Solus Linux Review - 4.3 Plasma

Solus Linux Review - 4.3 Plasma

Solus Linux Plasma Review Start Menu

Solus Linux Plasma Desktop Screenshot

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2022 - April 21, 2022

Solus Linux Rating: ★★★★★

Four Choices

Solus offers four desktops to choose from: Budgie, Gnome, Mate, and Plasma. As previously mentioned in Solus Linux Budgie 9 Month Review, the Budgie desktop is excellent, and it has now become my primary OS. But everyone is different, and everyone has different preferences. One of my preferences is to have variances of desktop themes so that I will not get bored of seeing the same thing all day every day. Since Solus Budgie has been superbly dependable, my choice was to install Solus Plasma on a second computer, to later be used for offline work. The results have all been favorable.

First Impressions

First noticed was the task manager bar along with its smoother and more modern icons: thumbs-up from the start. I am not a fan of anything Windows® 10, including the underlining of open programs on the taskbar's icons, but on Plasma it seems to me to be agreeable.

Similar to Windows 8.1, hovering the mouse pointer over a task manager icon will enable a popup menu that has controls. This is one feature of 8.1 that I liked, especially for music programs.

Solus Linux Plasma Taskbar

Solus Linux Plasma Taskbar

I myself have not yet grown accustomed to having round control icons at the top-right of the window, so I chose to change the Application Style and Windows Decoration to Plastik with the MS Windows 95 layout. My preferences may change in the future, but for the moment this is most comfortable to me. And too, since I have a personal need to change an OS' appearances on occasion, then in the future I will be able to easily modify the UI in numerous different ways: again thumbs-up.

As is now common on many distros, the default setup has numerous window animations enabled. My personal preferences are for the instantaneous rising and lowering of windows, so after a quick visit to the Desktop Effects menu, I had the animations turned off.

Over the past few years I have tested several different distros with Plasma, but the tests did not last long because the OSes were buggy and crashed too often. I have only been using Solus Plasma for about a week, but so far everything has been very stable.

Over-all, the initial impression was that Plasma has received a sizable quantity of effort to refine the appearances while simultaneously adding useful features. In my opinion, the efforts have paid-off.

Software Variables

Of the default programs that come with Solus Plasma, all of them appear to work fine. For my own personal needs, I also installed Geany, gThumb, Krita, Gnumeric, Falkon browser, and various games, all without a glitch. The default music player is Elisa, which looks very nice, and I was anxious to begin using Elisa, but it appears most suitable for small music collections. One of my music folders has a reported 9,933 files, of which Elisa was only showing about half of the music files within selected albums. No big deal though, I merely installed Rhythmbox: problem solved.

Since I plan to primarily use Solus Plasma for offline file maintenance, then the Dolphin file manager's added right-click menu commands are useful and favored.

Solus Linux Plasma Selection Colors

Solus Linux Plasma Selection Colors

For those of us who enjoy having different color schemes on occasion, Solus Plasma permits changing selection highlight colors. For myself, I really like having the freedom to choose colors that match my personal preferences. With a smile of appreciation, changing selection colors enabled Rhythmbox to have a resemblance to the MusicBee music player that I preferred in Windows.

Over-all, and as compared to Solus Budgie, for me the only weighty difference of apps is that Budgie has the keyboard volume shortcut that I sincerely like a lot, while Plasma has the more common mouse-wheel-scroll over the taskbar icon for volume control. Considering that I am primarily using Solus Budgie for keyboard work, and that I plan to primarily use Solus Plasma for file work that relies upon the use of the mouse, then for my needs the differences are not important.


Interestingly — and a little surprising — Solus Plasma appears to run programs no less quickly than Solus Budgie. Past experience with other distros usually had Plasma running a little (or a lot) slower than other UI desktops, so this installation definitely shows a further refinement of Plasma.

Display Quality

As mentioned in the Solus Linux Budgie 9 Month Review, the graphics and font quality in Solus are very good. It is worth mentioning that immediately prior to installing Solus Plasma, I installed two popular distros for the purpose of determining if either were as good as Solus Budgie, plus which distro that I might prefer for file work. Although both distros had better graphics quality than Windows, still both distros had poor font quality. Upon installing Solus Plasma, the choice was immediately obvious: Solus Plasma's font quality was far superior.

On the Internet are thousands of people complaining about fuzzy poor quality font displays in Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10. I myself have spent countless hours attempting to improve font quality in Windows — and to alleviate the headaches caused by the eye strain of looking at blurry-fuzzy-pixelated 8-bit Atari®-like fonts — but regardless of the hardware and drivers, I was never able to find a solution. On the same computer with the same hardware and the same monitor, all versions of Windows from XP to 10 have low quality fonts, but the font problem completely disappears when installing Solus. The problem is not hardware related; the problem is the OS and how well the OS is designed. Solus Linux is the best known solution to Windows' font problems.

Happy Sum

For several years, a humor in my house is that I would test a new distro version, and within a day or week, I would again declare Linux to be unusable because of instability, perpetual configurations, and of software that was less than stellar. Since it had been a habitual hobby to test software just for the fun of seeing how well it functions, I chose to test Solus because of its dark Budgie theme. Persistence paid off; I finally found a distro that works, and works so well that I have been able to walk (leap) away from Windows without regret. When I finish a lengthy document currently in a Windows 8.1 box, the pc will go into the closet, not to again be used except perhaps for replacement parts.

While using Solus Linux, my eye strain is gone, the headaches are gone, stress is negligible, and for the first time in many years I am having fun with software. All distros have their advantages and disadvantages, but for people like myself who do a lot of keyboard work, Solus is the single top choice.

Solus Website