After a rocky 2023, Solus, one of the best independent Linux distro around, has introduced Solus 4.5 as its first release of 2024. This release comes after some time since the release of Solus 4.4 which showed up halfway into 2023.
Code-named “Resilience”, this release aims to offer many improvements and fixes across the board, while also providing a new ISO in the form of a XFCE-equipped offering.
Let's dive in and see what's on offer.
🆕 Solus 4.5: What's New?
Solus 4.5 is powered by a customized Linux kernel 6.6.9 that brings in better hardware support, no compression of kernel modules during initramfs creation, use of the BORE scheduler by default and enabling of all sound codecs/drivers.
Don't worry, for those who prefer an older kernel, there is also the option of opting for Linux kernel 5.15.145.
Some key highlights of this release include:
- Calamares Installer
- Updated Application Suite
- Desktop Environment Upgrades
Solus finally has a new installer in the form of the popular Calamares installer, making the installation process straightforward, it is now easier to create partition layouts, and use different file systems such as Btrfs.
Updated Application Suite
For starters, Solus 4.5 features Mesa 23.3.2 that has some neat improvements such as a gallium VAAPI driver, IO support for built-in OpenGL overlay and ray-tracing support for Intel XE GPUs.
Then there's the implementation of AMD's ROCm tech that enables users with AMD hardware to take advantage of GPU acceleration in different kinds of workloads, while also allowing for hardware accelerated machine learning.
On the audio/video handling front, PipeWire replaces PulseAudio and JACK for a more reliable and better experience overall.
Desktop Environment Upgrades
However, the most important fixes and improvements are on the desktop environment side of things. Solus is offered in four distinct flavors, so let's take a look at those:
Solus 4.5 GNOME Edition is being offered with GNOME 45.2 with a few tweaks; the default GTK theme now uses adw-gtk3-dark for providing a more uniform look when running GTK3/4 apps based on libadwaita.
The file chooser now has a grid view, allowing users to pick files by looking at the thumbnails, even the mouse and touchpad settings are now more accessible.
The Plasma Edition also follows suit with it featuring Plasma 5.27.10, and all the latest KDE goodies such as KDE Gear, KDE Frameworks, KDE branch for QT, etc.
The developers are also slowly transitioning to support the upcoming Plasma 6 release, and the default behavior to open stuff like apps/folders is now double-click.
For the flagship version, Solus 4.5 comes with Budgie 10.8.2 featuring the Budgie Trash Applet, that paves the way for easy trashcan browsing, restoring and clearing.
Moreover, the “Dark Theme” toggle in the settings menu now sets the dark theme for all applications in the system that support it; except the ones that override this with other color schemes.
Introduced as a beta, the XFCE Edition of Solus is intended to replace the MATE edition, which was popular for its lightweight desktop experience. With this release, the developers have said users expect some “rough edges” as it will take some time to improve.
Solus 4.5 features XFCE 4.18 with a solid suite of applications that include the following:
- Thunar 4.18.6
- Parole 4.18.0
- Ristretto 0.13.1
- Mousepad 0.6.1
- Whiskermenu 2.8.0
Even though the devs are working towards providing a straightforward way for existing MATE Edition users to switch to Budgie or XFCE, existing users will still be supported until they are sure with their solution.
📥 Download Solus 4.5
You can grab the latest release of Solus in the four different variants from the official website.
For existing users, they can either upgrade to the latest release from the Software Center, or run the following command to get the upgrade:
sudo eopkg upgrade
💬 Any thoughts on this release? Let us know below!