21 things to do after installing Solus

list of 21 things to do after installing Solus

If you wonder what you can do to make your Solus even better than it is by default. You can implement these 21 things to do after installing Solus. I applied them on my Solus system.

Before we start with this list I would like to explain why such often mentioned in my tutorials things as decrease swappiness and enable drive cache are not in this list. To my pleasant surprise, these two things already have optimal settings in Solus.

For example, if you check the default swappiness value with:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
checking swappiness and drive cache settings in Solus 4
Swappiness and drive cache settings in Solus 4

You will see it is set to 10, which is a recommended value for modern hardware.

Similarly, you will see that the drive cache is on.

sudo hdparm -W /dev/sda     

This is really nice and I believe these settings contribute to responsiveness and speed of Solus. Now let’s go back to our list of things to do after installing Solus.

1. Disable GRUB delay

When you boot into your Solus system, most likely you see this GRUB screen.

GRUB menu in Solus 4
GRUB menu in Solus 4

You have either to wait 5 seconds or to press enter in order to proceed with the booting process. Unless you dual-boot your Solus with other systems, I think it is worth disabling this delay.

To disable it, you need to edit the file /etc/default/grub:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

And change the delay value to 0 seconds, by setting GRUB_TIMEOUT=0:

Then update GRUB:

sudo update-grub

After the reboot, you won’t see the GRUB menu anymore and you will boot your Solus Linux right away.

2 . Install Drivers

If your system doesn’t work well right out of the box, you may also need to install proprietary drivers. Most often you may need proprietary for graphics and Wi-Fi cards.

To install drivers in Solus Linux, you need to open the “Hardware Drivers” from the application menu and install suggested drivers.

Hardware Drivers manager in Solus
Hardware Drivers manager in Solus

You may get suggestions like the one above for Nvidia graphics drivers. If you feel a need for such a driver, install it.

3. Install Microcode

While many Linux distros now come with Microcode installed, for example, Manjaro has microcode pre-installed, Solus doesn’t have microcode by default.

The Solus team says that microcode updating of your processor firmware is already enabled in the Linux kernel. Maybe indeed Microcode is not needed with the latest kernel versions, but I prefer to be on a safe side and I install it. Microcode is also recommended for installation in the online discussions:

Answer to the question of whether microcode is necessary
Answer to the question of whether microcode is necessary (https://askubuntu.com)

You can install microcode from the Software Center:

Install microcode from the Software Center Solus
Install microcode in Solus

I am still unsure if I should keep this point in things to do after installing Solus. If you know more about Microcode and whether it is necessary to install nowadays, please share your knowledge in the comment section below.

4. Configure the Software Center

If you go to the settings of the Software Center, you will find a few settings you can change.

For example, if you have a limited amount of internet traffic per month you can disable checking for updates on a metered connection or even disable automatic updates. But do not forget to check for updates manually from time to time :-). You may also save some internet by disabling fetching of remote media. You won’t see the screenshots of available programs though. All these will save you some traffic.

Software Center Settings
Software Center Settings

I do not have any internet traffic limits, but I prefer to switch from hourly to daily checks for updates. I think that hourly checks are not necessary as I won’t update my system more frequently than once per day. Actually, I usually update once per week.

5. Install MS fonts

I know many of you are antagonists of Microsoft, but life is such a thing where it is really difficult to avoid documents that are created with Microsoft Office. The problem with such documents is that they may not look as expected if you do not have Microsoft fonts installed on your Solus Linux. So, I believe 99% of Solus users will need Microsoft fonts.

To install them run these two commands:

sudo eopkg bi --ignore-safety https://raw.githubusercontent.com/solus-project/3rd-party/master/desktop/font/mscorefonts/pspec.xml
sudo eopkg it mscorefonts*.eopkg

When MS fonts are installed, you will be able to see properly documents with such fonts as Arial, Times New Roman, and others. Note that you may need to log out and log in to enable these fonts on your system.

6. Install Firewall

Surprisingly, Solus 4 comes without a firewall pre-installed. However, it is not an issue because you can easily install GUFW from the software center. As you can see from the description of GUFW, it is “one of the easiest firewalls in the world!”

GUFW in the Software Center of Solus
You can install GUFW from the Software Center

After the installation, open it and activate.

GUFW
GUFW

For most of the users, this will be enough to secure your Solus Linux. If you want to learn more about a firewall and whether you need it on Linux, read my post about a firewall on Linux.

7. Install additional Themes

Unfortunately, Solus 4 has a dark theme that may not be liked by all including me.

Budgie default dark theme in Solus 4
Budgie default dark theme in Solus 4

You can change it to some other themes by installing additional themes from the Software Center. Just search for the term -theme and install some of the available themes.

Solus Software Center Themes

Next, go to the Budgie desktop settings and enable a new theme.

Budgie Desktop Settings
Change the desktop theme in Budgie Desktop Settings

If you want to get more additional themes in your Solus Linux, visit my post dedicated to Solus Themes and Icons. It will help you install and configure many unique themes and icons in your Solus Linux.

8. Configure LibreOffice

Speaking about themes, I cannot skip LibreOffice because you can adjust its look and feel too.

If you go to View → User Interface, you can change its layout. I like Tabbed Interface.

LibreOffice with Tabbed Interface. and Colibre dark icons style in solus
LibreOffice with Tabbed Interface. and Colibre dark icons style

And if you changed the default theme and icons, you would likely need to change the LibreOffice icons too. You can do that by going to Tools → Options → View and change the Icons Style. I personally like Colibre Icons style.

9. Privacy Settings

I also would like to emphasize some general Solus settings which I think are worth checking because you may want to change them. Privacy settings is one of them.

Privacy Settings in Solus 4
Privacy Settings in Solus 4

You may want to disable Location service, and Usage & History. But keep in mind that this may affect your user experience.

10. Power Settings

Next, I recommend changing the Power Settings. If you run Solus on a laptop, you may see more Settings than on the image below. But on a desktop, it looks like this:

Power Settings for a desktop computer in Solus 4
Power Settings for a desktop computer

I usually disable suspend. I just don’t use it. But as I said in my Solus review, suspend works fine in Solus 4.

11. Night Light

Solus 4 comes with Night Light feature that reduces the amount of blue light at night time that is good for your eyes and sleep.

However, you need to enable this feature in Solus. It is located in Settings → Devices → Display.

Enable Night Light in Solus 4
Enable Night Light in Solus 4

The default settings work fine but if you wish you can also change its schedule manually.

12. Budgie Settings

I think some of you may want to adjust the settings of the Budgie desktop.

Budgie desktop.settings
Budgie desktop.settings

For example, I disable animation because animation causes screen tearing during screen recording. And I also change the dark theme to a little lighter one. In particular, I like Ant-Dracula desktop theme and Suru++ icons.

In the settings of the Raven panel, I display weeks numbers. I also move windows buttons to the left in the Windows tab.

Week numbers in Raven panel
Week numbers in Raven panel

In the Windows tab, you need also to pay attention to the “Disable unidirection” option. In case, you have some GPU issues, you may try enabling this option and it may solve those issue.

In the Bottom panel settings, I make some changes to the applets. in particular, I enable Roll-over mouse for the Budgie menu. This helps to navigate through the menu categories faster by simply moving a mouse pointer through categories.

I also add additional applets to the panel:

  • Show Desktop button
  • Night Light
  • Keyboard layout

The latter is needed if you are multilingual. You will see how to set several keyboard layouts in Solus in the section below.

Night Light and Keyboard layout applets added to a panel in Solus
Night Light and Keyboard layout applets

You can also change the location of these new applets according to your liking. I move Night Light and Keyboard Layout to the tray icons, and Show Desktop close to the menu button.

13. Additional Keyboard Layouts

To add additional icons and display them in the Keyboard Layout applet we have just added, you need to go to the Settings → Region & Language and add a needed language in the Input sources.

How to add Keyboard Layout in Solus
Settings to add Keyboard Layout

I also recommend go to Options and enable “Allow different sources for each window”.

In this window, you also see the default keyboard shortcuts to change the keyboard layout. If you want to change these shortcuts, you need to go to Devices → Keyboard and change the shortcuts for Typing section.

Keyboard layout switch shortcuts in Solus
Keyboard layout switch shortcuts

14. Firefox Settings

Every time I install Linux one of the first things I do after installing Linux is to change the default settings of Firefox. In the Preferences, I enable Restore previous session. This way Firefox will open the same tabs you were on when you closed Firefox last time.

How to enable Restore previous session in Firefox
Enable "Restore previous session" in Firefox

If you use such streaming services as Netflix, you may also need to enable “Play DRM-controlled content” option, which is located little below in the same Firefox Preferences window.

I also recommend you to check the Privacy Settings and make sure your privacy settings are as you want them.

Privacy settings in Firefox
Privacy settings in Firefox

15. Install VLC

Solus has GNOME player to play video files by default. It is a nice looking player and it plays almost all video formats.

GNOME player in Solus
GNOME player

Nevertheless, VLC is still the best video player not only on the Linux platform. So, I usually also install VLC and recommend it as a thing to do after installing Solus too.

VLC player in Solus
VLC player

VLC is available in the Software Center.

16. Install Backup program

Solus has no backup program by default but I believe everyone should do regular backups. I have several posts about how to back up your system and data in Linux. I recommend you to read those posts and choose the most suitable backup program.

However, if you are newbie Linux user, I recommend installing Déjà Dup Back Up, which is the same program that is pre-installed in Ubuntu.

Déjà Dup Back Up in Solus
Déjà Dup Back Up

I showed how to configure Déjà Dup Back Up in my things to do after installing Ubuntu post, so I won’t show it again here. Please, go and read that post.

17. System cleaning

I won’t go too deep into system cleaning because it can get really complicated. It also may not be necessary to do right after installing Solus. But it is good to know about the available options.

I recommend two things for system cleaning in Solus:

1) You can check and remove orphaned packages occasionally:

sudo eopkg rmo

2) You can also install BleachBit and use it for cleaning. I showed how to use BBleachBitleachbit in my post on Cleaning Arch Linux. I know that post is about Arch Linux, but BleachBit is the same across all distros.

BleachBit in Solus
BleachBit

18. Install Dropbox

Installing Dropbox in Solus is trivial, but some new users may get confused by several Dropbox packages available in the Software Center.

Install Dropbox packages in Solus
Dropbox packages in Solus

If you use Solus Budgie, which is the default desktop of Solus, you need to install nautilus-dropbox. After the installation and sign in, you will see the Dropbox icon in your system tray.

19. Battery Saver

To extend the battery life of a laptop, you can install and enable the TLP package:

sudo eopkg installsudo tlp start

This program will reduce the energy use of your laptop.

20. Install Development tools

This seems like not an essential thing to do after installing Solus. But believe me, most likely you will need development related packages at some point of your usage of Solus Linux. You will need them to compile and install programs. Solus doesn’t have all programs in its repository, so you will compile a program at some point.

To install all development programs at once, you need to run this command:

 sudo eopkg install -c system.devel

You most likely will also need to install Linux headers:

sudo eopkg install linux-current-headers

Note that if you use the LTS kernel, install linux-lts-headers.

21. Encrypt your home directory

I kept this point to the end because actually I won’t show how to encrypt your home directory. Let me explain why and show you some alternative solution.

I use ecryptfs-utils for my home directory encryption. I think this method provides a simple encryption solution. But this program is not available in Solus 4. Solus recommends doing full disk file-system encryption. Unfortunately, a topic of full disk file-system encryption is not easy and deserves a separate post. So, as a simple solution, I recommend you to install VeraCrypt and create encrypted file containers for the most sensitive data.

VeraCrypt in Solus
VeraCrypt

Final thoughts

These were 21 or 20 things to do after installing Solus 4. It depends on how you count the last thing. These were the things I have done on my system. Some of them were essential for me others were just nice but not necessary.

Please, share in the comment below what you do after installing your Solus.

Average Linux User
Average Linux User I am the founder of the Average Linux User project, which is a hobby I work on at night. During the day I am a scientist who uses computers to analyze genetic data.