Solus OS RC2 review – Sleek & classy design

Solus OS team released Solus OS RC2 a week before. Last time, when I tested Solus OS Dev#32 some days before, then I found many bugs in it. I reported them to its team and they encouragingly said to improve the distro and remove the bugs in its coming releases. I appreciate their hard work. In so less time, they have done far from expected. In this release, RC2, they introduced new classy look and made numerous improvements in their going-to-be-useful Linux distribution.

New changes

I am listing some of the important changes implemented in Solus OS RC2:

  • Most of the software got updated.
  • Empathy got replaced by Pidgin (instant messengers)
  • Added Facebook support in Pidgin
  • Using prelink+preload to speed up the system
  • Removed OpenJDK and introduced Sun Java 6 JRE+Plugin

Boot-up & Installation

I used Solus OS RC2 ISO file named SolusOS-RC2.iso’ to create a boot-able pen drive using UNetbootin. Then, I booted up my system with this pen drive. Solus OS RC2 boot screen is very sleek and beautiful. Solus OS RC2 has left behind Ubuntu and Linux Mint, if it comes to graphics appeal. It showed my wallpaper in 35 seconds and after 2 seconds, desktop was fully loaded. So, overall, it was ready in 37 seconds when booted from pen drive . I think that it will boot in 20-30 seconds when installed on hard disk. Get download links here .

When I tested Solus OS Dev#32 , then I found a problem with Solus OS : it’s ISO file was unable to live-boot on VirtualBox. I found that problem is still not solved in RC2 version. I tried to live-boot Solus OS RC2 ISO on VirtualBox system (having 1GB RAM) but Solus OS didn’t work. Solus OS boot screen is shown, but it doesn’t boot there after. Pressing any keys or selecting any option from the menu don’t help any way.

You can install it to Hard disk using its installer. It will guide you through the rest of the process. You can launch installer by opening Install SolusOS’ icon on the desktop. First choose your language, then choose your time zone, then choose your keyboard layout, then choose partition to install Solus OS and at last, you need to enter your user account details. After it gets installed, you can boot Solus OS from your hard disk. After installing it to hard disk, you will find it to be more responsive and speedy.

Desktop & Artwork

Solus OS RC2 desktop is stunning. It seems very simple and elegant. Its desktop has one bottom panel comprising main menu, windows list, notification area, etc. That panel has some transparency effect and fits with your custom wallpaper nicely . Main menu is well-categorized. It is divided into Places, Accessories, Graphics, Internet, Office, Sound & Video, System tools and Control Center. You can expect all apps to be placed in their categories. It has an integrated search bar which can be used to search for installed apps. Main menu has three buttons, namely Lock Screen’, Log Out…’ and Shut Down…’. You can guess their work on your own.

Solus OS has wonderful artwork . Its team have selected the best choices of wallpapers and themes. It has 28 wallpapers and 2 themes. It has many packages to help you make your desktop according to your needs like Appearance, CompizConfig Settings Manager, Desktop settings, Emerald Theme Manager, Screensavers, Windows, etc. Using CompizConfig Settings Manager, you can set various appearance settings like animations and customize the look and feel of your desktop, windows, workspaces, etc.

Software & Usability

Solus OS is full of apps for all general purpose work like reading mails, writing text, watching movies, etc. It has got LibreOffice 3.5.0 as office suite, Firefox 10.0.2 as web browser, VLC Media Player 2.0.0 as video player, File roller 2.30.2 as archiver, gpaint 0.3.3 as paint program, gthumb 2.11.5 as photo viewer and manager, DropBox desktop client, Thunderbird 10.0.2 as email client, Pidgin 2.10.0 as instant messenger, Brasero 2.30.3 as CD/DVD creator/burner, Cheese 2.30.1 as webcam manager, Minitube 1.6 as Youtube desktop client, Openshot Video editor 1.4.2, Rythmbox 0.12.8 as audio player, Sound recorder etc. I must congratulate Solus OS team as they have included all the latest apps in their distro, which even great distros like Linux Mint have not included in their version 12 KDE (released under a month) and version 12 LXDE (released under a week) releases. But, I must say that I missed GIMP in Solus OS RC2 – it’s an excellent and powerful photo editor.

It uses approx. 200MB with fully loaded desktop . It used 229MB of RAM with VLC Media player and gedit running on the system. Check out the Task manager screenshot below to confirm it. Because of this low resource usage, it’s a very useful distro for people like me who like speed, whether on roads or in system. Apps used to open within a second. If you too are a speed lover, then you must check out Solus OS. I will suggest that wait for the Solus OS 1 final release, then use it. Also, please don’t shout when you get across a bug in Solus OS as it’s in development but report the bug to the developers and bear patience, Solus OS team is surely going to solve the bug in its coming releases.

Security & Management

I won’t say that a developing operating system will be very secure but provided the tools with Solus OS RC2, it seems that you can manage it well. It has got apps like Preferred apps, Startup apps, Network, Network connections, Monitors, Power Management, Firewall, Synaptic Package manager, GParted, Lockdown editor, Services, Software update, Configuration editor, etc. so that you can configure your system well. Its power manager has enough options to set what your computer/laptop power options on AC power and on battery power.

Pros: Sleek look; Low resource hungry; Uses Debian repositories having 29,000+ apps

Cons: Distro under development; Lots of bugs need to be improved

Suggestion: It’s a good distro for people who want speedy system but I’ll suggest you to wait for the final release and then use it.

Please share your Solus OS experience with us using comments. Also, you can tell your problems/questions and we’ll try our best to help you.

Problems

As, this review is based on Release Candidate version of Solus OS 1, so I thought to list the problems that I got during testing Solus OS RC2 so that its developers can debug them.

1. When I tried to open a .doc file named Solus OS.doc’ then it gave these three errors, for which screenshots are provided below. I tried various tricks and at last what worked for me was to rename that file and remove the space from the name. I think the error arises because it wasn’t able to handle space in names. But I found no problem when playing/opening files with other apps like pictures, movies, songs, etc but LibreOffice created problem.

2. I found Dropbox to hang up. After sometime, I ran OpenShot Video editor and it hanged too. Later, I found that Dropbox was trying to download required files but Openshot was certainly crashed as it didn’t respond until I used Solus OS RC2. You can check their combined screenshot below.

3. After the above problem, I tried to open Firefox but it didn’t show up. Then I opened it again and it stated that Firefox is already running but it wasn’t showing in the panel. I checked the System Monitor and it showed three instances of Firefox running on my system and guess what? One of the Firefox instance was in Zombie mode . Check out the screenshot of processes below.

4. When I shutdown the Solus OS RC2 (booted on my pen drive), it showed Solus OS boot screen only. When I pressed a key, then my system was power off. It should show a message like Remove the disc and press enter to power off.’ or something similar so that people can know what to do.

Screenshots