Yep, you read the title right! Solus is officially the desktop that you could sit in front of your significant other. She (or he) could probably pick it up, say “ooh, this looks nice”, and then actually be able to use it, straight away without fuss at all.
Solus is not a server operating system. It’s not made for terminal tinkerers and it’s not made even for Linux fanboys (it looks a lot like MacOS, or even Windows 10 in parts!). But before you write it off, none of that is a bad thing. Solus has taken cues from the best of the operating systems around and kind of moulded them all together. What you get is a lovely harmony of aesthetic and function. The below video gives you a brief review and tutorial, in it you’ll see how to Install it, what it looks like, and what some of the nice, unique features of Solus are. Below the video is a little more, to conclude the review.
Pros & Cons
- Solus is drop dead gorgeous. No, really.
- It’s a really easy system to get going with. Totally user friendly. If you are familiar with Windows (or especially macOS), you are going to find this really easy to settle into. Great if your mom and pop’s Windows PC is doing it’s last gasp, yet the hardware is still fine.
- It’s budgie desktop, whilst based on GNOME technologies, builds superbly on top of it and is innovative. It’s new technology unseen before on any other Linux distribution. The Brisk menu system as well as the Raven sidebar/notification system is all Solus exclusive too, these are big differentials and are positive additions to the experience.
- It installs really easily, either on its own, or dual-booting with Windows.
- Integration with GNOME/GTK and KDE apps is pretty much seamless.
- It now uses a rolling-release mechanism, which means you get the latest and greatest Solus desktop as soon as it comes out. You don’t have to install a new version when a new version comes out, it automatically updates for you.
- Solus uses a completely new package management system, not based on RPM, DEB or AUR. It’s called eopkg. There may be deficiencies in other package management systems, but is it really worth creating yet another packaging system for? The big problem with this is that someone needs to maintain the packages coming into Solus. The fact that Ubuntu has so many packages is because it is downstream from Debian, which has thousands of software contributors worldwide creating .deb packages for it. Likewise for Fedora/Red Hat. To have to do this all over again with Solus is a big ask, so packages may be slower coming to Solus than other distributions, or perhaps not at all (then you’re stuck with compiling software all over again!). This probably won’t bother 90% of the mom-and-pop users out there, but it will bother the casual desktop user that may want a bit more here and there.
- NB: All of this said, the package manager system uses a system called ypkg to package the system for eopkg. This process builds (compiles) software directly into a package format, which reduces the overall time to make software in a distribution-package ready format, which is an arguably quicker method than developing .deb and .rpm packages.
- It doesn’t ship with any Office productivity software. Although it’s easily installed in the Software Center, it seems a bit silly not to have the distro come out of the box with LibreOffice or similar. This could be a quick stumbling block for absolute newbie users.
- Solus is said to be moving away from the GNOME/GTK framework and going to using Qt (the KDE application development framework). I’ve never been a fan personally of Qt developed applications, finding them slower and uglier than their GTK counterparts, but maybe I’m just old and biased! I’m prepared to be proven wrong, although it may take them quite some time to get the transition right.
Solus is a new kid on the block, but it’s been advancing quickly. In its current form, Solus has only been around for general use since December 2015, still, this hasn’t held it back from ascending through the ranks in popularity. At the time of writing, Solus ranked 13th in the 6-month page hit rankings of Distrowatch.
Just try it already!
What? You don’t have a spare USB stick and a half-hour? It’s definitely worth a spin, try it today!
Oh, and whilst you are at it, check out our YouTube channel today!