Solus is an independent Linux distribution where the rising Budgie desktop was born. Despite the fact it is relatively a new Linux distribution, Solus brings many stunning features. The most interesting feature is, of course, the superstar Budgie desktop that has catalyzed another important project called Ubuntu Budgie. The newest version of Solus, Solus 2017.01.01.0, was released on January 2017 and offers us plenty of new and interesting things to look around.
1. Technical overview
Solus 2017.01.01.0 is built on top of the Linux kernel version 4.8.15. It only supports 64-bit architecture, which has been a new trend among other Linux distributions today. It's said that 64-bit operating systems consume more memory and run poorly on slow computers. Is this true or not, and happening in Solus? This is another interesting thing we have to find out.
Solus 2017.01.01.0 -- The Budgie desktop (full image size: 1.9MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
2. Budgie desktop
Budgie desktop is a new desktop which has been created by the Solus developers. It is a built on top of GNOME libraries. Solus 2017.01.01.0 uses Budgie desktop version 10.2.9 built on top of GNOME stack version 3.20.3.Budgie desktop consists of five parts:
Main menu - Placed at the left top corner panel, there is a main traditional menu similar to the main menu of elementary OS.
Pinned shortcut - Beside the main menu, there are pinned application shortcuts. You could pin your most used applications here. To pin the applications shortcut, you have to open the application, then right click on the taskbar, and then select Pin to panel.
Solus 2017.01.01.0 -- Pin to panel (full image size: 187kB, resolution: 543x369 pixels)
Taskbar - Right after Pinned shortcuts, there is a taskbar of running applications.
Applets/Indicators - At the right of the panel, there is an applets bar offering important functions such as: Network Manager indicator, notification indicator, battery/power indicator, sound indicator, shutdown indicator, date indicator, and at the right corner of panel there is a shortcut to access Budgie desktop settings.
Budgie desktop settings - Budgie's desktop settings panel is hidden in the right corner panel. It's a complete settings panel with options to move the desktop panel position, arrange the panel's items, applets, and change desktop themes. At the bottom, there are shortcuts to shutdown the computer, lock the computer, and a shortcut to GNOME's system settings.
Solus 2017.01.01.0 -- A collection of snapshots of the settings panel (full image size: 262kB, resolution: 848x768 pixels)
3. Built-in apps - Solus 2017.01.01.0 comes with a minimal number of built-in apps. There is no LibreOffice office suite or GIMP image editor. The good news is, there is the VLC media player and Rhythmbox music player to enjoy your multimedia collection.
4. Package management and software repository - Solus has its own package manager called eopkg. It is very similar to Debian's dpkg with apt and quite easy to use. We can install an application easily by executing the command: sudo eopkg install app_name. We could find popular Linux apps in default Solus 2017.01.01.0 such as GIMP, Inkscape, SMPlayer, and more. Unfortunately, the very popular Chromium browser isn't included yet in this Solus version. Alternatively, you could use the AppImage version of the Chromium browser.
There is also a graphical Software Center very similar to Ubuntu Software Center or GNOME Software. There is also very nice documentation about using eopkg package management in Solus's wiki.
Solus 2017.01.01.0 -- The software manager (full image size: 191kB, resolution: 952x695 pixels)
5. Installation - Solus comes with a modern, easy to use graphical installer very similar to Ubuntu's Ubiquity which comes with guided installation, replacing all existing Linux installations, and advanced partitioning. However, the advanced partitioning isn't as complete as Ubuntu's Ubiquity. There is no option to mount NTFS/FAT32 partitions so, if you have one, you have to mount these partitions manually after installation. However, the installer is still relatively easy to use.
Solus 2017.01.01.0 -- Partitioning with the system installer (full image size: 48kB, resolution: 768x553 pixels)
6. Memory Utilization - RAM is now cheaper and is not a big issue among today's users. But in case you are curious about the distribution's resource utilization, it consumes about 700MB to 800MB of RAM in an idle mode.
7. Desktop theming - Solus uses the Arc GTK theme and Arc icon theme. It is good looking and modern. The desktop wallpapers can be changed by right-clicking on the desktop. There are plenty beautiful wallpapers available in Solus-2017.01.01.0.
Solus 2017.01.01.0 -- Selecting new wallpaper (full image size: 452kB, resolution: 843x466 pixels)
8. Solus 2017.01.01.0 MATE - Solus 2017.01.01.0 also comes with a MATE edition that uses MATE desktop version 1.16.1. Solus 2017.01.01.0 MATE brings a brand new application menu called Brisk Menu which looks very similar to the Cardapio menu. It is a simple, fast, traditional menu that resembles the look and functionality of Xfce's Whisker Menu.
Just like Linux Mint MATE, Solus 2017.01.01.0 MATE only provides a single panel at the bottom of the desktop, with the Brisk Menu at the left corner, and a system tray applet in the right corner.
Solus 2017.01.01.0 -- Running the MATE desktop (full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
9. Overall performance and conclusion - Installed on an old, dual core Intel Pentium with 4GB of RAM, Solus 2017.01.01.0 runs quite well, without lags or crash issues. If you are starting to feel bored with your current distro, Solus 2017.01.01.0 is an impressive alternative you can try. It's fresh, fast, good looking, and easy to use. The lack of some of the most popular Linux apps like the Chromium browser is an issue and I hope Solus developers will put it in Solus's official repository in the future releases. Overall, I could simply say Solus 2017.01.01.0 is impressive. It could be, in the future, a fair rival to the good looking elementary OS.
As the conclusion, here is my personal scoring for Solus 2017.01.01.0: