Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
PCLOS is one of the most popular distros today and has a vehemently loyal userbase. Never has a distro sparked such a enthusiastic community, so many vocal converts, and websites going up in its honor. All this hoopla is deserved. The developers work 24/7 to bring you the prettiest, most stable, and useful distro in existence. The latest incarnation, p92-test-01, takes a bit of a deviation from its known style by veering the eyecandy in a new direction. But it is every bit as nice as the PCLOS we have come to know, just without all the cute penguins.
The head developer says of the new look, "I tried very hard to strike a delicate balance between the look of Windows and the look of Linux. I want people coming from Windows to feel comfortable (we have lots of them) but also not alienate the hardcore Linux geeks. It is a fine line. The best thing though is if you don't like the looks you can change it to anything you want."
The 'new look' starts at the boot screen, with a lovely gray-scaled 4 pronged pinwheel that hints at the theme to come. Being pclos, one still has their choice of cheat codes and can choose to boot silently or verbosely. If one chooses silent by merely depressing enter, another treat awaits. The pinwheel, now colorized and almost appearing to spin, charms as the brief progress bar moves across its confines. I say brief because PCLOS boots to login in less than 30 seconds now (on harddrive install). One doesn't really get a chance to look at the beautiful silent screen and then decide to follow the booting verbosely. Almost by the time you reach for the ESC button, you're at the login screen.
The login screen is a thing of beauty. A solid background in a relaxing shade of blue offers a tasteful foundation to the user login. The user login is a discrete interactive of two text areas for user and password, irresistable user icons, and unobtrusive session selection menu. Click the text area or your user icon and input your username (guest on livecd) then click or tab to password and finally depress the directive green arrow.
The login splash is the same beautiful shade of blue with progress indicators of green coming into focus as its corresponding step is achieved. A short description is present for each step similar to the default KDE's. And there's a quick tease of the wallpaper in between.
At the desktop now we get our first real look at the new wallpaper. Blue is Texstar's favorite color, and as with his other releases, there really wasn't any doubt. This wallpaper fashioned by him is a simple elegant offering of the same matching shade of blue with a small version of his new pinwheel logo and distro name in tiny font in the lower right hand corner. Soothing and understated is the feel I get from his new wallpaper, which provides a professional look suitable for home, dorm, or office.
The theme is continued with the adaption of the SUSE-9.3 windec. Used as default it makes a lovely first impression and provides the cohesive element every desktop environment needs. He furthers the look with a customized panel background matching the windec perfectly, as if he took a chunk of the windec and used for the panel background. Added to the look is a customized clock interface on one end and his new logo as the start button on the other. All together this is a very classy look.
Of course what's eyecandy without the applications to complete your tasks? As per his usual, Texstar et al leave no one wanting. This release does find OpenOffice.org conspicuously missing, instead opting for Koffice. This decision was made for space/size reasons. However, as you might guess, OpenOffice.org 2.0 is available through synaptic/apt-get. Texstar was the first developer to adapt the synaptic software tool for use with rpms. Besides all the wonderful applications found included by default on the livecd, there are over 3400 apps in the PCLOS repository. Texstar works night and day to include indispensable applications and expand the repertory, not to mention updating all the applications already present. So, if a program is not included upon install, you can easy install it with the no fuss no muss synaptic gui software tool.
The simplified appearance of the menu is a misnomer, as it hides a very extensive list of wonderful applications. As though in possession of some sixth sense about what users need, Texstar includes the most useful and handy group of programs to be found. Although many distros go by way of only including one application per purpose or to the other extreme and try to include everything, Texstar recognizes that seemingly similar applications are actually more specialized and makes an effort to include many to cover most needs without obvious duplication. As his list changes each release as requests are tallied, it's so hard to keep up with him and his dedicated team. An intuitive balance of beginning and advanced applications and configuration tools is struck within PCLOS.
Speaking of configuration, there are so many tools available in PCLOS one may never need to open a terminal. From individual configuration tools to grouped modules all the way to the crowning jewel of PCLinuxOS Control Center, learning configuration file names, correct syntax and locations are a thing of the past.
And if one does need help, there is plenty available with PCLOS. On the desktop are icons leading to all kinds of extraordinarily help. No other distro goes so far for their users. This includes local help on disk in the form of documentation or links to documentation over the internet, links to irc channels and help/discussion forums, and information on how to join a mailing list. PCLOS is not just an operating system, it's a complete world of computing pleasure.
Under the hood PCLOS offers kernel 188.8.131.52, Xorg 6.9-0.cvs20051024, and gcc 3.3.1. Besides the full suite of KDE applications and tools and other commonly found programs, some other items of interest in the menu include:
So, woohoo, another winner from the Linux posse out of Texas. The gentlemen behind this highly polished and complete operating system work so hard for you. This version described today is merely a "test" release, but it looks good so far. As such, it is subject to change and a few bug fixes implemented. Some known issues are present and others are being recorded and addressed. Texstar speaks of some of the known issues in his blog here on Tuxmachines. Feel free to download and help test this release and although no support is available, bug reports are appreciated. Some other added information just in:
"Fixes so far from Test 01:
1. Added keyboard language code to hwdetect (need to test)
2. Removed duplicated entries keyboard=us in hwdetect
3. Fixed nsplugins for konqueror on hd install
4. Updated kernel to 2.6.12-oci6 (fix sys problem)
5. Installed ssh server but not enabled at boot (Ocilent1)
6. Removed old kernel directories in /lib/modules on livecd
7. Updated default windec from kde-look.org (more eyecandy)
Common Problems reported today:
1.HD operation. I noticed my usb mouse wasn't working, I switched to init 1 and I'm seeing an error message continually coming down the screen, looks like this- "hub 2-0:1.0: Cannot enable port 3. Maybe the USB cable is bad?" (Works on livecd)
2. HD operation. On reboot after installing to HD the MS cordless keyboard and mouse set (USB connected) does not work at all so I can't test anything. (Works on livecd)"
Further, Texstar states, "I plan on doing 4 isos later. One with normal xorg drivers, one with older nvidia drivers, one with new nvidia drivers and one with ATI 8500-up drivers. Plus I will change the programs ie games on the livecd to support the 3D graphics. Kernel source stripped is already on the livecd. So to install the nvidia 7667 drivers for nvidia, all you need to do is install the dkms nvidia and glx packages in synaptic and it will build it on the spot for you when you install the rpms via synaptic."
For further coverage and information on PCLOS and Texstar, you may wish to browse the complete taxonomy here at tuxmachines, which includes an in-depth introduction to the man behind PCLOS. And of course, more Screenshots in the gallery.