I admit it. I am a Linux addict. I find I can do everything I want to do with my computers, even though I’m running Linux and not one of those Big 2 operating systems. My computers run fast and they do it for weeks and months at a time, without ever needing to be re-booted.
But I’ll also admit to not being a Linux-tech. I’ve run Linux for over five years and I’ve learned what I had to learn, in order to have my computer systems run the way I want them to run. Other than that, I really don’t spend too much time ‘under the hood’, trying to learn everything there is to know about how Linux operates. I know, the Linux purists out there are sneering at me, but here’s the way I see it. Why would I ever want to run a Linux distribution that requires me to work on it, when, like most other users, I really want an operating system that works for me?
I’ve run the Linux gamut, from that day back in early 2007, when I set up a WUBI install of Ubuntu 7.04, to running Debian Testing a few months back. I’ve a spindle of LiveCDs and LiveDVDs sitting here on my shelf. I’ve installed and run several versions of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, SimplyMEPIS, Mandriva, Fedora, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS and ZorinOS. There are a couple of those distros that lived on at least one of my computers for quite a while, before I grew tired of them and moved on. I was always looking for the Linux that worked well on my machines and required minimal understanding on my part. I was addicted to Linux and in search of the Perfect Linux Distro.
I have to admit that after cutting my teeth on Ubuntu, I was familiar with Debian-based distributions. And in spite of all the eye-candy that comes along with KDE, I’ve always been a GNOME kind of guy. Which always had me running some version of Linux Mint on at least one of my computers. I first tried Linux Mint in late 2007 and there was always something about Mint that kept me using it. I think it is the fact that Clem & Co. always made sure to spin an .iso that had all of the codecs and drivers, so I wasn’t having to be spending my time trying to sort what I needed and where to find it all.
I would find a new and exciting distro and would install it on one of my computers, but it seemed it was always lacking some user-friendly feature that was part of Linux Mint. On 7 September 2010, Linux Mint introduced a new distribution, Linux Mint Debian Edition. Here was a chance to run Debian Linux with a Mint look and feel and I was all over it. The blog post announcing the release of LMDE was paying special thanks to a developer named Ikey Doherty. And before long, the Mint forums were full of praise for Ikey, as LMDE was the distro so many of us had been looking for, but had never found. A rolling Debian edition with all the user-friendly features of Linux Mint meant I had just found a version of Linux that would never need to be re-installed after an upgrade and I could install it without worrying about my printer or sound cards being recognized. Unfortunately, things started falling apart after several months and the LMDE project was suddenly not being developed as well as we had hoped. And all of Ikey’s friendly and helpful assistance on the Mint forums had ended.
SolusOS 2 — Is my search for the ‘Perfect Linux Distro’ finally over?
In March of this year, I was looking around at some Linux Web sites and saw mention of SolusOS Linux. People were speaking very highly of it, so I tracked down the SolusOS Web site and started learning what I could. My first concern was immediate — SolusOS was brand-new and was only available as a release candidate download. I had run Debian Testing in the past, but I was really looking for something more stable, so the idea of SolusOS RC1 wasn’t very encouraging to me. I bookmarked the page and went on about my day. The following day, curiosity was getting the best of me, so I went back to the SolusOS Web site for another look. I found a link to their discussion forums, so I decided to browse them and see what people were saying.
One of the first forum threads I opened had a post from a user named Ikey. Suddenly, i was sitting upright in my chair. A couple threads later, I realized this was the same Ikey Doherty who had been working magic on LMDE. And with that, all my concerns went out the window and I was downloading SolusOS RC1. I booted into the LiveDVD and was immediately hooked, so I installed it on one of my computers. And whilst I was aware this was only a Release Candidate version, it was as stable as Linux Mint and Linux Mint Debian Edition.
Within a couple days, I was running SolusOS on all three of my desktop machines. I had one machine dual-booting LMDE and SolusOS, with another triple-booting Windows 7, PCLinuxOS and SolusOS, and my iMac was dual-booting OS X and SolusOS. Here was SolusOS, a brand-new player in the Linux line-up, yet I was running it on all my machines. Ikey was providing me with all the stability of Debian Squeeze, but with updated applications and I was loving every bit of it.
So much so that I realized I was no longer downloading other Linux distros, to give them a trial run on my machines. I’ve been known to install a Linux distro on one day and replace it with another on the very next day. But suddenly, all that had stopped. Simply because I found SolusOS was meeting all of my needs. My distro-hopping days were over. My addicted need to find the Linux distro that was perfect for my needs was suddenly broken. SolusOS intervened and I was happy and content.
When Linux Mint was updated to Mint 13 Maya, I removed PCLinuxOS from my triple-boot machine and installed it on that partition. But I always ran the machine in SolusOS. When LMDE was finally updated, I downloaded a fresh .iso and re-installed it on that machine. It was working, so I left that machine running in LMDE, but it started pestering me with some small errors. Errors that wouldn’t have bothered me a few weeks earlier, but after running SolusOS, I realized there was no need to put up with it any longer. I re-booted the machine into SolusOS and there it remained.
About a month ago, Ikey released an Alpha version of what is going to become SolusOS 2. I considered grabbing a copy to install on one of my machines, but I was so content with how well SolusOS 1.1 was running, I just couldn’t be bothered to try anything else. Three days ago, I realized I could easily install SolusOS 2 Alpha 5 on the machine that had been running LMDE. It might sound a bit silly to be running a SolusOS 1.1 installation and a SolusOS 2 installation on the same machine, but it had been over 4 months since I had played with a new Linux distro. Tuesday evening installed it and immediately fell in love with it. I was amazed at how much better it looked. And here was a Linux distro running GNOME 3.4, but with a highly customized desktop that looks, acts and feels just like GNOME 2. And using almost no memory as it did it. As the night wore on, I realized what was going to end up happening.
Wednesday morning, I kept reminding myself that SolusOS 2 is only an Alpha testing release. I was still reminding myself of that fact as I wiped SolusOS 1.1 from my iMac and installed SolusOS 2 in its place. And 24 hours later, I was wiping the Mint 13 install off my triple-boot machine, so I could install SolusOS 2 on it. As of this writing, my laptop is the only machine not running SolusOS 2, as it is dual-booting Windows 7 and SolusOS 1.1. Maybe I can resist SolusOS 2’s siren call, at least until Ikey gets to a Beta release.
I just went through a stack of Linux LiveDVDs that have been sitting here on my desk. I found the most recent releases of Linux Mint, LMDE and PCLinuxOS in that stack. And I took all of them and added them to the spindle with all the other disks. No more need to be trying other Linux distros. SolusOS does everything I want, looks really great doing it and runs incredibly fast on all of my machines.
Ikey, it’s a fact that SolusOS broke my addiction for yet another new distro. SolusOS broke my need to find the Perfect Linux Distro, because as far as I am concerned, SolusOS IS the Perfect Linux Distro.
For anyone who wants to give something other than OS X and Windows a try, I cannot imagine you wanting anything that SolusOS cannot offer. I promise you SolusOS is certainly worth a trial on your computer, so head over to the SolusOS download page and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.