Pantheon Desktop Environment – showcasing the elementary OS

Pantheon is the desktop environment originally created for the elementary OS distribution. It’s written from scratch in Vala, using GTK3 and Granite. With regards to usability and appearance, the desktop has some similarities with GNOME Shell and macOS.

Pantheon is rarely seen outside of Elementary OS although it can be installed on other distributions.

Pantheon offers a transparent panel, with three core areas, across the top of the screen. You can launch applications by clicking Applications in the top left. In the center, there’s the date and time. Clicking here pulls up a calendar. System indicators sit in the top right.

A dock sits at the bottom of the screen, similar to seen on a MacBook. The dock’s name is Plank.

The Pantheon desktop environment is built on top of the GNOME software base, i.e. GTK+, GDK, Cairo, GLib (including GObject and GIO), GVfs and Tracker.

Features include:

  • Pantheon applications:
    • Pantheon Greeter – session manager based on LightDM but is more visually appealing.
    • Gala – a window and compositing manager based on libmutter.
    • Wingpanel – extensible top panel, like GNOME Shell’s top panel. This stylish panel holds indicators and spawns Slingshot.
    • Slingshot – a lightweight and stylish application launcher located in Wingpanel.
    • Plank – a dock. The goal is to provide just what a dock needs and absolutely nothing more.
    • Switchboard – settings application. Switchboard is just the container application for Switchboard Plugs, which provide the actual settings for various hardware and software.
    • Mail – email client written in Vala. It uses Evolution Data Server and Camel to display emails.
    • Calendar – a desktop calendar app.
    • Music – audio player.
    • Code – code-focused text editor.
    • Terminal – a terminal emulator.
    • Files – a file manager with plugin support.

Support: GitHub code repository, Support
Developer: elementary LLC
License: GNU GPL, LGPL


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