Solus OS Dev#32 review – experience Ubuntu old look

Solus OS is a desktop operating system based on Debian Stable . At present, Solus OS is under heavy development for the greater good. It uses GNOME 2.3 for graphical user interface with two panels. Due to GNOME 2.3, it looks quite-a-like Ubuntu earlier versions like Ubuntu 8.04, which had two panels and GNOME menu at most left part of top panel. It’s a surprising Linux for people who loved Ubuntu GNOME interface of previous releases. Its developers confirm that it has nothing to do with Ubuntu, though it looks like its old versions.

Boot-up & Installation

Firstly, I tried to run Solus OS to live-boot on VirtualBox or even tried to install it on VirtualBox but I don’t know reason SolusOS didn’t work on it. SolusOS boot screen got hanged on VirtualBox and even if I choose Start SolusOS’ or Install SolusOS’; both didn’t worked for me.

Then, I tried another way of testing it. I installed it on USB drive using UNetbootin. Then I live-booted Solus OS on my laptop. Live-booting Solus OS was an excellent experience for me. It booted in around 20-25 seconds through my HP 8GB pen drive. It gave me desktop on booting. It was stunning to see Solus OS in some seconds only.

Installation was also quick and easy, I will say. You can start installation through installer given on the desktop. It opens the SolusOS Installer’ which guides the full installation process with simplicity. First comes the choice of language and then, other selections like time zone, keyboard layout, installation partition, user account and password, etc. Solus OS gets installed as easily as Ubuntu.

Desktop & Artwork

SolusOS has wonderful desktop. Desktop icons are well-organized and well on place. Desktop has two panels; one as top panel and one as bottom panel. Top panel has GNOME menu and notification icons. Bottom panel has desktop icon which gets you desktop upon clicked and has the running, minimized window icons. One noticeable thing about top panel is that it has two-volume controls on it; one named Master volume control and another simply as Volume control. I haven’t found any use of both of the icons as both of the icons do same task. Another wonderful feature of top panel in Solus OS is the Windows icon at right most part of top panel; it allows you to select any of the running windows (of apps) and bring any window to the top of windows (making it active) so that you can work in that window.

There are some great themes included in Solus OS. Wallpapers list is not so big. It has one Solus OS wallpaper and one Ubuntu’s wallpaper slide-show pack (which auto changes at set interval). You can of course, put your wallpapers there. Solus OS has an efficient software known as Emerald Themer , a great theme editor and setter. It allows you to edit and add many themes. It gives you options to change every part of windows and desktop like title bar, icons, etc.

Software & Usability

Solus OS has nice choice of software for all sorts of work from multimedia to office software. Solus OS has two browsers, namely Epiphany and Iceweasel. I missed Firefox but Iceweasel replaces it well (Iceweasel browser is also from Mozilla foundation; foundation responsible for Firefox). Solus OS includes Libre Office and other well-known software like Movie Player, Rythmbox , etc. Solus OS uses Nautilus as file manager and Evolution as email & feeds client.

Solus OS uses only 167 MB of RAM . System monitor confirms this less usage of RAM by Solus OS (check the screenshot). This make Solus OS to run smoothly, even on 512 MB of RAM. It is a responsive and fast-running operating system. Solus OS has a good collection of usable apps. It is full of multimedia apps. One thing I like about Solus OS is that as I clicked the apps, they opened under 1-2 seconds. You will feel its importance if you’re really busy and have less time, then you will love Solus OS.

I used Solus OS for some time upon live-boot. I used Nautilus and other apps too for basic testing. I found Nautilus was unable to write to local hard disk drives. My hard disk partitions have NTFS and EXT4 filesystems which were mounted. They were readable but not writable. When I plug-in an another pen drive formatted in FAT32 filesystem, then that pen drive worked well and was writable but my local drives were not writable. May be, this issue only comes in live-boot and won’t be there when you install Solus OS to your hard disk.

Solus OS is not so user-friendly operating system. I didn’t found all the codecs pre-installed . I tried to play some multimedia files but found some not to work. I found mp4, mkv, avi was not working (its video codec wasn’t working) and some of the vob (which were small) got played in the default Movie Player. I also found one more thing not working as needed; time shown in the top panel is shown for GMT (GMT 0) time zone, which is supposed to be in native time zone or system/local time. I find my Ubuntu to show system time (which is in GMT+5:30).

Security & Management

Solus OS consist of all management and administrative apps pre-packed in the operating system. Most of the apps found in other GNOME based Linux are there in Solus OS too, including but not limited to, User accounts, Gparted Partition editor, Login screen, etc. On addition to them, Solus OS have some more advance tools like Emerald Themer, Service Pack creator, Lockdown editor , etc. Emerald themer can be used to edit themes and make your own customized theme. Configuration editor enables you to manage settings of different parts of the system like desktop, startup and shutdown, etc. You can use Service Pack creator to use the updates in your system to update any other system (which has no or slow internet connection) without need of internet. Lockdown editor make you disable many features of the operating system for the users.

Solus OS is well-managed and built upon the robust and well-maintained Linux distro – Debian Stable. You will love its interface if you were a fan of Ubuntu earlier releases’ interface. I think its development started with that reason considered.

Pros: Built on Debian Stable, Clean interface

Cons: Not out-of-the-box support, More apps can be included

Suggestion: Try it out!

Please don’t hesitate to share your experience of Solus OS with us. Use comments (below) to post a question about Solus OS or to share your words about it.