Review: SolusOS 1 "Eveline"

I've gotten a couple requests to review this distribution, and I've wanted to do it, but for a while all that was being released consisted of beta versions and release candidates. Now, however, version 1 "Eveline" has been released in its final form, so I am reviewing that now.

Main Screen + Cardapio Menu
SolusOS is supposed to be a user-friendly, stable distribution based on Debian 6 "Squeeze". It features a customized GNOME 2 that looks rather reminiscent of Linux Mint; this is not surprising, considering that the lead developer also contributes heavily to Linux Mint. In fact, its use of GNOME 2 makes it almost like a throwback version of Debian-based Linux Mint, now that the latter distribution has moved onto MATE and GNOME 3/Cinnamon.

I tested the 32-bit live edition using a live USB made with MultiSystem. Follow the jump to see what it's like.

After getting past the boot menu, I was greeted by a rather snazzy-looking boot splash. This is an unusually nice touch for a distribution based on Debian straight-up, and it is one that I appreciated quite a bit. After that, I was taken to the desktop.

The desktop, as mentioned before, recalls the look and feel of Linux Mint with GNOME 2. There is one panel on the bottom featuring, from left to right, a Cardapio menu, a window list, and a notification area. For some reason, there is a rather large blank area in the panel surrounding both sides of the clock applet; I do not know if this was by design or if there were supposed to be applets there that disappeared due to some bug, but it seemed rather weird. The GTK+ and Metacity window themes are Victory, while the icon theme is Elementary. Overall, the desktop looks very cohesive and pleasing to use.

Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is the default browser at version 12. Given that this is the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, I hope this means that SolusOS will keep up-to-date with that and not delay too much in shipping the latest version. Anyway, that aside, it seems like true to the word of the website, multimedia codecs have been included and work well. In addition, my laptop's volume keyboard shortcuts were recognized properly.

LibreOffice is the default productivity suite, and it works well. One small issue though is that some of the icons for some LibreOffice programs in the Cardapio menu are replaced by generic application icons.
Other installed applications include the usual GNOME 2 tools, PlayOnLinux, Dropbox, Mozilla Thunderbird, Minitube, VLC, and others. In addition, Nautilus has been modified with the always-nice Elementary extension.

There are two package managers available. One is PackageKit, which is a little unusual for a Debian-based distribution with GNOME. The other is the standard Synaptic Package Manager. Unfortunately, none of the root passwords I tried ("root" based on standard conventions, "adminuser" after searching for what the SolusOS live root password would be, or others) worked, so the latter program did not work at all. The former program was able to search for packages, so I was able to see things like the fact that Skype is available in the repositories. The only issue was that I could not install said packages, so I could not do my usual tests like checking if Skype and Google Talk work. Given that this is based off of Debian, I have a moderate level of confidence that these would work, but at this point I cannot say for sure. In any case, I hope that the SolusOS developer(s) could make the process of escalating user privileges work in the live session.
Nautilus Elementary + LibreOffice
Writer + Desktop Cube
(Now, some of you may say that I would not run into this problem in this review had I done a full installation. My response to that is that I have already been burned twice by faulty Linux installations, so if I ever install another Linux distribution on my computer's hard drive, it will be after much deliberation and testing in the live session to make sure every last thing works, and it will be for the long haul.)

As this is GNOME 2, Compiz works. In SolusOS, Compiz is included, and it does in fact work quite well.
Even with Compiz running, SolusOS used only 220 MB of RAM at idle according to the GNOME System Monitor. Now that's what I'm talking about! I wish more distributions could be that light on RAM. Plus, even though this is the 32-bit edition, SolusOS recognized that my laptop has a dual-core processor and 4 GB of RAM, which is amazing.

That is basically where my time with SolusOS ended. I will probably have to revisit it to check out any issues with Skype or Google Talk, but from what I can see, it is quite polished and well-done, and this is even more impressive considering that this is the maiden release. For now, I can give it a very high recommendation; newbies, prepare to be impressed.
You can get it from here.