seriously lacks basic settings e.g. search feature on Files, ability to see its own tens of thousands non-Flatpak packages graphically, changing repository; as well as the mandatory one i.e. system upgrade from previous release.
  • It is the best elementary OS version ever.

Finally, we say thank you and congratulations to elementary OS community!

Future Wishes

1. More manufacturers to mass produce elementary computers. Just imagine Lenovo and Dell produce elementary laptops. We are looking to PineBook right now if it were true that ARM technology is the future of computing.

Are you a manufacturer? Read OEM to join.

2. Ability to upgrade from previous release.

3. We are aware about Software Patents threat to our Community, but we wish out-of-the-box multimedia playback.

4. Search feature on Files.

5. Advanced Mode in crucial points, AppCenter and Files, so we can decide our software setup and how file browsing works.

6. Successful commercial fair-market of FLOSS in the AppCenter.

7. Web improvement so it would support video conference.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.