When it comes to Linux distributions, conventional wisdom says that an operating system is only as good as the packages that are available. Why? Well, software matters! Who wants to use an operating system when it’s not possible to install Google Chrome, Steam, Skype and 100 other applications? Solus OS developers, that’s who.
Solus OS is a new Linux operating system that isn’t based on anything. It’s a fresh take on Linux with a message: less is more. No hassling with settings or choices. Everything is taken care of for you ahead of time.
When you boot up Solus OS you’ll notice a single taskbar at the top of the screen. This single panel is the basis for the Solus-developed desktop environment. This desktop is known as Budgie. It’s a user-friendly and simple environment, based on GTK3, and designed around the idea that using your computer shouldn’t be a hassle.
Budgie has a neat Windows-like menu that can search installed applications on the left and a notification center, calendar, and settings pane to the right. Everything the Budgie desktop is is contained in this little area. It’s somewhat neat if you think about it.
This message is the one that Solus OS wants to apply to its entire operating system, not just Budgie. Everything you should need is installed from the get-go: web browser, torrent client, music and video players, office tools, email and even IRC.
The idea is to make a good operating system that doesn’t get bogged down by a massive amount of packages to chose from. Instead they focus on making a good operating system that is fast and modern-looking as well.
The installation for Solus OS is fairly similar to something you’d find when you install Antergos or any of the Ubuntu flavors. When you get into the installation prompt, the installer will ask to automatically detect your location for timezone and language purposes.
After that, just press the Next button, and you’ll find the country you live in already selected. From here you’ll be asked to select a keyboard layout. The auto detection feature mentioned earlier takes care of this, so no need to worry here.
Once timezone, language and keyboard settings have been set, you’ll be asked to choose an installation location. This is where the ideas around Solus sort of fall down. At no point is there any option to do an automatic installation. Instead you’re asked to partition everything by hand. It’s not exactly welcoming to new users who may need help with partitioning.
This is fine but is sort of weird considering the message of this operating system. It’s not a huge deal, as auto-installations tend to take a bit of work, and this is still a fairly new operating system.
When the partitioning is finished, the operating system resumes its path down a standard-looking installation process. It’s something we’ve no doubt seen before, though a touch of flair has been added. End users can set up their username, hostname and bootloader preferences.
What makes Solus OS special?
In short: the fact that its not a derivative. The truth is this day and age we seldom see a new Linux operating system come along with a mission and a totally fresh core. More often than not you’re seeing ambitious projects take Ubuntu, Arch, Fedora, etc. and building something on top of it.
Solus OS doesn’t do that. Everything is built in-house. This means Budgie and everything else. This is very impressive considering this is a free project, but if you’re tired of the Ubuntus and Fedoras of the world, this is probably your best bet in truly getting something “fresh and new.”
Besides the “less is more” and “made here” mantras, Solus OS has some other compelling things about it that really sets it apart. For starters, the developers are committed to putting the Desktop first. There’s no mobile or tablet side project going on here. All the Solus OS project wants to do is make a compelling, fast, and simple Linux desktop for the masses. Who can argue with that?
Though Solus OS is new, it is clear to me that as this operating system grows, it’ll be a solid choice for both advanced and new Linux users alike. Sure, you won’t be able to install over 1,000 packages, and that does hurt if you’re used to certain programs being there, but if you’re in the crowd that just wants a web browser and a file manager, maybe this is the right operating system for you.
Linux users: would you switch from your current distro to Solus OS? Why or why not? Tell us below!
Image Credit: seniorscomputer.net