I wanted to first start with showing my appreciation to all involved in Solus (Devs/Maintainers/Contributors/Community). Such an awesome distro and community! I am grateful to all people involved, whether you are in the background or front and center. I'm thankful for all the years Solus has enabled me to use my computer how I want to. Also has become a project that I've become extremely passionate about. You are all appreciated!
My intentions, and the purpose of this post, is to create a dialog first and foremost. For this post to become a place in which the community can come to discuss the current state of the Solus Project.
To me, I view this as almost the elephant in the room. Like talking about this feels taboo. Which I believe is NOT how things should be. Which could be my own subjective sense/perspective of things. But this is something which I believe many long time users wish to see answered. Maybe I'm late to the party and this has been answered unofficially through other posts many times. If I've missed that, my bad. I want to create this dialog so we have a better understanding of the state of the Solus Project. I want to hear your voice. Whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts and ideas. Believe what I say is very problematic/unhelpful, or if you think what I'm saying is spot on. I want to hear you out.
With the information I have, and general experience, these are all the conclusions I've come to....
Well it's clear a lot of things have changed since the inception of the Solus Project. I got onboard back during Solus 3 Budgie's initial release. So I've seen a few different stages/seasons of Solus now.
I was riding the wave of Solus 3 Budgie's Release, the deeper down the Solus rabbit hole I went, the closer I followed the team and the project in general.
Which brings me to the first set back and hit I saw Solus take as a project. The creator/lead of Solus (Ikey) disappearing without a word. This was at a time when Solus started a patreon and seemed to be going full steam ahead. The possibilities seemed limitless. The support/backing Solus was receiving when all crew mates were on deck seemed to be amazing. From my point of view anyway haha. Solus was my introduction to Linux, but it definitely felt like the Solus community truly believed in what the team were doing. Really felt like what Solus was doing was exploring uncharted territory.
The impacts and effects of that whole situation were worrying to begin with. I felt like I had just found the perfect Operating System and I barely got to sail the seas. It felt ultra anticlimactic. But through the work of the Solus Team, they managed to take action and not let the ship sink. All the hard work to keep things afloat when basically being locked out of funds and other key areas etc. It was a sight to behold. The effort to keep this ship sailing is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes.
After the team figured out a way to keep things moving and getting their bearings on the situation. They instilled belief back in me, through word and action. Things felt great again, I was able to continue using Solus and there was progress being made. This period lasted for quite some time. My confidence was pretty much back. Even though during this period I saw no major features or implementation of new technologies that I would take notice of as a Solus Plasma user. I was at ease again. Until....
Then we move on to the second major set back and hit that I've seen Solus take. Another core/lead team member of Solus (Josh) leaving the project. This one actually made me feel like I was DOOMED as a Solus user. It felt like all hope was lost. The second core/lead of Solus leaving. Doubt and despair crept in. I began to consider my options. Was I going to jump ship and save myself, or go down with it? I made the decision to go down with the ship. It turned out to be a good decision, because out stepped the last remaining hope. DataDrake and crew! The new captain, reassured us all that our ship would continue to sail for as long as possible. I began to feel optimistic in our survival and new endeavors. Confidence and trust slowly being built back up. Things have been stable and well maintained ever since! But after that initial action/statement to keep things moving and operational. Things have gotten really quiet, not in terms of activity, but in communication. Which has allowed doubt to creep back into my mind. Not a new experience for me as a Solus Crew Mate. The sea was rough and dangerous, then it calmed until it became still, but the fog thickened. To the point where I now know not where we are, or where we are going. From my perspective it feels like we are lost at sea, like we're low on supplies and crew mates are disappearing in the night and using the lifeboats/rafts to go their own way. Things are fine for now, but it feels like the calm before the storm....
Each age from MY perspective (Completely subjective)
Pre Ikey Leaving (Golden Age)
Pre Josh Leaving (Silver Age)
Current Age (Unknown)
Yes, I know putting Solus' timeline from my perspective seems like I'm firing shots or discrediting peoples invaluable hard work & contribution. But that's not what this is. I hope my description helps you all understand how it feels as a long time end user of Solus. I know it all seems very dramatic lol. But I'm just passionate. I also hope this is not just unhelpful ranting, instead helpful perspective. But I do feel unsure about the current state of Solus.
This post: https://discuss.getsol.us/d/7856-not-dead-yet
I find that to be the perfect response and action to take!
Though, that was on the 3rd January and it feels like radio silence ever since. Again, not talking about activity and maintenance. But official communication. I also understand and acknowledge that this project is maintained by VOLUNTEERS! I don't expect people to cater to my every desire lol. I'm grateful and I do appreciate all the time, energy and effort that goes into Solus as a project. For everyone that is involved. I can only imagine all the enlarged responsibilities and learning curves that come with things shifting around after core/lead team members leaving this project. Must be insane! You all have my respect for being able to push through all of that. Basically damage control. As a user, I haven't been impacted negatively in my user experience at all tbh. I have been able to do what I need to do on my laptop. I receive weekly updates. Things are great. But if I step back and look at the bigger picture. Things feel on the decline. That they have stagnated/plateaued.
That feeling of being left in the dark and facing the unknown. Really allows doubt to creep in, and for our confidence to slowly fade. I am a very casual user, I just use my laptop for basic computing needs. Web Browsing, documents, media consumption etc etc. So my knowledge on how things work behind the scenes are limited. I trust you all have been putting in hard work that end users like me don't and will never appreciate or see. I also probably miss most of the conversations/discussions about things like this because this forum is my only source for solus. I also have no real experience to compare this to. I don't know if this is a normal occurrence in a distro's life. Just a period to readjust and recalibrate or one to be concerned about. These are just my genuine feelings. Feels like we don't have a compass or map, and if we do, no one is communicating. As a team you probably already expected and predicted these types of concerns and questions I have as an end user. Are my feelings and concerns justified or am I completely delusional lol?
Anything that I need to be corrected on, please do. Call me out on anything that I say that goes against any objective/factual information regarding Solus.
Now to offer my perspective as an end user on how to help me and others like me gain confidence, build trust, and develop belief in the Solus Project.
I think in order for the Solus Project to be in a healthy and thriving state. We have to have clear community guidelines and a set of principles to guide us. Ones that have been developed/agreed upon with the input/feedback of the Solus community. Ones that we can all get behind and want to support. A standard! Something that has been stated is being changed and improved upon.
Standards are a great way to hold everyone accountable. To allow for reflection and examination of oneself in relation to Solus as a project. To see if you're aligning with the standards Solus places on the community.
If we all have a mutual understanding of the Solus standard. The expectations for the Solus community as a whole, it'll only benefit the project long term.
I actually now see Josh's departure as a great thing because he is able to focus on budgie like never before. That can only be a good thing for budgie users.
I think we all fell in love with Solus for it's philosophy and execution of it: a pragmatic, user-focused experience with a well-curated repository (Simple, Fast, and Free). The team has shown great character/integrity over the years by not compromising where it matters most. I respect that so much. To add to that by having a standard to hold us all accountable, I actually like the approach Buddies of Budgie is taking, I think that is a great model that is being developed. One that could possibly be used as a solid foundation or reference point to build upon for Solus even??
Check it out here: https://blog.buddiesofbudgie.org/state-of-the-budgie-may-2022/
Here are a few principles I find important:
Things should be clear, straight forward, comprehensive, easy to follow. Minimal. Whether that is the Solus UX, website/blog, forum UX or documentation/guidelines etc.
Transparent/Open and regular (at the very least bimonthly)
Respect the end user (User-Centric)
Being user-centric is a good thing. Respect the end user. Great way to attract passionate and supportive users. Respect goes both ways obviously!
Passion & Excellence
I think this one is straight forward, the foundation of doing great work is being passionate. Strive to do all with excellence, this usually comes from being passionate about what you do.
I believe it's magnetic in nature to have a clearly communicated system for how we receive and expect new information. If communicated and executed well. People get onboard. There should be a clear vision for what Solus wants to achieve, short, mid, and long term goals etc. Not talking about ETA'S. More so vision. Again, I like how Buddies of Budgie set out to accomplish these things. I find as an end user, if I see the vision, align with it, see there are goals, a roadmap to look forward to (I know I know) and I'm able to follow along and even have input into that process, I'm all in. You have to want us to be invested. That is how. You're not entitled to our support/donations. You have to earn it. It's on you as a team to produce something that we find value in and can remain invested in. On the flip side, you yourselves should be passionate first. It's impossible to please everyone, but that's where the Solus philosophy, standards, community guidelines etc come in to play. So we are all on the same page. But I know from past experience, that I was looking forward to every new update (ISO, new features, new technologies, improvements etc) Solus used to deliver back in the day, Hackfest via youtube, blogposts outlining vision/goals/roadmap/release etc. It was all because I believed in the team, the vision and what Solus was about. So much so, that financial support was the logical step for me.
But if we don't have any of those things in place. Why would we get excited? Why would we invest? Why would we believe? Why would we use Solus?
This ISN'T even me saying we are having a titanic moment. Or that Solus is dying....
I know there are so many things that go on behind the scenes that I'm unaware of, I'm sure. But I dont know if it's just me. But Solus' potential as an operating system is insane in my eyes. It's current state alone has me loyal, but I see how much growing it can do. That's why I'm so passionate. It's quality!
Your turn! I want to hear your counter arguments, your different perspectives, your honest thoughts and ideas. Regardless, I look forward to hearing from whoever wants to discuss the state of Solus. Let's talk about it!
I'm optimisic and hopeful for the future of Solus. Let's see Solus reach it's potential!
Thanks for all the time and effort put into Solus.
Even if no one engages with this post or it's dismissed completely. I'll continue using Solus as usual!
Grace and Peace 🙂