Another Day Another Distro – Part 4 – PCLinuxOS 2007

So after my positive experience of Mandriva 2008 it was time to reluctantly pack my bags and move on. My destination this time was PCLinuxOS 2007 which is not a distribution I’d tried before. So without further ado here is what happened:

Installation:
I had a slightly frustrating start to my PCLinuxOS experience when I couldn’t boot the LiveCD, it was the same situation as with openSUSE only this time choosing VESA graphics didn’t help. After choosing “LiveCD” on the menu I just saw a black screen with a few traces of garbled blue letters. Luckily I managed to fix it by adding the “noapic” option at the end of the options box on the install screen. This is the same thing I had to do with Ubuntu and thinking about it now it probably would have worked on openSUSE too. I cannot blame the distro for this as it’s happened on many others and I think it must be a quirk of my motherboard or something. I’m sure someone out there much smarter than me knows exactly what this is but never mind I’ll struggle on ignorantly.

The rest of the installation went pretty well but I did get a very nasty 800×600 resolution all the way through and couldn’t see some of the buttons on the install dialogs as they were too big. I got the system installed though and you can see the full blow by blow slide show below (wow that rhymes) if you’re interested.

CLICK HERE FOR INSTALLATION SLIDESHOW

Using the system:
One of the first things I noticed on PCLinuxOS, even during the LiveCD boot was that the boot screen looked suspiciously like Mandriva. I later found out that the distro is actually based on Mandriva which explains it. I was greeted with the standard KDE desktop all be it at a very nasty 800×600 resolution, so my first task was to fix that. I opened the Control Center application and had a look at the hardware settings, my X server (the graphical server) was set to use VESA so I searched through the different options and managed to find some for Nvidia cards. I chose the generic GeForce driver and this allowed me to set the correct 1440×900 resolution of my LCD, I had to log out and restart the X server for this to take affect. Next I tried to turn on the 3D desktop without much success. I couldn’t get my X server to allow 3D acceleration and I tried a number of different drivers and settings, then looked in the PCLinuxOS forums but still to no avail. Deciding I’d wasted enough time alreadt I gave up on accelerated graphics and moved on to other things.

The default set of applications is very good, the usual complement of goodies: Amarok, Firefox, OpenOffice, GIMP and so on. The distro also featured a couple of programs I would normally install anyway such as Ktorrent and Putty, that was all good. I fired up Synaptic package manager which has been added into this distribution and makes a nice touch. I’m used to Synaptic from Ubuntu so it wasn’t hard to get the hang of, although I did struggle to find any software at first. All my searches turned up nothing so I went into the “repositories” item on the menu and ticked a few boxes to add more sources, then reloaded the package list. This did the trick and I was able to install stuff pretty easily after that, I even found the latest version of Skype 1.4 in the repositories which was great. Normally I would have to go to the Skype website to get that in every other distro I’ve used so far, a nice touch.

I decided to try opening some multimedia files and was able to play my music in Amarok without any need to install codecs. I was also able to watch my Xvid videos in Mplayer without any trouble. That was great but I have to say I prefer Kaffine to Mplayer just because the controls suit me better, it’s purely personal but I prefer Totem to both of them as I’ve said before. Still, it played the videos and that’s the point.

Up next I decided to try using my external NTFS drive to see if it had write support, it didn’t so I went into Synaptic and did a quick search for “NTFS” which turned up ntfs-config and a few other ntfs-3g related things. I installed the config tool because I knew this would install the other dependencies and sort things out for me. After that I tried the drive again but still had no write support, it was at this point I realized I was being a complete idiot (nothing new about that) and I hadn’t turned on the write support with ntfs-config, I’d only installed it.

I found it buried away in a sub menu, ticked the box and all was good. All in all I was a little disappointed that NTFS writing wasn’t supported out of the box like it is in some other distros but it didn’t take long to fix. No great hardship.

Conclusions:
Overall I had a reasonable experience with PCLinuxOS 2007, not brilliant but considering I went into it with no prior knowledge not bad at all really. My initial impression wasn’t good I have to be honest, I’m not normally one to worry about the design or look of a distro but it seemed this was trying a little to hard to look like Windows XP. The big blue window decorations looked pretty nasty to my eyes. Not necessarily a bad thing I know, it just didn’t appeal to me. Maybe it would make new Linux users more comfortable coming over form XP I don’t know, if it does then I’m all for it. I had a few minor problems with PCLinuxOS but I managed to fix most of them, apart from the 3D graphics which may have been fixable with more time. I’ve seen a lot of reviews which try and compare PCLinuxOS with Ubuntu head to head and I have to say in this fight there would be only one winner… Mandriva 2008 hehe 🙂

PCLinuxOS is supposed to be based on Mandriva, so I wonder if this release is based on Mandriva 2007 and we will see an new version now that Mandriva 2008 has arrived? Probably, it seems logical. So maybe comparing PCLinuxOS 2007 and Mandriva 2008 isn’t exactly fair but still it’s not a patch on Mandriva in my eyes. I will keep my eye out for an updated release of PCLinuxOS and give it another test just to be fair though.

For me this distro is average. I don’t want to upset anyone by saying that, it’s a perfectly good distro and I managed to do pretty much everything I would do on Ubuntu or anything else, it just didn’t feel right. That’s purely personal of course and you should try it out for yourself if you want a better idea. It’s supposed to be an improved version of Mandriva though and it’s not as good as the original. So far I have tried 4 distros on my tour and Mandriva 2008 is the winner up to now. Closely followed by Ubuntu Gutsy with PCLinuxOS and openSUSE bringing up the rear I’m afraid. I have yet to try a few other distros though so those positions could change, we’ll see.

Onwards and sideways:
So it’s off to another distribution tomorrow and I think it’s going to be Debian Etch. It’s been out a while but a lot of the things I love about Ubuntu are thanks to it’s Debian base so I’m looking forward to it. I’ll report back with my findings soon…

Posted in Review
49 comments on “Another Day Another Distro – Part 4 – PCLinuxOS 2007
  1. Eduardo says:

    I’ve already tried PClinuxOS but I cound’nt find out anything brilliant about the distro. I agree with you when say Mandriva 2008 and Ubuntu 7.10 are three or four steps beyound PCLinuxOS.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Eduardo: nothing special in the distro. IMO was waste of time which I spent for install and deleted.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You should review PARDUS! Nice user friendly distro.

  4. Dan says:

    I will take a look at PARDUS then, thank you. I also intend to try a few other things such as MEPIS which I originally forgot about. This could take a while, I’ll never be done 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    Fair and balanced and I agree with your assessment. It is a solid distro but nothing (other than the artwork) sets it apart from any other popular distro. How about a review on Sabayon?

  6. Anonymous says:

    it is a sexy and superb distro.
    completely user friendly.

  7. Anonymous says:

    PCLinuxOS is good. Ubuntu is good. Hey, they are all good in their own way. As far as I can see, you can do anything you want with any distribution. You can get the same software, same themes, same desktop for Ubuntu as for PCLinuxOS, as for Mandriva, etc. The real test for me is hardware support. Can I print, scan, network, etc. The reviews I have read so far all indicate that PCLinuxOS just works.

  8. Dan says:

    You make a good point but not all distributions are the same, PCLinuxOS didn’t just work for me at all, it wasn’t massively complicated to fix a lot of the problems but it did take work. I found Ubuntu and Mandriva both worked much better for with hardware support and everything else.

    Like I’ve said before, everyone has different tastes and lots of people love PCLinuxOS and openSUSE and that’s great. I didn’t and that’s just my opinion.

    I have used Sabayon in the past but not for a few months so I will definitely check it out again thanks 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    I tried Mandriva 2008 after reading the review and comments written on this site. I’ve been running PCLinuxOS for a couple years on 3 of the computers in our house because it works pretty much right off the LiveCD. On my HP Pavilion laptop I have to manually install the wireless drivers with ndiswrapper and the NVIDIA drivers with synaptic to get the 3D desktop but the process is pretty simple using the Control Center.
    Since Mandriva 2008 is supposed to have the wireless drivers for my laptop built into the kernel I wanted to give it a try to see if I could get better wireless coverage in my house.
    Those kernel drivers in Mandriva 2008 (bcm43xx) did not work and no matter what suggestion I used from the Mandriva forums I could not get the wireless to work with built in drivers or Windows drivers and ndiswrapper.
    I pretty much agreed with the rest of your review on Mandriva but not about PCLinuxOS. One additional complaint I have with Mandriva is that during installation there is no option to skip the GRUB installation. All I needed to do was add an option to the GRUB menu.lst already on my computer but it forced me to install a new one and then only picked up the Windows Vista installation but not the PCLinuxOS installation so I had to manually add that after installation. So I’ll be sticking with PCLinuxOS 2007 now with a Mandriva GRUB boot screen until I can figure out how to change that.

  10. pete says:

    I’m actually running PCLinuxOS and don’t have to complain about it. It’s pretty fast, stable and easy to use. Don’t have a notebook to see how such hardware as onboard video card and power management are working, though. Such is life with Linux, it seems: one has to try many distros to find the one that just works. For me, it was PCLOS, but that doesn’t mean (alas!) it will be for anybody.
    Now to the revue.
    1. Bugs with X server. Until I’ve installed a new video card, this was my case for most distros (in fact, only Mandriva Live with NVidia driver preloaded worked for me without hassle). In general, installing a proprietary driver (it’s done from PCLOS official repo) should fix it.
    2. 3D acceleration. Is your video card capable of it? In general, again, it’s enabled through installing the proprietary driver. If there is none for your video, sorry.
    3. Kaffeine player. This is really strange, as it’s present on the LiveCD. Maybe it isn’t set as default player.
    4. NTFS writing support. You know, I just don’t rely too much on ntfs3g. Neither Texstar, it seems. The ntfs3g with rw support out of the box is not a 100% good thing.
    5. Big blue window decorations. Agree. Replaced them ASAP.
    The bottom line: PCLOS is a good desktop-oriented distro for casual users interested in moving away from windows. It has quite a good support for proprietary media formats, some out of the box, some from the repositories, and doesn’t include anything fancy and custom taylored. It’s just an RPM-based distro that does its work.

  11. Dan says:

    That’s great I’m really glad PCLinuxOS works well for you guys and I think everyone will find different things they like in different distros. I’m not knocking it as I said. Everyone has different hardware and the old adage of “one size fits all” certainly doesn’t apply to Linux distributions. That’s one of the great things about Linux, the amount of choice 🙂

    I went through the forums and searched for the correct Nvidia proprietary driver without success. Someone more experienced with this distro could probably have fixed it in 2 minutes, I have not doubt but I was told PCLinuxOS just works, you install it and everything is done. My experience was far from that and it didn’t suit me as well as other distros right now. I’m sure for some other people it does work out of the box but to make such a bold claim is setting yourself up for trouble.

    I have an Nvidia Geforce FX 7100GS with 512MB od memory so it’s more than capable of 3D desktop effects. It’s a new card as well, only 6 months old and worked fine in other distros. I’m sure it can be made to work fine in this distro too. It just didn’t seem as easy as putting the LiveCD in and everything being done as it was with Mandriva. That was all I was saying. I’m not knocking the distribution at all 🙂

  12. BlueVette says:

    Your nvidia issue should be easy to fix. Open Synaptic software manager. Hit “search”, type in “nvidia” and click to install the dkms-nvidia package for your card. Since yours is a FX series chipset, the 100.xx.xx driver should be fine. Let it install, reboot the computer, then go to the ‘pclinuxos control center’ (or pcc from a terminal), select ‘hardware’ and enable 3d effects. Simple enough.

  13. Dan says:

    I did search Synaptic for an Nvidia driver and I installed the package you suggest, that was one of the tips I got in the forum. I still couldn’t enable 3D effects though for some reason. I didn’t have a lot of time to play with it though as I had to get on to the next distro. Like I said I’m sure it is fixable it’s just not as straightforward as I was led to believe in PCLinuxOS. In Ubuntu I get prompted with the restricted driver manager and that’s much simpler for a new comer, in Mandriva it was all done for me which is even better 🙂

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I Used Pclos for about 3 month. Everything was awesome UNTIL, the 3D start to crash KDE, problems with resolution I wanted to change, warning windows did not close with anything, problems with amule, firewall, and the worst is that I couldn’t find any help through forums or chats. I spend days searching in the forums. The distro have potential but need urgently way better support, bug fixes, security updates, and a better community. Sorry if I’m too negative but is my experience. I try Mandriva 2008 and it gave me almost the same problems.

  15. Anonymous says:

    PCLinux2007 has some very good features, among them the nicest splash screen I’ve ever seen. But there are a few drawbacks with that distro…one is that wireless doesn’t configure properly on many laptops, including mine. Another drawback is that PCLinux needs at least 512 ram to work. Whereas Ubuntu can get the job done with 256ram.

    Its too bad that PCLinux has the problems with wireless because it is one of the better distros otherwise.If they can get the wireless problems resolved in future releases, I will go back and make that my primary distro. But until then, I want to use something that works out of the box without having to play around installing files, drivers, etc… Mandriva and Ubuntu are good out of the box alternatives, although Ubuntu is probably the best overall because of its reliability and frequent security updates.

  16. bones113 says:

    My daughter runs PCLinuxOS on a P4 1.8 gig box with 256 megs of ram and it runs without flaw.I dont know where you got it that it needs at least 512 megs.Of course the more ram the better(This is true on all distro’s).Pclinuxos is my only os as it works the best out of all I have tried and I have tried them all.But which ever flavor of linux you use is ok.It’s linux.It’s all good.

  17. Anonymous says:

    have you done a complete update right after the initial distro-install?
    This should take most flaws away.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I tried all distros and pclinux is the best and fast, it works out of the box, even 3d effects out of the box, Pclinux has been the only distro that did not had to google to find data to setup the lappy.

    NO need to search repositories to find software everything is in synaptics.

    I think my laptop has a lots of affinity for PCLINUXOS, so I’m happy.

    Pclinux saves me a lot of time.

  19. Adri says:

    well, PCLOS 2007 is about six months old, while Ubuntu 7.10 and Mandriva 2008 see the light of day just for days only. A lot of things in improvement area has been going on in six months makes the comparison between PCLOS and those two is rather unfair. I installed PCLOS 2007 onto my HD when it first rolled out the gate and then replace it with Ubuntu 7.10 days ago when Canonical released it.

    Couple of my hardware are now working under the Ubuntu and a lot of nice features had been brought in, makes me have no excuse not to change my distro of choice.

    Wait until PCLOS 2008 makes its debut and see what it brings to smoke Mandriva 2008 out in the dust, just like it did in the previous release. For “battling” the Ubuntu, well, Mark always have April and October to catches things up.

    Personally, I’m thrilled to get a hands on the PCLOS 2008 and the “Hardy Heron” (sorry if the name is incorrect). Sorry for Mandriva, you always give me lots of crash here and there, but thank you for paving me the way in learning and using Linux for my daily life.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I have never heard of 3D not working right for someone in PCLOS. I am not saying that you are lying, but it makes me wonder if maybe you made a mistake somewhere. The instructions for it couldn’t be easier to find in the forums: Beryl-Compiz are in their own section, and there are two sticky posts right at the top with two alternate ways of enabling it. One of those posts has been there since january, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the next version simplifies things a bit. Still, maybe you should give it another go, to be fair. If not, no problem. Your review is fair enough, and it is an aging release. Installing all the available updates takes up several hundred megabytes. So. a new release must be coming soon.

  21. Dan says:

    Well it’s certainly not impossible that I did something wrong but I tried every solution I could find and nothing seemed to help. I’ve never had a problem enabling 3D effects on other distros and I suspect that I don’t know this distribution well enough. That may be the problem.

    I do intend to try out PCLinuxOS 2008 whenever it arrives as I said in the review. I know comparing a 6 month old release to a brand new one isn’t exactly fair and I did mention that in my review. I’m just doing this little tour of distributions now and I have to use what’s around obviously, it’s not meant to be a definative look at the whole Linux world just a personal experiment. I will be interested to see how the PCLinuxOS turns out.

    Thanks for all your comments and feedback everyone they are most helpful 🙂

  22. Mitesh Vohra says:

    Any plans to check Slackware 12.0? If so, I will be eager to await the review. Thanks. Mitesh.

  23. Dan says:

    Yeah I have Slackware 12 on a disk ready and waiting. I’m going to try that after I finish with Debian. I’ve never tried Slackware before so I’m keen to see what it’s like 🙂

  24. Anonymous says:

    Personally I have settled on Mint, which I highly recommend. It had me hooked when everything worked (NTFS drives, widows shares, 3D desktop) with no hassle. The interface is also wonderful. It may be worth a peek for you.

  25. Dan says:

    Thanks, I will note it down. I know a fair bit about Mint as some friends use it but I’ve never tried it myself. I’d better rectify that 🙂

  26. Anonymous says:

    Finally, an unbiased review. It seemed like all the things about PClinuxOS were reviews from fanatics saying that it’s by far the best and easiest distro to use. Now, I’ve never tried it, I’m quite happy with Ubuntu, but still. Reading a review in the PCLinuxOS Magazine about how great PCLinuxOS is might just be saying something. I don’t think a distro should hide their shortcomings and incompatibilities, but rather make it simple for people to decide by informing them of what the distro lacks, contains, and it’s future plans to resolve current issues.

    I suppose there is no such thing as that perfect Distro.

  27. Arun says:

    Mandriva Rocks!!!!!!

  28. Tim says:

    I tried out PCLinuxOS 2007 and quite liked it. I didn’t have any problems that I can recall and found it to be the best distro I’ve tried. I went back to Ubuntu because it has bigger repositories, but would have stayed with PCLinuxOS otherwise.

    The only thing I didn’t like about PCLinuxOS was that the repository client they used was very slow when checking the repository cache.

    One other thing. While PCLinuxOS was originally based on Mandriva, now it is a fork of Mandriva and I believe, completely separate from Mandriva’s development. This means that the PCLinuxOS team has produced what I consider to be a top-class distro, all on their own without the huge resources that,say, Ubuntu has. It’s really amazing what they’ve done with so little.

    Nice review (and comments, too). It’s quite refreshing to see someone review a distro in a professional and balanced manner. You ought to try out Puppy Linux (just for fun) to see how fast a current (sort-of) distro can be on old hardware. I’ve got it on a Amd k6-2 450mhz. Man, that dog can fetch!

  29. Roberto says:

    I have installed PCLinuxOS 2007 on dozens of machines. Never had any of the problems described by the author. On my machine PCLOS installs in 6 minutes after I load the Live CD into RAM.

    PCLinuxOS is extremely fast and stable. Without question it is the easiest distro to install and set up.

    Currently I am using the Gnome Desktop in PCLOS with the experimental kernel 2.6.22.10 optimized for AMD. Compiz Fusion and everything else works flawlessly.

    Ubuntu 7.10 is outstanding but it takes some time to set up. I have PCLinuxOS 2007 on sda and Ubuntu Gusty on sdb. I have a Linux Puppy nested file in one of the partitions. Who could ask for anything more ? As all three are fantastic !

  30. Anonymous says:

    adi, there won’t be a PCLOS 2008. PCLOS mainly uses a rolling upgrade system, by design. They’ve only done a new ‘release’ once in the last several years, and that was 2007 (a new generation after the previous 0.93a, which was based on Mandrake 9.2). They only do a rebase when certain parts of the base system get old enough that it’s needed.

    Basically – if you install PCLOS 2007 and do a full update, you have the current state of the art in PCLOS development. I don’t expect they’ll need to do a rebase again for another year or so at least.

    Adam Williamson
    Mandriva

  31. Anonymous says:

    tim: “One other thing. While PCLinuxOS was originally based on Mandriva, now it is a fork of Mandriva and I believe, completely separate from Mandriva’s development. This means that the PCLinuxOS team has produced what I consider to be a top-class distro, all on their own without the huge resources that,say, Ubuntu has. It’s really amazing what they’ve done with so little.”

    This is not true. As PCLOS has re-based off Mandrake / Mandriva more than once, it cannot properly be called a fork. PCLOS 2007 is, as has been mentioned, based on Mandriva Linux 2007 and retains a large amount of packages that are unmodified from those in that release of Mandriva. I did a fairly unscientific sample in DWW a few months ago and found about 60-70% of the packages I tested unmodified from Mandriva. Of course, the range of packages most people use is fairly narrow, and PCLOS makes substantial modifications to the most significant top-level packages – KDE, the kernel and so on. But PCLOS cannot really claim to be independent of Mandriva till it’s able to maintain its own basesystem, which with its current resources it cannot. If, the next time PCLOS needs to re-base, it is able to do so by updating its basesystem with its own development team – *then* it can be considered independent of Mandriva.

    of course, there’s nothing *wrong* with being based on Mandriva. It’s a perfectly sensible way to build a distribution, and arguably more efficient than maintaining the basesystem yourself when all the modifications you want to make are mostly to the top level of user-visible, desktop applications. it’s just important to know that with its current development resources, PCLOS does depend on utilizing the work of other distributors.

    Adam Williamson
    Mandriva

  32. Anonymous says:

    I run PCLinuxOS as my main OS and Ubuntu 7.10 as a guest OS, along with XP Pro as the second guest OS.

    My broadcom 4306 wireless is fussy and always binds to eth1 when I try any distro. PCLinuxOS includes ndiswapper in its LiveCD so after I install the OS I can wrap my bcmwl5.inf driver and I am good to go.

    Ubuntu 7.10, Sabbyon and Mint are alike in that they also bind my wireless to eth1, preventing a connection to the Internet. Since those distros do not include ndiswrapper in the LiveCD I can’t connect to the internet while running as a LiveCD. I would have to fetch ndiswrapper using another PC and transfer it using a USB memory stick. Also, Ubuntu can’t recognize my sound chip. Neither could Sabbyon, but Mint could. ???

    However, when I run Ubuntu 7.10 as a guest OS it borrows my Internet connection and sound and all is well. It runs quite fast, too.

    I am not a fan of GNOME but I installed Ubuntu 7.10 so I could become more familiar with GNOME 2.2.

    Two things govern ones selection of a Linux distro: your hardware compatibility and your desktop preference. If you are comfortable with the desktop you’ve chosen and you can enable all your hardware then any distro which gives that to you is the one you should use. Underneath the desktops and themes are a version of the same kernel and utilities.

    It’s just a matter of preference, not religion.

    GreyGeek

  33. Rick Stockton says:

    Your guess regarding NOAPIC is spot-on: older motherboards, as well as a few not-quite-right new ones, can’t handle APIC. (BIOS issue– sometimes you can handle it by resetting ESCD, but usually you can’t.)

    OTOH, something *has* changed within the Kernel and/or Mandriva’s device detection/configuration code– I used to need the NOAPIC boot option, but with 2008.0 I can install and run without it.

    If/When PCLOS re-bases off of 2008, it might be able to support APIC and LAPIC too. I’ve never even tried PCLOS, and don’t plan to (although some people like it a lot.) I only wanted to offer a hint about your “NOAPIC” issue.

  34. Dan says:

    That’s great thank you Rick, I suspected it was the motherboard. My machine is fairly new, only a year old but obviously it doesn’t support APIC. Good to know 🙂

  35. Sefy says:

    We have a seriously different opinion on this, i’ve tried openSUSE 10.3, Mandriva 2008, Kubuntu 7.10 and i always go back to PCL2007.

    Actually it’s the ONLY disto i came back to for a few very basic reasons: EASIEST to Install (10min on a P3!) and EASIEST to setup drivers and updates!

    1) Install it
    2) Open Synaptic, Hit Reload, Select Mark all Updates and do a Search for nVidia (or ATI if you have that) select and let it install
    3) Boot up after all updates and you got the most perfect Linux i’ve seen to date

    I’ve tried Mandriva One, but for the hell of it, i couldn’t find anything on their default repositories. on PCL i even had Skype! not to mention hardware compatible issues. Kubuntu crashes during install on my system while no other distro does it.

    The only difference between PCL & all the rest is updates, so for a fair review it needs to be updated as soon as installed. Also all new distro’s come out with a non free driver. PCL is fully free.

    So your review is unfair and IMO biased.

  36. FRIS says:

    NIce review, bro. Keep on this..

  37. Frank says:

    Here is a comment from someone who is new to Linux…

    I have always worked with Windows, first Windows 98 SE, then Windows 2000. Only in 1999 I tried SUSE 6, but I had a hard time installing it among other things. It was such a bad experience at the time that I never bothered to look at a Linux distro again, until last week.

    Mainly because of the growing popularity of Ubuntu, my interest in Linux came to life again. I Downloaded and installed Ubuntu, then Kubuntu and found the KDE a nicer environment.

    I installed Kubuntu on a 1.2Ghz AMD Duron with an old SIS315 Graphics card. All hardware was recognized, except the monitor, a Compaq V500.

    Coming from Windows, I really had to find my way through many new terminologies and I found it not so easy to adjust to this new system.

    Then I tried SUSE 10.3. It had the same problem finding my V500. Also I found it difficult to get my LAN to work, mostly because of how the dialogs were set up. I also found it difficult to install new software/updates through the repository.

    Still not completely satisfied, I searched the internet again and came across PCLinuxOS. The first thing that caught my eye was the logo. I liked it, so I downloaded the latest distro. I had no problems starting the LiveCD. After trying a view things I decided to install it to see how that would go.

    The first thing I liked about the installer was the simple dialog to put all IPs for my LAN. Since I use static IPs I turned off DHCP. That was easy and straight forward, the way I was used to from Windows.

    Also, this distro was the only one finding all my hardware, including my V500 Monitor. Getting to Synaptic, I found it very easy to install new packages and to update existing.

    Because of this positive experience, I decided to keep PCLinuxOS for a while and really put it to the test. I installed and uninstalled all kind of packages, including KDE updates and Dutch localization. Not once did the system crash or behave abnormal.

    The wealth of themes and possibilities to adjust the interface surprised me. I started to like this system more and more. After a couple of days I could find my way around pretty well. The only thing I really had to get used to is the root security. Before adjsuting themes manually in usr/share/apps, I had to remind myself to use Krusader in administrator mode. A big plus then is Krusaderś dual pane, a relatively simple feature the Redmond guys never bothered to implement in Explorer.

    My conclusion so far: PCLinuxOS really makes it easy for Windows users to step into the world of Linux! The look and feel is not that different, maybe because of the XP-like theme. I am not an XP fan. In fact I dislike XP so much that I still use 2000, a much lighter and more stable system. But I reckon the XP like look of PCLinuxOS will make many XP users feel at home, and I will advise all those Windows users having their regular problems to try PCLinuxOS.

    There is however one major problem I find in the Linux world. There seems to be no good alternative for a Dreamweaver like HTML editor. I tried them all, but no one comes close. I am not a lazy guy and prefer to edit HTML code manually. However, if it comes to productivity and you need to add 10 or 20 articles a day to your site, you don want to edit all those paragraphs manually. In Dreamweaver, when I paste a text, it automatically converts double line ends to paragraphs. Another great feature like in Dreamweaver would be to have your site structure in a pane from where you can add or update pages and send them through ftp.

    I do not understand that no one took the initiative to create a HTML editor for the Linux platform similar to Dreamweaver (L am NOT talking about Frontpage!). Again, it is not just about WYSIWYG, it is about productivity.

    If I could easily maintain large websites from within PCLinuxOS, it would be my first choice of Operating Systems and Windows would be history in my house.

  38. Sefy says:

    Why not use Dreamweaver on Linux? install it using Wine, it works rather well too!

  39. Dave says:

    Re: Dreamweaver: There is a developing OpenSource clone called NVU, also forked as Compozer. Not as powerful as Dreamweaver yet, but improving all the time.

    Problems with Nvidia graphics? My particular monitor is detected perfectly when using the analog connection, but not with the DVI. But it’s a simple matter to put right through the control centre. There’s plenty of stuff at the site about dealing with nvidia graphics.

    Remember that PCLinuxOS is the product of a very small group of people and is not commercial in any way. Not all hardware can be tested. Instead we rely on the community to bring problems to our attention.

    I know that always means that there is a bit of hardware here or there that may have problems. But we are happy if you use another Linux, it’s better than using Windows!

    Another problem that came to light is poor wireless support. Well in fact PCLinuxOS does better than many distros on certain wireless chipsets, and less well on others. It’s often a case of what hardware you have.

    I would say that for the majority of people, PCLinuxOS will detect and set up hardware with few or no problems, but if it does not, try another distro. But we would like to know the problem more closely so we can try to fix it, so please sign into our forum and pass on the details. You may even get a simple fix from another user.

    Unless a real hash has been made in a particular version, or it’s a specialist distro for purposes that are not yours, then it’s Linux and it’s Good.

  40. Zoran says:

    I have 2 laptop’s and on both of them PCLOS is working perfect (3D, Wlan, etc.) without any additional settings – out of the box!

  41. dhracek says:

    wow, congrats dan for a hell of a discussion – awesome! 🙂

    after testing PClinuxOS again yesterday, i tend to agree _again_ with your impressions: for me also, this distro ads nothing to good ol´Mandriva and the NEW 2008 version of this french distro is second to none for me at the moment.

    but hey: ubuntu, mandriva, suse, pclinuxos, red hat – there´s a distro for every need and every taste out there, so no need to get angry 😀

  42. Dan says:

    My sentiments exactly and many others have mirrored them here too. It doesn’t matter what distro you use the important thing is that it’s all Linux. There are lots of great distributions out there and I think it makes our community richer to have so much choice 🙂

  43. Jeremiah says:

    Adam.. Would you just go Away. For a Mandriva developer (or packager) you sure don’t get it. We’ve talked to you about spreading FUD around a few times now. It seems like Mandriva could keep a cap on you but as they were caught cheating not to long ago on rankings at distrowatch.com my guess is they’re just as unprofessional as you are.

    Yes where as PCLinuxOS is using core fundamentals of Mandriva init system startup scripts etc., It would be considered a fork, as it has it’s own kernel development, it’s own packagers (KDE, Org, etc..) at times they do use rebuilt Spec files granted at times you use Fedora spec files so does that make Mandriva not a fork of Redhat? What exactly do you define as a fork? I would think changing something as Major as the Linux Kernel, Xorg and KDE would at least give it fork status. Not sure though I don’t think like Mandriva developers. I tend to not bight the hand that feeds me like you guys did with a lot of you volunteer developers (including me) as you did 5 years ago. The reason PCLinuxOS exist is frankly because a lot of us who where volunteering packages for Mandriva got chased off. You’re still using some of spec files I created to this day, yet you didn’t need me. Well your loss is PCLinuxOS’s gain. Obviously you could have used us as someone there felt the need to cheat on hit rankings.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I think this review is biased and lame. You were in too much of a hurry to get to the next distro to update a rolling release system that is 6 months old?
    If you had trouble installing and configuring PCLinuxOS, I can hardly wait until you review Slackware. LMAO

  45. Anonymous says:

    Hi Dan. Thanks for you reviews. This “Adventures In Open Source” is a great idea and I see it’s taking off. I’m working through several distributions myself and I’ve been reading all of your reviews.

    I just wanted to add a couple of things here at the bottom. First, I think PCLinuxOS is ugly too. Compared to any other distro, it looks like hell. As far as that goes, I hate KDE too and I refuse to run it.

    In spite of your review, my experience has been that PCLinuxOS works very well with most hardware. My hope is that the 2008 version of PCLinuxOS will work better with your box.

    Futhermore, if you hate KDE, there is a PCLinuxOS Gnome Remaster available here:

    http://www.linuxgator.org/Gnome/gnome_page/gnome.html

    My understanding is that it is going to be an official branch eventually. It already works extremely well.

    In one important aspect it works better than PCLinuxOS as well as just about every other distro I’ve tried. The dreaded broadcom broadcom cards that have Ubuntu devs baffled somehow work in this live cd!!!

    If PCLinuxOS eventually produces a Gnome version that build on Mandriva and supports broadcom, I’m sold.

  46. manmath sahu says:

    But I found PCLinuxOS more usable, stable and responsive than any other os. IMO this is the best linux desktop around, if not the best linux os.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Great review!!

    Beside Mandriva and PCLOS2007 there is another distro featuring XFCE as Gui. Might want to check it out. It is called “SAM LINUX” and RC1 of its version 2008 was released a few days ago. I think it has better wireless support than PCLOS, but the basis is similar.

    I think PCLos is a great distro and far ahead of Ubuntu. It deserves its ranking at distrowatch. But it has to catch up to the latest Mandriva release.

    Stay open-minded and enjoy the diversity.

  48. Tarantella Serpentine says:

    I have a old Toshiba Satellite with an Atheros wi-fi chipset. PCLOS2007 just made it work out of the box (both the live cd and the hd install), contacted the dhcp server and I was ready to browse the net! I just answered a few questions and voilá! That’s really something. Have you ever had to setup pppoe over a wireless link? That was pretty easy too!

    Also, I wonder: who doesn’t like blue? The first thing that catches the eyes is the beauty of this distro, the neatness of the menus and obviously the incredible control panel. BTW Nvidia setup was breeze.

    It was the first time a Linux distro overwhelmed me.

  49. Dan says:

    That’s great that PCLOS worked well for you, it’s a nice distro it just wasn’t for me. A lot of people seem to really like it, I’m keeping my eye on it so maybe a new release can win me over. I can’t wait to see what they do with Mandriva 2008 as I loved that.

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