SolusOS 1.2

SolusOS is a new Debian-based distro that uses the GNOME 2.3 desktop. SolusOS comes with such core applications as Firefox, VLC, and LibreOffice. It’s a relatively easy way to get both Debian and a GNOME 2 desktop in one, convenient package.

Here’s the official description from the SolusOS site:

SolusOS is a Linux Distribution based on Debian Stable. It’s an operating system for your computer, that provides the base system that allows you to do things like listen to music, browse the internet and create documents. It does so by being based on Debian, which is a GNU/Linux distribution

SolusOS uses the GNOME 2.30 Desktop Environment, providing you with a traditional desktop.

What’s New in SolusOS 1.2

Since this is pretty much version one of SolusOS, there really isn’t a what’s new list available. Here’s a list of reasons on why you might want to use SolusOS from the SolusOS site:

SolusOS inherits much of its stability from it’s Debian Stable base. On top of that, we keep core user applications, such as Firefox, VLC, etc, up to date as much as we can. To ease the use of SolusOS many codecs are preinstalled allowing MP3 & DVD playback, Flash Player support. Please check whether you can use these codecs in your country before downloading SolusOS.

Lightweight system. A 32-bit installation of SolusOS only uses around 130MB of RAM when idle
Responsive. We make many optimisations to the underlying system and kernel to ensure it operates with minimal lag
Ease of use. SolusOS includes support for a variety of hardware and multimedia formats
Constant developments. We’re always developing new software to keep the SolusOS experience as fresh and friendly as possible
Future stability: We’re already developing a replacement desktop to fit in with the ethos and behaviour of GNOME 2.3, to ensure the same (but improved) experience in future releases
Stable. SolusOS Eveline is based on Debian Stable, ensuring you have no worries with system crashes and unexpected behaviour from new bugs
Up to date. We use a combination of stability and new core user software like the web browser, firmware and drivers to maximise the SolusOS experience.

SolusOS 1.2 Boot Menu
SolusOS 1.2 Boot Menu

System Requirements for SolusOS 1.2

Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

Minimum Recommended
Disk Space  4GB  8GB
RAM  256MB  512MB
Processor  1.3GHz  1.8GHz

SolusOS 1.2 Download

You can download SolusOS 1.2 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 1.04 GB. Since SolusOS 1.2 is based on Debian, you might want to check out some books about Debian.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBoxVMWare, or Parallels before running it on real hardware.

You can download SolusOS 1.2 in 32-bit, 32-bit with PAE or 64-bit versions. I used the 32-bit version for this review.

SolusOS 1.2 Installation

The install was relatively easy, but did require some disk partitioning. Overall, it took about 20 minutes or so for the install to complete.

SolusOS 1.2 Install 1
SolusOS 1.2 Install 1

 

SolusOS 1.2 Install 2
SolusOS 1.2 Install 2

 

SolusOS 1.2 Install 3
SolusOS 1.2 Install 3

The SolusOS 1.2 Desktop

If you’re a GNOME user, then you’ll love the SolusOS 1.2 desktop. It uses GNOME 2.3, so you won’t find the later (and some would say annoying) versions of GNOME. It’s really a traditional desktop environment (or perhaps it would be better called “classic?”)

The desktop is uncluttered, you’ll find just three icons: Computer, Home and Trash.

You can access all applications, system tools, etc. by clicking on the Menu button. Applications are broken down into the usual categories, and you can easily navigate to your Home, Documents, Music, etc. folders. The Control Center is right above the Search box so it’s easy to get to the tools you need to manage your SolusOS 1.2 system.

SolusOS 1.2 Desktop
SolusOS 1.2 Desktop
SolusOS 1.2 Menu
SolusOS 1.2 Menu

Linux Software Included in SolusOS 1.2

Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.

Games
PlayOnLinux

Graphics
GNU Paint
gThumb
Simple Scan

Internet
Dropbox
Firefox
Mozilla Thunderbird Mail and News
Pidgin IM
Transmission
XChat IRC

Multimedia
Brasero
Cheese
GNOME MPlayer
Minitube
Movie Player
OpenShot Video Editor
PulseAudio Manager
PulseAudio Volume Control
PulseAudio Volume Meter
PulseAudio Volume Mixer
Rhythmbox
Sound Recorder
VLC Media Player

Office
Dictionary
LibreOffice

Linux Software Management Tools in SolusOS 1.2

There are two main ways to manage software applications in SolusOS 1.2, GNOME Package Manager (gpk-application) and Synaptic. Neither is as elegant as other solutions such as Linux Mint’s Software Manager or Ubuntu’s Software Center, but they are functional and they get the job done.

To access them, click the Menu button and then click on Control Center. You’ll also find the Software Updates tool there.

SolusOS 1.2 Synaptic Package Manager
SolusOS 1.2 Synaptic Package Manager
SolusOS 1.2 GNOME Package Manager
SolusOS 1.2 GNOME Package Manager

Problems & Headaches Found in SolusOS 1.2

SolusOS 1.2 ran very well for me, I didn’t notice any overt bugs or other headaches.

However, I do find the need for manual disk partitioning to be a bit disturbing. If SolusOS is going to appeal to newer linux users then I think the developers will have to use an easier and more intuitive install routine. This is not a huge problem, but it’s definitely something worth considering in future releases.

One of the other things I noticed about SolusOS 1.2 is how the multimedia apps menu has a large selection of applications. But the other application categories seem a bit lacking. For example, GIMP is not included as a bundled application. This seems odd since there are so many choices available in the multimedia apps category. I wonder why the SolusOS developers decided to be sparse in other categories.

Where To Get Help for SolusOS 1.2

If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the SolusOS forum, wiki and IRC.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About SolusOS 1.2

SolusOS 1.2 is a fine start for a new linux distro, I enjoyed using it. There’s quite a bit to like in this release including the following:

GNOME 2.3
Bundled multimedia codecs
Debian

SolusOS 1.2 is probably best suited for intermediate and advanced linux users. I hesitate to recommend it to beginners because of the manual disk partitioning, but if  you’re new and want to try it out then go for it.

SolusOS 1.2 is also a live distro, so you can boot it off of a disc to check it out without having to do a full install onto your hard disk.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux commentary; visit JimLynch.com for other technology coverage.

Product: SolusOS 1.2
Web Site: http://solusos.com
Price: Free
Pros: Debian, GNOME 2.3, bundled multimedia codecs.
Cons: Installer routine requires manual partitioning, some bundled application categories are lacking in choices.
Rating: 3.5/5


Comments

  1. Tom says

    Hello All
    I’ve Linux hopped for years. I now have multiple PC’s, most have Solus1.2 – love it.
    Now 1.2 support is terminated I’ve tried two iso’s of 2.0 and can’t get them to boot. Both give a dracut prompt.
    What am I doing wrong?
    Anyone?
    Tom

  2. Mike says

    Great operating system still! Just keep the classic version of GNOME alive. If you came over as an old Sun Solaris user from work you can appreciate this system and desktop. Just can’t get VMWARE 9.1 Workstation to install, also can’t seem to remove installed packages using Synaptic. This could become the No. 1 business workstation replacement for Winblows, also needs to include Apache’s Open Office! Thanks and will contribute in the future……………

  3. Steve M says

    I have been using SolusOS for a while and I enjoy it very much. Several newer versions are underway and I am looking forward to them

  4. julian516 says

    There is an obvious question: What are the striking functional differences between Solus, once installed, and Debian Stable w/backports once installed? It seems to me that with an appropriate selection of software in each case we wind up in the same place. If I am right about that what is the compelling case for Solus?

  5. rop75 says

    very nice review. SolusOS is a nice distro at the moment, but it has a
    problem: The main defveloper has announced that he is planning to leave
    the Debian package management system, and they are going to use the former parsix
    package system when solusOS 2 is relaesed. I think that the Debian’s and
    its derivatives’s strongest point is precisely their fantastic package
    system and their huge repos, so i think that changing the package mamagement system is a great mistake.

    • Lossihront Lossihront says

      My understanding is that all of the packages in the Debian repositories are going to be automatically repackaged for the pisi system. That way we get all the good stuff from Debian as well as a better package manager.

  6. rop75 says

    very nice review. SolusOS is a nice distro at the moment, but it has a problem: The main defveloper has announced that he is to leave planning the Debian package system, and they are going to use the former parsix package system when solusOS is relaesed. I think that the Debian’s and its derivatives’s strongest point is precisely thier fantastic package system and their huge repos.

  7. Brian Masinick says

    I gave this software a quick try when it was first released. Because it was based on the Debian Stable packaging, contained an aging release of GNOME, and was an early release, though it was reasonably solid, it did not have a lot of personal appeal because I have several other distributions that are either directly built from Debian or use Debian archives for the source. I had no problems with this system; it just did not scratch any personal interests, so I did not explore it for very long.

    For my own personal tastes, I prefer SimplyMEPIS when I want to run a straight, simple, stable Debian derivative. I prefer antiX when I’m running Debian Testing software, and I prefer Debian Sid, siduction, or antiX core when I’m using Debian Sid software.

  8. prettyconfused says

    Hi Jim,

    nice review. As SolusOS 1.2 was released on the 17th of August 2012, there have been some developments in the meantime. Installer has been taken care of and improvements have been made. Due problems in providing EFI support version 1.3 has been delayed, but should arrive in not so distant future. Yesterday there was an announcement that Netflix, LOVEFiLM and RedBox would be now running on SolusOS (http://solusos.com/blog/wed-02062013-2158/netflix-lovefilm-and-redbox-now-solusos). So SolusOS 1.3 should even be more exciting.

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