We are now on our 3rd day of overcast and rainy weather here in Southern Ontario and as I began my search for my OS Sunday Distribution to test I came across the brand new SolusOS. From the testimonials to the review on Distrowatch.com I was intrigued if this could be a ray of sunshine to an otherwise pretty dreary weekend.
To start with it comes in a fairly hefty 994MB ISO package but the reality is more and more Linux packages are forgoing the fight to keep the image size to under 700MB to fit onto a CD but I wonder…if you are going to make the leap beyond the 700MB is everything I will need (at least short term) on the ISO or am I going to have to head back out to the web for another package hunt.
As always I created my VirtualBox VM with 4GB of RAM and gave the Distro full control over 20GB of HDD. The Torrents once again were painfully slow to download but from the main Mirror, it downloaded like a champ in less than 5 minutes.
During the installation I had one complaint that would limit the adoption rate dramatically for this otherwise solid performer that got to an active Desktop in less than 45 seconds from raw boot. During the selection of where the OS would be installed it does not identify Raw HDD space as usable and therefore requires the intervention of gParted. That is no problem…if you have ever used this Partitioner before it works great but there is no “Guided Install Option” like with other popular Distros.
Beginning to end though, less than 10 minutes to a slick, modified Gnome 2.3 desktop. I have been an Ubuntu User for 8 years now and it really was a welcome home for me to see the Gnome task bar and a very comfortable lower user space that has been common with Distros like Linux Mint for years.
Out of the box, SolusOS gives a user nearly everything that they need to get started with a Linux Experience:
- FireFox Browser
- LibreOffice Suite
- VLC for audio and video (and codecs galore)
- Dropbox…this is a neat addition
Out of the box though I thought it was interesting to include Wine and PlayOnLinux, this is a very interesting addition to the typical feature set of a Distro and a welcome change that would be appreciated by gamers and Microsoft converts because navigating through the Add/Remove Software Portal offered is just painful!
Maybe I am spoiled from the investment that Canonical has made in its Software Center but unless I know the package name, finding anything in this alphabetical mess would turn many users away. Considering that the system is Debian Based, it might have been worthwhile to include the GetDeb option or rework that concept into something that is unique to SolusOS and really allow users to experience ease of use from the outset.
Install took just over the 10 minutes that it said it would but upon restart of the VM…it was a very positive experience. I did not need to do any configuration to connect to my local network and with great Codec Support could play videos, listen to music and surf the web with no problems at all.
If you are looking for a quick boot, slick and simple OS…SolusOS might just be for you. I look forward to seeing what comes out of these guys with 2.0 which has already been announced.
I am still looking for a Perfect Dozen but 10 out of 12 on a v1.1 OS isn’t too bad.
Chris J Powell