Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
PCLinuxOS released it’s most recent incarnation and has even succeeded to surpass Ubuntu in popularity with (if we use the Distrowatch ranking as an indication of that). With it’s roots solidly in Madriva and dedicated to be even more userfriendly it does deserve a closer look. The slogan “Radically simple” should be promising. However, radically simple compared to what? Debian? Or Windows XP? That does make a difference don’t you think? PCLinuxOS is one of those distributions that want to promote W2L migration. That is at least the focus I chose in this “On the Bench” article.
What needs to be made simple?
In it’s barest essence the installation of any Linux distribution requires the following steps:
1. disk partitioning (at least swap and / (root));
2. creating the first user and give a password for the root user.
The settings for the time zone, default language and keyboard can be considered essential as well. Oh, and don’t forget the internet connection. So how simple can you make this? Each distribution deals with it in it’s own way. PCLinuxOS will boot as a live CD and asks you about your keyboard, timezone and network before you ever see the live desktop.
Getting acquainted with the desktop
PCLinuxOS uses the KDE desktop with three easy shortcuts in the taskpanel: package management, setting up your computer and the control center. These are also areas where simplicity of use can be of great benefit to new users. Installing and removing software is still considered problematic by non-Linux users, so it is nice if the default tool for software management removes that prejudice. Well, PCLinuxOS fails in this.