Home > Ken Starks, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, REGLUE, SolusOS > Making do with the iguana

Making do with the iguana

November 4, 2013

Ken Starks, my good friend in the Lone Star State, was firmly plopped into a predicament recently when SolusOS sadly suspended operations. We’ll look at Ken’s solution in a minute, but I wanted to give the passing of SolusOS its due: I tried it, liked it, I thought Ikey Doherty was on the right track and, sadly, I find it incredibly unfortunate that there were not enough hands on deck to keep the distro going.

So Ikey suspended operations. Perhaps someone will pick up the ball and run with it, but that remains to be seen.

On several occasions, I’ve given this assessment of how distros thrive or die: In short, I’ve said that distros live and die by their quality and what they have to offer; the better ones keep going, and the not-go-good ones atrophy to varying degrees before becoming obsolete.

I was wrong, and I apologize now, when I said only bad distros go by the wayside. I’ve changed my tune accordingly.

Sometimes good distros get suspended in the limbo of closing up shop due to various reasons — life changes by the lead developers and/or higher-ups, a shrinking community that cannot maintain the distro because, well, there are only 24 hours in a day, or any other reasons that a distro stops moving forward.

SolusOS falls under this category, just as Wolvix did several years ago (shortly after I reviewed it here — hopefully that is a coincidence). Wolvix, a Slack-based distro, was developed by a single lead developer and had, for all intents and purposes, one of the best control panels I’ve ever seen in a distro — an excellent control panel I haven’t seen since.

Anyway, back to Ken’s predicament: I know that Reglue, the Austin outfit that keeps Ken out of trouble while he supplies underprivileged kids with Linux boxes in the area, was planning to use a verison of SolusOS for its hardware, along with the educational respin of Linux Mint 13/Cinnamon by Randy Noseworthy (no, he and I are not twins, as someone suggested recently, though we have never been seen in the same place at the same time) and also with the Zorin 6.4 educational spin.

Not anymore: Ken writes very eloquently, as usual, here and finds that the next candidate up for the kids in Austin with the Reglue hardware is OpenSUSE: Education-Life.

That’s a good call. OpenSUSE does not get the skylit, red-carpet adoration and accolades many think it deserves, but it consistently puts out a solid distro with a solid community. Also, since Ken is a keen observer on distro quality and ease of use (or lack thereof), it’s a great endorsement for OpenSUSE for Reglue to be at the top of the list.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. November 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Larry, like you I was a big fan of Wolvix. It was definitely my favorite Slackware derivative, and I used it both because the control panel was so ahead of its time and because it had everything I wanted in the default install.

    I haven’t tried SolusOS. I’m happy with Xfce, currently in Fedora because that’s what my hardware likes, though Ubuntu/Xubuntu works just as well in the 13.10 cycle.

    While it’s another one-man-band distro, I’d like to suggest that Ken and others look at Stella — http://li.nux.ro/stella/, which is a CentOS spin with enough extra desktop packages to make it worthwhile. If you like GNOME 2 and want to keep it around for the foreseeable future, this is a great way to do it. And since it’s built on CentOS/RHEL, it’s a very, very long-term-support distro.

    Even if Stella developer Nux should stop work on the distro, it’s not so much a derivative as it is a “slight spin,” as most of its packages come direct from the CentOS repositories (along with RPM Fusion), so there’s a bit of “insurance” there.

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