Solus (operating system)

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Solus 3 with Budgie Desktop.png
Solus 3, with Budgie desktop.
Developer Ikey Doherty, Peter O'Connor, Joshua Strobl, Stefan Ric, Bryan T. Meyers, Pierre-Yves, Joey Riches and others[a]
OS family Unix-like
Source model Open source
Initial release December 27, 2015; 2 years ago (2015-12-27)
Latest release 3.9999 (Solus 3 ISO Refresh)[1] / 20 September 2018; 20 days ago (2018-09-20)
Available in multilingual
Update method Rolling distribution
Package manager eopkg
Platforms AMD64
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Userland GNU
Default user interface Budgie, GNOME, MATE
License Free software licenses
(mainly GPL), and other licenses
Official website

Solus is an independent desktop operating system based on the Linux kernel. It is offered as a curated rolling release model under the slogan "Install Today. Updates Forever". Solus contains a wide variety of desktop environments depending on release chosen, options include Solus's own Budgie Desktop, GNOME, MATE and soon KDE Plasma.[2][3]


On September 20, 2015, Ikey Doherty announced that "Solus 1.0 will be codenamed Shannon, after the River Shannon in Ireland", indicating that "codenames for releases will continue this theme, using Irish rivers."[4]

In July 2016, Solus announced to discard the concept of fixed point releases and to embrace a rolling release model.[5]

In January 2017, Doherty announced that Solus will adopt Flatpak to reassemble third party applications.[6] This will significantly improve software availability from vendors whose software licenses prevent distribution through Solus' own software repository. In August, Doherty announced that Solus also will adopt "Snaps" (next to Flatpak).[7] Having both flatpak and snaps will solve the "Google Chrome" distribution issue and will offer users more choice in general.

On June 13 the same year, it was announced that the developer team had been expanded with Stefan Ric, and Ikey Doherty – previously working for Intel on Clear Linux – started working full-time on Solus.[8][9]

Solus 3 was named one of the best Linux distributions of 2017 by OMG! Ubuntu!.[10]

Releases and reception[edit]

Point releases[edit]

Solus 1.0 "Shannon" was released 27 December 2015.[11] Jessie Smith reviewed the release as part of a feature story in DistroWatch Weekly, a weekly opinion column and summary of events from the distribution world. While he "ran into a number of minor annoyances"[12] such as "Solus panicking and shutting itself down",[13] he concluded that "Solus 1.0 represents a decent start".[14]

Solus 1.1 was released February 2, 2016.[15][16] HecticGeek blogger Gayan has described Solus 1.1 as a "well optimized operating system",[17] praising significantly faster boot and shutdown times than Ubuntu 15.10. Due to several usability issues encountered, he recommended to wait another year before trying it out again.[17]

Solus 1.2 was released on June 20, 2016.[18][19] Michael Huff has described Solus in his review 'Finding Solace in Solus Linux' as a unique and original project for "those who’ve been reluctant to travel the Linux galaxy".[20]

Solus was released on September 7, 2016.[21] Michael Huff, a programmer and data analyst, wrote in his second review of Solus in Freedom Penguin that "we finally have the power and ease-of-use of a Mac in a Linux distribution" and "that the only people who need to use Solus are those who value their happiness in computing", praising the operating system as only one of few independent projects assured of "a tight cult following with the potential for mass appeal."[22]

Solus 1.2.1 was released on October 19, 2016. This is the last fixed point release of Solus and all future releases will be based on the snapshot model (the OS is now following the rolling-release model).[23]

Rolling releases[edit]

Solus 2017.01.01.0, a snapshot following the recently adopted rolling release model, was released on January 1, 2017.[24][25]

Solus 2017.04.18.0, was released on April 18, 2017.[26][27]

Solus 3 was released on August 15, 2017.[28][29][30].

Solus 3.9999 (Solus 3 ISO Refresh) was released on September 20, 2018.[1].


Solus is currently available in three editions: a Budgie flagship edition,[31] a "feature-rich, luxurious desktop using the most modern technologies";[2] a GNOME edition, running the GNOME desktop environment, "a contemporary desktop experience";[2] and a MATE edition using the MATE desktop environment, a "traditional desktop for advanced users and older hardware".[2]

Ikey Doherty has stated that Peter O'Connor is working on the implementation of the Plasma Desktop.[32]


Ikey Doherty has stated about Budgie that he "wanted something that was a modern take on the traditional desktop, but not too traditional",[33] aiming to keep a balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Core team[edit]

  • GNOME Shell/Community Manager: Joshua Strobl [JoshStrobl]
  • Budgie Desktop: Ikey Doherty [ikey]
  • KDE/Plasma: Peter O’Connor [sunnyflunk]
  • MATE Desktop: Justin Zobel [JustinZobel]
  • Solus Software: Ikey Doherty [ikey]
  • Scientific/Machine Learning/Research: Bryan T Meyers [DataDrake][32]
  • Global Community Maintainer: Pierre-Yves [kyrios] and Joey Riches [joebonrichie][34]


Curated rolling release[edit]

Solus brings updates to its users by means of a curated rolling release model. It is a rolling release in the sense that once installed, end-users are guaranteed to continuously receive security and software updates for their Solus installation without having to worry that their operating system will reach end-of-life. The latter is typically the case with fixed point releases of operating systems such as Fedora and Ubuntu but also Microsoft Windows. Marius Nestor at Softpedia has argued that all operating systems should use the rolling release model in order to decrease development and maintenance workload for developers and to make the latest technologies available for end users as soon as these are ready for the market.[35]

Compared to other rolling release operating systems such as Arch Linux - which provides bleeding edge software, i.e. software so new that there is a high risk that software breakages might occur and render the system partially or completely unusable, Solus takes a slightly more conservative approach to software updates, hence the term curated rolling release. In contrast to Arch, Software on Solus is commonly referred to as cutting edge, typically excluding beta software, and is released after a short period of testing (in the unstable software repository) to end users in order to provide a safer, more stable and reliable update experience. By prioritizing usability (curated rolling release) over availability (pure rolling release), Solus intends to make the operating system more widely accessible, targeting users with varying degrees of computing experience from beginners to advanced users alike. Consequently, Solus shares a much larger potential user base with Microsoft Windows and macOS than with Arch Linux which is mainly aimed at more advanced users willing to learn their system inside out.

Solus is also a curated rolling release in allowing its users to participate in the actual curation process, broadly conceived as the process by which software is selected, maintained and updated (on the server side in the software repositories of the operating system as well as on the client side on the end users computer system). More specifically, and contrary to other operating systems with various 'enforced update mechanisms' at place, a Solus user has the freedom to choose what gets updated and when updates are applied (if at all), except for mandatory security updates. Matt Hartley has praised this recently in his overview of the best Linux-based operating systems of 2017, that "like fixed release distributions, you're free to keep updates fixed to security only if you so choose"[36] and that it is "a powerful statement"[37] to have the "ability to choose how Solus updates".[38]

Software availability[edit]

Solus comes pre-installed with a wide range of software that includes the latest Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission and GNOME MPV. Additional software that is not installed by default can be downloaded using the included Software Center. Wireless chips and modems are supported through optional non-free firmware packages.

Package management is done through eopkg.[39] Michael Huff has quoted project founder and lead developer Ikey Doherty that Solus will not be defined by its package manager.[20] In a previous interview with Gavin Thomas from Gadget Daily on February 8, 2016, Doherty has stated that as an end user the goal is to actually not interact with the package manager, sharply outlining the project's direction in terms of user experience.[40] According to Doherty the goal is "to actually get rid of it, so the user doesn’t even know about it."[40] In Solus, the package manager is not intended to be used as a tool to deploy but to build software,[40] distinguishing it from less beginner-friendly practices on other Linux-based operating systems.

Software developed by Solus[edit]

  • Budgie desktop environment: a GTK+ 3 desktop that tightly integrates with the GNOME software stack, employing the underlying technology.[41] Starting with version 11, Budgie will be rewritten in Qt.[42]
    • Raven a sidebar interface that serves as an applet panel, notifications center and houses the desktop customization settings.
    • Budgie Menu a quick category and search-based application launcher.
    • Budgie-wm the window manager of the Budgie Desktop.
  • eopkg (Evolve OS Package) a fork of the PiSi package manager.[43]
  • ypkg a tool to convert the build process into a packaging operation.[44]
  • Software Center, a graphical frontend to install software in Solus.[45]
  • The Brisk Menu, a menu cowritten with the Ubuntu MATE development team, featured in Solus MATE.[46]


In July 2015, Solus announced to integrate Clear Linux patches to deprecate insecure SSL ciphers, responding to a community post on Google+ by Arjan van de Ven.[47][48]

In response to security issues experienced by the Linux Mint project in late February 2016,[49] Solus has introduced improvements by providing a global Solus GPG key on its download section.[50][51] Joshua Strobl, Communications Manager at Solus, has announced the separation of official and community mirrors on the download page with official mirrors "to be regularly audited and updated"[50][51] and "daily integrity checks against every ISO mirror"[50][51] to be performed.

Within its software center, Solus contains a wide variety of dedicated security software ranging from encryption software such as Veracrypt to anonymization tools such as Tor.

Solus integrated AppArmor instead of SELinux for restricting programs' capabilities. [52]


Because of user privacy the Solus project doesn't track users so there isn't a direct and reliable way to measure popularity.

As of 19 April 2018, Solus ranked 5th in the 6-month page hit rankings of Distrowatch.[53] As of 19 April 2018, Solus ranked 3rd among the most popular rolling release distributions on Distrowatch.[54] As of 19 April 2018, the average reader supplied reviews for Solus rated Solus 8.7 out of 10 on Distrowatch.[55]


  1. ^ a b Strobl, Joshua. "Solus 3 ISO Refresh Released". Solus. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  2. ^ a b c d "Download". Solus Project. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  3. ^ Doherty, Ikey (2017-05-23). "Waiter, There's a Plasma Desktop in My Soup". Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  4. ^ Doherty, Ikey. "Solus Project announcement on Google+". Solus Google+. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  5. ^ "This Week In Solus -- Install #31". Solus Project. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Adopting Flatpak To Reassemble Third Party Applications". Solus Project. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Solus adopting snaps". Ikey Doherty. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  8. ^ "We Are Growing!". Solus Project. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  9. ^ "First day!". Solus Project. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  10. ^ Sneddon, Joey (2017-12-14). "The Best Linux Apps & Distros of 2017". OMG! Ubuntu!. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  11. ^ Solus 1.0 Release announcement. Softpedia Linux News.
  12. ^ Smith, Jesse. "DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 643, 11 January 2016". Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  13. ^ Smith, Jesse. "DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 643, 11 January 2016". Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  14. ^ Smith, Jesse. "DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 643, 11 January 2016". Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  15. ^ "An Everyday Linux User Review Of Solus 1.1 « Everyday Linux User". Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  16. ^ Solus: focusing on desktop Linux []
  17. ^ a b "Solus 1.1 Mini Review – Lean & Fast, But Has a Long Way to Go". Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Blogs - Solus".
  19. ^ Solus review - The distro that could not, Dedoimedo
  20. ^ a b Huff, Michael. "Finding Solace in Solus Linux". Freedom Penguin. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  21. ^ "Solus Released". Solus Project. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  22. ^ Huff, Michael. "Solus Stands on Its Own". Freedom Penguin. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  23. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus 1.2.1 Shannon Released".
  24. ^ "Solus Releases ISO Snapshot 2017.01.01.0". Solus Project. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  25. ^ DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 698, 6 February 2017
  26. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus Releases ISO Snapshot 2017.04.18.0". Solus. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  27. ^ Solus 2017.04.18.0 review - Second time lucky?, Dedoimedo
  28. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus 3 Released". Solus. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  29. ^ Solus 3 Brings Maturity and Performance to Budgie | | The source of Linux information
  30. ^ DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 750, 12 February 2018
  31. ^ Gavin Thomas (8 February 2016). "Solus OS interview with founder Ikey Doherty".
  32. ^ a b Ikey Doherty (23 May 2017). "Waiter, There's A Plasma Desktop In My Soup".
  33. ^ Thomas, Gavin. "Solus interview with founder Ikey Doherty". Gadget Daily. ip Imagine Publishing. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  34. ^ Doherty, Ikey. "Accelerated Cadence and Faster Infrastructure | Solus". Solus. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  35. ^ Nestor, Marius. "Why a Rolling Release Model is the Way to Go for Any OS". Softpedia. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  36. ^ Hartley, Matt. "Best Linux Distros for 2017". QuinStreet, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  37. ^ Hartley, Matt. "Best Linux Distros for 2017". QuinStreet, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  38. ^ Hartley, Matt. "Best Linux Distros for 2017". QuinStreet, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  39. ^ Everyday Linux User Review Of SolusOS, Everyday Linux User, Feb 2013
  40. ^ a b c Thomas, Gavin. "Solus interview with founder Ikey Doherty". ip Imagine Publishing. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  41. ^ "How To Install Budgie Desktop In Ubuntu 16.04 Or 15.10 Via PPA". WebUpd8. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  42. ^ "Kicking Off Budgie 11". Budgie. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  43. ^ "Solus Project: No Longer Just A Chrome OS Alternative". | The source for Linux information. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  44. ^ "solus-project/ypkg". GitHub. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  45. ^ "Solus OS | Linux distro review". Linux distros. 2016-03-12. Archived from the original on 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  46. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus Announces First Release Of Brisk Menu". Solus. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  47. ^ van de Ven, Arjan. "Deprecating Old Crypto in a Linux Distro". Google+. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  48. ^ Doherty, Ikey. "Update to 1.0.2d, integrate Clear Linux patches to deprecate insecure ciphers". Solus Project. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  49. ^ Mediati, Nick. "Linux Mint website hacked, ISO downloads replaced with backdoored operating system". PCWorld. IDG Communications, Inc. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  50. ^ a b c Strobl, Joshua. "This Week In Solus -- Install #21". Solus Project. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  51. ^ a b c "Install today. Updates forever". Solus: Download. Solus Project. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  52. ^ "Solus 3 Linux Distribution Released For Enthusiasts".
  53. ^ " Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD". 19 April 2018. Archived from the original on 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  54. ^ "Search Distributions". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  55. ^ "Solus". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  1. ^ Ikey Doherty is the lead developer and founder of the Solus Project.

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