Back in December I was looking for something to do with my old HP Pavilion dv2500. Then in January I took Solus for a roll in a VM. I ended up being really impressed with Solus. So impressed I decided I wanted to find some real hardware for it to live on. Well things worked out and I now have Solus on my dv2500. It is not the fastest machine due to the fact it is about 10 years old but I works rather well. It actually works good enough that I don’t mind pulling out this laptop and using it for a bit now. The install was simple but I had no wifi and like most other distros it thought I had a 2nd screen attached. The wifi was a quick fix with the hardware manager. I clicked the Broadcom wireless, told it to use it, then an install and reboot later I was in business. The 2nd screen issue required me to open the display program and turn off the 2nd screen…pretty easy. Again I am completely impressed how a young, independent distro could work so well. I thought for sure it would fall short on hardware support but so far so good.
Not sure why I didn’t start looking into Budgie with this distro, but I know I like Budgie so I feel I need to look into the distro which created it. Besides the location detector not finding me the install was painless. Being new to Solus I had to look into the package management commands. Luckily they have a nice wiki with everything laid out nice and simple. Also a big plus with this distro: there is very few packages installed by default making it nice and clean. In the end I was completely impressed. This is an independant distro that gave me no hassles and was incredibly simple to get up and running.
Is it better than Unity? Yes. Is it better than Gnome, Yes. Is it better than Cinnamon? I don’t know yet. From my testing this is a great spin. So good I am installing it on real hardware. This distro was recently made an official Ubuntu distro similar to Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, and Ubuntu Gnome; so I had to take a look at it. From what I can tell, it bypasses some of the more terrible Gnome features. It is similar to Cinnamon in resource usage but I really like the layout. Once I start using it on real hardware this may change but I do think this spin is worth a try. It looks good, it has the huge Ubuntu repo behind it, and (something Gnome and Unity lack) it feels really usable.
Budgie is an interesting UI. It is miles better than Gnome or Unity and more shiny than Cinnamon. I looked at the 15.11 release and it was very flaky but there was something about the UI that caught my attention. Looking at 16.06.1, it is definitely running better than the 15.11 release. It lacks the configurability of most DEs but it is young and will improve over time. It also seems to be less resource hungry than Gnome or KDE while at the same time keeping a modern feel. Definitely will continue to keep an eye on it.
At first I wasn’t feeling this spin. The UI wasn’t stable and it felt slow. But after getting it updated (had to update the keys first). It seemed to be more stable. After cranking up the RAM and enabling 3D acceleration in the VM it ran pretty well. Also somehow the keyboard got set to Italian by default. Not sure if I caused this or it was automatic. Either way it was a much quicker to fix than reinstall and investigate. If this spin gets updated I’d like to run it on physical machine and see if I still like it in real world use.