Wednesday, June 20, 2007

switching to PCLINUXOS 2007 from Ubuntu - week 3 - final observations

This is my third week using PCLINUXOS (PCLOS) after switching from UBUNTU. THis will be my last rpsost on this and here are some final observations.

I have found that PCLOS is a very usable desktop Linux distribution. From the begining I have had very few problems. The install was easy and trouble free. I prefer xfce4 to kde and installing xfce4 was a snap and configuration was easy.

PCLOS is visually pretty, has an excellent set of default applications, and the official repository of programs has first tier programs in all significant categories of software.

For an experience Linux user (I have been using Linux sine Nov. 2000), PCLOS is an excellent choice. It is structured following the expected standards for directories, utilities, configuration files, and so forth. The default applications (Open office, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) are all main line and work without a hitch. The available online documentation such as user's manual, installation guide, etc. are quite good, but I found that everything worked so well that I did not need to use any of the documentation. I have checked out the user forum and PCLOS home page and it seems that there is a very active community. Fortunately, I have not needed any help, but it seems that help is available if needed.

The default desktop is KDE, which is a good choice because it is very stable and has a lot of great packages. Gnome and XFCE4 are also available for those persons who prefer them.

For the new user, I think that PCLOS is one of the easiest distributions to get started with. It is a live cd with the option to install. It has great hardware detection and setup (it recognized my wifi card and set it up just fine. The default applications are some of the best available. The developers have included good applications in all the areas that the normal desktop user would probably work in. About the only thing one has to do is to install libdecss to play encrypted dvds. This is explained in the documentation that appears when a browser is started for the first time. The available user manual answers just about any question that a first time user might have.

The synaptic package manager is very easy to work with and hardly needs any instructions for use. I think most any user should be able to find, install, and remove software without any difficulty.

The only minor problems I have had in the three weeks of use are:
1. I needed to turn off ipv6 in firefox and thunderbird by using about:config. At one point loading email and web pages became very slow, and from past experiences I knew that I needed to turn off ipv6 to fix this.
2. The glines game does not retain my score, but klines works fine.
3. The menu item for tightvnc (vncviewer) would open into a terminal window instead of the application. I turned off the terminal option by editing tightvnc.desktop in /usr/share/applications.
4. The flashplayer9 firefox plugin hangs up. I have read in various forums that this is a common problem and happens because flashplayer9 has a problem releasing the audio device. Flashplayer7 does not have this problem. I usually just download the stream video using the firefox plugin download helper and then play it off line.

I have had no crashes or other bad stuff in the three weeks of heavy use.

I would recommend PCLOS to any first time Linux user, but I would recommend they get a good basic book about Linux and become familiar with the user forum and the user documentation.


Blogger mickbw said...

From the point of a Linux noob but an accomplished techie on the Windows side, I especially enjoy the Control Center available in Pclos over what is available in Ubuntu.

One strength of the Ubuntu distro is the Ubuntu branded tutorials to install anything that is off the reservation such as ndiswrapper to allow for wifi access, phpmyadmin and even mysql configuration.

I was able to use these tutes as a guide but I know in the case of many people I work with they never would have attempted to install from "Ubuntu" instructions.

It would be good if someone with much better Linux skills than me would convert the tutorials to a pclos distro perspective.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm convinced and I use PCLinuxOS. Its main weaknesses for me are the relatively small repository, age of some of the libraries and emphasis on Kde.

I don't have a 'buntu installed because the "alternate" installers don't work mainly because of lack of partition recognition. I hate not having a root account and having to use sudo without messing about with configuration. There also seem to be quite a number of bugs.

P.S.I have a Google account and a blogspot but don't follow the log-in.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We switched a medium business system to Linux, in 1999, before Y2K. Our first system was installed from a CD, in a $39.95 RedHat book. We have several server boxes running Linux.

The search for a Linux Desktop has been going on since 1999. In May 2007, I built different "buntu" boxes, finally choosing Kubuntu, because of the KDE Desktop, for my home machine.

On Distrowatch, PCLinuxOS was number 3. The other sysadmin and I downloaded the live CD, and tried it on our machines. I replaced Kubuntu, the other admin made a three OS boot laptop, WinXP, PCLinxOS, and Vista. Vista is now removed and it's a dual boot laptop.

We now use PCLOS for our desktops and have a samba backup file server running for our Windows machines.

It just works...

10:06 AM  
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