An Open Letter To Solus From Its Founder Ikey Doherty

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 2 November 2018 at 07:05 AM EDT. 19 Comments
Solus, the promising Linux distribution started back in 2015 by Ikey Doherty that led to the creation of its own "Budgie" desktop, has been without its founder since this summer. While the circumstances under his decision to fade away from the project aren't clear, he is well and has shared this message to relay with the community.

Ikey Doherty left Intel last year to work full-time on Solus but then all of a sudden this summer he disappeared from the project. Solus though has managed to stand on its own feet thanks to the community developers involved and passionate about this desktop-focused distribution. They've had some challenges since his departure, but are sorting that out so the project can live on its own.

Doherty reached out to us this morning to publish this open letter to the Solus community. Sadly he will not be returning to Solus development but does wish them the best as he moves on.


I'd like to start out by thanking the Solus team for all their hard work and passion over the years. By way of response to their recent blog post, I in no way see what they've done as a "hostile takeover", rather, a natural evolution of the project.

The truth is, the Solus project has stood on its own merit and feet for a long time, and has moved under it's own steam. For a long time I had said that I was merely the first settler in the town that would become Solus, and in time it would need it's own architects, planners and mayor.

Whilst its true this was not a "clean break" for me - I can only say there are mitigating circumstances as to why this came about, during some of the hardest moments of my life. Needless to say I am without access to many of my old accounts, which is not something I'm able to rectify. However I have emailed instructions to Josh in order that the Solus team can take back ownership of the domain name, as my final gesture.

If one is to look at the timeline analysis from the Solus team, it is crystal clear that they are more passionate about the project than anyone, and will survive anything. For this reason I happily condone their leadership in the project, and assign any and all intellectual, naming and branding rights relating to the ownership of Solus to their collective with immediate and permanent effect, acknowledging them as the official owners and leadership of the project.

Solus is a project built on a shared vision, not the voice of one person. The team and community have proven their worth time and time again, in their pursuit of technical excellence in a non compromising manner. I applaud their efforts in these tough times, and cannot wait to see where they go next. Solus is a project that will outlive us all, a tribute of immortal status built through passion and friendship.

As a final request to the Solus team, from one that considers himself a friend, I ask that they stay strong to their cause, and rise above the toxicity and politics that plague the Linux desktop world, to remain a shining beacon of hope, an example for how open source should be. Never fear being wrong, and do not shy from self reflection; Solus will stand head and shoulders above the crowd forever more.

I am proud of you all - and it's almost certain we'll encounter each other again in the near future - GitHub is only so big, after all. However, it's unlikely I'll be seeking personal project involvement of any description - as a new parent I must plan to father my child and support my family through work, instead of fathering my work and rely on my family supporting me.

To everyone else - this is an incredibly exciting time in a rapidly changing landscape. Solus has solved the bus factor problem once and for all and is free from "dictatorship", having survived a very, very tough life so far (Remember evolveOS?) - and will always, always, stand tough in the face of challenges and adversity. Solus is built on the promise of technical excellence and outstanding user experiences, and has excellent leadership and ironclad vision to make this possible. The team has already worked hard for you for so long, and will continue to do so. Put your faith in the resilient.

Signing off,

Ikey Doherty (Friend of Solus)
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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