PCLinuxOS, Distros, and 10 reasons to try PCLinuxOS.

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Linux

When I first started experimenting with Linux, it was quite primitive. I waited a couple of years, and tried it again. I purchased a bunch of distros from cheapbytes.com, and tried them all in various computers.

Only one of those distros worked on the majority of machines (where all the devices functioned properly). That distro was Mandrake 7.0. I think it was KDE 2.0 or 2.1 at the time. I stayed with Mandrake for several years (who bought out Connectiva Linux and changed its name to Mandriva Linux).

Through the years, I found some version releases were wonderful (Mandriva 8.2 was remarkably stable on a server for me, as well being a fine desktop).

For Mandriva in a desktop role, I discovered this guy who went by the handle of Texstar was taking the latest KDE releases and producing RPM packages to work with Mandriva. Mandriva even mentioned on their web pages that a person could find updated KDE RPMs created by a guy named Textar [sic]. Yes, here was a guy who was single-handedly keeping the Mandriva distro's primary GUI up to date, and they incorrectly spell his name.

More Mandriva versions were released, and Texstar relentlessly kept issuing updated KDE RPMs for each version. He did an incredible amount of very high quality work, and made the Mandriva experience much better than it would otherwise have been.

On Tex's web site (pclinuxonline.com) I read messages in the forums where folks were encouraging Tex to fork Mandriva and do his own distribution. Sal was one of the guys urging Tex to do his own distro. I was skeptical--although Tex had proved to be an incredibly talented and hard-working maker of KDE RPM's specific to the Mandrake/Mandriva distro, I thought that doing your own complete distro (even with forking Mandriva's source code) was too arduous and difficult a task.

So Tex stopped doing Mandriva KDE packages, and was reputed to be working (with a few others) on a new distro to be called PCLinuxOS. Frankly, I didn't pay much attention--I kept using Mandriva in both server and desktop roles.

Mandriva 10.0 came and went, then 10.1, and Mandriva 10.2/2005, 2006, and now 2007. Mandriva fired Gael Duval. Although I thought he was treated badly, I stuck with Mandriva. But I was becoming increasingly frustrated with Mandriva not officially releasing KDE updates. And while other 3rd parties jumped in to provide KDE updates, they didn't (particularly at first) have the quality and reliability of Tex's RPMs.

And Mandriva's software updater was often unreliable. They changed the organization and structure of their repositories (more than once). It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep a release updated.

Finally, when PCLinuxOS .92 came out, I made the switch from Mandriva. In a way, it was a sad time for me. I had been a silver edition Mandriva club member for several years. I thought Mandriva, as a company, was faithful to Open Source ideals. I had, for many years, paid my club membership *and* purchased boxed sets of each new release.

When PCLinuxOS .93a came out, I upgraded to it. This distro version has been wonderful--a real sweet spot. And on the rare occasion that Tex and the gang didn't have an RPM package for what I wanted, I'd compile my own.

However, there were a few things that just wouldn't compile. They needed the newer C/C++ development libraries, (and libraries that depended on those libraries). And, of course, other distros were starting to introduce new 3D accelerated effects with Compiz and Beryl.

The forums at pclinuxos.com mentioned that Tex and the gang were working on a new release. So, a version of PCLinuxOS 2007 was released internally. About a month later, PCLinuxOS 2007 Test Release 1 was released for wide-spread testing. For me, this version worked fine, with no issues--it is equivalent to, say, a Release Candidate version 2. After further testing and debugging, PCLinuxOS final is due out at the end of January.

What do I think of PCLinuxOS 2007 Test Release 1? I find it stunning. When the final 2007 release version comes out, I think it will skyrocket in popularity. Already, PCLinux OS has taken over 5th place (from Mandriva) on the distrowatch.com hit parade.

So, a couple of caveats--while PCLinuxOS contains quite a bit of server stuff in its repositories, it is primarily a desktop oriented distro.

Secondly, there are some non-free packages in the distro. You will get all the audio and video codecs and drivers you need. This distro is not for FOSS purists.

Top Ten reasons to install and use PCLinuxOS:

1. It's drop dead gorgeous, and very professional looking.
2. The Beryl/Compiz 3D acceleration effects are terrific--much better than any other distro I've tried.
3. The repository has over 5000 packages, and updates are incredibly prompt, smooth, and easy to do. Synaptic, the GUI package manager works easily and reliably with the repository's RPM packages. Dependency issues are usually well handled. All the development programs and libraries are up to date.
4. An up to date KDE version (3.5.6).
5. Bugs, problems, and issues are promptly fixed.
6. The PCLinuxOS community is positive and helpful. Documentation is excellent. Support is excellent.
7. It's quick and snappy.
8. Everything works.
9. Its very easy to install ... and ...
10. It doesn't require the largess and financial backing of a millionaire to keep it going.

So, yes, the former child (PCLinusOS) has grown up to supersede its parent (Mandriva). Put simply, for a desktop Linux distro, it's the best.

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A finely tuned engine

I think the review covers it. I would still drop it now if it did not keep Xfce. As for the eye candy, you can get rid of it if, like I, you find it more of an eyesore.

I too moved from Mandriva. For me, its so-called "2007" version was the last straw.

PCLinuxOS has given me no trouble, unlike the 7 or so others I've tried to some degree.

-----
I try to take one day at a time -- but sometimes several days attack me at once - Ashleigh Brilliant

I agree with some of your

I agree with some of your points but hat I really find annoying in every PCLinuxOS I read is the lack of concern about the internationalisation of the distro. Indeed I didn't find any non-english word in the whole live-cd. Even the bootloader at the beginning isn't translated, nor the installer who's pretty much Mandriva's.

So yes they took Mandrake, put a better package manager and a good new theme on it. But they also dropped everything that makes Mandriva 2007 worthy: the several CDs with different languages, the several formats (live cd, dvd installer...)

Localization of PCLOS

Tomaskroh wrote:
I agree with some of your points but hat I really find annoying in every PCLinuxOS I read is the lack of concern about the internationalisation of the distro. Indeed I didn't find any non-english word in the whole live-cd. Even the bootloader at the beginning isn't translated, nor the installer who's pretty much Mandriva's.

I find the fact that the PCLOS team concentrates on make a darn good distro in English not at all disturbing. A whole community has sprung up around the developers and that community is certainly up to the task of internationalizing.

Over on MyPCLinuxOS.com you can find localization efforts and howto's in many languages, pclinuxos.nl has Dutch remasters available, pclinuxos.de has a German remaster etc. etc.

Basically all of the packages already come with their localized .po files because their projects deliver them ready-to-eat.

So there is only a little bit of tweaking required plus the download of a few files that are quite conveniently located in the standard PCLOS repos, put there by.....the developers.

Installers and other distro-specific scripts are the prime focus of the localization effort based on MyPCLinuxos.com

So I resent the suggestion that PCLOS has no international aspirations or doesn't care for its overseas customers. Tex is treating us Europeans just fine, thank you.

Old Chinese saying goes: "Tex helps those who help themselves"

Internationalisation

I suppose you have to focus your efforts at the beginning. If other languages are not added at some point, I would wonder why.

The process may have begun. There is a German website and a Netherlands website.

re: Internationalisation

They're Texan's - so English is about as close as you can get to their native language.

Don't get your dander up, it's just a little joke there, ya varmints.

re: Internationalisation

"PCLinuxOS is an English only live CD initially based on Mandrake Linux that runs entirely from a bootable CD." - Distrowatch.com

PCLinuxOS is upfront with the fact that it is English only. If this is a problem, perhaps instead of complaining, you could join the community and help with translating.

Look at it this way:

Look at it this way: PCLinuxOS is the work of a handful of people. As already said, if people want to help add more localisations, I'm sure they'll be welcome.

That said, what is remarkable about PCLinuxOS is that it is clearly the favourite distro of many who do not have English as a first language, and, judging by the forums, people who struggle in English. You have to ask why that is, my answer would be that the general feel, and Ease of Use makes up for it.

Look at it this way

I've tried about 8 distros. PCLinuxOS is one of only two which have given me no trouble worth mentioning and it is several points better than the other.

It has not wasted any of my time. It is a cut above its parent (Mandriva) which itself is a darn sight less time-wasting than the others. I'd like to see localisations added and I hope that happens in time.

Works for me

I have a few computers here. Trying different distros like Ubuntu, openSUSE, fedora, mepis and the rest, It was a toss between pclinuxos and mepis. I think mepis is sweet enough but when it came down to getting standard desktop work done, I decided pclinuxos test release1 rocks! It has new versions of programs like digikam 0.9.0.
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