Elementary is reminiscent of Linux Mint, an Ubuntu derivative with an extra dose of user friendliness. It's a great distro for those looking to dip their toe into the Linux pool, before moving on to a more robust distro.
The developers of Elementary have taken big strides to ensure a user friendly experience. Elementary includes a custom desktop environment called Pantheon, along with custom apps for Photos, Music, Videos, and all the other essentials. Pantheon has some unique features that can help you keep your desktop clean and increase your workflow, namely multi-tasking views, picture in picture, and do not disturb mode.
The file browser is also unique, with a built in search feature and options to categorize the files and applications. Being part of the Debian family allows new software to be installed in terminal via the APT package manager, but there's also Elementary's AppCenter, which features only the applications that Elementary has approved and certified as privacy-respecting and secure.
Elementary is big on privacy and has a few components to help you monitor the applications on your system. It helps you keep tabs on apps that utilize your microphone or location, so you are notified of misbehaving and untrustworthy software. The operating system also tidies up your cache files automatically to free up space and clear potentially private data.
Elementary OS Linux Release Schedule
New versions of Elementary OS are typically released several months after the latest Ubuntu LTS release. There's not a precise and fixed release schedule, but new LTS versions of Ubuntu are released every two years, which gives you a pretty good idea of when to expect a new release from Elementary.
Download Elementary OS Linux
Grab the latest ISO installer image of Elementary OS from the distro's official download page. You can use the direct link or download it as a torrent. You'll be asked to "name your price" when downloading Elementary, but you can simply enter $0 if you want a free download. Keep in mind that some apps in Elementary's AppCenter are also not free, though many are.
There's only one ISO download on Elementary's website. It comes with Pantheon and the rest of Elementary's customizations out of the box. These are the main selling points of Elementary, hence why there aren't alternative editions of Elementary with different GUIs and default applications.
You'll need a 64 bit CPU in order to run Elementary. The recommended specifications also state that you should have an Intel i3 or comparable processor and 4 GB of system RAM.
Elementary OS presents a welcoming and comfortable user experience. This is a perfect distro for those new to Linux, though veterans will also find it a delightfully simple distro that could help increase their workflow. Everything by Elementary is free and open source. The developers are committed to bringing you applications that respect your privacy, hence the vetting process required for an app's entry into the AppCenter. All around a solid distro.