The Consort Desktop Environment

Well, its official. We’ve forked GNOME Classic (fallback). As suggested by Ken Starks the fork will be called Consort. The reasoning for the name is very simple, the desktop always accompanies you.

What did we fork?

Right now we’ve forked the following items:

  • gnome-panel is now consort-panel
  • nautilus is now Athena
  • gnome-session-fallback will become consort-session
  • Metacity is now Consortium

Why’d you fork it?

Mainly to protect the users of our desktop components. Pinning patched packages higher than underlying packages proves far too tricky. The amount of patches in each mentioned component qualifies fork-status anyway, so it was time to admit it. Some projects are well under way, such as Athena and consort-panel, and some are brand new, such as the Consortium Window Manager.

With our forks, we can maintain an experience virtually identical to GNOME 2, but vastly improve it with no need for hardware acceleration such as with GNOME Shell or Cinnamon. Despite the fact these desktops can be used with software rendering via llvmpipe, it is meant only for debugging purposes.

We’re restoring the GNOME 2 experience and building on it. Bringing back all the old features, such as right click-interaction on the panel, GNOME 2 applet support, creating desktop launchers, etc. Regarding consort-panel a new wrapper API is being written which will allow Python GNOME 2 applets to run natively on consort-panel.

With Consortium, we forked Metacity 2.34. Basically its been a dead project for a while and needs some new life. Work is now underway to bring it up to GTK3/Cairo standards so that we can improve it. Fully antialiased window corners and plugins will be introduced, as well as extended theming.

With this new DE, we still maintain total compatibility with the GNOME suite itself. We’re not touching core-libraries so you’ll be able to install our desktop on most distros with GTK3, and have no issues. SolusOS 2 Alpha 7 will be released with the first test revision of Consort, and we advise that users should try the new ISO instead of manual updating.





Get Involved!

I took the decision to not name every component with SolusOS specific names so that other distributions and projects can get involved with the new DE. We’re gonna shake things up, and want as many people involved as possible. A new translations system and bug tracker are soon to be introduced.


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SolusOS 2 Alpha 6 Released!

The SolusOS team is pleased to announce the release of SolusOS 2 Alpha 6. This release is intended to demonstrate the potential of the new Desktop Environment being developed for SolusOS 2. Please note that this is an alpha release and should not be used in a production environment. Currently only the 32-bit PAE ISO is available for testing.

Some screenshots

Brief overview of software versions

  • Firefox 18.0
  • Thunderbird 17.0.2
  • LibreOffice 3.6.4
  • Linux Kernel 3.3.6-solusos (with BFS/preempt/no dyn ticks/1000Hz)
  • Athena 1.0
  • SolusOS Desktop Environment (GNOME 3.4 based)

Many new applications are available in the software repository.

Please use the SolusOS Forums for support and feedback

About this release

In this release we are showcasing the new Desktop Environment for SolusOS 2. It is originally based on GNOME 3.4 yet does not feature GNOME Shell. The base idea is to restore the traditional desktop metaphor as seen in GNOME2, and expand on it. To do this many components of GNOME have been patched, and in some places forked.

We have a shiny new file manager named Athena. This is a fork of Nautilus 3.4.2 and restores some sanity in terms of the user experience. A full length customisable toolbar is present, as well as some much needed functionality, like creating desktop shortcuts, etc. The UI is inspired by Nautilus Elementary 2.32. This is an ongoing development

GNOME Panel also supports traditional interaction, and you can simply interact via right click and add applets to the panel. It behaves identically to the 2.x GNOME Panel, barring the ability to lock applets, as they are located via (LEFT,CENTER,RIGHT) zones. This, in time, will be replaced by a new panel from the SolusOS project.

Known Issues

Being an alpha release there are bound to be problems. Two well known issues are:

  • Booting to black screen after installation. (Please remove vga=792 from your boot line if you are affected)
  • Minitube crashes immediately (A package update will follow to resolve this)

Rationale of release

This ISO is Debian based (as indicated by the GDM logo) to provide a testing and development environment for the rest of the SolusOS 2 ISO’s. It will vastly simplify the production of the new system, and serves as a demonstration platform for what is evolving into the SolusOS Desktop Environment.

Last but not least
Thank you to everyone involved in SolusOS. Without your help none of this would be possible. We
hope you enjoy this release as much as we have enjoyed creating it

32-bit MD5:



  • Thunderbird 17.0.2
  • Firefox 18.0
  • Cardapio location fixed (on pressing modifier)
  • Athena 1.0 replaces Nautilus 3.4.2
  • SolusOS Desktop Environment (early build)
  • 32-bit Edition: x86 Processor with PAE/NX
  • 512MB RAM
  • 3GB free disk space
  • Display capable of 1024×768 resolution
  • A DVD-R/RW or USB thumb drive
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SolusOS Dutch Forums Live!

The SolusOS Dutch Subforum has been born! All the Dutch SolusOS users are invited to use the new subforum to get support and advice in their native language. The Dutch subforum is moderated by Morrog.


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SolusOS 2 Poll Results.. Early

Unfortunately I am forced to stop the poll for the Public Consultation regarding PiSi usage in SolusOS 2.
Firstly, I want to thank everyone who participated in the Public Consultation. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Secondly, a rather sore point. An individual, or perhaps a group of individuals, found the means to begin a vote-rig.  This became rather obvious when I witnessed in real time (via Google Docs) the same comments (in the optional field) and “NO” vote being done many times in quick succession. This is a rather unfortunate turn of events as it mean some people do not like to play fairly.

Prior to rigging, the vote stood at 78%/22%, after my stopping of the rig it rested at 72%/28% in favour of PiSi. If we were to throw out some bad entries and go with the pattern shown throughout the days the poll was live, we can see that essentially 75% of SolusOS users are happy with the move to PiSi, leaving 25% not.

Regarding those who are not happy, a recurring theme has been a worry that a move to the PiSi package manager would result in a loss for the project. I shall now answer some of those points.

Debian Wheezy in its entirety will be converted into the base for SolusOS 2, in PiSi package format. The only packages we will not migrate will be dpkg/apt/aptitude and packages explicitly dependant on them. DKMS will be reworked for SolusOS 2, so you can rest assured that priorietary drivers will still work :)

An automatic conversion tool will be available. This will work in a similar fashion to “alien” but rather more advanced, also allowing source package conversion. This will be developed from our own repo-conversion tool. Given we will be initiating with a repackaged Wheezy base we are ensuring binary compatibility with Debian Wheezy. This means that any package built for Wheezy will (after use of the automated tools) will work in SolusOS 2.

Using our own package manager and repositories we can ensure that upstream breakages do not affect SolusOS 2. Once Wheezy becomes stable we will mirror and rebuild security and update repositories on a daily basis, which will be redirected to testing repos. Once verified these updates will appear in SolusOS 2 as delta packages. You will only need to download the difference between two packages, not the entire new package. This will save many users a lot of time and bandwidth, and reduce many headaches, allowing SolusOS 2 to be truly stable.

Using the PiSi package format will make the project maintance many times easier, and allow more members of the community to get involved in packaging their favourite apps, with minimal learning curve. Using the new package format (which we intend to extend on) we can ensure any inter-package relationships work correctly,  and that the experience offered to the end user is always the one we designed and set out to give.

Without any further ado, as they say, I would like to officially announce that SolusOS 2 will be PiSi based. Not only this, but to make sure that everyone knows exactly what is going into the repository, it will be built live for the world to see. A special subdomain, http://pisi./ has been setup exactly for this purpose. When the time is right, you will be able to witness the conversion of the entire Debian Wheezy repository into the PiSi package format, and rebuilt for the SolusOS 2 base as binary packages. It will be a truly enormous feat, and we hope you enjoy the show :)

Mid-Rig votes snapshot

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