Solus (operating system)

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Solus 4.1 Budgie.jpg
Solus 4.1, with Budgie desktop.
DeveloperIkey Doherty (until 2018), Peter O'Connor, Joshua Strobl, Stefan Ric, Bryan T. Meyers, Pierre-Yves, Joey Riches and others[a]
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)
Source modelOpen source
Initial release27 December 2015; 4 years ago (2015-12-27)
Latest releaseRolling release / 4.1 (Solus 4.1 Fortitude)[1] / 25 January 2020; 9 months ago (2020-01-25)
Available inmultilingual
Package managereopkg
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
Default user interfaceBudgie, GNOME, MATE, Plasma
LicenseFree software licenses
(mainly GPL), and other licenses

Solus (previously known as Evolve OS) is an independently developed operating system for the x86-64 architecture[2] based on the Linux kernel and a choice of the homegrown Budgie desktop environment, GNOME, MATE or KDE Plasma as the desktop environment.[2] Its package manager, eopkg, is based on the PiSi package management system from Pardus Linux,[3] and it has a semi-rolling release model, with new package updates landing in the stable repository every Friday.[4] The developers of Solus have stated that Solus is intended exclusively for use on personal computers and will not include software that is only useful in enterprise or server environments.[5]


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."[6]

In July 2016, Solus announced to discard the concept of fixed point releases and to embrace a rolling release model.[7]

In January 2017, Doherty announced that Solus will adopt Flatpak to reassemble third party applications.[8] 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).[9] Having both flatpak and snaps will solve the "Google Chrome" distribution issue[vague] 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 OS – started working full-time on Solus.[10][11]

On November 2, 2018, technology website Phoronix published an open letter from original founder Ikey Doherty confirming that he was stepping back from the project, assigning "any and all intellectual, naming and branding rights relating to the ownership of Solus" to the development team "with immediate and permanent effect, acknowledging them as the official owners and leadership of the project."[12]

Releases and reception[edit]

Point releases[edit]

Solus 1.0 "Shannon" was released December 27, 2015.[13] 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"[14] such as "Solus panicking and shutting itself down",[14] 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 is considered a curated rolling release. 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. Updates become available every Friday.

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.[31]

Solus 4.0 "Fortitude" was released on March 17, 2019. Announcing the release, Solus Experience Lead, Joshua Strobl stated that Solus 4.0 delivered "a brand new Budgie experience, updated sets of default applications and theming, and hardware enablement".[32]

Solus 4.1 was released on January 25, 2020.[1]


Solus is currently available in four editions:


Ikey Doherty stated that, regarding Budgie, he "wanted something that was a modern take on the traditional desktop, but not too traditional",[35] aiming to keep a balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Core team[edit]

  • Technical lead: Bryan T. Meyers [DataDrake]
  • Experience lead: Joshua Strobl [JoshStrobl]
  • Global Maintainers: Friedrich von Gellhorn [Girtablulu], Joey Riches [joebonrichie], Pierre-Yves [kyrios] and Rune Morling [ermo][36]


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.[37]

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 relatively 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 accessible to a wider target market than Arch Linux, which is mainly aimed at more advanced users possessing in-depth technical knowledge about their system.

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', a Solus user has the freedom to choose what gets updated and when updates are applied (if at all), except for mandatory security updates.

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.[38] 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 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.[39] According to Doherty, the goal is "to actually get rid of it, so the user doesn’t even know about it."[39] In Solus, the package manager is not intended to be used as a tool to deploy but to build software,[39] 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.[40] Starting with version 11, it was announced that Budgie will be rewritten in Qt.[41] However, Josh Strobl subsequently stated that after re-evaluation, the decision was leaning towards using GTK 4[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]
  • Brisk Menu: a menu co-written with the Ubuntu MATE development team, featured in Solus MATE.[46]


In July 2015, Solus announced integration of 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 introduced improvements by providing a global Solus GPG key on its download section.[50][51] Joshua Strobl, Communications Manager at Solus, 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 integrates 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 January 2020, the DistroWatch website, which records the frequency of page clicks on its own site, ranked Solus 7th in the 6-month page hit rankings,[53] 3rd among the most popular rolling release distributions.[54] and achieved an average reader-supplied review score of 8.6 out of 10.[55]

Critical reception[edit]

Solus 3 was named one of the best Linux distributions of 2017 by OMG! Ubuntu![56]

Matt Hartley praised Solus in his overview of the best Linux-based operating systems of 2017, as "Perhaps the most interesting distro in recent years...taking a unique approach to a logical user workflow, package management and how they work with the community. I see them doing great things in the future."[57]

In the more mainstream media Jason Evangelho covered Solus a few times for Forbes magazine. Solus received a lot of appraisal from Evangelho in his articles covering PC gaming and tech industry, most notable regarding gaming on Solus Linux[58] and about the 4.0 release.[59]


  1. ^ a b Strobl, Joshua (25 January 2020). "Solus 4.1 Fortitude Released". Solus. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Download". Solus Project. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  3. ^ "eopkg package manager". GitHub. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Release Process". Solus Project. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Package Inclusion Policy". Solus Project. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  6. ^ Doherty, Ikey. "Solus Project announcement on Google+". Solus Google+. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  7. ^ "This Week In Solus -- Install #31". Solus Project. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Adopting Flatpak To Reassemble Third Party Applications". Solus Project. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Solus adopting snaps". Ikey Doherty. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ "We Are Growing!". Solus Project. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  11. ^ "First day!". Solus Project. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  12. ^ "An Open Letter To Solus From Its Founder Ikey Doherty - Phoronix". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  13. ^ "Solus 1.0 Release announcement". Softpedia Linux News.
  14. ^ a b c 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 2 June 2016.
  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 19 April 2017.
  27. ^ "Solus 2017.04.18.0 review - Second time lucky?". Dedoimedo.
  28. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus 3 Released". Solus. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  29. ^ "Solus 3 Brings Maturity and Performance to Budgie".
  30. ^ "DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 750, 12 February 2018".
  31. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus 3 ISO Refresh Released". Solus. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  32. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus 4 Fortitude Released". Solus. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  33. ^ Thomas, Gavin (8 February 2016). "Solus OS interview with founder Ikey Doherty".
  34. ^ "Download". Solus. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  35. ^ Thomas, Gavin. "Solus interview with founder Ikey Doherty". Gadget Daily. ip Imagine Publishing. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  36. ^ "Team | Solus". Solus. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  37. ^ Nestor, Marius. "Why a Rolling Release Model is the Way to Go for Any OS". Softpedia. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  38. ^ "Everyday Linux User Review Of SolusOS". Everyday Linux User. 17 February 2013.
  39. ^ a b c Thomas, Gavin. "Solus interview with founder Ikey Doherty". ip Imagine Publishing. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  40. ^ "How To Install Budgie Desktop In Ubuntu 16.04 Or 15.10 Via PPA". WebUpd8. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  41. ^ "Kicking Off Budgie 11". Budgie. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  42. ^ "r/SolusProject - What is the current development state of Budgie 11?". reddit. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  43. ^ "Solus Project: No Longer Just A Chrome OS Alternative". | The source for Linux information. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  44. ^ "solus-project/ypkg". GitHub. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  45. ^ "Solus OS | Linux distro review". Linux distros. 12 March 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  46. ^ Strobl, Joshua. "Solus Announces First Release Of Brisk Menu". Solus. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  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". Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  54. ^ "Search Distributions". distrowatch. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  55. ^ "Solus". Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  56. ^ Sneddon, Joey (14 December 2017). "The Best Linux Apps & Distros of 2017". OMG! Ubuntu!. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  57. ^ Hartley, Matt. "Best Linux Distros for 2017". QuinStreet, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  58. ^ Evangelho, Jason. "Solus 4 Linux Gaming Report: A Great Nvidia, Radeon And Steam User Experience". Forbes.
  59. ^ Evangelho, Jason. "Linux Desktop News: Solus 4 Released With New Budgie Goodness". Forbes.
  1. ^ Ikey Doherty was previously the lead developer and founder of the Solus Project.

External links[edit]