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?

Installation

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.

Installer

Draklive-Installer

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.

Standard Installation

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.

KDE Desktop

PCLOS Standard Desktop

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.

Navigation PCLOS

Navigation is a mess

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.

System Administration

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).

PCLOS Control Center

Control Center Makes Life Easy

Conclusion

Pros:

It offers the latest and greatest software.

Flash and media codecs are installed by default.

Control Center makes it easy to manage your system.

Cons:

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.

    • Barnabyh
    • March 9th, 2010

    You obviously haven’t got a clue. Synaptic isn’t doing a good job? Why, because you could not find some packages that are most likely part of a KDE Metapackage?

    Didn’t know it comes with the Control Centre inherited from Mandriva/Mandrake which it is based on? PCLOS would not have the resources to develop something like this themselves.

    Unhappy with too many apps in the menu? May I remind of the KDE 3 days. Even now OpenSuSE or most other distros that come with more than a handful of stuff pre-installed look the same if you change from the new default menu to the old style menu.

    Bugger off, droid. You know nothing.

      • billgoldberg
      • March 9th, 2010

      I don’t have a clue? OK.

      I don’t care if Konqueror or KCalc are in some sort of meta package. That’s not the point. I can’t remove them.

      About Control Center. I know they didn’t make it themselves (nor did I say they did), it’s just a nice addition to the distro.

      This distro has by far the most apps installed by default, no other popular distro comes close.

      You are making excuses for the distro. I’m staying neutral and telling what I see.

  1. Your statements in this blog are not accurate.

    PCLinuxOS had a gradual rise to the top of distrowatch peaking in 2007 at number one then gradually declined over the past 3 years where it is still listed as a top 10 distro out of 350 available.

    The menu can be changed to Suse style with the right click of the mouse. The majority of PCLinuxOS users migrating from KDE 3 wanted KDE 4 to look as much the same as possible.

    Open Office can be installed with a click of a button in the menu and you can get Open Office in one of over 100 languages.

    Synaptic with apt rocks on this distro.

      • billgoldberg
      • March 9th, 2010

      PCLOS is ranked number 10 at distrowatch. That by itself isn’t bad, but nothing close to what it used to be.

      I review the standard installation of a distro. I know you can change and install stuff.

      I don’t like apt or synaptic, because there are better tools out there.

        • Fred Smith
        • March 10th, 2010

        Sorry but you wouldn’t know neutral if it up and bit you. Consistently in the top 10 rankings out of 350+ distributions, and you consider that “not close” to what it used to be? Objectivity is not your forte.

        For that matter the items you criticize and the reasons given for that criticism show a singular lack of in depth Linux knowledge in general. What you write comes off as the superficial opinions of a person inexperienced with both the subject matter and proper writing form. It highlights only your own prejudice, incompetence, and inabilities, rather than any shortcomings of the software, or the distribution itself. That’s kind of sad.

    • -deadcats
    • March 9th, 2010

    Barnabyh :You obviously haven’t got a clue.Bugger off, droid. You know nothing.

    Poster obviously knows nothing of Susan’s in depth knowledge of desktop linux in general, nor anything of her specific historical knowledge of PCLinuxOS.

    I’m running Beta I installed–haven’t had the time to test in-depth yet–but it looks to me like Texstar and the Ripper Gang are back in full force. I’m really glad, because I’ve been a bit disapp;ointed in the 2009 releases, and haven’t used PCLOS for the past year.

    This BETA has a lot of potential!

    regards,
    -dc

    • afs
    • March 9th, 2010

    “Poster obviously knows nothing of Susan’s in depth knowledge of desktop linux in general, nor anything of her specific historical knowledge of PCLinuxOS.”

    I think you’re mistaken about who authored the review. Go to Susan’s website, the Original Content section. Read her review titled “SAM Linux – Great little OS”. It includes:

    “SAM is based on PCLOS and as such retains some of the telltale signs – some application splash screens, the PCLOS/Mandriva hard drive installer, Synaptic, and PCLOS’ version of the Mandriva Control Center.”

    She clearly knows that the PCLOS Control Center is based on Mandriva’s.

    • Richard Rade
    • March 9th, 2010

    Try booting the 2010 live cd with a sata CD drive. It won’t do it.

    They lost their touch.

    They took out/broke the Sata probe pclinux 2009 had. Now nothing, yet they brag it will boot any cd. Little the reviewers know.

    Not worth the time and effort. much less the wasted bandwidth to download junk.

      • billgoldberg
      • March 9th, 2010

      Thanks for the information. I didn’t know that. I’ll read into it and post and update the article.

      • vatsok
      • March 10th, 2010

      I had no problem with my sata cd drive. PCLOS 2010 works GREAT although it is a beta release.

      • Graham Gateway
      • March 10th, 2010

      Absolute NONSENSE!! Why you would post that I don’t know. I don’t suppose it could be your system at fault? My 4 systems (3 x Sata and 1 x IDE) all boot PCLinuxOS 20010 Beta 1 without so much as a hiccup. And remember this is an Beta version.

      Do you think all the people that regularly use PCLinuxOS (and have Sata CD drives) would accept not being able to boot the iso? I don’t think so.

      And its my understanding that a great many PCLinuxOS users are very savvy in the ways of Linux and would soon tell the developers if there was such a major flaw and after going to their forum and have seen no such posts.

      • tony
      • March 13th, 2010

      Not true, my system booted just fine.

  2. Richard Rade :
    Try booting the 2010 live cd with a sata CD drive. It won’t do it.
    They lost their touch.
    They took out/broke the Sata probe pclinux 2009 had. Now nothing, yet they brag it will boot any cd. Little the reviewers know.
    Not worth the time and effort. much less the wasted bandwidth to download junk.

    Yes it will boot from a SATA CD drive, It will also boot from IDE and USB drives.

  3. billgoldberg :
    PCLOS is ranked number 10 at distrowatch. That by itself isn’t bad, but nothing close to what it used to be.
    I review the standard installation of a distro. I know you can change and install stuff.
    I don’t like apt or synaptic, because there are better tools out there.

    What better tools out there are better than APT/Synaptic which is used by more Linux users than any other packaging tool?

      • linuxowns
      • March 10th, 2010

      Apt is too slow. Also Synaptic lacks some basic stuff like ignoring depencies.

      I’ve used Synaptic for a long time and it’s ok but once you use better tools like Yast Software Management you will know why it’s not that great.

      • I have used Yast and Synaptic. I prefer Synaptic.

        As for slow… I don’t know where you come from, but the Synapric in PCLinuxOS is not slow by any measure I can come up with.

        Ignoring dependencies isn’t “basic stuff”, because to safely ignore dependencies, you need to be an intermediate or advanced linux user. PCLOS is designed so that you never need to do things like ignore dependencies. It’s designed that way because dependencies should never be something a typical desktop computer user has to think about. You’re complaining that PCLinuxOS doesn’t have the ability to give you more under-the-hood access when A) it’s entirely unnecessary for the distro, and B) it is a distro aimed at being less technical and more “just works” than that. Seems like you found a distro that fits your desires… but that doesn’t make another distro (or package tool) less good.

        PCLinuxOS uses Synaptic, apparently, because Tex believes it’s the best choice for his distro’s goals. I have found that Tex is an exceptionally wise man when it comes to what makes an exceptionally good Linux distro. I happen to agree with him. Yast did not make me happy at all.

        However, you are welcome to your point of view.

      • I have used Yast and Synaptic. I prefer Synaptic.

        As for slow… I don’t know where you come from, but the Synapric in PCLinuxOS is not slow by any measure I can come up with.

        Ignoring dependencies isn’t “basic stuff”, because to safely ignore dependencies, you need to be an intermediate or advanced linux user. PCLOS is designed so that you never need to do things like ignore dependencies. It’s designed that way because dependencies should never be something a typical desktop computer user has to think about. You’re complaining that PCLinuxOS doesn’t have the ability to give you more under-the-hood access when A) it’s entirely unnecessary for the distro, and B) it is a distro aimed at being less technical and more “just works” than that. Seems like you found a distro that fits your desires… but that doesn’t make another distro (or package tool) less good.

        PCLinuxOS uses Synaptic, apparently, because Tex believes it’s the best choice for his distro’s goals. I have found that Tex is an exceptionally wise man when it comes to what makes an exceptionally good Linux distro. I happen to agree with him. Yast did not make me happy at all.

        However, you are welcome to your point of view.

        Chris :
        “Totally disagree with that, the guys who do the most posting just answer everything very bluntly/quickly since they answer like 1000 threads/day”
        Well, maybe I was exaggerating since there are a lot of helpful people over there, but the mods over on the PCLOS forum are absolute power zealots. I’ve read on other linux forums about how a mod will delete a post over some stupid stuff such as mentioning the unstable repository. It really turned me off to the distro.

        Wow. Let me get this straight. You read on another forum how a mod will delete a post about mentioning the unstable repository and this turned you off to the distro.

        First, let me say that letting others think for you is going to get you very close to nowhere in life.

        Second, if the post about the unstable repository was deleted, I can be pretty sure it had something to do with preventing users from borking their systems. Unstable isn’t intended to be generally accessible in the PCLinuxOS world. When a Beta comes out, that’s when “unstable” becomes generally accessible… but the major thrust of the distro is STABILITY and that doesn’t come from handing someone access to a repo that will bork their system.

        I suggest you begin investigating the things you are making decisions concerning, before you make a conclusion.

    • Graham Gateway
    • March 10th, 2010

    Graham Gateway :
    Reply to Richard Rade; Absolute NONSENSE!! Why you would post that I don’t know. I don’t suppose it could be your system at fault? My 4 systems (3 x Sata and 1 x IDE) all boot PCLinuxOS 20010 Beta 1 without so much as a hiccup. And remember this is an Beta version.
    Do you think all the people that regularly use PCLinuxOS (and have Sata CD drives) would accept not being able to boot the iso? I don’t think so.
    And its my understanding that a great many PCLinuxOS users are very savvy in the ways of Linux and would soon tell the developers if there was such a major flaw and after going to their forum and have seen no such posts.

    • Barnabyh
    • March 11th, 2010

    Proved my point. If you think apt is slow and lacking in functionality and prefer yast you obviously don#t know enough about it. Perhaps the repos / mirrors you were using were slow.
    It is my understanding that zypper was modelled on apt-get to mimic syntax and behaviour. Personally I have always found apt/synaptic to be the fastest combo out there and therefore cannot concur. Yast certainly does not come close. The things you want are all there if you dig deeper, at least in Debian.
    You’re also claiming to be objective and neutral while admitting that you don’t like synaptic and did not test apt on the CLI. Which is fine, but you’re obviously not qualified to judge it due to your lack of testing and of understanding of the tool.

    • Chris
    • March 13th, 2010

    “Bugger off, droid. You know nothing.”

    So, looks like the distro is getting a revival, but its users are still as snobby as ever. The forum is the same way because the mods over there are always looking for an excuse to delete your posts.

    Looks interesting, but it still resembles a Mandriva clone with a different package manager (apt-rpm).

      • Flamer!
      • March 14th, 2010

      “Bugger off, droid. You know nothing.”
      YAY DistroWars!!! This is proof that PCLINUXOS is back to people caring about it😛
      Happy Flaming! All distros suck! weeeeee

      “So, looks like the distro is getting a revival, but its users are still as snobby as ever.”
      Totally disagree with that, the guys who do the most posting just answer everything very bluntly/quickly since they answer like 1000 threads/day

      PS: I think 2010 release is awesome (switching from Ubuntu)

    • Chris
    • March 15th, 2010

    “Totally disagree with that, the guys who do the most posting just answer everything very bluntly/quickly since they answer like 1000 threads/day”

    Well, maybe I was exaggerating since there are a lot of helpful people over there, but the mods over on the PCLOS forum are absolute power zealots. I’ve read on other linux forums about how a mod will delete a post over some stupid stuff such as mentioning the unstable repository. It really turned me off to the distro.

    • allonym
    • March 15th, 2010

    “I’ve read on other linux forums about how a mod will delete a post over some stupid stuff such as mentioning the unstable repository.”

    Their forum has rules. Rule 10, for example:
    DO NOT discuss anything about the unstable directories on the forums. The forums are for support of the stable directories ONLY.

    If you can’t follow such a simple and direct rule, the mods will–usually with a warning first–delete your post. They are not being arbitrary, they’re being responsible mods. Get over yourself if you can’t deal with that.

      • Chris
      • March 19th, 2010

      “Get over yourself if you can’t deal with that.”

      Rule or not, it still prove my point in the absurd power trips that the mods grant themselves. What good does it do to the PCLOS community by obscuring a critical component of the development process? Ubuntu has a section for testing upcoming releases and openSuSE and Fedora don’t ban talking about their factory and rawhide branches, so why have the mods taken it upon themselves to implement such a rule? New users aren’t going to know what it is and even less likely to use it. Besides, my response about that was pertaining to a user inquiring about when a new OpenOffice update and coming and all I said was, “There’s a new version in the unstable repository, so it should be coming soon.” Now, if you weren’t a power zealot, do you see anything wrong with that?

      It’s that type of attitude that turned me away from the distro.

        • realEpeople
        • February 5th, 2011

        absurd power trips, is that what you tell the judge when the police give you speeding tickets?
        the forums have rules to keep order; if you are to incompetant to follow them, your posts are removed. while if you are incabable of even following simple rules, figuring it out on your own may be out of reach, but if google cannot help, maybe sending someone a pm would not break any rules?

    • Wayne W
    • March 16th, 2010

    I have several computers with SATA drives, and they all booted the 2010 Beta just fine. You had better check your drives for some misbehavior.

  4. If you want to discuss testing then use the mailing list that is set up for talking about the testing section.

    http://groups.google.com/group/pclinuxos-testers

    • bigtam
    • July 16th, 2010

    People should stick to the essentials when discussing issues IE comments should be constructive and not derogatory . I have tried various linux distros and have settled on pc linux 2010 lxde and find it does everything i need it to do including running spotify in wine flawlessly . Sure its not perfect but neither is apples osx snow leopard which i run on a mac pro quad core xenon or windows 7 on a laptop . All are constantly updating security flaws or bug fixes through service packs . I find pc linux easier to use i am not fanatical about it and if another distro comes out that is even more user friendly i would give it a try . The only other distro i have settled on is puppy linux through unet bootin . No doubt there may be other distros i am unaware of out there that are equal or better . That is why i read these articles as i dont have time being self employed to spend trying them all out . A big thank you to the people who do try out these new os as it was previous articles that have led me to settle for the moment on puppy and pc linux 2010 . Mature and concise criticism without insults should be the way to help improve linux . Cheers from a newby

    • Gordon Milton
    • October 24th, 2010

    allonym :
    “I’ve read on other linux forums about how a mod will delete a post over some stupid stuff such as mentioning the unstable repository.”
    Their forum has rules. Rule 10, for example:
    DO NOT discuss anything about the unstable directories on the forums. The forums are for support of the stable directories ONLY.
    If you can’t follow such a simple and direct rule, the mods will–usually with a warning first–delete your post. They are not being arbitrary, they’re being responsible mods. Get over yourself if you can’t deal with that.

    Hi.

    I would love to engage in the forum, but I have tried twice to join. On both times, I have received an email saying that befor I can login I need to be approved.

    I have waited for nearly a week after trying to register the first time, and more than a day after the second time. Both registrations have had fifferent usernames and email addresses.

    I need support with a printer not printing. If anyone here can wake Bill Reynolds up, or one of the Forum admins, to approving forum registrations, I’d be very grateful.
    In the meantime, I have reverted to Ubuntu 10.10 until I can ask for help in the PCLOS forums.

    • hoe
    • December 8th, 2010

    Guys!

    I had compared with the fastest distro ‘Chakra” which ranked the top on bootup but not as friendly as PClinuxOS 2010, which indeed the best friendly distro to 2nd place after chakra but first for begineer.

    hoe

  5. always i used to read smaller posts which as well
    clear their motive, and that is also happening with this paragraph which
    I am reading here.

  6. College life can not be completed without dealing with great amount of stress along with the packed days and
    sleepless nights combating with tons of work loads and deadly
    research papers. Also, the education system recognizes that
    the world is not only about memorization and reproducing those memorized facts
    on the test, to then go on and forget the information
    completely. He or she should give at least one reason for choosing a particular side.

  1. March 10th, 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: