Solus OS Review

Solus OS

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.

solus-os-application-menu

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.

solus-os-budgie-settings

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.

solus-os-installation-flags

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.

solus-os-application-gparted

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.

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-desktop

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

14 comments

  1. Too bad it is a “discontinued project” and has not been updated since 2013.
    I am sticking with Mint 17.3 xfce – seems to be current and has Firefox/Thunderbird pre loaded.
    ~ Always looking for a great release of Linux for Win7 desktop replacement ~

  2. Actually Mr. Andy Johnson I just visited the Solus OS website at: https://solus-pproject.com/# and found Copyright © 2015-2016 Solus Project and plans for releases in 2016-2017 so for now at least Solus Os is very much alive. Just thought you might like to know. Personally I feel that it is nice to see a new distribution doing their own thing and filling their own niche, I mean that is a large part of the appeal of Linux as an OS, that their is a distribution for everyone of every taste as well as every skill level with computers. Have a nice day.

  3. Except it’s false :p

    This Solus Operating System isn’t the old Solus OS (that were based on Debian, not on anything), it’s Evolve OS with another name, as there were a problem with the old name. This new Solus operating system is not discontinued and the 1.2 release is coming.

  4. The fact that it is not based on any other distro is a double-edged sword. You can look at it, as above, as a “clean start”, unencumbered by the ecosystems of an upstream distro, past mistakes, and agendas.

    However if you want your OS developers to decide what is truly necessary, Mac OS X has that covered.

    If you want to have limited software in the repo and let the community duke it out, there’s Arch, Gentoo and Slackware for that. Wheel reinvention is a typical syndrome in Linux world.

    And do we really need ANOTHER package manager for all the different open source and free projects to bang their thin-stretched foreheads against?

    The Budgie desktop is certainly interesting however – though you might wonder whether it might be better to use Deepin or Chromixium (both desktop environment-centric distros, not underlying system changers). The right-hand-side panel is reminiscent of the former, and the simple flat design harkens of the latter. But maybe a savvy mélange of the two is best for some — who knows?

    I did give Solus OS a go a few weeks back; the fact that there’s a new package manager with limited repo contents is a little off-putting at this stage. Nothing that can’t be remedied, but once apps get brought in to the repos, where’s the differentiator? And Debian, RedHat and Arch, et al, have been at the game far longer — are we going to discount what they’ve learnt from their own years of experience, trying-and-failing, and ultimate refining?

    There’s a Ubuntu Budgie in the works, and that might be interesting, and if you want to roll with Arch (punnnn) I’m sure you’ll be able to get it there, or with the more cautious Manjaro even.

    “New” and “independent” is not always better, but it’s certainly good to see happen. I suspect that the Budgie desktop will have more traction than the Solus OS system as a whole. Let’s wait and see.

    • @taikeds

      Maybe if I wanted to pay top dollar for hardware, I’d go Mac.

      Nah, been there. Done that. Tee-shirt sucked.
      In short, if I wanted a Mac, I’d buy another Mac.
      PC tech is just as good, and a lot less pricey.

      Just because I want a simple off the shelf system for surfing and generally cruising around the web doesn’t mean I have to go Apple.

      You do know there’s room for more than one version of a good idea, don’t you?

  5. A couple of notes:

    People are using the incorrect name. It is simply called Solus

    Chrome and Steam were not great examples of packages not in Solus as Chrome has easy build instructions (but will be installable via the software center in the future) and Steam is actually in the repository.

    Why use Solus?
    Cause it does everything I need and offers performance that I haven’t experienced in other distributions. Even saw someone benchmarked it here https://openbenchmarking.org/result/1605129-GA-MERGE218987

  6. Just called it Solus OS because it’s said that on the site. I stand corrected. Thanks for your comment. :)

  7. I love this distro, but wish it had a different name; for example, Solus OS sounds too much like “Soul-less OS” (which is Windows).

  8. I have been using solusos 1.2.1 for 2 month now on low price hardware and had not only no issues but the system boots fast, runs fast and stable and provides everything I need. I had been a fan of mint and fedora, admire arch, tried them all but this is just perfect for me.

  9. Looking at the benchmark you see that solus does a slightly better performance than lubuntu, but it has the elegance and simplicity of using macOS, without all the apple ecosystem lock-in frills.
    I have been looking for months for a good distro for desktop work. Tried all of the top 20 distros but this one blows them all away in terms of stability, usability and looks.
    The lack of packages still makes it a bit rough around the edges, but that will change over time I suspect.
    Being a long time windows and mac user, I am very happy with solus, as it gives control back to the user. If you hate the bloatwared/privacy questionable windows10, and don’t like the AI direction apple is going, and find chrome OS too limiting, Solus is your best bet.

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