Last Review: 2013-Nov-11

SolydXK the rock-solid successor of Linux Mint Debian Xfce

2013 September - November

Recently the Linux Mint team dropped my favored Linux distribution named Linux Mint Debian Xfce. One nights review of distributions offering Xfce out of the box resulted mostly with Ubuntu based products like XUbuntu for example. But I don't like the Ubuntu way handling Linux (though from an evolutionary point of view it is good that Ubuntu stimulates the open source awareness and discussions), so the test range was targeted to directly Debian based distributions.

Finally I decided on installing SolydX which is made, as I learned later on, by the formerly LMDE team. Actually the name SolydXK stands for two products, SolydX coming with the Xfce desktop and SolydK offering KDE. This article was made using SolydX. Currently SolydXK ranges in the middle of the Distrowatch list (which is not a real use case statistics list, it rather mirrors the awareness level of Linux distributions). This text hopefully helps to change that.


SolydXK downloads are hybrid images, so you can easyly install via USB stick. The installer is very straightforward and does a fast job. I should mention, that I did not run a partitioning program, since the disk was well prepared for Linux, but the installer offers this possibility too (with GParted). During installation there are checkboxes for setting up GRUB (bootloader) and enabling Plymoth (Linux splash screen) which give you the choice for using these features or not. As a tiny con in contrast to the Ubuntu installer(s) there is no possibility to set encryption for the hard disk respective the home directory. The installation runs flawlessly, nevertheless I'll give you a few hints:

First impressions

The following desktop screenshot is taken from a SolydX live image session:

SolydX desktop
Screenshot of 2013 September

This is, how a base system should be, simple and useful. Although Xfce is a lightweight desktop it is highly customizeable and delivers many interesting features to play with. From a graphical setup manager up to versatile panels, everything is there for configuring a highly productive working environment. People, who prefer a rather classic desktop, will get a very pleasant experience without any bloatware.

Despite the rather slim software stock of SolydX the system is well prepared for everydays work, even common multimedia tasks are running without further preparations. And the great thing is: You can extend it easyly relying on the famous Debian testing repositories. You are the one, who decides where your system should gain weight! Believe me, it can do that! I've set up a production machine using SolydX with many, many applications, for programming, graphics, office and plenty of more stuff. Installing LibreOffice while running graphics programs, a web browser and several other softwares (like VLC playing music) on a rather weak peace of iron was no problem at all.

SolydX is a (semi) rolling distribution (continually developing), so you need no reinstalls (upgrades) as with the point release model. This results to a rather smooth process of system maintenance. The antecessor system also followed this model and despite being based on a testing repository I never experienced serious stability issues within several years of use. The Update Manager is a descendant of mintUpdate which I've written on here. Presently its About Dialog looks like this:

SolydX Update Manager about dialog
Screenshot of 2013 September

You can get many informations by Update Manager so you always know, what Update Manager is, respectivly was, doing. The picuture shown below gives an impression of that.

SolydX animated information output
Animated screenshot concatenation of 2013 November


My conclusion after two months of use in production environement: SolydXK is a rock-solid Debian based Linux distribution well suited for heavy load mission even on weak computers. The updating system is easy to use with special emphasis on secure operation and longtime useability of the system. Out of the box SolydXK offers a good user experience for Linux beginners including common multimedia operations. Due to the powerful Debian base advanced users can build sophisticated custom tailored systems with ease. One key benefit of SolydXK is demonstrated by its history: Though Linux Mint Debian Xfce was a rather unknown distribution it didn't disappear after being fallen from favor with Linux Mint but restarted with a new name on its own. Consistency in IT is a rare and important good for serious users as for instance businesses and other professionals. Operating system publishers offering this should at least be rewarded by increased attention.

If you are interested in SolydXK you may visit the homepage ofSolydXK and read a more detailed review with many screenshots on