By Jack M. Germain - LinuxInsider |29th March 2016

If you're looking for a quick, clean and classy Linux distro, look no further than the Apricity OS beta. Either of the two available flavors -- GNOME or Cinnamon -- is sure to give you a pleasant computing experience.

Apricity OS is an Arch Linux variant with rolling releases. The latest beta version was released last month. Betas can be frustrating to work with, and Arch Linux can be challenging, but Apricity's developers did their jobs well to ease that pain.

GNOME is one of my least favorite desktop options. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my disfavor for GNOME was mostly quelled by all the integrated niceties built into Apricity. Its GNOME desktop did not disappoint, thanks to the customized GNOME shell with many shell extensions preinstalled and enabled by default.

Catering to the Cloud

Regardless of your preference, Apricity OS takes an approach that most Linux distros ignore. It caters to the cloud generation of computing. It has an integrated software feature built around the site-specific browser manager ICE, which provides the ability to put your favorite Web apps on the desktop and access them simply. This type of browser tool is not readily available through most distro repositories and the Synaptic Package Manager. The developers also incorporated software to minimize security risk.

Noteworthy Improvement

Apricity's first public beta was GNOME, released last year. It developers follow a philosophy built on creating useful, intuitive software. Arch-based Linux distros can be dogs to install and configure, but Apricity OS removes much of that anguish. The new version of Calamares, the installer, smoothed out the wrinkles in the installation fabric. This expanded release maintained Apricity OS beta 1's ability to use system resources minimally. The system memory requirement drops to 900 MB of RAM. That brings more access to less-endowed legacy hardware. The GNOME desktop environment, with its bare-bones basics, consumes as few resources as possible. It also provides much shorter boot times.

The latest release brings improvements to dozens of packages. It has better Google Drive support in the Nautilus file manager as well as new features in the Pamac package manager. The Totem movie player has support for more codecs. The included Pushbullet support lets users send links and small files between desktops and laptops running Apricity and mobile devices, meaning Apricity users can receive mobile notifications, texts and phone calls across multiple devices.

The Apricity OS comes with specialized software to make an easier transition into Linux for newcomers. That approach makes switching to Apricity OS more convenient for users coming from other Linux distros as well. For example, a better Google Chrome package is preinstalled. It is a much better version than the source package from the AUR. Marxico, a Markdown editor for Evernote, and the BitTorrent Sync GUI application are included.

Look and Feel

A world of difference exists between Arch-based Linux distros and some of the types in the Slackware, Debian, Gentoo and other offshoots. Apricity OS minimizes those differences. It is a smart-looking, easy-to-use alternative to other distros. One particularly nice alteration in appearance is the favorites bar. Most GNOME 3 iterations place the favorites bar along the left screen edge. Apricity OS takes a more traditional and functional approach by placing it across the bottom. This placement is more convenient for both input methods -- mousing and touch screen.

Bottom Line

Apricity OS targets newbies and professionals alike. It has a well-thought-out design. Its execution makes both the GNOME and the Cinnamon editions very functional. The overall performance of the distro is impressive. I am looking forward to the release of the nonbeta version. Apricity OS is a Linux distro that will make you rethink why you use your existing operating system. It is a distro worth checking out.