PCLinuxOS 2010 review

Posted: April 22, 2010 in OS Reviews

I was very excited about this release of PCLOS and have been waiting for it to hit for a while now.  PCLinuxOS (PCLOS for short) was my second Linux distro I ever used and I really liked it.  The only reason I moved on from it was the fact that I never really got used to the KDE desktop, finding it a bit too remniscent of Windoze for my liking.  However, I was willing to overlook that detail and give this version another whirl.  So here we go.

The Live CD booted up nice and smooth, to a splash screen featuring the new ‘logo’ which is a bull, where the name PCLinuxOS used to sit.  There was a second of scary looking verbosity that made me wonder what was screwed up, but it lasted a mere second and went right to the keyboard language popup and from there goes to the homescreen.  For brand new testers, a nice change is that it skips the whole unnecessary login screen and has info on the desktop that says what user and root names and passwords are for the purpose of logging out/in after making changes.

Right on the desktop one finds useful bits, such as the Add Locale and Get OpenOffice, which will enable the user to switch languages for the system and for Open Office.  Of course, there is a ‘radically simple’ icon for doing a hard drive install and installation instructions as well.  There was also a network center, which upon opening, showed both my ethernet and my wireless connections right off the bat, which was a very nice surprise (I have had to configure the ethernet in PCLOS 2007).

Random explorations in an unfamiliar setting of KDE took me to the File Manager, Dolphin.  I really, really liked Dolphin..a lot.  Copy and Move are automatically in the context menu, which is missing in Gnome, although PyExtensions takes care of it pretty well.  Open and delete as root are also options from the context menu.  You can set Dolphin to open with a set location, much like the homepage of a web browser and there are split view and preview options available which is nice too.  There are also options to pick and choose what to show or not show in the context menu.

The panels are a little confusing for me in KDE, for whatever reason.  There may be just a few too many options for my liking.  However, having said that, there are a million and a half (ok not that many) widgets you can add to the panel, customizing like crazy, which is awesome and being able to put the panel literally anywhere was pretty cool too.  Customizing the desktop seems a little overly complicated as compared to Gnome’s right click on the desktop but it seemed to have all the bases covered.  I was going to come back to it but…more to come on that.

As for the menu, I have to say I love Linux Mint lol..I really hate the KDE menu but that’s just me.  In Video, there is Imagination, SMplayer and TV Time, which I couldn’t get to work but that’s not necessarily a problem with the app.  Amarok was looking a little revamped, which I liked..I didn’t get to explore everything but when I hooked up my phone and it mounted my memory card, no problem, it played my songs with no hassle whatsoever.  Although each time I tried to open Amarok, KWallet would open too..not sure what that was about.  It got lost in the dealbreaker problem, which was that the sound didn’t work..at all..

Dealbreaker?  At this point, yes..I tried several things to fix this problem but no such luck.  I am going to try again after I try out the Gnome version of PCLOS (also wondering if it will be a problem there too, probably)  After quite a bit of messing about, I finally got the faintest of faint volume while trying out Amarok (for the 3rd time due to this) but it was so faint I literally thought my lappy had developed a quirk.  I have since looked up the issue and found it to be somewhat widespread.  Like I said, I will try again..most likely tomorrow..So, for now this review is only a partial one.

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Comments
  1. Mahfaan says:

    I just tried the Gnome version of this release. After the ‘guest’ login, I always get a Black-Screen-of- Death. The mouse would move and there was an activity swirl around the pointer, that is all. Yet, it would run if I started with the ‘copy2ram.’ On the prior release, it would not run if I did not use the probe sata option; again, copy2ram would run. . I have given up on PCLOS. The older releases ran without problems on my systems, but the new versions seem to lack ‘runability.’ Why does ‘copy2ram’ work better?

    I have no problems running Mint 8, Ubuntu, or Puppy.

  2. LinuxLover says:

    You do realize there is a Gnome version of PCLinuxOS released, as well, don’t you? Why didn’t you review that if you’re a Gnome user? FWIW, there are also LXDE, XFCE, Openbox, and Enlightenment versions, as well.

    I just installed PCLinuxOS 2010 and I’m installing all of my favorite wares on it, as well as getting a few updates that have already been issued. So far, with the exception of some small oversights I’ve discovered, everything is going great. Better give it a week of use before final judgment. It doesn’t seem as quick to load or in execution as my Mandriva 2010 install did. Also, I’d really prefer a 64 bit version, but I understand why they’re not moving in that direction, yet. However, how many people are still using processors old enough that they aren’t 64 bit compatible? Athlon 64 was released in 2003 – 7 years ago.

  3. Gnobuddy says:

    Just FYI: sound worked for me both from the Live CD and after installation to hard drive. I’m using a Creative Labs PCI Soundblaster sound card based on the CA0106 chip.

    -Gnobuddy

  4. Pariah says:

    I’m sure it works great for other people too. However, if it doesn’t work out of the box on a pretty common setup, that is indicative of a problem.

  5. Pariah says:

    NO, I had no idea that there was a Gnome version..not even when I was doing the review of it. Wow. I focused on the KDE version because that is the ‘flagship’ version of PCLOS and thereby it receives the bulk of the attention of the development team. Giving it a week is so very not the point of this review, or of oh wait..any of the reviews that I do. The point is newbie friendliness; do check the websites. Seriously? You think only a handful of people are not using 64bit compatible equipment? Then how is it that everyone knows distros by the names of Damn Small and Puppy Linux, or TinyCore..How about TinyMe or any other distro (let’s say for a wild example PCLinuxOS) that is putting a distro out there with the option of LXDE or Xfce as an alternative desktop environment?? There are reasons for that, mostly to do with old worn down computers that no one in their right mind would hang on to, except for us Linux users.

  6. Pariah says:

    I agree that the quality of PCLOS just isn’t what it used to be..this distro used to be bleeding edge awesome but now things don’t even work out of the box..where’s the radically simple? Sorry you couldn’t even run the Gnome version..I have had endless problems with the Gnome version ever since it was first made but I keep trying..this time on the Gnome version the internet wouldn’t work. Ugh. I am a Linux Mint user myself, although I went back to Mint 7 due to Karmic Koala sucking so much.

  7. LinuxLover says:

    First, I wasn’t suggesting you gave a review a week, just saying I better give my own install a week before blowing off oodles of praise for it. I guess there are plenty of people using very old boxes for Linux, but PCLinuxOS isn’t a distro for that. If you have KDE 4 and you turn on compositing, you better have something released within the last 7 years, and that means you’re probably 64 bit compatible. If you have an old box, then there are LXDE and XFCE versions of PCLinuxOS for that. Not to mention, there’s no reason there can’t be 32 and 64 bit versions, just like Mandriva, OpenSuse, Ubuntu…

    BTW, I’m with you on Linux Mint. I was using Linux Mint 7 for a while – Gnome even – and absolutely loved it. I’m just not a Debian (or Gnome) guy, but Linux Mint was incredible. Haven’t tried Mint 8, though.

    I have no idea what hardware you people use, but I’ve used PCLinuxOS on a variety of hardware over the years and never had any problems aside from when I built this Core i7 box and the kernel they were using didn’t support the X58 chipset. However, I sort of expected that. Aside from that, not one single issue with hardware over the years, and I’ve been using it since PCLinuxOS .92, which was long ago, and on 5 different machines with various hardware over time that received upgrades along the way. If you’re a Linux user, you should know to be conscientious of your hardware selection to be sure it’ll work with whatever Linux distro you choose. I rarely have had hardware issues with any distro because I’m careful about the hardware I buy.

  8. Pariah says:

    I disagree, I first used PCLOS 2007 on a very old eMachines and it ran beautifully on 256MB Ram even. I would rather not see PCLOS try to fall into the trap of *buntu, that is the trap of trying to be everything to everybody. This is why I’m unconcerned that PCLOS hasn’t made the move to support 64bit arch. yet. I rather suspect that the next major release might address that..or the one after that.

    Linux Mint has pretty much taken over for me where PCLOS used to rule. Everything has always worked out of the box for me, at least as long as I’ve been using it (admittedly since 4-Daryna came out and it was shiny new) on 3 different (vastly so) boxes. I have a standard laptop, an Acer Aspire 5515, with original setup, as I felt no need to mess with a good thing. For PCLOS to not work right out of the box is disheartening. And I had my systems prior to switching to Linux..and the whole living in poverty thing tends to limit to what I can afford rather than designing a system that Linux will work with. If Linux is to be the future, then we cannot afford to stay in the mindset of trying to make our systems compatible with Linux, but rather make Linux compatible to our systems..seems only the common sense way to take over the world, in my ever so humble opinion.

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