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Solus OS Review – A way to be Independent

In the crowd of countless Linux-based operating systems, we follow two or three big distributions somewhere and we become dependent on it. From that point of view, Solus is an OS that is independent, creating a simple and useful system for desktop users that will appeal to both new and old Linux lovers.

Solus is a very unique Linux distribution for starters it’s not based on any other Linux distro it has its own budgie desktop environment which looks really gorgeous it has its own repositories and a package manager.

The Solus Project is a unique operating system in itself and what I mean by unique is it’s not based on ubuntu or arch Linux or anything like that it’s as I said own unique little operating system and this was also created back in September of 2015.

Previously known as Evolve OS is an independently developed Linux distribution with a homemade desktop called “Budgie” for the first time. Budgie is a lightweight, clean desktop environment built from scratch and based on the GNOME stack.

When the Evolve project is discontinued in April 2015 Ikey Doherty a contributor to Linux Mint along with Stefan Ric Peter O’Connor, Joshua Strobl, Beatrice T.Meyers, Pierre-Yves, Joey Riches, and others works on the project and eventually developed a new independent operating system called Solus.

Solus is an operating system that is designed for home computing every tweak enables us to deliver a cohesive computing experience. Once you click on download you can either download the Solus Budgie which is what we’re reviewing today and apart from the Budgie we have the GNOME, MATE, and Plasma editions.

What is the Solus operating system?

Solus is a unique and independent operating system because it’s not based on Ubuntu, Redhat, Arch Linux it’s completely written from scratch. Like Debian, Arch Linux, Red Hat Solus is considered an independent Linux distro that uses its native package manager budgie as the default desktop environment.

That is derived from GNOME stacks like other distros Solus offers different flavors of desktop that can be chosen by your liking. It’s an independent rolling release Linux distribution so it doesn’t have any infrastructure borrowed from other operating systems.

Solus definitely tries to be the most efficient Linux distribution out there it focuses primarily and basically solely on the desktop and to that effect, a lot of the architecture and a lot of this software are very well curated.

Its package manager, eopkg, is based on the PiSi package management system from Pardus Linux, and it has a semi-rolling release model, with new package updates landing in the stable repository every Friday.

Generally, rolling-release Linux distros are less stable but surprisingly Solus is done a great job because you encounter very few bugs and hiccups using the OS, and additionally the developers made this OS very user-friendly.

A brief history and release cycle of Solus:

The first-ever version of Solus 1.0 was announced by Ikey Doherty on September 20, 2015, with a new customized Budgie desktop and soon it make a good impression in the Linux arena.

Then in July 2016 developers takes a recession to work on creating a rolling released distribution rather than a point release and later in 2017 they adopted fully the rolling release model by the Solus 3 launch.

By that time Solus brings the integration of Flatpak and Snap into the Operating system. The team also working on a simplified desktop environment with less complicity and its own package manager.

On November 2, 2018, the technology website Phoronix published an open letter from original founder Ikey Doherty confirming that he was stepping back from the project and acknowledging top-level developers as the official owners and giving them the leadership of the project.

Phoronix Test Sample (PTS) is a free and Open Source benchmark software for Linux and other Operating systems developed by Michel Larabel and Matthew Tippett.

Solus 3.9999 (Solus 3 ISO Refresh) was released on September 20, 2018, and Solus 4.0 “Fortitude” was released on March 17, 2019, and brings a brand new Budgie experience, updated sets of default applications and theming, and hardware enablement.

Later in 2020 and 2021 Solus 4.1 and 4.2 versions were released and in the same year on July 11, 2021, Solus 4.3 was released.

Hardware requirements to install Solus:

The minimum requirements to install  Solus 4.3 in your system are as follows…

  • A blank DVD or a 2GB+ USB drive.
  • Minimum of 10GB of disk space available.
  • 4GB of RAM for an Optimal Experience.
  • A 64-bit (x86_64) processor.
  • An active internet connection for update and Upgrade purposes.

Different Editions of Solus:

Solus is basically available in four different desktop environments. Each of these will appeal to a specific user with some unique features. These are Solus budgie, Solus GNOME, Solus MATE, and Solus Plasma. Budgie is its own flavor customized for desktop users.

SOLUS BUDGIE:

Budgie desktop

A feature-rich, luxurious desktop using the most modern technologies. Budgie is a desktop environment that currently uses GNOME technologies such as GTK and is developed by the Solus project as well as by contributors from numerous communities.

It was originally created to give users a similar experience to Chrome OS, without having to buy a Chromebook and keeping a full Linux desktop distribution with access to software distribution.

Budgie is clean, slick, good-looking, fast, and really easy to use and by far the lightweight distribution that uses its own customization. It takes less RAM than GNOME 3 desktop environments like Ubuntu.

Budgie applications generally use GTK and header bars similar to GNOME applications. Budgie builds what is effectively a Favorites list automatically as the user works, moving categories and applications toward the top of menus when they are used.

One of the most amazing things about budgie is that it gives an option to customize the panels by adding various applets. By default, it comes with a two-panel so the top and bottom of these panels hold space for outlets and create widgets that show the information like time date, different controls you can add as many applets you need to the panels using an output setting.

This shows the default applets that are available in the system once you have done selecting the applet choose to add an applet this adds to the default top left section.

Using Solus is quite a bit like using KDE Plasma or GNOME with the Dash to Panel extension. Much like a very traditional desktop-like Windows where all components of the desktop are contained in the bottom panel.

From the left, you have a searchable menu, some panel icons for pinned applications, and then you have a system tray on the right with networking, notifications, sound, and time settings.

It’s a simple and friendly interface, but even more than that it’s intuitive. Having everything pinned at the bottom gives a little more space at the top of the screen for applications.

The Budgie Desktop Settings app is a major exception to this, giving you access to a huge volume of customization settings without having to go elsewhere to install any special programs.

Solus budgie is independently developed for which the developers created Budgie, and the tight integration and overall experience shine together.

SOLUS GNOME:

GNOME is a free and open-source desktop environment created for Linux operating system. Both volunteers and paid contributors are taking great advantage of this desktop and making their own version of GNOME as per their needs.

The Solus GENOME is wonderfully created for a contemporary desktop experience and the goal is to make everything as simple as possible.

GNOME  is stable, very easy to use, and it seems to have a wide selection of the latest software available in its own repositories.

Solus GNOME session will now open directly in the Activities Overview, you can always use a floating dock anytime. Here you have to enter the Activities Overview if you want to access the dock and open your favorite apps.

By default, the Materia Dark GTK theme will be used by Solus GNOME, and the icons and overall appearance of this theme are good.

Some GNOME-specific apps are all integrated here, these include Archive Manager (File Roller), Disk Usage Analyzer (Baobab), GNOME Calendar, GNOME Disks, GNOME Screenshot, and Passwords and Keys (Seahorse).

SOLUS MATE:

The name was originally all capital letters to follow the nomenclature of other Free Software desktop environments like KDE( free software community) and LXDE(free desktop environment).

MATE has forked a number of applications that originated as GNOME Core Applications, and developers have written several other applications from scratch. Solus MATE is a traditional desktop for advanced users and older hardware.

MATE has several applications with Spanish names like CAJA file manager, it has many functions such as generating a folder and document, displaying files and folders, searching and managing files, and installing or uninstallation fonts.

Other applications like Paluma text editor, Atril documents viewer, Engrampa archive manager, MATE calculator, Control center, system monitor, and terminal are also present.

SOLUS PLASMA:

KDE is an international free software community that develops free and open-source software. They created a graphical workspaces environment called KDE PLASMA.

The graphical interface was fully migrated to QML(user interface markup language), which uses OpenGL (cross-language cross-platform application programming interface)  for hardware acceleration, which resulted in better performance and reduced power consumption.

Solus PLASMA brings all the good parts of plasma and created a rich and sophisticated desktop experience for the tinkerers.

The desktop has many features and customization for the end-users like the Krunner which does multiple tasks like launching apps, finding files and folders, opening websites, converting from one currency or unit to another, and calculating simple mathematical expressions.

Systemwide notification system supporting quick reply and drag-and-drop straight from notifications, Central location to control the playback of media in open apps with KDE Connect,

Activities, which allow you to separate your methods of using the system into distinct workspaces, Encrypted vaults for storing sensitive data, and Night color for switching night mode automatically.

Session Management allows apps that were running when the system shut down to be automatically restarted in the same state.

You can download four different editions of Solus from the official site. Just click here

Useful Features of Solus:

Since Solus OS wants to make itself completely unique, you will see some unique features and new applications in the operating system which may be a bit different from the traditional Linux distribution so you need to pay special attention to that.

Rolling release:

Solus is considered a curated rolling release. It is a rolling release in the sense that once installed, end-users are guaranteed to continuously receive security and software updates for their Solus installation. Updates become available every Friday.

Solus is one of the few rolling Linux distros that can update the software at any time to bring the most up-to-date versions and
are expected to update as frequently as possible in one word once you install it and you get updated for a lifetime.

Solus Package manager:

It has a built-in package manager known as eopkg which stands for evil OS package manager quite similar to the Debian package mechanism I mean the way it works is the same that used to do in other Debian-based distributions.

Solus package manager is much better than any other package manager of Linux in my point of view the way it handles the packages is much better and will surprise anybody at first glance.

Installing packages like git GCC Android tools and jannettek packages is very very easy all you have to do is type this command sudo eopkg install and type the name of any package to install in a few seconds.

For instance, I decided to write C++ code so I need to download a C++ compiler for that I will type sudo eopkg install GCC and type the user password and that’s it the rest of the job will be done by your package manager.

Removing any package in solus is very simple simply type sudo eopkg remove then type the name of the package you want to remove and that’s it it’s pretty easy to get things done.

Solus Software Centre:

Installing any software in Solus is by using a tool called Software Center, this is a graphical tool application from third-party vendors like Google, Microsoft, Visual Code, Chrome, Skype, and Spotify that can be downloaded from here.

This way you don’t need to search anywhere on the Internet to install any third-party software without searching the web for many hours.

also if the package cannot be installed using a default Solus package manager from the terminal then don’t worry the built-in Software Center will help you to download it with a few searches.

For instance, I can’t able to install the seal and compiler from the terminal so I could search in the built-in apps store to see if it’s available as you can see I can download the seal and compiler from the Software Center hassle-free.

Solus has a more stunning package mechanism than any other Linux distro and all the packages are mostly using the latest versions and that’s a great advantage for users.

Improved Security:

Solus is also known for providing better security, it comes with a built-in firewall called AG ufw, it provides us to control using a terminal, and a dedicated graphical tool lets you interact with it seamlessly.

UFW known as the uncomplicated firewall is a way to manage a firewall and protects a system from fishy eyes. You can also add the rules to your system to control the different services running inside your system.

Default Installer:

Solus provides a default installer that can be used to install the Operating System very easily with some clicks. the installer
has a guide with a few or more options that make your job done with a few clicks, there is nothing to get confused and the process is easy and hassle-free.

It provided all options I needed, including manual partition assignment and excluding the boot loader from the installation process, because I install Solus along with my Arch Linux and I wanted to keep my GRUB boot loader from Arch Linux.

Solus was installed on my home machine, which I do not use extensively. But I can say for regular desktop use, Solus works very well.

Suspend Function:

The Suspend function works really well in Solus and although as a rule, I do not suspend my desktop, Solus suspends the system by default if it is idle for 20 min (you can change or switch it off).

Intentionally I left my computer on a couple of times and it was suspended several times without a reboot. Nevertheless, every time it woke up quickly and without issues. So, if you use Suspend, it works brilliantly in Solus.

Solus Community:

For every Linux distribution a major part is how good and serviceable community distribution has and thankfully Solus has a small bunch of people who are able to solve all queries that arise. The community here is very helpful and solves almost all queries for new and old users.

Although Solus is a young distro, there is a large enough community to rely on. Solus has a very active forum where you can get help within a few hours. In addition, since version 4, you can also get help through the HexChat app that is installed by default.

So, regardless if you are a newbie or a little experienced user, you won’t be left alone and the Solus team and the community will always try to help you.

Should you try Solus?

Overall, Solus is a great operating system. It is stable, very easy to use, and it seems to have a wide selection of the latest software available in its own repositories. The famous Budgie desktop environment is simple, yet can still be customized for power users. It is fast and sleek, yet it still makes use of modern GNOME technologies.

Even though Solus budgie is supposed to be decent customization but in terms of themes, your choice is very limited and is not sufficient there are limited options of themes available at the moment.

Old computers with the Bridge chipsets especially the Intel third-generation processors get freeze the system and eventually when the system goes to sleep there is no way to make it work until the further press is used to restart. To prevent this I recommend enabling caffeine will solve the freezing issues.

Finally, all I can say is Solus is built for everybody from beginners to high-end users. Anyone can use it without compromising anything, it provides all the basic functionalities that you need to get started with your work. it comes with a free office suite so that you can write documents spreadsheets and presentations.

For software developers and learners, it supposes a wide variety of text editors programming languages compilers, and version control systems.

So if you’re the one who wanted to check out a unique Linux distro that is completely independent and looking for consistent software updates then I would say install SOLUS and feel the power of luxury Linux.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Solus sounds as if it will be an exciting way to introduce more people to open-source. I tried Redhat several years ago but failed miserably. This may be another chance for me to relearn open-source operating systems. They are more reliable than what I currently have. The features seem to be more stable and secure than they were 20 years ago. I must say I am very interested in this operating system.

    Jerry

    1. Thanks, Jerry for your feedback, and yes Linux has modified itself multifold in the previous decade, and nice to see that some developers are really trying to create something that is not dependent on any particular platform and creates its own path. Both ways it’s an opportunity for us to play with something that has created its own future and sustain the true meaning of the open-source.

  2. I actually have a Lenix computer that runs off Ubuntu Elementry OS. Would Solus OS be better to use for the Lenix handler? You say it is a completely different and isolated OS system, with the rolling updates every Friday would you say that Solus has more tech support making it a more manageable OS system? Like other Lenix, OS is this OS free to download, or does it come with a subscription or some kind of one-time fee similar to Windows or Macintosh?

    1. If you’re using any traditional Linux operating system like Ubuntu or Elementary then my advice is you should stick with that because Solus is different in terms of package management and command structure. And most importantly Ubuntu has larger support and other third-party apps are well integrated with the system. Although if you’re curious to know different OS like me then surely go ahead and use Solus it’s absolutely free there are no subscriptions or hidden charges. For home desktop use Solus gives you an alternative path to move forward without depending heavily on one OS for a long time.

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