Benchmarking, testing, and comparing Solus and Ubuntu Budgie. Budgie is a modern desktop environment developed as the flagship desktop environment for the Solus Linux distribution.
In this video we will overview the Budgie desktop, compare Solus and the Budgie flavor of Ubuntu, and see how this two stack up when it comes to benchmarking.
We are going to be doing an in-depth comparison of Solus and Ubuntu Budgie and later we will add in Manjaro to run some tests. We will go over many subjects including update structure, package management, and benchmarking. So to start, what are these Linux distributions?
First, in a nutshell, Ubuntu Budgie community developed fork of Ubuntu, which then is based on Debian, that features the Budgie as the default desktop environment. While Solus is completely it’s own thing. It is not based on any other Linux distributions, and just that fact alone adds a whole series of things to consider that we will be getting into. But before we get too far into the differences, let’s discuss the primary commonality of these two flavors of Linux.
So what is Budgie? This is developed by the Solus team as their flagship desktop environment. Budgie was written from scratch, but it does use GTK which are the tools of the GNOME desktop environment. However, they do plan on changing this to QT to get away from GNOME. If you want to learn a little more about GTK, I’d recommend checking out my XFCE vs LXQt video after this, where I touch on this a little more.
Budgie doesn’t feature a large amount of customization options compared to something like KDE Plasma, but it features enough to make it your own. The user that ends up picking this environment is someone who enjoys the Budgie look as is. Here are some of the key features within the Budgie Desktop environment. To see a more in depth look, watch the video at the top of this article.
- Panel Customization, Transparency, Intellihide, and more.
- Super clean application menu and interface.
- Budgie settings menu. Underwhelming in a good way.
- Sidebar and notification panel. (my favorite)
- Awesome widgets and tools.
- WeatherShow – weather forecasting tool.
- Wallstreet – a wallpaper utility.
- Visual-space – a compact workspace switcher.
- Dropby – manage USB thumb drives.
- Kangaroo – browse folders from the panel.
- Trash applet – manage your trash directory.
- Fuzzyclock – visually appealing clock applet.
- Workspace stopwatch – keep track of time spent in workspaces.
- Much more…
One of the key differences between these two Linux distributions is their update structures. Ubuntu Budgie ships out long-term supported versions that you will need to manually update if you want to move ahead to newer versions.
This results in a very stable experience as these LTS versions are rigorously tested before they are made official. A downside being it will take longer to get some of the latest and greatest features whether that be from applications or the Linux distro itself.
On the other hand, Solus uses a rolling-release model. Every Friday the Solus team will sync all the stable updates into the repositories making them available as an easy update on your system. Occasionally there are updates that can’t wait around such as bug fixes and security updates. If you’d like to learn more checkout this article on the Solus release structure. Manjaro follows a similar rolling release update structure.
These distributions have very different package managers and philosophies on how these packages are distributed.
Ubuntu Budgie uses the Advanced Packaging Tool or Apt. The Apt command can be used to install and remove packages, update and upgrade your system, and more. Being that this is a Debian based system you can also use dpkg.
Command Examples sudo apt update - Updating package index sudo apt upgrade - Upgrading packages sudo apt install kdenlive - Installing a package sudo apt remove kdenlive - Uninstalling a package
Being that Ubuntu is much older and has a huge user base there is a magnitude of software easily available. It is a simple task to find some of the most popular applications as it is to pull up random obscure packages.
In Solus there is not nearly as many packages available, but the software that is available is extremely stable, especially for a rolling release distribution. If there is software that is not in the Solus repositories, you actually need to request and make a case why it will be worth the developers time. Additionally, you can always build packages from source, but this is not nearly as easy as a single click in the software center.
Solus does get around this lack of software with the full support of both Flatpak and Snap packages. Solus used eopkg, a package manager developed for Pardus, the nationally recognized distribution of Turkey.
Command Examples sudo eopkg info kdenlive - Detailed package information sudo eopkg upgrade - Upgrading entire system sudo eopkg install kdenlive - Installing a package sudo eopkg remove kdenlive - Uninstalling a package
Additionally, Solus has a 3rd party section in their software manager that has applications that require additional licensing.
First I ran some general side-by-side speed test comparisons just to see if there were any noticeable differences in some of these key functions. These general tests were ran on a Thinkpad T450 with a i5-5300U and 8gb of DDR3 ram.
The main test bench for the benchmarking was done on a custom built machine. This machine features a Ryzen 7 3700X, 32gb DDR4 Ram, Radeon RX 580, and a WD Black m.2 SSD. The reason the primary focus is placed on a machine with better hardware is because the lack of limitations will allow the distributions to preform at their best removing potential bottlenecks.
Below is the full data set for the tests ran on the desktop computer with the Ryzen 7 3700X and the RX 580 GPU. You can see that overall Solus is the better distribution when it comes to general system performance. Ubuntu and Solus do trade some wins with general rendering.
|Linux Kernel Compile (seconds)||72.768||82.124||90.458|
|Kdenlive Render (720p)||02:31||03:25||04:10|
|Ram Speed (mb/s)||20257.76||20167.21||20203.35|
|Compress Gzip (seconds)||34.437||36.195||37.355|
|Unigine SuperPosition (high)||4907||4894||4905|
Most of these tests were also ran on a Thinkpad T450. Below you can see that the results are tighter than some of those featured above. There is much less of a performance difference between these distributions. One key thing to look at is the performance overall is still lacking in Manjaro compared to Solus and Ubuntu.
|Ram Speed (mb/s)||8104.47||8091.92||7825.99|
|Compress Gzip (seconds)||53.100||54.769||64.488|
|Unigine Valley (low)||558||550||530|
After all of this we can conclude that Solus is definitely something that needs to be looked at if you plan on running the Budgie desktop environment. Even in my other tests with other desktop environments Solus is a top contender. After running everything and playing around in the system it is even on my radar as a candidate for my next daily driver distribution.
XFCE vs. LXQt https://youtu.be/cs8JW3zDDoI