Infant Mortality Strikes SolusOS

There are some who claim there are too many distros created for silly reasons. Today, one died young, SolusOS. It was created in February:
“SolusOS is a beginner-friendly desktop Linux distribution based on the latest stable release of Debian GNU/Linux. It features the GNOME 2 desktop, a good selection of default applications for everyday tasks, updated software applications from Debian “backports” and the project’s own repositories, a complete set of multimedia plugins, a custom GNOME menu, and an intuitive graphical installer.”

So, someone had a better idea for a default user-interface and installer… They found it’s hard to beat an original (Debian has ~1K developers) and gave up. It’s too big a job to do alone or even in small numbers and one could get a similar result just by publishing a package list. Oh, there is the GNOME 2 thing. I use XFCE4 and I don’t miss GNOME. Some multimedia plugins cannot legally be distributed so that would eventually kill the project if software patents are not killed and it ever rose to prominence. SolusOS was fairly well received on Distrowatch but it takes more than some interest to make a project thrive.

That distros come and go is not a problem for most of us, because there are other distros to which we can migrate. No one weeps that startup businesses fail at a very high rate for similar reasons: too little capital, manpower, niche product, minimal advertising etc. That’s just the way things are. It’s healthy that people make the attempt. It’s a learning experience for them and the world will benefit from better ideas.

Debian has the right idea. Instead of dictating to the user, the distro attempts to be universal, giving everyone what they want.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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9 Responses to Infant Mortality Strikes SolusOS

  1. Mats Hagglund says:

    Well, this is good because it’s part of evolution of “species”. Some of them survive, some extinct. SolusOS was not capable to survive – there were never much room for that OS.

  2. Fewt says:

    “The point of the article was not to denigrate anyone’s work.”

    If that’s the case perhaps you should choose better wording because that’s exactly what you’ve done.

  3. Fewt wrote, “He did far more than write an installer, you really should educate yourself for once.”

    The point of the article was not to denigrate anyone’s work. This was about the nature of GNU/Linux distros, their numbers and evolution. Solus OS and its authour could be replaced in the post with dozens of other good distros and authours. e.g. Many years ago, when many PCs had floppy drives, there were a host of distros which actually fit on a single floppy or a pair. One of my favourites was tomsrtbt, “Tom’s Root and Boot”. Another was LOAF, “Linux on a FLoppy”. These are pretty well replaced by USB drives holding complete modern distros but the work of those authours was valuable and considerable. Tom, for one, had to keep an old version of many libraries up to date so software bloat did not defeat his purpose. He also had a procedure to format floppies at higher density…

    FLOSS is about better software. It takes effort to produce and to distribute it. Everyone who does that should be commended whether or not the project grows and dominates some space. Death is a part of life and even those projects that die off have done their part.

  4. Fewt says:

    We need to stop discounting the work of others and writing their efforts off as trivial. It does a disservice to everyone in the community to be so simple minded and shallow. This article sucks, and doesn’t even represent his work on a small scale. He did far more than write an installer, you really should educate yourself for once.

  5. Sandman says:

    @dougman: He has done more things than SolusOS..

    @pogson: Everything usually start as a one-man project.. then it grows. That was true for Debian at one point. If we condemned everyone for trying.. nothing new would ever be created. Debian has it’s faults but so does most distros. SolusOS was a great project even if I wasn’t using it (yet). Forcing everyone into the same form will hinder innovation. A different distro is not the same on a fragmentation scale as Mir. A distribution still support upstream no matter which name it bares. SolusOS had the same build pieces as any other distro. The package format pisi was pretty much the only thing it was using it self.

  6. Sandman wrote, “They guy is awesome! Just look at his track record. He should have more respect!”

    Of course he did a great job but it’s too big a job for one guy. Doing that big job prevents gathering a large enough clan together to do it better than other long-standing distros. Consider Linus. He too is awesome but he defined the project and invited dozens of contributors in the first year. Now look at it, thousands of contributors and a bunch of powerful organizations supporting Linux. There’s nothing wrong with a one-person distro but it can’t be much more than a new face on another distro. Besides the manpower issue and the fertility of ideas, one collision with a bus, a bacterium or a virus could eliminate a distro like that. There have been distros that were one-man for a long time like Slackware, but they are rarely successful in the long run and usually narrowly focussed. I applaud the effort expended. No doubt it was a contribution to human understanding of such projects.

  7. dougman says:

    Awesome….respect? For what???

    For starting something then simply abandoning it?


  8. Sandman says:

    This article made me a bit angry not only does it contain some pretty big fact faults but also it’s intent.

    It’s true that he didn’t have enough time.. The other is more or less BS from your side. He did pretty good and had almost everything done. He had batch repackaged all the debian packages to pisi format. He had a build service much like OBS and a lot of other stuff ready. SolusOS was first released 2012-05-09. It’s still young but a little older than what you wrote. Ikey was also the creator of the Debian version of Mint.

    The problem why he wasn’t able to stick with Debian was dependency issues as he wanted to be a bit more bleeding-edge. Why he had to go with pisi in version 2.0.

    They guy is awesome! Just look at his track record. He should have more respect!

  9. dougman says:

    Re: There are some who claim there are too many distros created….silly notion, *SARCASM* as the same could said regarding life and diversity on this planet.

    Seems the person behind the SolusOS, had a change in priorities. Who starts something then abandons it in 2-3 months time?

    I have used XFCE, KDE, GNOME and of late Cinnamon with much success, 2.0 was just released and does not use Gnome as a backend, as the prior versions did.

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