The other day, I was reading DistroWatch, and I stumbled upon a distro
I hadn’t previously heard of called SolusOS. I then happened to see
that it is #14 on DistroWatch. How could it be that I haven’t heard of
it? Well, as it turns out, the distro is less than a year old. This
is a Debian-based distribution. It was created by Ikey Doherty, the
original creator of Mint-Debian.
This distribution uses the GNOME 2.3 desktop by default. It is
extremely snappy and fast. It also looks pretty nice. I wasn’t quite
happy with the default look and feel, but it wasn’t difficult to get
it looking the way I want it.
The installer was very intutitive and easy to use. It took me less
than 20 minutes to install the distribution to a virtual hard
drive. It doesn’t give you a lot of options, compared to, say,
openSUSE or Fedora. However, an openSUSE install can take up to an
hour, same with Fedora. The Solus installer seemed to bend to the KISS
principle (Keep it simple, stupid!).
The only thing that might trip up newcomers is the partitioning. It
outsources the partitioning to GParted. If you know what you are
doing, it isn’t at all difficult. Compared to distributions like
Manjaro or Arch, it was a cakewalk. That said, I don’t know how easy
it would be for a newcomer to pick up GParted and know what to do with
it. There was no option for automatic partitioning.
As wonderful as this distribution is in the look, feel, and
preconfiguration department, it does carry Debian’s baggage. That
means: old packages, an unusable package manager, and other such
I am a Python developer, so I looked for packages I use most often. I
compared the versions in the SolusOS repositories to the versions I
have installed on Manjaro. I made this little table in my notes.
Package Solus Manjaro ------------------------------------------- numpy 1.4.1 1.7.0 pyqt 4.7.3 4.9.6 matplotlib 1.1.0 1.2.0 python2 2.6.6 2.7.3 python3 3.1.3 3.3.0
To me, it is extremely important to have up-to-date development
packages. It is for this reason that I will never use SolusOS as my
SolusOS is not good for the power user. For the power user, I would
recommend Slackware, Gentoo, Arch, Fedora, openSUSE, or Manjaro, in no
This distribution is great for new users and people who just want a
distribution for day-to-day mundane tasks, such as reading email and
reading second-rate tech blogs.
In my inaugural post, I predicted that a distribution based on Debian,
but not Ubuntu would become a competitor to the Ubuntu family. There
is now little doubt in my mind that SolusOS is that distribution.
Of all of the Debian-based distributions I have tried, this is by far
the best. It beats CrunchBang, vanilla Debian, Snowlinux, and any
Ubuntu-based distribution, including Linux Mint.
This is the ultimate newbie distribution. It is easy to use, easy to install,
works right out of the box. It is exactly what one should look for in a newbie
Overall, I give this distribution four out of five stars. I am not a fan of
Debian – but, considering the intended purpose and audience of this
distribution, it is absolutely perfect. I would recommend it to any non-power
user, including those new to GNU/Linux.