I decided to hop my laptop over to Solus Linux 4.0 with Budgie 10.5 (10-4 good buddy). There must have been some significant performance improvements to Budgie, because it’s more responsive than the Solus 3.99 release.
I really like the idea of having a rolling release on my systems. Software stays up-to-date and I don’t have to worry about backing up for major updates to the system. That’s not to say that I don’t have to think when I maintain my system.
Arch-based systems require a little more attention. You’re supposed to read the news posts and follow the forums to fix problems that may arise during updates/upgrades. Since Manjaro is an Arch-based distribution, that’s what’s expected of new users.
Manjaro is a fantastic Linux distribution. I really enjoy using it. I’ve found the Xfce edition to be snappy, attractive (even with the flat icon theme), and relatively easy to maintain, even with minimal attention to the forums and release notes. The forum community is great, and I’ll definitely continue to lurk and post. There are some really friendly, knowledgeable people there. I’m mostly concerned about breaking something during update because I didn’t keep up with the blog and forum posts.
Going back to Solus Linux… I haven’t found any talk of doing things the Arch way. I don’t see a lot of posts in the forums about new updates and who has update problems and how their machines aren’t working like I did for Manjaro. It looks like it’s easier to maintain, overall.
So far though, I’m digging the Budgie desktop. It doesn’t seem as customizable as Xfce, but I usually only change the wallpaper and maybe the icon theme. The flat icons still seem to be the default icons for Solus, but that may change. They have some lovely wallpapers installed by default, so I’m pretty happy so far.
Solus has a smaller software repository than many distributions. Since Solus is not directly based on any other distribution, they have to make their own packages, and are focusing on ones used by the developers or specifically requested by users. It does support Flatpack and Snaps though, so you can still get more software that way, and I believe you can also use AppImages.
Solus doesn’t have access to the Arch User Repository (AUR). The AUR is a huge software repository that gives users access to all sorts of programs. However, since it’s maintained by users, you should look into packages to make sure that they’re still maintained and that they’re trustworthy.
I’m not overly fluent in computer code. Since Solus has a curated software repository, there is a way smaller chance that downloading software will compromise your system. You also don’t have to worry about someone deciding not to continue to maintain the package and it becomes orphaned.
Solus seems like a good choice for people coming directly from Windows or wanting a Windows kind of experience. There’s a lot about Budgie that reminds me of Windows 10. The Raven side panel reminds me of the Windows notification panel. The application menu will be very familiar to the Windows start menu panel.
I’m looking forward to getting to know this distribution. Manjaro felt exciting, pushing myself with something Arch-based, testing things out with the AUR. But I think I’m ready for something a little easier to maintain. This should fit the bill nicely!