A simple review, geared towards the new Linux user. Explore PCLinuxOs a great Distro, that is stable, powerful, secure, and user friendly.
Point, Click, Enjoy.
In the Beginning,
Being new to Linux, I was struggling to find a distribution that would work for me, I tried Mandrake, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Gentoo, Vida, Knoppix and Mepis. I was determined to use Linux but after a string of distributions that came close but just didn’t cut it; I was ready to return "Home" to windows. I found this to be immensely frustrating. After all, I left windows primarily because of the rabid infestation of spyware, and the virus’s that just keep getting stronger and better. I have multiple other reasons a few of them being TCPA, the limited choices of software, the heavy bloated feeling of xp, the random reboots that replaced the blue screen of death, the incredibly long boot/shut down times, and what I consider unethical business practices. There are so many reasons to switch to Linux and regardless, to the issues I had been having with Linux I wanted to give it one more try. I went to my new homepage http://www.distrowatch.com and checked out every distribution in the top twenty. I looked at their websites, I read their reviews, and I asked around about them on the forums at http://www.linuxquestions.org. After a lot of research I decided on PCLinuxOs.
Some Friendly Advice:
A few words before I start, if you are a windows refugee, like I am, I would like to offer some friendly advice. If you ask in a forum the question "Which distribution should I choose?" you will receive a bunch of very vague responses. It is really important for you to pick a distribution that is right for you. Personally, I wanted a distribution that would simply just work. I didn’t want to tweak and hack for hours to get all of my peripherals, videos, music files, etc to work. I found some very valuable research tools in finding the right Linux version for me. First try http://www.linuxquestions.org a free forum where you can ask questions, read reviews, receive new information and download some distributions. Also http://www.distrowatch.com lists new developments in the Linux world, compiles a list of the most popular distributions, supplies you with specific information about each and provides links to reviews, websites, and forums. Finally, http://www.tuxmagazine.com an online magazine designed especially for the new Linux user. The information it provides about individual applications, I have found extremely useful.
What is PCLinuxOs:
PCLinusOs version p9 is hard to describe, it resembles Mandrake, Knoppix and Debian, the developers seem to have used the best that these operating systems have to offer and then mixed it with their own very special talents. What you get is a distribution that is unique, powerful, fast and incredibly user friendly.
Being a live CD you don’t have to install PCLinuxOs to your hard drive. Simply place the CD in your CDROM and turn on your computer. In less than five minutes you will be using PCLOS. It will uncompress data from the CD on the fly giving you access to almost 2 gigabytes worth of programs. It stores itself in your systems memory and will even give you access to the host computers entire system, burn CD’s, save information to disks, listen to music or surf the web. Remember, however, that when using a live CD that it will be slower than a hard drive installation. The fact that this distribution has live CD functionality gives you portability, this is an extremely useful feature as it grants you the ability to basically take what you are used to, your home computer, with you wherever you go.
Hard drive Installation:
I personally wanted to install PcLinuxOs on my home computer. To achieve this you simply place PCLinuxOs into your CDROM and turn your computer on. Most modern systems will automatically recognize the bootable CD and start you at the first PCLinuxOs screen note that the passwords are guest for guest and root for root. Hit enter, wait a few seconds in till the login screen pops up, select guest and login to PCLinuxOs if you previously tried the live CD then all of this if familiar to this point. After logging in you are greeted to a visual treat PCLinuxOs is one of the prettiest and best laid out distributions available. Notice, on the lower left hand corner of your screen you will see an icon that says install me, click it once and the hard drive installation tool will pop up on the screen. This installer is very intuitive; it will ask you a series of very easy to answer questions. You can install it as the primary operating system on your drive or partition your drive for multiple boot situations. Then it will format he partition or partitions that you have chosen after which it will install PCLinuxOs. This takes about twenty minutes, PCLinuxOs, is still fully functional while this installation occurs you can pass the time by surfing the web, or listening to music. I found myself looking around at the other programs and not even noticing that the installation had completed. When I did finally notice that it had finished its task I clicked next and the installer asked me for one final step. Configuring the boot loader Lilo, you have a few choices of where you want it to reside. I chose the master boot record (MBR) and clicked finish. After removing the live CD and rebooting I was welcomed to a fully functional and complete hard drive install. It really was that easy, pretty much a point and click affair.
One thing I didn’t realize when I first started using Linux was that a hard drive install also installs a lot of useful programs such as media players, offices suites, games, etc. PCLinuxOs is no different a superbly well put together package of software is preinstalled, seriously, everything you will ever need is already installed and waiting for you to explore it. PCLinuxOs is one of the best thought out operating systems available and the custom artwork is outstanding.
PCLinuxOs uses the popular synaptic front end for downloading new programs and updating your system. Kpackage is also available but I have found Synaptic to be easier and more intuitive. With Synaptic you have access to the PCLinuxOs repositories; literally thousands of free programs available for free download. If you find something that you want to install simply click on Synaptic, click search and type in the name of the program, Synaptic will search through PCLinuxOs’s repositories for the program. If it is found it will appear in the results screen along with a description. By the name of the program is a checkbox, if the box is solid green then this application is already installed, if not right click it and click mark for install followed by clicking on apply and within a few moments your new program will be installed. Synaptic also supplies you with the ability to upgrade or update any and all your installed programs and operating system. Simply click the upgrade button, select smart upgrade and then apply. It is that easy!
PCLinuxOs has a terrific community the forums are robust and questions are answered quickly. The developers themselves are actively involved. I found the users to be exceptionally friendly, sometimes humorous, and always helpful. Another aspect of the community is the mailing list. This is where the real work takes place and emails are often very technical. However, this makes them fun to read and a learning experience. You will need to monitor both to be completely in the know.
Let me state that I am not a Linux expert. I am a true "Newbie" making my way in a brand new world. This review is about the Linux beginner and how easy it is to enjoy Linux using a distribution like PCLinuxOs. If you are contemplating trying Linux do so, the renewed feeling of freedom and ownership over your computer is empowering. PCLinuxOs makes computing fun again, no more viruses or spyware and with PCLinuxOs I find that I am actually using my computer and not simply maintaining it. Once installed PCLinuxOs is ready to go, I did not have to do anything else, no extra downloading, no tweaking, and no text editing. I can’t say enough about PCLinuxOs it is eloquent, powerful, simple, cutting edge, secure, stable and in my opinion the best thought out distribution available. With PCLinuxOs you point, click and enjoy.
Written by, James Roettger