Saturday, August 18, 2012

SolusOS 1.2 Review: Now Mint has got serious competition

I guess SolusOS is to Debian what Linux Mint is to Ubuntu. Plus, the lead developer of SolusOS contributes a lot to Linux Mint. All these information actually hyped up my expectations of SolusOS before I began my testing with Solus. And that commonality shows, those who are familiar with Linux Mint, will feel at home in SolusOS. Only difference may be that Solus is still using Gnome 2 whereas Mint has moved to Mate and Cinnamon.


From SolusOS 1.2
Once the release note came in Distrowatch, I downloaded the 32-bit ISO from the solusos site. I guess it is great work from the developers that they limited the ISO to only 1 GB even after including almost all the desirable apps. Additionally, the installation process doesn't require any additional download apart from what is in the DVD - highly commendable!

The details of my evaluation are given below:


Evaluation Parameters SolusOS 1.2 32-bit
Computer on which tested Asus K55VM
Processor 3rd generation core i7
RAM allocated 4 GB
Release Date 17-Aug-12
ISO Size 1 GB
Live boot option Yes
Booting time (live boot) 45 sec
Questions asked during Live boot None
Ease of installation Fairly simple, with Solus automatically picking up the Location, time zone, etc. For keyboard, force select USA. Entire thing takes about 20 minutes.
Installation time 30 minutes, to be conservative
Booting time (installed to HDD) 15 sec
Desktop Manager(s) Gnome 2.30.2
Chosen Desktop Manager Gnome 2.30.2
Linux Kernel version 3.3.6-solusos
File Manager Nautilus 2.31.1
CPU Usage (with system monitor) 0-4%
RAM Usage (with system monitor) 150-160 MB
Applications
Office LibreOffice 3.6.0.4
Multimedia Gnome Mplayer 1.0.4, Totem Movie Player 2.30.2, VLC 2.0.1, Rhythmbox 0.12.8, Openshot video editor 1.4.2, Minitube 1.8, Cheese 2.30.1
Internet Firefox 14.0.1, Pidgin chat, Dropbox, bittorrent client, Xchat IRC
Graphics GNU paint, gThumb
Accessories Calculator, Archive manager, gedit, terminal, root terminal
System tools Deja dup to backup, config editor
Others Wine, PlayonLinux
Flash support inbuilt Adobe flash 11
Restricted codecs inbuilt gstreamer good, bad, very bad, ugly, etc. Good enough for most of the media types
Java sun-java-6
Repository Debian repository through Add remove software and/or synaptic package manager
How easy or difficult to install an app? Very easy through synaptic and Add remove software
Richness of repository Shares debian repository and is very rich
Parent OS Debian stable
Upgradeable Yes, rolling update
Internet connection Picked up wifi easily and easy to configure Wired connection
Sound Poulsbo driver already present, faced no issue with sound
Shutdown time 5 sec

I tested it two ways - on live-boot as well as installation. Just like Linux Mint, Solus works out-of-the-box! All the free and non-free multimedia codecs are present and straight away you can plugin your favorite movie and watch or listen to your favorite songs.


From SolusOS 1.2
From applications point of view, except for the graphics section where I miss GIMP 2.8, rest of the application sections are quite rich, especially the multimedia section. It almost seems like overabundance in the multimedia section. For example, Solus has Gnome, Totem and VLC for video playback and I tested all 3, all of them works! But why three? Wouldn't only VLC been enough? 
From SolusOS 1.2
From SolusOS 1.2
From SolusOS 1.2

Apps are all of latest version - I haven't used Minitube earlier and really liked it. You can play youtube videos or channels directly in Minitube. Once you give a search category, Minitube will automatically load and play all videos in that category without any manual intervention.

From SolusOS 1.2
Overall, the desktop looks great and feels very good to use. Solus installation is actually easier than installing Debian squeeze. I could install it at one go within 20 minutes without any hassles. Gnome 2 desktop over Linux kernel 3 means a very fast and responsive desktop. With only task manager running, it uses only 150-160 of RAM which is pretty low.

Once installed, it could pick up the LAN connection and/or Wifi pretty fast. I didn't face any problem with sound or graphics, etc. post installation. From novice point of view as well, desktop is easy to use, programs are very to locate. Additional apps can be downloaded from repository via add/delete software or synaptic package manager. I downloaded, installed and used skype 4.0 successfully without any hassles (ok, with usual hassle in skype of configuring camera and mic!).
From SolusOS 1.2

So, what appears to me in nutshell, that Linux Mint now has serious competition. I found SolusOS a very refined Linux distribution which will definitely find a lot of takers even from the Linux Mint admirers. The OS works out-of-the-box without any hassles (rarity in the Linux world). Definitely Solus is the distro to watch out for and is recommended for a try out. I bet you'll like it. Given the close similarity between Linux Mint Maya and SolusOS 1.2, expect a comparative review between the two distros sometime pretty soon.

17 comments:

  1. I'm using it, Eveline 1.2 SolusOS. Fantastic!
    Nautilus and many other things are improved, regarding Gnome 2. And in its heart: it's Debian!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same experience here, Linux Mint now has serious competition from SolusOS. Both are equally good at this point in time and I am eagerly waiting for SolusOS 2 stable release.

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  2. I've used Eveline 1, 1.1 and 1.2. But I'll tell ya something. Alpha 5 of SolusOS 2 is simply spectacular. A brilliant OS. Beta 1 is supposedly just around the corner, but I can tell you that SolusOS 2 (Alpha 5) is rock solid out of the box on my 5 year old Dell Dimension E520 as well as my 4 year old HP Pavilion laptop (DV9000, model DV9700, series DV9815).

    SolusOS 2 is going to be a major player in those looking to switch to Linux or those current Linux users looking for something different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David, I agree with you totally. I am also eagerly waiting for the beta release of SolusOS 2 with customized Gnome 3 desktop - it's going to be a cracker! I am afraid, SolusOS and Linux Mint together might push Ubuntu to number 3 in near future in Distrowatch ranking :). A rock solid distro which works out-of-the-box which requires sub-200 MB RAM is really awesome!

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  3. I have to agree with David Buco. 1.2 is rock solid but Solus 2 is going to be a cracker :)

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  4. The stuff Ikey plans for Nautilus in the 2.0 version is enough for me to upgrade to the 2.0 release when it goes stable, but the guys above are right. SolusOS 1.2 is without a doubt the best distro I've used. Of course, I am a Gnome guy KDE coming n a close 2nd in favorites. It's smooth, responsive, even on my old hardware and everything just slides from one thing to another, almost seamlessly.

    I'm not sure how he did it, and from a technical point of view, it's probably over my head....I just know a good Linux Desktop when I see it. To the point of moving the Reglue distro of choice to a custom respin. Doherty hit it out of the park with SolusOS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ken, what impressed me most is the low resource consumption of SolusOS 1.2 and what you pointed out, seamlessness. Everything just works out-of-the-box smoothly! I am replacing my Ubuntu 11.04 in my desktop with SolusOS 1.2 pretty soon. Plus, the rolling release means I don't have to install and re-install it again and again, which is a big pain once you've everything setup.

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    2. i thought dat solusos not a rolling release where? 1.2 are based on stable, the alpa frol solusos2 are based on testing :) i think when debian-test becomes stable, solusos2 stable comes out to probaly ...

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    3. Hi Ringo:
      I got this information from this thread http://main.solusos.com/showthread.php?1069-solus-OS-is-rolling-release-semi-rolling-release. I guess, it's core is going to be stable with updated software. In case debian moves to the next stable version (wheezy), some semi-rolling kind of update is expected for SolusOS 1.x users and may not require a total reinstall. Thanks.

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  5. Thanks for the review, I might have to try SolusOS now after all, it's in line just behind the ROSA Gnome release.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If only this had LVM encryption it would be perfect

    ReplyDelete
  7. Installing it as my main OS now..
    I finally came to the decision to switch from Ubuntu since I really need a somewhat Debian based "workstation" OS (mostly using Debian on the server-side of things at work) and also Ubuntu shows that is leaning more on the "average home desktop/tablet/mobile user" experience (and I'm not referring only on the Unity UI subject but rather on the entire OS)

    I'll be staying with Ubuntu on my HTPC though and also grab myself a Ubuntu tablet once I find one.. but on my workstation computer and netbook.. SOLUS OS it is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Solus 1.2 is really good. Solus 2 is even better. I tried the RC2 version based on Debian Wheezy. Please check and if possibly replace Solus 1.2 with Solus 2. Once Solus 2 is released, Solus 1.2 won't be supported anymore.

      Thanks,
      Arindam

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  8. Hello Arindam,

    I'm a huge fan of yours, your approach to review the linux distros is amazing!
    I'm researching a rock-solid distro which must "survive" for the next 3 years with regular updates (and NOT upgrades), for academic purposes (use software like Latex, etc). I'm thinking in Xubuntu 12.04.2, Mint 13 XFCE, SolusOS 1.3, or even Debian 6 stable. What do you think? I really appreciate if you can give some advice.
    Thanks,
    Marcel

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    Replies
    1. Hi Marcel:

      Thanks for liking my articles. Here are my inputs (given your time horizon is next 3 years)
      Xubuntu 12.04.2: Supported till 2015, will surely get Ubuntu updates till April 2017
      Mint 13 XFCE: Supported till Apr 2017
      Solus 1.3: won't be supported I guess beyond 2013, once the Debian 7 is out
      Debian 6: Won't be supported once Debian 7 is out in 2013

      Given your time horizon, I guess you are better off with Xubuntu 12.04.2 and LM 13 XFCE. You can also check Uberstudent as well which comes in XFCE & LXDE desktops, has latex and other educational softwares & supported till 2017.

      Thanks,
      Arindam

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  9. Too bad SolusOs discontinued, and worse dev closed the website and download too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's a problem with the single developer distros. Fuduntu was another distro which I liked a lot. It too unfortunately got stopped.

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