PCLinuxOS 2010 beta review
Once upon a time, PCLinuxOS was the biggest desktop distro. It came from nowhere straight to the top, beating Ubuntu and other big distros.
But as fast as it rose to the top, even faster was its decline.
The next release was no where near as popular as it’s predecessor. The distro seemed to have faded into the giant pool of small Linux distros.
Is PCLOS once again a serious contender for the desktop with the 2010 release?
PCLOS uses an installer called Draklive-Install.
Draklive is fast, polished and easy to use.
It took around 15 minutes to install in my virtual machine.
After the image has been copied to your harddrive, you can choose which bootloader you want.
You can also change the boot order. Which is nice for people who dual-boot.
Upon first boot, Draklive will ask you to create a root password and a user account.
That was easy.
The Grub theme, boot sequence, KDM theme and the desktop all looks nicely integrated with each other.
The distro uses KDE 4.4.1 as its DE.
A pleasant surprise is that PCLOS has desktop icons. People migrating from Windows, OSX or Gnome will appreciate this, as will a lot of KDE users.
The default install offers a plethora of applications. Besides the usual stuff, it comes with a feed reader, blogging client, 3g software, download manager, desktop sharing application, SMB/CIFS share browser, new reader, contact manager, personal information manager, google gadgets, wallet management tool, encryption tool, personal finance manager, hex editor, alternative light-weight file manager, system cleaner, file cleaner, note taking software, alarm software, personal organizer, …
Because of all this software, navigation is a mess. PCLOS uses the old KDE3 style Application Launcher Menu, which doesn’t help. Had they opted to used the normal KDE4 launcher, this would be less of an issue.
OpenOffice isn’t installed by default, but there is a link to download and install it from the repos in the “Office” menu.
Flash player is installed by default, as are popular audio and video codecs.
Synaptic is the main graphical package manager, a bit strange since it’s an RPM based distro. Obviously, apt is also available.
I wanted to remove some software, but when I searched for Konqueror or Kcalc, Synaptic didn’t find them.
So I browsed all applications available (installed or not) and they weren’t in there either.
Software installation was smooth.
PCLOS has a Control Center to manage most of your system. It reminds me of Yast on OpenSUSE.
I honestly didn’t expect PCLOS to have this kind of system management tool. It’s a breeze to use and works great. A lot of distros should take notice of this (Ubuntu, looking at you).
It offers the latest and greatest software.
Flash and media codecs are installed by default.
Control Center makes it easy to manage your system.
There is too much software installed by default, which makes the menu navigation more cluttered than it should be.
OpenOffice should be installed by default on this type of distro who aims at beginning Linux users.
Its package management is lacking. I didn’t test APT on the CLI, but Synaptic isn’t doing too good a job.
Do you agree or don’t you? Drop a line in the comments.