What’s new in SolusOS 2

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SolusOS is currently the fastest-growing Linux distro. Just right after the release of its first version, Eveline, SolusOS has jumped from nowhere into the middle of the distro ranking chart on Distrowatch. And the SolusOS team didnt stop there, they have already worked on the next release of SolusOS. Last week, the team has released the Alpha 3 version of SolusOS 2 with many new things. Here is a quick list of new features in SolusOS 2 for those who are interested in SolusOS like me.

New kernel

LinuxKernel 3.3.6 is used in SolusOS 2. Although it is still not the newest kernel but comparing to the 3.0.0 version in SolusOS 1, this is really a big improvement.

Gnome 3.4

SolusOS 2 uses GNOME 3.4, which in its current state features a largely unusable fallback mode. However, the SolusOS team has patched various parts of GNOME to make Gnome 3.4 look and act identically to the Gnome 2 setup seen in SolusOS 1, Eveline. However, even with Gnome 3.4 being used, SolusOS 2 is still very light and fast, at idle SolusOS 2 consumes only around 160MB of RAM

This is absolutely fantastic because comparing to the MATE edition of Linux Mint 13, which has the same aim to bring back the Gnome 2 experience, SolusOS 2 is the clear winner in term of resource consuming. ( At idle, Linux Mint MATE uses more than 350 MB of RAM)

The overall look of the desktop in SolusOS 2 is slightly different from that in SolusOS 1. The notification area on the right of the Gnome panel has a new look and settings, the envelope icon has been removed and the clock uses the 24 hours settings instead of AM/PM like in SolusOS 1:

A new notification area in SolusOS 2

The Cardapio menu also performs better in SolusOS 2, no more freezing. The “Games” menu is removed but there is another option on the right pane for “Help and Support”:

The Help and Support idea is quite similar to the F1 button in Ubuntu, when you click on it a help window will appear and you can browse around to learn how to use the distro. However, since SolusOS 2 is still in Alpha version, this help and support feature is not completed yet. It still shows an image of Gnome Shell instead of the desktop of SolusOS 2, besides there is something wrong with the font color and the background in the help and support window:

With the use of Gnome 3.4, gconf-editor is no longer available in SolusOS 2, however to change system settings, you can just use the Control Center in the Cardapio menu:

New way to change themes and icons

Changing themes and icons in SolusOS 2 is different from SolusOS 1. When you right click on the desktop to and select the change desktop background option, all you can do is just to change the desktop wallpaper literally:

Instead, to change themes and icons in SolusOS 2, you need to open the Cardapio Menu, go to System Tools and select the Desktop Settings option. And the SolusOS Appearance preferences window will appear, on which you can change themes, icons and customize several other things too:

As far as I noticed, Zuki blues theme is no longer preinstalled in SolusOS 2. Faenza icon theme and two of its variants, Faenza dark and Faenza Cupertino, are removed too.

New version of Nautilus

A new version of Nautilus file manager is used in SolusOS 2 with several changes, new breadcrumbs and new arrangement of the buttons . Here are 2 screenshots of the old and new Nautilus for you to compare:

Nautilus in SolusOS 1

Nautilus in SolusOS 2

I personally prefer the old Nautilus, not only because I dont like the look of the new Nautilus but also because the new Nautilus lacks the feature to preview audio files, which I like a lot.

Many changes in the pre-installed applications

From what I found, there seemed to be no new pre-installed applications in the new version of SolusOS. On the other hand, several pre-installed apps in SolusOS 1 are removed in Solus OS 2 like Simple Scan, Dropbox, Wine and PlayOnLinux. Some other apps got upgraded like Firefox 13 and NetworkManager.

New Plymouth boot screen

The boring silver plymouth boot screen in SolusOS 1 is now replaced by a modified version of the popular Solar plymouth theme, which looks really cooler and more eye-catching in my opinion.