Ladies and gentleman, it’s the moment you have all been waiting for… the main even of the evening! In this corner, wearing Budgie trunks, fighting out of Ireland, created by Ikey Doherty, the man behind Linux Mint Debian Edition — SolusOS! And in this corner, built on the defending champion, also wearing Budgie trunks, aiming to be the next flavor of Ubuntu, Budgie-Remix!
Two distros with the Budgie Desktop environment enter, only one will leave victorious. The rules are simple:
- Which is the fastest?
- Which is the most stable?
- Which has the most software available?
- Which has the best release cycle?
LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!
SolusOS is built from the ground up — to be fast. Even from my live USB installation media, SolusOS is snappy. The installer does not bog you down with complicated options, although it still leaves a little to be desired — namely in disk security.
There are no default options available to encrypt your disk or your home folder through the installer. But this distro installs fast! And when you reboot, you are in for a huge surprise.
On my Skylake i3 with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, from the SolusOS boot menu, it took FIVE seconds to get to the login screen. FIVE SECONDS! I have never seen a Linux distro boot so fast, not even Arch. And using SolusOS is an absolute dream. Applications are snappy, and don’t get bogged down by the default Arc theme.
Budgie-Remix is built on Ubuntu, which in turn is built on Debian. It’s not the fastest distro in the Linux world, and is a bit sluggish running from the live media. The install process is exactly the same as an Ubuntu installation, as Budgie-Remix uses the same installer, so without connecting to the internet for updates during install, you will be up and running in about 15 minutes.
After a reboot, it takes the same time from the boot menu to login screen as an Ubuntu installation, roughly 20 seconds on my machine. You can definitely feel the Ubuntu “bloat,” as applications take an extra second or two to load, compared to a minimal distro, but if you are an avid Ubuntu user, there really is no change.
Winner: SolusOS. This isn’t even fair. SolusOS is faster in every way, including shutdown.
SolusOS is an independent distro, built from scratch. The distro doesn’t have a huge team supporting it, and is not backed by a corporate entity. I’ve been using SolusOS for about a week, and neither the OS itself, or any of the applications have crashed on me, even running on a brand new hardware.
After the initial update from the installation image, I’ve got the 4.7 kernel installed, and SolusOS hooks into the 3.20 Gnome files. If something were to break, however, there is no large community to answer any questions.
Budgie-Remix is stable, mostly because it uses older software. The kernel is 4.4, and Gnome 3.18. I got some random crashes here and there, but nothing that completely broke the system, and nothing out of the ordinary when compared to a normal Ubuntu installation. Even then, if I did manage to break something, the Ubuntu community is top notch, and I’m sure I could fix any issue in no time at all. Heck, MakeUseOf even has a great beginners guide for Ubuntu.
Winner: Tie. I got no crashes in SolusOS, and a couple in Budgie-Remix… but I think what evens the two distros out is the support. Everyone who uses Linux has at least tried Ubuntu at some point and can help you with an issue, and the forums are a wealth of information; while SolusOS is supported by three developers and a small forum.
SolusOS uses eopkg, a direct continuation of the PiSi package manager found in the Turkish distro, Pardus Linux. Being a from-scratch — and new — distro, the software repos are still small. Don’t get me wrong, all the necessities are there: LibreOffice and The GIMP are available in the repos; and Firefox, VLC, and Thunderbird are installed by default.
There is, however, a great feature found in the package manager: a third party software installation section with Chrome Browser, Spotify, Sublime Text Editor, Opera Browser, and the Google Talk plugin. If you do not need 100% libre software, this feature is just plain nice. I really like the package manager in SolusOS… it is super clean, and it integrates a software updater with a traditional package management system.
Busgie-Remix, on the other hand, has oodles and oodles of applications available, because it pulls directly from the Ubuntu software repos — and is ppa compatible for software not found in the repos. Budgie-Remix comes pre-installed with the Plank dock and your standard run of the mill Ubuntu programs, including the Gnome (Ubuntu) Software Center… which I’m not a huge fan of (but I do see the appeal).
Winner: Budgie-Remix, but ask me again in a few months… I like the SolusOS package manager better than the Gnome Software Center, but SolusOS lacks a good software base for most users. I expect that to change.
SolusOS began as a Debian derivitave, under the name EvolveOS. After fighting with maintaining the distro to keep up with software changes, the developer decided to start from scratch. As of the 1.2 release of SolusOS, the distro is a rolling release. You get the newest kernel, the newest Gnome, and software as it becomes available and/or updated. This means more maintenance on the user’s part, as updates can drop at any time, and it is up to the user to decide whether they should be installed or not.
Budgie-Remix is based on Ubuntu LTS, which means you will be backing up and reinstalling every couple years. You do not get the newest software, as packages get tested and sit in the queue waiting for the next OS release to drop. This means less maintenance on the user’s part, and could result in a more stable experience over the long run, as updates will not break the system as frequently.
Winner: Tie. I prefer the rolling release cycle, but stability through package age is less work to maintain. The choice is ultimately up to the user.
It was a close match, folks, which came right down to the wire… and the judges have come to a split decision!
The bottom line is, Budgie-Desktop is a minimal, intuitive, use-able desktop environment. It is reminiscent of Cinnamon desktop (Linux Mint developer, remember?), but has some undertones of the included KDE/Qt elements, with a little XFCE4 thrown in for good measure. SolusOS has the stability to be your daily driver, but if you are comfortable with Ubuntu already, and absolutely need that massive software catalog, the Budgie-Desktop experience will only enhance your experience.
Have you tried SolusOS or Budgie-Remix? Which do you prefer, the Ubuntu base or the independent system built for speed? Or, what about the honorable mentions: Gecko Linux with Budgie or Arch with Budgie? Let me know in the comments below!