Thread: SolusOS
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Old 15. May 2012, 08:06 AM   #25 (permalink)
MidnightCowboy
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We've been in a situation for some time now whereby the majority of operations, and pretty much everything for average use, can be achieved as good as or better than Windows, and certainly faster with Linux. The main advantage, for most distros, is the ability to have everything you need for average use installed and ready to run within 10-20 minutes of firing up the CD. The three main stumbling blocks were installation, network configuration, customisation and system errors.

Taking these one at a time, installation is now pretty straightforward. There are ample distros to choose from that provide intuitive GUI installs, even for dual boot scenarios.

Networking still provides a challenge for anyone wishing to use KDE. As I've found out, different distros are very system specific when it comes to recognising network cards, and particularly mobile broadband dongles. The new Mageia2 for instance still does not recognise either of the two most widely used modems in Brazil. Gnome has never suffered from this and is dead easy to set up although I appreciate that a first time Linux user may need to download some screenshots of the various settings options beforehand.

Customisation is something we all love to do. Some items such as backgrounds and themes are easier to do than Windows but others require more work, and of course more time because where they are and what to do with them needs researching first. Nevertheless, the customising options for Linux are light years ahead of what can be achieved with Windows.

System errors in Linux are still a major issue, although not so for those of us who have lived with these for some time and are pretty much clued up about what to do. As highlighted in the Solus article I linked to, the reviewer states that he mostly finds at least two or three things in a distro that either do not work at the outset or break later. System updates can also be the cause of a lot of anguish as users frequently see their sound, video or network disappear. Windows of course is not immune to this, but mostly it is third party programs that cause all the problems. Sticking with genuine system errors though, these are few and far between with Windows, and are usually fixed pretty quickly, or at least the information about how to do a DIY repair is readily available. With Linux too, things are fixed even quicker (mostly) than Windows but by this time a newbie may have lost connectivity or be required to take additional actions which are not as straightforward as with Windows. The big downside for Linux here is that many breakages are very system specific so finding a tailored solution often takes some time and effort. Some of the Linux forums are still far from newbie friendly and the condescending manner of the replies must have driven many a convert straight back to Windows.

This then is where we come to the big v little support debate. You can always find exceptions wherever you look and the data to back up one argument against another, but in general, the small team or one-man-band distros are often ahead of the major distros when it comes to support. Kororaa, Bodhi, and Zorin for instance are prime examples that have risen to the top of their own genre pile. Solus would appear to be another and the fact that nothing breaks when you switch it on (or off) already gives it a head start. Certainly the dedication appears to be in place to support Solus but I guess this will be influenced ultimately by how many folks adopt it as a system. This then largely comes down to the mainstream reviewers, including Dedoimedo and what they think to it. Us happy but average Joe's might already be missing something that these guys pick up, but so far it looks to be one of the most promising releases for a long time.
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