Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

On the Bench: PCLinuxOS 2007, radically simple?

PCLinuxOS released it’s most recent incarnation and has even succeeded to surpass Ubuntu in popularity with (if we use the Distrowatch ranking as an indication of that). With it’s roots solidly in Madriva and dedicated to be even more userfriendly it does deserve a closer look. The slogan “Radically simple” should be promising. However, radically simple compared to what? Debian? Or Windows XP? That does make a difference don’t you think? PCLinuxOS is one of those distributions that want to promote W2L migration. That is at least the focus I chose in this “On the Bench” article.


What needs to be made simple?

In it’s barest essence the installation of any Linux distribution requires the following steps:
1. disk partitioning (at least swap and / (root));
2. creating the first user and give a password for the root user.
The settings for the time zone, default language and keyboard can be considered essential as well. Oh, and don’t forget the internet connection. So how simple can you make this? Each distribution deals with it in it’s own way. PCLinuxOS will boot as a live CD and asks you about your keyboard, timezone and network before you ever see the live desktop.


The wizard to setup your network connection is extensive, even providing options for satellite, GPRS and wifi. I wouldn’t call the steps in the wizard easy, especially if you migrate from a Windows environment.


Installation made easy


One of the nicer things about PCLinuxOS is the easily accesible installation guide. The icon is right there on the live desktpop. All the steps are explained with screendumps to support the text.


You can read it alongside the actual installation which you begin by double-clicking Install PCLinuxOS. Draklive-install is your buddy here. The first step of the wizard is to determine whether you go for a harddisk install or a USB drive install.


I didn’t test the second option, but I am curious about it. Just keep on the lookout for a future article. I went for a clean install on a clean harddrive and PCLinuxOS doesn’t bother you with much questions. Once the files have been copied you give your root password and create he first user. It was at the screen to setup the bootloader that I wondered whether this would make any sense for the novice user. What is the use of the three boot options? We might know, but does the new user know it as well?


Getting acquainted with the desktop

PCLinuxOS uses the KDE desktop with three easy shortcuts in the taskpanel: package management, setting up your computer and the control center. These are also areas where simplicity of use can be of great benefit to new users. Installing and removing software is still considered problematic by non-Linux users, so it is nice if the default tool for software management removes that prejudice. Well, PCLinuxOS fails in this.


Synaptic is a great tool, but it doesn’t unlock the vault of the software repositories. You need to know the name of the package before you can install it. Ooops, that is something the novice user doesn’t know. I am not going into a comparison with Ubuntu, but at least that ships with the simple Install/Remove menu. Easily accessible software via a simple intuitive browser. The PCLinuxOS team might want to take a look at that.

The control center icon brings you the KDE Control Center with it’s cobweb of daunting options. It’s part of KDE so I won’t criticize that, but is it really wise for a “radically simple” distribution to put it prominently in the task panel? To have the PCLinux OS Control Center is a much wiser decision. But again it shows that there is nothing simple about making a simple distribution. You have to look at your favorite tools from the perspective of someone who never saw it before. For instance, we know what Samba shares are and we understand the concept of mount points. So when we want to have access to our harddrive on the server we know that we have to set the proper mountpoint using Samba. I can assure you that this is way above the heads of the novice W2L migrator even if he/she is a Windows poweruser. It mght be a good idea for the team to polish this option, remove everything that isn’t of import to the desktop user (and move it to another location for the expert users) and label the functions in non-Linux jargon. That would be radical.


While playing with Synaptic there were two things I didn’t like. First I did an update and wondered why the ATI driver was included. I don’t use an ATI card. Secondly, the installation of KOffice ended with the cryptic message that extra output was generated. What output? Where? What are the consequences? Well, I did notice that there was no KOffice icon in the menu structure. Could be a bug. Who knows?


Talking about the menu structure. KDE does make for a crowded menu structure, but is it really necessary to have so many submenu’s. Even when there is only one application in it? is divided in three submenu’s. Maybe it is a matter of taste, but I find it overly complicated. The software collection is above criticism by the way., Thunderbird and Firefox are all up to date. Kopete is a fine choice for chat and IRC and there is plenty more to get started with video, music and imaging. The screen, the iconset, the PCLinuxOS theme are beautifully done.


PCLinuxOS is a fine looking distribution. There is much to like about it. It’s goal is admirable but that is also the area where it falls short. I don’t think it added much to the experience that Mandriva is already providing. Synaptic is a solid choice for software management, but not for the novice user and it certainly doesn’t contribute to making PCLinuxOS “radically simple”. There is’t much that could be considered radical and though there have been made efforts to simplify things for the users, it can not be called simple.

Using the KDE desktop as a starting point does provide some challenges of course. It is most similar to the Windows interface, but at the same time it makes as many options as possible available to the enduser which works against the effort of making the desktop simple. If the PCLinuxOS team wants to do something radical it needs to re-design the KDE desktop. Of course this would alienate the more experienced KDE users in it’s fanbase, but then again who is the user you want to create a distribution for?

More screenshots can be found here.

Tags: Linux, PCLinuxOS


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120 thoughts on “On the Bench: PCLinuxOS 2007, radically simple?

  1. bal0 on said:

    Excellent review!
    I really like your writing style. You pointed out many things that really need to get done to make PCLOS at least what it claims to be. Sure, it’s not easy to trim/customize to everyone’s liking and for ral novices. But there are such major problems the team needs to take care of. As for example package manager (not easy at all for novices) and the controlcenter.

    In the end i began to like PCLOS, because hardware detection and configuring stuff in GUI just works here. But it totally suffers from its ‘radically simple’ position which it doesn’t fulfill.

  2. davemc on said:

    Gotta agree here on all points. As ive also pointed out in the latest Ubuntu review, it seems to me that over half the active Linux world is smoking a pretty decent crac pipe and living in some dream world, somewhere far away from where the rest of the world resides. Thier idea of “simple” is using the command line, and this just isnt gonna cut it in the big bad world anymore. PCLos goes much farther than Ubuntu does to tailor to the new users, but BOTH distro’s still have a very…VERY..long ways yet to go.

  3. anonymous on said:

    Just a thought, but why criticize so much about the slogan? Let’s compare it to others.

    Chevy “like a rock” …nope
    “heartbeat of america” …nope

    Enough for here, but a slogan has little to do with the product in a lot of cases. I’m sure you can think of many.

  4. anonymous on said:

    In addition, nice article. Menu structure is different, but if you use it a while it becomes second nature, actually somewhat difficult to go back to something else. But that’s just personal taste.

    As far as new users, beyond partitioning, I’ve had a few go through install/setup/synaptic. Most catch on rather quickly. If you don’t know what to look for in synaptic, just search by keyword, appropriate matches come up. Also depends on the hardware, but on every machine I’ve installed it on, it is much faster to boot than ‘buntu, and clicking icons, menus, application launch is faster too. In my experience I’ve had much less problems installing it than any other distro I’ve tried. And the community is nice.

  5. @ anonymous
    First, I am sorry you feel compelled not to use your name or a nick online. Second, I am not criticizing the slogan. PCLinuxOS does have as it’s goal to make Linux more accessible to end users, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong. In previous articles and other places I have argued that Linux does need good marketing and that means you can not just throw slogans around because they sound good. In this case I took a good look at PCLinuxOS from the viewpoint of a W2L migrator and had to conclude that the distribution didn’t live up to it´ s goal and the slogan. The slogan doesn’t equal the distribution and no doubt there are plenty of products out there that are sold under the wrong banner. That doesn’t make it okay for PCLinuxOS to fall short at it’s own chosen goals.
    But I do hope they continue along the path chosen and make that contribution to the KDE desktop I referred to.

  6. anonymous on said:

    I’ve never had to use the command line on any machine I’ve set up lately. With ‘buntu, pclos, mepis, etc., maybe I’m just lucky then.

  7. @ anonymous
    LOL. Linux did come a long way, but you know, I am beginning to like the commandline stuff. Necessary? Not anymore in most cases, but sometimes a heck of a lot faster.
    I appreciate your comments 😉

  8. anonymous on said:

    If I had to register I’d put in a nickname, but when anyone can put in anything, figure it makes little difference. There is room for much improvement in every distro, but they have come a long way.

  9. anonymous on said:

    And I appreciate your comments about my comments 😉
    now I’m done….

  10. anonymous on said:

    I have to disagree. I think that this is a pretty obtuse and lame review. I have been using Linux for about 6-8 months. I AM a newbie as opposed to someone trying to think like one, such as the reviewer.

    I have installed and used over 35 distros in those last 8 months. Compared to PCLOS, many, were horrible to install. Still many more were much harder to install and update software on – ( I absolutely an dumbfounded that the reviewer would state that this distro does not add much to the experience already given by Mandriva). Good Grief. I am using Mandriva too and now have 8 months or so of Linux under my belt. URPMI is pretty poor. I have many broken packages from the Mandriva repositories that won’t install. I have help questions on a few forums to try to get the latest Mandriva to work well at just updating and installing software via URPMI. A repository maintainer states that URPMI is buggy and crap, so please switch to Smart package manager – that flies in the face of your comparision between PCLOS and Mandriva. Also, the 2007 to 2007.1 Mandriva upgrade broke and I even had the DVD !!! I had to completely reinstall. Ubuntu got this procedure right : I went to “Feisty” without a hitch. PCLOS is much better than Mandriva and Ubuntu for the newbie because Ubuntu comes as stripped as Red Hat/Fedora out of the box. One either has to install a lot of stuff like codecs, Flash, Java, etc… or you are lucky enough to stumble upon “automatix2” – which is right up there with fire and the wheel… Anyway, in comparing PCLOS to Mandriva you are wrong there, and badly.

    … continuing from the first train of thought: some distros did not detect my ubiquitous NIC card. At least five distros required xorg configuration files to be edited before my 1600×1200 LCD would run at anything other than 1024x768x85Hz !!! That is not newbie friendly. Many require lots of software installation of codecs and proprietary software to surf the web and watch videos, audio, etc… PCLOS had all of that installed or at least available in the repositories. Synaptic is searchable by category, keyword and many other ways. I think that it is really newbie friendly. I jumped right in.

    PCLinuxOS, Blag, Sabayon, mepis, Mint, Foresight, Vector, Pardus and KeteOS are the only ones that I detected everything on the first run. Of those, Synaptic is the normal package manager because it is the easiest. I don’t know what you could consider easier…? Synaptic is very newbie friendly. Of all of the distros I have tried I would put PCLinuxOS at the top with Mint and Sabayon and Mepis in all circumstances and especially for Newbies because it is indeed radiacally simple. Foresight is also awesome as are Frugalware and Pardus but they are a little tougher for the novice. Again, I KNOW because I AM ONE. KateOS and Vector are also pretty good, nearly on par with the Buntus, Mepis, Mint, PCLOS.

    To sum it up: PCLOS is radically simple. It installs easily – not as good as the very best which is anaconda – it updates and manages software easily – the only possibly easier setup is Linspire and Freespire’s Click and Run but that becomes confusing because they give known apps a generic name making them hard to find. They also have one of the best forums of all of them. Only Ubuntu, and Foresight’s awesome live chat are perhaps a little better.

  11. Wow! Someone was on a roll here 😉
    35 distributions in 8 months time. That’s a lot playing around and I thought I was special.
    The problem you mention with Ubuntu et al. concerning codecs etc. are not faults but efforts not to break the law in certain (if not most) countries and prevent getting sued out of business. Fedora and Canonical have to work in a business environment. So it is either leave it out of pay for the use of it.
    I simply disagree with you on the issue of Synaptic. It is a powerful tool for software management, but it is a lousy tool to get to know new software. It is the big difference with Mandriva (as you point out also), but what is the real difference between the PCLinuxOS Control Center and the Mandriva Control Center? Overall, PCLOS shares so much with Mandriva I see too little that makes me change my conclusion.
    Maybe you are a quicker learner than most newcomers to Linux, but I can assure you there are plenty more that share the sentiment I mentioned in the article. I know, I meet them regularly. And I didn’t say “all new users”, just the average one.

  12. As one of the pclinuxos developers I would like to thank you for the review.
    Although I don’t find it overly flattering, and might not agree with a few conclusion, it pointed out quite a few really valid shortcomings, and contains many ideas worth serious considerations. I promise you they will be considered. A few comments tho if you will:
    The new w2l refugees range from the “My instruction tells press any key – where is the any key?” to the Firefox and Openoffice power users who can teach us a trick or two… and anything in between. You probably agree that it is impossible to cover the whole range, and almost as impossible to find the happy medium what will satisfy everybody. (that’s doesn’t mean of course we shouldn’t strive for it).
    The Radically Simple is actually a a slogan what the users come up with not something what Texstar choose as a design goal. The distro evolved during the years, and become one of the “easiest” desktop linux operating system but the design goals is still whatever Texstar set out here:

  13. Robinm on said:

    I too am using PCLOS full time. I also strongly disagree about your comments that it is not novice friendly. Not novice friendly compared to what? How many novices could install any version of windows, find all the drivers that they require if they don’t have the motherboard driver disk, install 100’s of different applications on top of the bare operating system, all in about 20 minutes? Really comparing linux to windows is like comparing apples to bananas, both are fruits that are very good for you, but are approached differently, Texstar and the ripper gang has gone a long way to make the transition from MS to OSS as easy as possible but like any transition there is a learning curve. Another comparison is the transition from a car to a motorcycle. Both have the same objective, a means of getting from A to B, but done different ways.
    PCLinux rocks

  14. @ Robinm
    What you say is true. There is no way you can install Windows and a ton of software in the same time span it takes a Linux distribution. Almost any distribution can do that (Suse being the slowest I know). What you describe doesn’t set PCLinuxOS apart from the other distributions.
    In my reviews I don’t focus on the installation, but on the user experience from day to day. I know there is a learning curve. For that matter I strongly advocate more and better Linux education in the public domain (just check my article about the Linux Proliferation Agreement). But I also check the thresholds at the beginning of the learning curve. Too many new Linux users simply give up after installing (which has become ridiculously simple), because the day to day management tasks or use of software appear too daunting. I know this isn’t true and you can learn it easily, but we also need to identify all thresholds to that learning process.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond as PCLinuxOS developer. It would have been surprising if you had agreed with all of the points and I do understand the difficulties of choice that have to be made during the development. You have a good foundation. The install guide on the live desktop is a good example of that. The install routine is another one. And no one will question the decision to use Synaptic as a frontend for software management. I agree it is difficult to find a middle ground that satisfies everyone. You don’t have to. The “radically simple” slogan is good as a design goal. It would be great if you could combine the strength and flexibility of the KDE desktop with some management tools that lower the threshold for W2L migrations. You wouldn’t have to GNOMEify the desktop, though it would be fun to find yourselves in the crosshairs of Linus Torvals 😉
    I might not have mentioned it in the article, but I do appreciate the work of the PCLinuxOS team, as I do with the work of all the volunteers that contribute to the distribution of Linux and open source software.

  15. MacLone on said:

    I have been a Mac/windows for some time The firts time i installed my first linux distros about 9 years ago (slackware, suse) the thing was really hard. Then everything went easier an esier with time. At this moment Linux has converted in to a challenge for the Bill Gates’ monopoly and that’s because right now installing and using Linux is as easy as windows could be. If i were a newbie i must say that when you install windows you have to know how to deal with formatting your disk, write a machine name, root passwords, type of lan, domain names, usernames with passwords etc etc. …Now you have windows installed and you are in the famous desktop with absolutely nothing on it. No icons to your favourite stuff, no office unless you pay for it…nothing. So i don’t understand the parameters you are using to compare PCLinuxOS, KDE and windows for the immigrants. Maybe what you want is a linux distro that reads up your mind an preconfigure itself as your wishes… The real thing is that any of my clients will even dare to install windows by themselves, the only thing they should know is how to work with their stuff, the hard stuff if for other people. Installing linux is as easy as windows, maybe easier.
    I can assure to everyone that pclinux is by far the most easy distro around, yes, not perfect but linux has a lot to grow..but it’s almost there. As the other guy said i too have tested dozens of distros for years and ended here, not with ubuntu but with PCLInux.
    There are many fine distros around, pick what you want but in general for me and grandma right now linux is almost as easy as windows, period.

  16. Todd on said:

    Synaptic and PCLinuxOS’ repository actually is one of the key ingredients that makes it radically simple. It’s easier to install applications than any Windows desktop, and also much easier than many other distributions.

    Criticism of KDE does affect PCLinuxOS, but that’s your very debatable opinion about KDE. I personally feel that a simpleton GUI like Gnome isn’t an “easier” choice… as the options in KDE aren’t thrown in your face, except when you’re looking for options specifically. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but anyone who’s confused about the KDE interface will be confused about the Windows interface. And when it comes to not-ultra-common options, KDE makes it easier when you need them.

    It’s radically simple because out of the box, it comes with plugins & codecs thrown in there, which most Linux & Windows users have to do themselves in some way. Additionally, for extras or additional applications, it’s only a few clicks away. It’s a very simple process — no need to deal with a command-line.

  17. Hooke on said:


    I’m a happy PCLOS user since a year or so. I’ve tried a few other distros, including Debian, Ubuntu , Mint, Sabayon, Gobolinux .. and I think PCLOS is the simplest to use. It’s not “radical”, but it’s simple. So the slogan may not the best thing about it, but it could be worse : “linux for human beings” anyone? 😉

    What makes it so simple are things you may not realise at first, just after some time using it.

    _ There’s no fooling around with repositories. There’s one repo and its mirrors. Everything is there, and you hardly ever have package conflicts or missing dependencies. This has happened a lot to me in *buntu distros, and it’s much scarier for newbies than the “additional output” message.

    _ The repo has all the codecs and drivers you may need, and most codecs are preinstalled anyway. Not so in other distros. I don’t accept the political excuse. It’s perfectly legal to include them, otherwise PCLOS wouldn’t be able to do it. Now Ubuntu asks users about codecs each time they bump into a website that requires them. That’s better, but why not ask during installation and be done with it?

    _ EVERYTHING can be configured from either KConrol or the PCLOS Control Center. No need to edit xorg.conf or any of that crap. What if I can get no X-session at all? Simple: I boot into safe mode, type root, my password, then “video” and it gives me a curses-based configuration tool with simple questions, very intuitive. No text edition here. Why not merge KControl with PCC? because the former is for user settings and the latter is for global settings, so that’s how it should be.

    _ The forums are excellent. I can find answers there just by searching. When I can’t, sometimes I post my question, sometimes I go the the irc channer, which is even BETTER. No flood, friendly, helpful and clueful ppl are always available. I like the way they take the GUI seriously. In other forums the answers go like “type: sudo dpkg-reconfigure …”, while in PCLOS forums and irc channels they go like “open PCC > Hardware >..” which makes more sense for a newbie from Windland.

    _Synaptic is a dream to use. Do you want games? Search “game” in Synaptic, with the option “name and description”. Easy. But most usually you hear or read about an app, say “Inkscape” and you search for it by name. No sweat.

    So is PCLOS perfect? Well, no. For instance I would like it to have international support out of the box, and bigger repositories. But it IS remarkably easy to use compared to most other distros and also to Windows in some scenarios (as described by other posters). IMHO, that is.

  18. mark on said:

    who is the dude using 35 distros in 8 months ?
    and i thought i liked experimenting…ok, i am not a newbie, probably a low level intemediate linux user. i enjoy pc linux 2007 on my gateway laptop, but i have a few aaarrrggghhhs. when using beryl, i can not go full screen when watching a video with xine and kaffeine always gives a dull and lackluster display. as far as slogans go, doesn’t ubuntu use the slogan “linux for human beings” ??? well, duhhhhhh…….

  19. davecs on said:

    I have to admit to being puzzled about one of the criticisms you made: about ATI driver inclusion. This is the opensource ati driver that comes with Xorg. It’s there so that people with ATi cards can boot the CD, the same way that the opensource nv drivers are included, even though in most cases people will want to install the 3D nvidia drivers, this helps them get started with the live CD.

    Apart from that point, I can respect your opinions. But I do have this “thing” that keeps repeating: whenever I see someone who knows Linux pretty well, trying to look at a PCLinuxOS from a “Windows Convert” point of view, they pick on this bit, and that bit, and generally turn out a view not far removed from yours.

    However, we seem to get completely different reactions from people who actually have just made the switch and are searching for a distro, a sample of which are posted here already.

    As one of the PCLinuxOS team, I know there’s a lot of stuff that can be better. The same is true for every distro. But I reckon in terms of prioritising the new Linux user, we’ve done pretty well.

  20. Denis on said:

    It’s nice to read some real critical rewiew. But, also, I don’t see the point… Will tell u why:
    After fresh installation of XP u got the message: ur computer might be at risk – what risk, fire, flood? Most of win users know how to download the software with eMule and install it and even find the crack for it. Is Synaptic really that difficult ? Buying and installing a new hardware in win is not so easy… Sometimes after drivers installation windows just woke up and offer You another install of the same hardware? Who can understand this? And anoying amount of drives C: D: E: Removable ……

    Bottom line is : an universal OS that would be immediately understandible for everybody doesn’t exists. I don’t say thaw we don’t need to look for it, but for the moment is light years away.

    Wahtever U want to do, U need to work for it… So there is no harm if somebody needs to understand mounting a drive, or root password….

  21. Eudoxus on said:

    I have played with PCLOS Test 3 for a while. It was almos perfect for a newbie liek me. However I was not able to get good fonts on it and trust me – I tried very hard. One of the most bad point about the distribution is it totally unhappy name. Why on earth such a good dostro has such a totally annoying name? I know that it has nothing to do with technology, but nevertheless it has some importance for people. Think about Ubuntu. It is obious that part of their success lies in the halo they managed to create around “humanity for people”. But PCLOS looks just an ampty formula as XYZ.

  22. Chris on said:

    Hmm, I got to disagree with your Synaptic comment. When I was using Ubuntu and discovered it, I was rather surprised at how easy it was to install software. I didn’t like the Add/Remove programs tool that much because it would always install more than I needed. Don’t know what package you’re looking for? Search it as a description and it will turn up.

    Second, I don’t see anything wrong with the wizard at startup. Unless you’re REALLY helpless, you can accept most of the defaults w/o encountering any issues.

    One thing you failed to mention is the speed. PCLOS runs extremely fast, much faster than buggy Mandriva.

    Yes, there’s still a learning curve, but it’s still “radically simple”. 😉

  23. I am a new Linux user, using it a few months only. I came to Linux because I liked the idea of how people are working together. Someone is writing code, shares this code, someone else picks it up, and again shares his ideas. This concept works if the people involved take as much time to actively share what they are doing and improving as it takes to develop something.
    Sometimes I miss in a review how good the makers of a distro are in sharing. In case of pclinuxos I got the impression that they prefer being a ‘ripper gang’ throwing something to the users. A community, a Linux community, is something else.

  24. Natalie on said:

    Well, I’ve been around Linux for years. Started with Debian Potato and went from there. Yeah, there was a learning curve. I use PCLinuxOS and it is the best I’ve tried. My problem with your article is about simplicity. No, my Father couldn’t install it and my wife couldn’t either. If you know anything about computers you can install it. How simple do you think it needs to be? Maybe Linux should come with voice recognition software and respond to the user’s voice commands. Your criticism of Synaptic wasn’t valid because it’s obvious you haven’t spent 5 minutes with it. How much easier could it get? How do you install new software in Windows? You think about what you want to do, then download the software to do it. Do you know the name of the software before you search for it? How do you search for it? Within Windows? Hell no. You go searching on the web. I could explain how to use Synaptic in 60 seconds. What should the slogan be? “So easy, an idiot could do it”? “A caveman could do it”? The truth is, if you can’t install PCLinuxOS then you can’t install anything and you should stay the hell away from computers and let somebody else do it. The last Windows machine I worked on for somebody had 523 pieces of spyware on it and 2 viruses. How come Windows doesn’t come with antivirus and anti-spyware programs and do it for you? I downloaded Adaware for the customer and he still couldn’t figure out the process. Come on. I thought your article was a little overzealous on the subject of “simple”. To sum it up, most people cannot install software on Windows, either. My last customer had like 4 toolbars…..Yahoo, Google, and two others. If you can’t read and understand directions, what good is a computer to you.

  25. Using Synaptic is simple with categories…you don’t have to know the name of the application. On the bottom left hand corner of Synaptic when you first fire it up is a button called sections (sections is the default view also). This divides all software up into very handy sections that you can browse through. Clicking on any of the software in the top right hand window results in displaying software info in the bottom right hand window.

    So, PCLinuxOS doesn’t fail in this area at all. New users often comment on how nice it is to be able to browse software and pick and choose what they want to install.

    One other thing to note is that Texstar has made a habit out of making a ‘MiniME’ release that has the menu’s simplified and is ‘bare minimal’ for those wanting to customize it to their liking. Some people find it better than the main release. Stay tuned 😀

  26. tadeusz191 on said:

    In my opinion, the PCLinuxOS is the best (the distrowatch chart says it all) of all distros and it done everithing I wanted like: internet access sharing, file sharing via samba, Java JRE, codecs, etc.
    With no other distros, including the “biggest” I could do it all on my little home network. I do not even have to update or install the apps on every computer separately. I just can downloade it once and then transfer to each computer locally. It is hard to criticize PCLOS. Everithing just works. The only “complaint” I would make is that Monodevelop is not available in the repository as many people (myself including) are now interested in C# programming, and the lack of interest in 64 bit architecture. Now, that the future development of software is clear, after Intel joined and surpassed AMD in multicore 64 bit CPUs, it is clear for me as the sun that eventually all software will be 64 bit and 32 bit software will be obsolete the same way as the 16 bit software is obsolete now. Why then Textar does not see it?
    I am sorry, Textar, but this is really not complaint as I am very grateful to you and your team for the excellent distro you developed. On the other hand I am serious about what I wrote about MonoDevelop and 64 bit architecture.
    Cheers all Linux users

  27. RadOH on said:

    Thank You, for the review, all reviews are good. First,I am a PCLOS forum member. Whats sets this Distro apart, are the members and the Dev. Team.. After the very first automated install of Linux that works with your hardware ( not a newbee word ) you are becoming a Linux user. PCLinuxOS fits this bill. I looked around and yes, read many reviews, none pointed a clear way forward. Since becoming a member, for free, and using the FREE software OS, I have never had any install or setup problems. Any questions and or the learning curve as to say, are so much fun and educational, all I’ve every needed was to keep the cable bill paid to keep access to the PCLOS forums. I’m a happy Linux User, PCLOS 2007 since 2004

  28. yoyo on said:

    “radically simple compared to what? Debian? Or Windows XP?”

    “Radically simple” is not the same as “Radically simpler”. Only the latter needs to clarify what it is comparing to.

  29. @Natalie
    Not even 5 minutes on Synaptic? Guilty! I guess most of my software management is done via apt-get nowadays.
    60 seconds to explain it? Wow! I needed 15 minutes during a recent workshop and I thought I was cutting corners already. Maybe I should talk faster or simply accept that people have no clue what I am talking about.

    And the same is true for almost every other distro. Its users are a happy bunch, who never regretted leaving Windows behind and now do everything and more with distribution X. When there is some criticism they rally to the cause and give witness about their experience. Throw is some derogatory remarks about the other distro’s and the list is complete. Did I miss something?
    I share most of the opinions that are given about Windows and agree that Linux is more secure with lesser effort. Yes, you get tons of free software and it gives you a better OS. All true, but see, one thing keeps nagging me then. The 95%+ userbase that doesn’t migrate to Linux, most of which wouldn’t even considering doing that. You state that most writers about W2L migration come up with similar arguments. Couldn’t there be truth in it then?
    The example I mentioned in the review -mounting Samba shares- is a case in point. How many Windows users with a small LAN at home would know that the SMB protocol is involved? I blame education for that, not us. I am not arguing in favor of Windowsifying the Linux GUI’s (please don’t) nor GNOMEifying the KDE desktop, but I do argue in favor of (1) taking a good look at the jargon we use from day to day, but are similar to mystical incantations for possible W2L migrators and (2) proper Linux education in the public domain.

  30. lawn gnome on said:

    i have to disagree with this review. i am actually a Linux newbie, switched over from Windows about 2 months ago. I tried Red Hat 6.1 wayyyyy back in the day, and it soured me on Linux for the better part of a decade. Installing PCLinuxOS is not that much of a stretch for even a mildly experienced computer user, nor are the myriad configuration options, as most new users will likely discover new things over time, as I did. The important thing is that the system is nicely configured and usable from the getgo. PCLOS does succeed in this respect.
    The K menu has more options in it than Gnome, but it is logically separated, and easy to navigate. I personally feel trapped in Gnome, which IMO is simplified to a fault.
    Also, apparently you missed it, but in Synaptic there is a Sections option, that divides the packages into categories. If I were to make a critique on that setup, I’d make Sections the default selection, and perhaps call it Categories or Genres or something to that effect.
    Anyway, PCLinuxOS is the Linux distro that converted me to Linux, so it did it’s job nicely. Saying it’s not simple enough for new users is condescending.
    Also, it’s unrealistic to assume that total and complete computer n00bs will be installing ANY operating system, let alone Linux. They’ll have their friend, their kid or a computer tech do it, and all they have to do is actually use it.

    just my $0.02

  31. jeremy finch on said:


    just another Mandriva rebranded, so what ?

    Maybe Tex should try to come up with some original content more than with rebranded MDV packages…..

    I don’t really understand.


  32. Meatdog on said:

    First, I’m a PCLinuxOS user. Second, I’m a fresh W2L migrate. Third, this isn’t some fanboyish defense of the OS I’m currently using, just a general note on some of your arguments.

    Considering the ease of installation, I agree fully with you that the initial configuration for the live cd might be a bit above the technical skills of the average win user. On the other hand, I got through it in the classical way of going through a windows wizard: when in doubt hit default and/or next. Maybe this is because I use a wired network connection, since people with wireless seem to have do a bit more work.

    The same “wizard” method was applied to the actual install to harddisk. I did have to mess a bit with the grub page of the install wizard, but that was only because I’m so stubborn as to want to boot from my slave HDD instead of my master HDD. Otherwise the default would have just worked as well.

    On synaptic, I agree that it isn’t perfect. However it is simple to find the software in it you want. You compared it to the add/remove programs of Ubuntu, so I will do that same comparison here. The main attraction of the add/remove programs is the rating attributed to the different softs. That eases the choice when you have to choose between different softs that claim to all do the thing you are interested in. On the other hand, I often could not do what I wanted in it and had to resort to synaptic even under ubuntu.

    The package manager does have two points that should get addressed. First, it is preconfigured on some american mirror. Would it be difficult to make it autoselect the mirror with which you have the fastest connection on install or first use? Second, there is no simple notification to know whether there are updates. I understand the reasons given on the forums for not including this, but it is a feature that is missed for someone coming from win, especially since the package manager not only handles the updates of the OS but also of all software installed through it, which makes staying up to date so much easier in Linux, one of the main poits for making me switch.

    Regarding the two control centers, you are right with saying they can be frightening to ne w computer users in general. I especially mention computer user and not win user, since they are not more daunting than the windows control panel. So anybody who has the courage to go there under windows will have no problem with the CCs under KDE.

    I do prefer the control you get through the CCs on KDE over the lack of control under Gnome. For example, I never managed to find how to configure which program would be the default to execute when double clicking certain file types under Gnome, something I did find out very easily under KDE and windows. The second reason that made me switch to Linux was the lack of control over my own machine I experienced under Windows and I had heard that this would be better under Linux. Gnome failed to deliver, but KDE fulfilled this desire marvelously. This is however a matter of preference.

    When comparing PCLinuxOS to Mandriva, you say it doesn’t add much. It is true they take alot straight from Mandriva. But they actually make it work. On 2007.1 One from Mandriva, in the Control Center, when there where more than 8 items in the pane, you couldn’t even click on any of them past the top 8.

    On the other hand, to my experience, Mandriva would have been a good distribution for me if not for that show stopping bug and some minor annoyances, all of which were taken care of in PCLinuxOS.

    As a last note, I started switching to Linux some 4 months ago and tried some 7-8 distros before settling for PCLinuxOS. I’m still feeling the itch to try other distro’s, in hopes of finding the one true distro, but I fear this will be a neverending quest. Atm PCLinuxOS fits me best, although it does have some points that bother me. In the end, the advantage of having so much choice to find what best fits is an important reason I will probably stay with Linux.

  33. antony on said:

    Good point lawnGnome: “Also, it’s unrealistic to assume that total and complete computer n00bs will be installing ANY operating system, let alone Linux.”

    I have tried loads of different distros, starting with the first Mandrake. I currently use sidux but I believe without doubt that PCLinuxOS is the best OVERALL distro. Different distros have different strengths but PCLoS is the best general-purpose option.

    Your Synaptic comments……. should you be writing reviews?

    Also, you did forget to mention that it was quick.

    As pointed out, you have focused purely on the slogan. Ok, I don’t think that is the best choice of slogan, and the name PCLinuxOS is not the best choice either. However, I stand by my previous statements and if I had to recommend a distro to a newcomer there is only one distro….PCLinuxOS.

  34. mike1 on said:

    I like PCLinuxOS a lot,..but as a newbie confronted with installing any video players like totem, xine-ui, kmplayer etc,… I am,.. I’m sure like many others totally lost as to which codecs and plugins to use.

    In Synaptic you have “good” and “bad” plugins,..gstreamer versions 8 to 11 etc,…
    This is where Linux completely fails to pull in newbies,.. on the FULL dependancies side.
    One does not know whichto install and have a fear of damaging the system.
    Is there not some kind of automatic program similar to Automatix2 which can install evrything without fear

  35. Peter C on said:

    In my experience the majority of computer users who buy a PC with Windows installed, don’t have the experience or knowledge of installing any operating system.

    So installing Windows itself is a learning curve.

    I think reviewers should take into a account these users, not just those of us with experience of installing an operating system.

    Linux to anyone trying it for the first time can be a daunting prospect, especially to those who’ve never installed an operating system,

    Partitioning a hard drive can cause some people to give up. Trying to install, setting up an internet connection or printer can also be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    Personally I find it easy to install Linux because I’ve installed many operating systems on a variety of machiines, but some people will find it beyond their capacity.

    Education is required to help people to understand and use Linux; realise there is an alternative to windows and also to help people use windows itself more wisely.

    The beauty of Linux is it does install programs so that it is up and running a lot quicker than a windows install.

    Equally it is safer and easier to use because it is more stable and makes more efficient use of ram. Try running Vista on a 400mhz CPU and 256mb of ram, the answer is you can’t. Whereas linux distro’s issued this week are more than capable of doing so, so it can be argued Linux is more environmentally friendly as well.

    Regarding synaptic I find it very efficient and no problems with dependencies. One reason I stopped using Mandiva was because of dependency problems. Upgrading from Mandriva 2006 to 2006.1 actually broke the system and required a clean install to correct it.

    I personally have no problem with KDE and they way it is arranged.

    Like Lawn Gnome I tried Red Hat 6 back in 1999 and it was a big of a pig to install. Every distro i’ve tried in the last few years have been a lot easier.

    Somebody made the point the PCLinuxOs was a boring name like abc, it is actually a shortened version of Personal Computer Linux operating System, so he wasn’t far off. Equally I have no problem with the name as it’s a very good distro.

  36. Peter C on said:

    Forgot to mention, when I tried Mandrake 6, it was easier to install than Red Hat.

    That’s why Mandrake/Mandriva in its various guises, was my Linux of choice until last year.

  37. Serge Matovic on said:

    Just an EXCELLENT article. Love your style of writing. I personally tried many Linux distros, and so far keep comming back to Mandriva every time.

  38. @ Antony
    Your Synaptic comments……. should you be writing reviews?
    Of course I should, you just proved it. If a review can only be a hallellujah choire about the greatness of things it is of no use. I have my opinion about the ease of use of Synaptic, especially when compared to other tools of software management under Linux.

    @Peter C (and others)
    I completely agree that a large proportion of Windows users today would have limited knowledge about installing an OS, partitioning, bootmanagement etc. etc. That is only one reason why I don’t accept the notion “just accept all defaults and it works most of the times”. This would lead to a large number of Linux users who again have no clue what they are doing. SimplyMepis -for instance- has a well written documentation that accompanies the install wizard. If you don’t give proper education at the gates you run the risk of forums and IRC channels being overrun by people who did really stupid things and expect the rest of the community, you and me, to fix it. Otherwise it is “Linux sucks bigs time” all over again. By the way, this is a problem that Ubuntu is facing now. Key point: we don’t have to repeat the mistakes of Windows when it comes to end user education.

    @ all about Synaptic
    Yep, Synaptic has a sections filter. Base system, amateur radio, libraries, communication, etc. etc. etc. It is one way of browsing the repositories, no doubt. But is attractive to use? Yes, you can type “game” which brings up 762 packages on my Linux box. True, Windows doesn’t have it, but there is plenty more that Windows doesn’t have. The key argument is that there is a more accessible tool to unlock the software available in the repositories. Otherwise we could have stuck with aptitude as well. Or dselect 😉 Anyway, keep Synaptic, but add the other tool as well. That would help people to grow into software management.

    @ all
    I read a few times that I forgot to mention that PCLinuxOS was quick. True, I didn’t write that it took around 15 minutes to finish installing it. But honestly, I hardly expect anything less from a modern Linux distribution. I would have mentioned it if it was slow (like Suse) or cumbersome.

  39. antony on said:

    Quick meaning in operation, rather than install.

    Nothing is perfect but I think PCLinuxOS does an outstanding job especially considering the small size of the development team and their very limited resources.

    I repeat that ‘Radically Simple’ was an unfortunate choice – nothing is radically simple – we all know that. So, the slogan should not condemn the distro.

    Should you be writing reviews? If you have not devoted the time on the reviewed subject, then no. Also, if you are giving misleading information (ATI as pointed out by davecs), due to a lack of subject knowledge, again, no. Remember, people who know less than you will take your technical points as correct.

  40. Synergy6 on said:

    Nice review. Good to see one person, at least, can write a review of a Linux distro without being drippingly fawning. I get tired of reading “This rocks, yippee” stretched over a few hundred words, over and over. Critics make things better, cheerleaders just play with pom poms 🙂

  41. @ Antony
    Again, the number of distributions that are sluggishly slow are quite few, so I fail to see why PCLinuxOS should get some extra points for that.
    If you had taken at least some time to go over the rest of this blog you might have noticed that I am no novice in this area. Heck, even PCLinuxOS developers in their responses admitted there was more in my remarks than just casual hitting on the keyboard. It is kind of childish to attack the person when you can’t agree with the argument.
    Now, as far as the size of the team is concerned. Let’s not go there, because it will open up a whole new can of worms. Just go through my blog and you will know my viewpoint about Linux distro proliferation. Other than that I can only repeat what I have repeated a few times before. I appreciate the work of the PCLinuxOS team as I do with the work of all people who contribute to the distribution of Linux and open source software. But I am no hallellujah cheerleader simply because they work hard. I agree with Synergy6 : “Critics make things better, cheerleaders just play with pom poms”. So I am afraid you will see more reviews from my hand on this and other locations.

  42. bal0 on said:

    “I never managed to find how to configure which program would be the default to execute when double clicking certain file types under Gnome, something I did find out very easily under KDE and windows.”

    KDE’s CC option for this purpose is really complex and confusing imho. And not very straightforward too, if u have a file in your ~/ you NOW want to ‘open with..’ .
    In nautilus: right click on a file, ‘properties’, ‘open with’.
    Man that was difficult! 😉

  43. revdjenk on said:

    I began experimenting with Linux with a RedHat 6.x knockoff back in 2001. YUCK! No audio, could not acquire my modem, (yes, still on dial-up then!). But I liked all the promises, goals of Linux, safer on-line experience, control of YOUR computer however you wished, etc. So kept watching…
    Finally got a new laptop with XP in 2005, and didn’t like the ‘special’ partition and the fact that the manufacturer did not include a cd to reinstall or reconfigure XP. So began serious search of Linux. Began dual-booting with Ubuntu, then Kubuntu in Feb 2006, easy to install, but a very slow startup had me still searching other distros within two weeks. I fell in love with elive, and its use of enlightenment (OK, I REALLY wanted to make a break with windows!) It was fast configurable and different. It was NOT easy to setup, install other applications, etc. BUT a super friendly forum and their great help kept me there, until Dec 2006 when the then new 2.6.15 kernel update broke my wifi. The ONLY distro to give me that connection was PCLinuxOS; and more reliably and faster even than XP!
    Yes, I tried many livecd’s; SUSE (wouldn’t boot ), Xandros, Knoppix, Sabayon, MandrivaOne (wouldn’t boot!) Kubuntu (again) Foresight, Mint, Puppy, Dreamlinux…but PCLinuxOS kept winning in the comparisons.
    So I reluctantly switched (still love ya, elive!) and yet the ease and speedier boot-up of PCLinuxOS won me over…and by the beginning of 2007 had reformatted and removed XP with PCLinuxOS as my sole OS.

    So, I am no longer a noobie, in some senses, but in other ways still amazed at the process of each new version, each new improvement of Linux, in general and PCLinuxOS in particular.

    Is there a learning curve to Linux? yes! Are most people spoiled because their computer comes with windows already installed with drivers included? yes!
    But applications ARE easier to add in Linux, and synaptic is a very easy, searchable by app name or function and for me a complete way to do this. (I like easy…although recognizing that command line, and command knowledge can result in faster work, but…I like easy.)

    Is PCLinuxOS the best Linux distro?
    Now, the ‘buntus will suspend my laptop w/o any intervention from me (which XP never did, anyway) better than any other distro; elive is still an amazing look and feel and fast desktop experience; mandriva and xandros’ generic names for apps, and processes is better for the windows switcher.

    For me, the wifi connection picked up during boot, quickly, easily, without any tweaking on my part, when no other OS, including XP would do it reliably was the winning point.
    As I show Linux to others, I tell them of my prejudice toward PCLinuxOS, but also allow them the chance to investigate other distros. After all, we are all different, which is why we have many choices in Linux!

  44. John Jeffers on said:

    You hit the nail on the head. First consideration for professional UI design is the “principal of least confusion” for the user. (And you target the user and hopefully do a user interview with use cases.)

    We don’t do this in the Linux community much except when we professionals embed an application on Linux for our favorite user Joe Sixpack.

  45. mike1 on said:

    …”The problem you mention with Ubuntu et al. concerning codecs etc. are not faults but efforts not to break the law in certain (if not most) countries and prevent getting sued out of business. Fedora and Canonical have to work in a business environment. So it is either leave it out of pay for the use of it…..”

    with the likes of murder, kidnappings, treason, etc by the CIA,..I cannot for the life of me see reasons to make a fuss over codecs not being automatically included with any programs Windows, Liux or otherwise.
    As they say in English ,..who the f******* hell would be a*sed bothering about such bitchy, trivial matters

  46. antony on said:

    Hi Jan,

    As I pointed out, I use sidux but I do not think it is the most accessible distro for the majority of people. But then, certain disros are not really aimed at the majority of people.

    I also said that nothing is perfect . That includes PCLinuxOS. I am not a PCLinuxOS fanatic and I do think criticism is useful.

    But, in the OVERALL scheme of things, I honestley think PCLinuxOS is the most complete and accessible distro at the moment – nothing at all to do with fanaticism – just experience of what works ‘most’ for general use.

    I appreciate that the distro may have done itself no favours by using ‘Radically Simple’. Sure, it is not going to live up to that but then nothing is. It is just a shame that a distro worthy of praise is always going to fall short if the review criteria is LITERALLY against ‘Radically Simple’.

    We should be able to understand that all slogans are merely hype. So, PCLinuxOS were wrong to use that slogan. And you were, I think wrong (given my remarks about being realistic), to pursue that point as it can only result in a hyper-critical review.

    Nothing personal intended, and no hard feelings.


  47. Jmiahman on said:

    @ Jeremy Finch

    Interesting looking at a vast majority of the spec files I’m seeing a lot of changes. Oh wait and there’s also a thing called the kernel which PCLinuxOS maintains on there own. I’ve package for both distributions and yes they share ideas, but PCLinuxOS also takes ideas from a vast majority of distributions so are they a rebrand of of SUSE also because they are using SUSE patches in Xorg? Wait a minute wouldn’t that mean every distribution is just a rebrand of the first guy who decided to download the kernel with gopher and package that with X. Can you please educate yourself before posting, It would be much appreciate if you wouldn’t waste the space for people with actual legitimate point of views to posts.

  48. @ Antony
    And no hard feelings on this side either. I should even thank you for livening up the whole discussion. I don’t mind a sharp debate, I guess I even attract it with critical reviews like this. But this criticism is founded in true appreciation for Linux and sadness that it doesn’t move faster to the desktop than it could move. My viewpoint is that Linux is technologically feasable as a complete and functional, easy to use desktop system, but that it’s marketing needs improvement.
    So, the tone of the debate might have been sharp and as a result the whole article and the comments benefitted from it. New users will benefit from it. I am looking forward to crossing our swords another time. Thank you.

  49. Jmiahman on said:

    I Have my own blog. It seems everyday I am trying a new operating system not just Linux. The newest Windows server, the newest Hacs of OS X. Yes I have a Hacintosh. Even OpenSolaris. I have a blast. PCLinuxOS is my distribution of choice. I don’t review Operating systems I stopped comparing. There’s no point it’s mute. No matter what I think is best, or is easy someone else won’t. Everyones mind reacts differently, yes there are trends. One of the trends I see with windows users is they treat there computer like a toaster. It’s a appliance. There’s no point in complaining that you don’t have choices with your toaster. Either it works or it doesn’t. If it does its function then leave it alone. For the most part Windows does its function. There’s some of us though that through some type of epiphany have realized a computer is so much more then a toaster and we seek out to educate ourselves in some way to find out more. To some point it does come down to ease of use, but it’s a different mindset then Windows ease of use. Once you cross into believing you have more then just an appliance you’re no longer the common Windows user, your willing to take chances to try multiple things. It’s a perspective that is different for each individual person who is seeking different things for there once boring toaster. for me to write a review that would be satisfactory and even begin to compare would mean I would have to know each individuals perspective. Why? So I can get a few people to agree with me that such as such distro is better when in reality every distro has a niche to fill with someone or even some new Linux user. That does a disservice not only to the community that are developing these great distributions but to the new users that may spend longer looking into a distribution because they feel they have done something wrong when really the distribution won’t fit their particular needs. Granted no distribution is perfect, but neither is the user. It’s not Linux that needs to come the the desktop level it’s the users that need to come to the Linux level. Linux is Linux and always will be. Microsoft set the tone for Desktop use for most no one can change that tone but the users, not any OS. In the end it’s the users who decide for good reasons or for stupid reasons. I just let well enough alone and let people find there own way and allow Linux to hopefully evolve into something much more then what we now define as a Desktop OS.

  50. One_Beerhunter on said:

    I guess I’ll add my 2 cents to the mix…
    Not every review of PCLOS can be a glowing over the top “this is the best distro ever” kind of review.
    Reviews, are by their very nature nothing more than opinion pieces, and their conclusions are closely tied to the familiarity of the reviewer. Ubuntu users always site the menu difference, gnome users don’t care for KDE, others state that cli apt-get is better than urpmi, the list is endless.
    Window users fail to remember that Windows was forced upon them at every turn and their familiarity with the Windows GUI is one of their stumbling blocks in migrating to Linux. (any distro) as is their insistance that everything should work the way it works in Windows.
    The comment that Buntu’s Add/Remove Programs is “better” is an example of trying to appease Windows converts. It is not better than Synaptic any more than “C:\” is better than “/” We as Linux users should recognize that we are a small part of an extraordinary phenomenon An OSS community from every walk of life, we have almost mind boggling choices in our software, our distributions and all of it is mostly free! Our personal opinions are only that, personal opinions. Bickering, infighting or arguing over who has “the best” distro is pointless and a waste. On the other hand, considering constructive criticism, right or wrong is what affords us the opportunity to improve not just our own choice of distro, but every distro.
    Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be full of BS…. LOL

  51. One_Beerhunter on said:

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot….
    I really like PCLOS, it’s hands down the best Linux distribution ever… LOL

  52. mark on said:

    following up the 2 cents worth by one_beerhunter, yeah everybody does have an opinion, whether they write a review for a tech site, blog, or a church sermon. as previously stated in my first comment, i am using pc linux 2007 on my laptop. my wife really likes using mepis 6.5 with the desktop and i don’t find fault with that. and out of curiosity, i added a partition for linux mint cassandra on the desktop, i’m impressed with it also. if i could figure out the wifi for my laptop, i would add linux mint to pc linux 2007.

  53. CCacioppo on said:

    Your review is ok and I will say upfront that I use this distro. Along with Kubuntu and OpenSuse 10.2 since KDE is my desktop of choice.

    Why would you outline good / bad points of this distro and dump this bombshell on PCLOS devteam: ”
    If the PCLinuxOS team wants to do something radical it needs to re-design the KDE desktop”.

    That quote has no place in this review – minus 10 pts for malformed content!

  54. One_Beerhunter on said:

    Notice: My original comment above may be reproduced, copied or quoted in whole or in part under the terms of my creative commons OMGIWBTAIICLSIOOTWBWTPMTBBTWS* license

    * Oh my God, it would be totally awesome if I could locate some individual or organization that would be willing to pay me the big bucks to write stuff.

  55. Meatdog on said:

    In Konqueror I can do that right-clicking too, although you do have to go one sub-menu lower. I was more thinking of the issue of wanting to always use vlc on ubuntu to open media files, but couldn’t really configure that without throwing off all the other players.

    Gnome is a bit like Maven, imo. Both are very nice and powerful and have good defaults, but they both make it hard on you when you don’t agree with their defaults, although they rarely make it impossible to customize them.

    Makes me think I haven’t tried the gnome desktop on pclinuxos. Neither have I found a review of it. Maybe an idea for a next article.

  56. mark on said:

    add something useful to the discussion, asshole

  57. @ Meatdog.
    I wouldn’t know the solution in Konquerer (personal favorite) to always play VLC, but in Firefox you might give the mediaconnectivity plugin a try:
    And GNOME on PCLinuxOS? Why not give it a shot. I’ll give you some room to pubish about it.
    Actually… My publisher did, or at least will pay once my book (in Dutch, translated title “Moving to Linux without problems”) hits the shelves. Big bucks? LOL, only when the sales are great. Otherwise, 15% of the net sales price, divided by two (two authors), minus 35% taxes, won’t even be enough to by me a new Mac or the new Dell Ubuntu laptop.
    @CCacioppoWhy not work on the KDE desktop as well? It would be great to see some PCLinuxOS specific tools there. SimplyMepis did it too and I don’t think there is anything wrong with the idea.

  58. revdjenk on said:


    radically doesn’t have to mean ‘far out’…

    it is related to the word for ‘radish’

    so something radical can mean:
    from the roots
    stuck in the mud…er…um

  59. “Your review is ok and I will say upfront that I use this distro. Along with Kubuntu and OpenSuse 10.2 since KDE is my desktop of choice.

    Why would you outline good / bad points of this distro and dump this bombshell on PCLOS devteam: ”
    If the PCLinuxOS team wants to do something radical it needs to re-design the KDE desktop”.

    That quote has no place in this review – minus 10 pts for malformed content!”

    I have to agree with this conclusion. KDE can’t be redesigned by PCLinuxOS…it’s a different project and does what it does on its own. PCLinuxOS has NO PULL on what KDE does for design…they have their own teams etc.

    What the reviewer wants is a more simple style of desktop like Gnome. I wonder what would have happened if he had installed Gnome via synaptic? Would the review have been different? What if he used Kpackage instead of Synaptic (also available in the repos). See, I think this is more of a Gnome vs. KDE review than an actual review of PCLinuxOS…statements like that quoted above give evidence of this fact.

  60. @ Devnet
    No, it was and is not a GNOME versus KDE thing. I am quite capable of writing something separate about that, thank you. Maybe I missed something in my own article, but didn’t I write that I think the choice for the KDE desktop was a good one? And why shouldn’t the PCLinuxOS team be capable of messing around with the default KDE desktop? Other distributions do it as well. Fedora’s KDE desktop doesn’t have the plethora of submenu’s. SabayonLinux’s KDE desktop use a whole different menu structure by default. SimplyMepis adds its own tools to the KDE desktop, which looks more like an Xfce desktop by the way. There is a whole range between the way the KDE desktop is used under PCLinuxOS and the default GNOME desktop. Right, I wrote twice already that I don’t think it is needed to GNOMEify the KDE desktop. So please, if you want to quote, quote in context.
    And I review the defaults of all distributions. Heck, once a distro is up and running I can change the look and feel, the window managers etc. etc. untill you wouldn’t recognize it any more. Now that would be a nice review of PCLinuxOS. Problem is, it wouldn’t be a review of PCLinuxOS. Is Kpackage in the repo? Fine, but that was not the choice of the PCLinuxOS team. Would that answer my criticism about Synaptic? Great and I hope to see it by default in the next release. Earlier in this thread someone wrote he tried 35 distributions in 6 months (or was it 8). I can assure that first impressions count when you do that and it hardly matters then whether you have 5.000 packages in the repo or 20.000.

  61. Hooke on said:

    Sorry, but what on earth has kpackage to do with Synaptic? They are different tools for different purposes. Synaptic is for getting a list of programs from the repos, while kpackage is for installing a package you found somewhere else, provided that it is compatible with your distro. I don’t see how anyone can view kpackage as a replacement for Synaptic. Am I missing something?

  62. One_Beerhunter on said:


    Had you read all three of my comments, particularly my first. I believe any reasonable person would conclude it was a useful, relevant, contribution. My second and third comment was intended to be humorous. Perhaps you lack a sense of humor? How very sad, as it is your comment that is useless, irrelevant, and contributed nothing to the discussion.

  63. txMike on said:

    The numbers speak for themselves. It’s the best distro out there and no plans to sign a patent pact with the devil.

  64. whata star on said:

    One_Beerhunter proves the point that most Linux users who regard themselves as “experts” are the most foulmouthed , bad mouthing, pod-ilfe.
    Obviously when you ditched windows and installed Linux for the 1st time you threw civility and good manners out the window.
    If your so expert on matters why don’t YOU produce a distro

    Beer Hunterr,..Have you ever thought about joining a Fascist group? I hear the neo-nazi’s and hill-billy thugs are recruiting in your area

  65. darren on said:

    Hi, im a linux newbie with nearly an entire week under my belt, I agree with many of the points of your review.

    You are correct that linux is full of geek-speak which makes barely any immediate sense to a windows user, the boot loader options.. i still dont know what they all do, i assumed it was like safe mode on xp

    The descriptions in Synaptic are , to be diplomatic, somewhat terse, although i became comfortable with it after a day or so.

    Linux in general has a massive problem for W2L people, for years everything in windows uses a gui. but it seems in linux , most tools are command line, and tbh this seems somewhat backward, although im an old DOS veteran and can handle it, my mother however….

    For the majority of tasks, web browsing, email, music/movie watching , pclos is so far superior in speed and execution to both XP & Vista ,its quite refreshing
    Openoffice seems to be a total clone of microsoft ofice, so no problems there, and i love the beryl cube 4 desktops.

    After i installed bzflag , i realised that linux gaming is about 10 years behind microsoft, so linux is not all i want it to be which is a shame.

    To sum up, as a general purpose web/office machine , pclinuxos is a welcome change from the snail like pace, heavy disk access and cpu spiking of xp, it just requires a lot more work/googling/forum browsing to truly understand it than what most windows users are used to.

  66. txMike on said:

    I stand by what I said. And I do not post only to be insulted. I think youre a pathetic individual and I will make sure to post this in our blogs.

  67. Fred O'brien on said:

    My personal opinion: this is a very good first time user operating system. Anybody who would just take a little bit of time could be up and running with this. We have looked at most of the other flavors of linux and find this the most simple. Simple Mephis is next in simplicity we would say. Regarding dialup modems, the external serial port modem is the best way to be assured of success.

    For the person wanting Internet browsing and e-mail, with some word processing this is perhaps the best choice. It does have Windows emulation so if a person needed to run a program not available in a Linux version it could be done.

  68. @ whata star, txMike and One_Beerhunter
    I believe in the freedom to discuss the article, to agree or not agree with the arguments of the article and the others. What I will not allow in this blog is name calling and personal attacks. I appreciate all comments that have content, elaborate or not, eloquent or not. To call someone a fascist (like whata star did) I do not. Hence, if you want to continue discussing PCLinuxOS I appreciate it and I encourage all to do that.
    But, any other derogatory comments about the other participants in this manner will be edited out, or the comment won’t be allowed at all. I am sorry that this has become necessary.

  69. txMike on said:

    Beerboy started this. His remark to me me was pathetic, which in turn makes Him pathetic.

  70. Jerry on said:

    One of the reasons I became uneasy with pclos was the horrid barriers that come up in their forums once one dares to make a point about the distro that is negative.. even as a suggestion.

    This “Texstar” as become a little god over there. His product is ok, and wildly popular, but as pointed out in this great review, there are the usual problems here and there; it’s not perfect or even nearly that and may not even be as usable as Mandriva.

    They deny it, but it is pariah land at the pclos forums. I stay away. I also tore the distro out of my machine and am looking around again. I feel like I should try to find a PCLinuxOS Deprograming organisation so I can regain my sensibilities and objectiviy; they ruined my outlook on Linux overall..

    I’ll be ok. 🙂

  71. One_Beerhunter on said:

    @ janstedehouder

    Please accept my apologies for any of my statements that you perceived to be offensive. It was not my intention to in anyway, belittle your viewpoint/review of PCLOS. My original three comments were made as a result of a “rats, I wish I’d said so and so” scenario and the inability to modify the original comment. A couple of other comments got in before I was able to add the third comment. I would have rather been able to combine all three into a single comment…

    I will not offer an apology to anyone who apparently lacks the the ability to comprehend the content of what he reads and retaliates by name calling.
    I consider the offense comments to be those which include the remarks “asshole” or “Have you ever thought about joining a Fascist group? I hear the neo-Nazi’s and hill-billy thugs are recruiting in your area…”

    Correct me if you believe I am wrong,

    My fourth comment in response to being called an “asshole” was not foulmouthed or objectionable. It was more than civil considering the circumstances. The suggestion that my perception: “Linux is a global community of users working together…” somehow relates to fascism or hilly-billy thugs is an astonishing jump to conclusions, that could only be made by someone who does not understand the meaning of the word fascism.

    Again, my apologies janstedehouder, had I been able to locate your email address I would have made this comment via email.

  72. Synergy6 on said:

    Damn. Handbags at dawn over a Linux distro review 😮

  73. @ One_Beerhunter
    I don’t mind a stiff discussion. Actually, it is something that is part and parcel of the Linux world. It is the name-calling that developed between you, txMike and whata star that I wished to halt at this point. I don’t mind your contributions to the discussion about the review. I even responded to the remark about making money. A little jest never hurt ayoine. I appreciate the apology to me and understand the point that you are not willing to apologize wholesale to the others who called you a fascist.
    For those who use that term I can only relate that I have visited various concentration camps and spoke with surivivors of those death camps. To call anyone a fascist simply for having a different opinion than your own (even if you also don’t like the way it was presented) is extremely harsh and almost always unwarranted. And it dishonors the survivors of the worst of horrors that mankind has ever brought forward. We all love Linux in one way or another. Thank you.

  74. @janstedehouder

    I’m thinking that, aiming at new Linux users, making an XFCE menu layout or one in which there are very few categories wouldn’t be very usable for them. I think PCLOS has a very good menu layout that holds the users’ hands quite well. The slogan, radically simple, has been a favorite of the community and has been in the distribution for almost 2 years (evidently, it took everyone that long to notice it).

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion…so I’ll leave it here. This opinion, I believe, was good on some levels…but off the mark on how software is programmed and developed on the other level. If you were to become part of a developer team for a linux distro, you might understand what I’m saying. Until then…you really won’t know :/ anyway, thanks for any review of pclos…and I hope you give Synaptic more of a go next time.

  75. FrAsErTaG on said:

    I am a W2L user, having used a virtual machine to ltest distro’s (freespire(spew),ubuntu,fedora, DSL and pclinuxos in that order) i learnt command line stuff from installing various things i wanted to know i could use in the real world… having decided from the VM’s that PClinuxOS was my favorite.
    I booted the TR2 live CD, i partitioned my drive from there and installed. All my hardware was detected and worked except video, downloaded the drivers and had beryl up and running within 20minutes of the install. I cruized around the net, watched divx files and made use of the built in apps for a week or two.. now fast forward to today and i have the final installed no more dual boot, i am fairly confident in the console and find if an app doesnt work i can troubleshoot it somewhat to conclude whats wrong.

    So basicly what im saying in my case it did convert me from Win2Lin but at the same time its become almost like windows to me in that i dont want to try anything else i am comfortable with what i have, my machine runs perfectly and i didnt even pay any attention to the free upgrade to vista home premium i got in the mail….

    My 22cents

  76. JohnBoy on said:

    Having read this far I have almost forgotten what the thrust of the review was! I guess that shows how un/important it was.
    I would draw your attention to one fact – this distro comes as a livecd the purpose of which is to allow the new user get a ‘feel’ for the distro and try out various options etc before committing to installing it. It also allows the user to check the compatibility with his hardware.
    I have a personal belief that we all have responsibilities and in this context those include educating ourselves on a subject that is new to us. Anyone ever tried to become, not even an expert but, proficient with something without some educating? So maybe I am a vet, does that make me a doctor without further education?
    Windows users who wish to use something different need to be educated to the fact that Linux is different and requires some effort on their part to become proficient in its use or even comfortable.
    For the most part the livecd allowed me to do this. I was able to install software and browse the forums for information while playing my favourite radio station.
    So after some days I was comfortable that PCLOS would suit me and I installed it. I do not regret my choice. It was one of many distros that I treated in this way – maybe twenty in all, some of which got installed for further use.
    My view has oft been regarded as elitist – if the prospective user is unwilling or incapable of learning enough to allow them to use Linux as well as they did Win then my wish is that that Win user stays with Win and stays happy. I also, having put in the effort which allows me to benefit from the hard work of the various dev teams, will be happy – I won’t have to wade through all those stupid posts from people who refuse to put in the effort to help themselves.
    So with regard to your review – maybe you could use the livecd for what it is intended first (to become familiar with the distro) and then install. Of course this means the user putting in some effort and taking some responsibility and that whole idea seems to be out of favour in these times of instant gratification.

  77. antony on said:

    To JohnBoy:

    Am in 100% agreement with you. Yours is not an elitist view at all – just realistic and practical.

    The point regarding instant gratification and responsibility are spot on (this is a fundamental problem affecting society generally).

    Well said.


  78. septimius on said:

    i like pclinuxos 2007 the way it is.Why should their creators make it more like windows? to be more simple for who?
    for a newbie in computers even windows is hard to deal with.I verifyed this on people that were using a computer for the first time,and to them linux was exactly the same difficult as windows.

  79. Martin Baldan on said:

    @ Jerry
    I’m sure Mr Ballmer can point you to a PCLinuxOS Deprogramming
    Organization. Even better, they will wipe your mind clean of any
    desire to use a GNU/Linux distro. At the end of the program, you’ll
    find yourself looking at a Red Screen Of Doom, drinking Vista Gin with
    saccharin and smiling as you realise that you love Bill Gates 😀

    BTW, I strongly disagree with your opinion about PCLOS forums, but
    it’s no big deal. People can go there, read and decide by themselvels.

    We, Linux users, are all in the same boat, don’t forget that, everyone 😉

    (Jan Stedehouder: this post was received via email)

  80. linuxrevisited on said:

    The various namecalling comments should be deleted, they don’t add to the discussion. Especially from Chekist thugs like “Whata star”.

    As to the review, you make good points. Particularly the two control panels… I mean, wtf? Hmmm, I’m guessing the option I want is (consult magic 8 ball)… the PCLOS control center!

    Other than a few superficial things like that, the distro just works. VPN support for PPTP would be handy, but I understand why it’s not included out of the box because no one has got a decent, non-buggy gui configuration tool.

    I have been most impressed with hardware detection out of the box, and most simple tasks just work.

    I expect synaptic to find a package once I know what package I want. And that’s all. Just like most windows users will google, compare reviews, and probably download via emule as someone else said. There is usually multiple software that will do the job you want it to do. It is not the position of the packaging tool to point out which tool to use for the job.

    Although perhaps a non-political way to do so would be to count downloads per month, and feed this info back into synaptic? Then if you picked “games”, you’d just go with the most downloaded in the last month, it’d probably be the most addictive.

  81. kenedy.j on said:

    PCLOS is the ONLY OS I choose to use anymore.

    Everytime Ubuntu comes out with a new version, I want to like it, I install it and basically I keep coming back to PCLOS. That Mint Linux was nice, I must admit. You can go through the list: Fedora, Suse, damn small, slackware, mepis, mandriva, I’ve tried many of them, and they all have their pros and cons, but I find it VERY hard to believe the author knows of any linux distro that is easier or more robust for a windows convert to use than PCLOS.

    The PCLOS forum can be good and bad at the same time. They are always helpful, polite and courteous, and you will probably find a solution to your problem if there is one out there. Yet, if you write the wrong thing or post it in the wrong section they’ll either A) move you some place else on the forum where they think you belong or B) censor your entire post altogether by removing it from the forum. Neither of those two feels very nice when it you took the time write and post something about PCLOS, yet I understand their policies are in place for corporate reasons.

  82. davecs on said:

    Whilst I can agree that it can be initially confusing to have two Control Centres, for someone migrating from Windows there is also the question of multiple users.

    Generally, changes made in the PCLinuxOS Control Centre are made as the “root” user or System Administrator. They affect the system. Changes made in the KDE Control Centre mainly affect the current user, no root password is required. If there is more than one user created on the system, each can have their own desktop settings, file associations, and lots of other stuff through KDE Control Centre.

    Many years ago, as a Mandrake (as was) user, I downloaded and installed a tool that merged the Mandrake Control Centre with KDE Control Centre. All the MCC stuff appeared in KCC. Except that every time you selected one of the MCC applets in KCC you had to re-input the root password, instead of just once to run the “system” control centre. Can you imagine how annoying that could be?

    I uninstalled this “addon” and went back to using the two control centres and never looked back.

  83. Windows XP is not simple on my failry new laptop. I installed xp pro and had no sound, graphics card, or network card !!!
    No HP Printer driver as well.

    After several hours I finally had a working computer. Had to search the web using my second computer to find all the drivers , then burn them to cd and copy them onto my laptop.

    Is that “radically simple” ???

    And do you think a new user should be aware of viruses, spyware, tojan fishes, etc????

    How would they know about that stuff if they never heard about it???

    “I don’t give a shit what people use, Linux is Linux”

    I’ve never used PCLinux but will try it later today or tomorrow. But it must be “radically simple” if that is what many people are saying.
    Especially compared to Billy Boys OS.

    Are you (the author) referring to people that need a manual to find the “ON” button???



  84. @Penguin

    Are you (the author) referring to people that need a manual to find the “ON” button???

    LOL. No, not really, though I can think of one or two Linux setups that would be the best thing for that group of Windows users, especially because of the enhanced security. But, no, I am referring also to a larger group of experienced Windows users that are “adventurous” enough to try the Linux waters. You are right when you state that Windows has it’s own set of problems, but that group of users has a set of problem solving skills tailored to Windows. They don’t need a dumbed down Linux, because they are not dumb (a conclusion I a sad to see in some of the posts in this thread). They just need some anchors to enter the new learning path that gives them the new problem solving skills.
    Basically, I don’t care much when someone writes “all hardware just worked with distro X”. Both the forums and documentation of almost all distributions are filled with howto’s when things don’t work out of the box. Nothing different from Windows I agree.

  85. kenedy.j on said:

    If this is all about how we love linux and want to convert windows people over, I think there are two big issues that continue to stunt linux’s possible exponential growth as the superior OS for all those concerned.

    First up, the existing reliance of propreitary formats, the most crucial being the Word document, but others as important are flash, win32 codecs, java, ect. I know that most of these problems have been ‘solved’ in any of the recent distros, but it is NOT seemless in any that I have tried.

    For example, I wrote many essays this semester, and these days professors prefer electronic submission–despite the fact that they are not comfortable with certain kinds of electronic documents. In other words, they wanted everything submitted in word. Well, as we all know, open office does allow you to save your created files in word format, but it hardly ever comes out formatted correctly on the other end when you open up the file on a windows machine with ms word. Often, the formatting is going to look like shit. Paragraph spacing will be off, indentation will be off, bold, italics, periods missing, sentences merged and so on. What looked perfect in Open Office may not look so hot when you open it up with M$.

    At this point we can go over the word processing alternative extensions such as .rtf, but it’s really not going to look anywhere near as good as it should when I create a file with open office’s .odt or .wrd.

    I was even using google documents at one point–the gigantic problem with this is that when you upload a .odt file to google documents, all sentences with two spaces between periods get altered to one (nice code guys!), which is grammatically incorrect, should you professor care to note.

    So that leaves creating an html page or perhaps a .pdf–both excellent options, but again, if your professor isn’t comfortable with reading your essay online, or can’t check a pdf for plagorism with the prexisting programs, it becomes a problem.

    Linux must find a way to provide seamless integration with existing proprietary formats and applications, if it wishes to become a more common OS.

    Another example is that .wmv files that are supported by linux distros run slow on my linux box, while other formats fly without hitch. I might not have the newest processor or boat loads of ram, but if certain files perform well on my linux box, can we not strive to have all formats perform equally well?

    Okay, the other big issue with linux, as has been mentioned above, is drivers. We need all the drivers, not just some of the drivers. We need the newest drivers for the newest hardware. We need full support for the newest wireless encryption methods such as WPA and the others that will follow, and until linux can obtain ALL the drivers the other OS’s have, some people (not I, however) will continue to keep windows on their dual boot machines in case something won’t work in linux.

    Once we tackle and kill those two problems, I can see Linux as being the predominant OS in the world.

    But I dont’ see ol’ Bill Gates and the powers that be making it easy for anyone with such an agenda. All I know is I won’t be buying any of the shit they’re selling any time soon.

  86. Jmiahman on said:


    I would fiercely disagree. I have also gone to college and submitted all my papers using open office. The secret was using a Windows font for my papers. I could only remember one time when there was an issue and I ended up sending the final document as a PDF. I’m a strong believer that schools and government institutions should be forced to use a open format not everyone has the money to buy office and not every college can supply proper facilities to support those who do not. IT already seems as though you are almost forced to have a computer on top of all of your other expenses. I feel quite the opposite I don’t think Linux has to change at all. I think the mindset of the people need to change and I do believe that is slowly making inroads. Legality of software patents and etc.. will always be an issue as long as there’s countries with different patent laws. That’s almost a mute point.

    Hardware in general is a touchy issue for me. As I run OS X Windows and Linux on the same box and test my hardware on all three. Linux may have a issue with the latest greatest hardware but on a average of two months a driver has started or is already working and normally functions better then its windows counter part. There’s also no need to worry about your previous hardware as Linux is the most Plug and Play OS in existence. With windows you may have the driver but more often then not it’s buggy and now with Vista your new hardware may work but your old hardware may not. It’s a guessing game. With Testing on OS X things tend to get fun. There’s a lot of hardware that doesn’t work out of the box but OS X is FreeBSD so a lot of times with a little fiddling you can get that cheap AirLink 101 USB adapter working, maybe not to well but $10 beats the $50 AirPort Card. My point if you actually look at all the issue that people encounter with the popular OS’s you’ll see that it’s not a matter of compatibility, support or standards. It comes down to education. People are educated to use Windows and even Mac, it’s in schools, work places and internet cafes. Windows is everywhere and they have worked to do that purposefully. Pretty soon as people become more educated about the pitfalls, before that were just willing to accept, and learn that there’s other alternatives they’ll give Linux a try. That takes a mindset change and time. It’s not going to happen tomorrow or even in the next 5 years. It’s not going to happen if suddenly we support all the hardware and document formats in the world either. People just don’t switch for those reason, they aren’t educated to think that way.

  87. Synergy6 on said:


    So Linux is perfect, and its only weakness is that people aren’t educated enough. Perhaps, one day, that may be true, but right now it’s a very weak excuse.

    P.S. if you think my use of “perfect” is a strawman, look at “I don’t think Linux has to change at all”. If it doesn’t have to change at all, then logically it is perfect. Right?

  88. kenedy.j on said:

    “I’m a strong believer that schools and government institutions should be forced to use a open format not everyone has the money to buy office and not every college can supply proper facilities to support those who do not.”

    Sounds like you’ve been to my school, where people literally wait for a computer to become available. It would be nice to encourage open formats, but how is something like that accomplished?

    To put things in perspective, there’s not even one single computer lab on my campus that runs linux (not really that big a deal anymore since we have live cd’s and linux thumb drives these days). Yet that’s not by accident. Schools across the nation are as corporate as their partner M$, as corporate as their partnerships with the text book publishers, soda companies, lending institutions, ect. At my old school they had Unix and Solaris labs, (by now I’d assume they’ve got some kind of linux accessible). The schools with great Engineering and Computer Science programs are going to be more progressive (though certainly not less corporate) about tech than the liberal arts schools. That is not to say that liberal arts schools need computers any less than the tech schools.

    Just take a look at my last sentence:

    “But I dont’ see ol’ Bill Gates and the powers that be making it easy for anyone with such an agenda…”

    This would be more of a consensus agreement between us, rather than a “fierce disagreement,” IMO.

    As far as a timetable for the growth of Linux, I’m not sure. Some people thought it would have happened sooner, you think it will happen later. Personally, I think tech in general changes too fast to assume the wind will blow one way or the other. I think google is a great ally for Linux because they all run linux at the googleplex, so open source gets a friend (along with wikipedia) instead of another enemy.

    I would agree with you that the conditioning of the masses to use Windows or Mac is the biggest problem Linux faces, but I do believe that is a MUTE POINT and not something developers can focus on. That sounds more like a marketing problem to me than anything tech related.

    My two “criticisms,” if you can call them that, were written out of love for linux, make no mistake. I wish Linux to succeed beyond where it is now. And I’m willing to wager that my initial points are at the top of the list of concerns for the developers out there working on the more windows-friendly releases to come down the road.

    Wireless encryption like WPA must be included with Linux, currently I can only use my wireless G card sans encryption in PCLOS .93 on my laptop (yes know 2007 is out, I run it on my deskop).

    As for your comment about the windows fonts, I shall try that, thanks for the inadvertent tip, it just so happens that I thought the default Open Office fonts looked great and did not think it would help matters to try for more windows friendly file. If your font secret works, I would urge the Open Office developers to include the suggestion rather than the default warning message that “some of the information may be lost should you choose to save in .doc.”

  89. Randy on said:

    i didn’t use 32 distros in 8 months but perhaps switched over some 10 distros in 8 months (solely for personal entertainment and experimentation), half of them being live by the way. Pardus and PCLOS were the more prominent in terms of less-console-usage.
    Until a certain point it’s ok learning and trying new commands. Eventually it gets boring and typing for configuring becomes an errant. So that’s why
    2d gui have been innovated in the 20th century as a result front-ends for linux apps are flourishing, which is good.

  90. Jmiahman on said:

    @ Synergy6

    No no where did I say perfect, nothing will ever be perfect. That’s a very inaccurate conclusion you’ve came to.

    No, Linux serves a purpose though and does that very well. It’s not perfect but it works for everyday use, if not better then other choices. Yes it does have it’s downfalls but a vast majority of those downfalls are place on it due to the standards that other OS’s have placed on the industry. For instance Microsoft word doc files. Word whether it be worse or better is an industry standard. A better example would be publisher. It may not be a industry standard but a lot of institutions use it. Name to me another application that can use .pub files on Linux, OS X or even Windows other then publisher. The Format is copyright, patented or whatever and no other program has the rights to read a .pud file. Is that the Linux communities fault? Users must become educated in the choices that they decided. Along with educational institutions. If it was an OpenWorld (I know I’m dreaming) I feel Linux Distributions would be a viable realistic alternative to Windows or Mac if not a better alternative for the end user. That’s just it though it’s not the end user that matters it’s the end users money. I’m not saying Linux is perfect by all means I know it’s not but compared to what else is out there I would definitely say it’s better for end users. The standards have been set though and it will take education and educated people to turn the tables in the favor of the OpenSource community. As I have said before I do believe that is happening slowly and even if the standards change people will still have to change their own mindsets to accept something that is community driven and not corporate drive.

  91. Synergy6 on said:


    To quote my previous post:

    “If you think my use of “perfect” is a strawman, look at “I don’t think Linux has to change at all”. If it doesn’t have to change at all, then logically it is perfect. Right?”

    I’ve already explained why you seemed to infer that Linux was perfect.

  92. I am not a developer, a high end geek ( although I am a lower geek, just learning ) so this comment comes as a simple user switching from Windows. Radically Simple ??? I wanted to try out linux for a long time. But I was scared. Scared that I would not know how to install it and if I did, I would not know how to use it. So I went to the store and bought the little gadets to change out hard drives. ( Simple enough ? ) I tried everything in the top 15 at DW. I loved the look & feel of Fedora, until I found I had to install media player & several more things seperately. Command Line ???
    To me Ubuntu sucks. How it is listed as #1 I do not understand. Slow and a pain to work. Could not understand what a lot of the menu was talking about. Kubuntu?? I won’t go there. Mephis and all the rest gave me trouble. Either I could not get it installed or the programs were just too techinal for me to ‘cipher’ out..
    Then I came to PCLOS. I understood the install wizard. I installed it. I understood the KDE desktop. I started out with ‘Big Daddy” & am still with PCLOS on the 2007 release. My Windows hard drive has been on the shelf for a couple of months now. The repos at PCLOS are pretty much like most Linux os’s I guess, But in Windows I had to restart every time I added something. And if you have a lot of programs, that can be a pain.
    Radically simple? Yes I think so. But then I am at the stage where I still enjoy the Computer and am not so far into the details of the inner workings I miss the joy of something that is really simple enough for even a non-geek to use. I am getting people that only know how to check their e-mail and play games to switch to PCLOS, and they love it.
    My opinion, go pick on some of these Linux OS’s that are so hard to use, they scare people away from Linux. Better yet, go pick on Microsoft Windows.

  93. @ Sonny
    I am glad you find a Linux distribution that suits your needs and wants. From your comments I gather you appreciate the KDE desktop. Understandable, but then I don’t understand the stab at Kubuntu which also has the KDE desktop and is highly similar to the PCLinuxOS KDE desktop.
    A recent LinuxFormat article compared 8 top Distrowatch listed distributions and granted, PCLinuxOS came out first when looking at spead of install. On the other hand, I have a personal “fat” version of Ubuntu (1,8 Gb on the DVD, around 8 Gb on the hard drive, three desktops, about 80 more programs than the default) and that takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Compared to a default Windows install that’s still pretty fast don’t you think. Besides, it’s not something you do every day.

    My opinion, go pick on some of these Linux OS’s that are so hard to use, they scare people away from Linux. Better yet, go pick on Microsoft Windows.

    To be honest, I pick on every Linux distribution that is out there. Go ahead, read the other articles and reviews. Bottom line: all distributions have strengths and weaknesses. I test drive and review the distributions and look at them from the perspective of a lot of Windows users I meet in trainings and workshops. Non-geeks, non-nerds. And every fanboy or fangirl from every distribution has a granny that he/she turned to his/her favorite distro. So what. That doesn’t make the distribution suitable for large sale desktop penetration.
    Picking on Windows? Nah. That is being done enough already.
    As for the software repositories. There are differences. You can’t say that distribution “whatever”with a whopping 5.000 packages in it’s repo is the same as the Debian repositories with 20.000 something.

  94. txMike on said:

    Dont forget the intangibles – ie. is there help & support available? If so, how is it? Pclos is a good distro, but the moderators on their forum are jackasses. Thats why I now support a different distro. So look at the Big picture, not just the software.

  95. @ txMike
    What happened? You were very supportive of PCLinuxOS before and I remember seeing your posts on their forums as well.
    But you are right, of course, the move to Linux involves so much more. One of the things that I am seeing more and more clearly every day is that the Linux community is developing in two different directions/groups. One group consists of the old style users/developers, the other group consists of the new users who just want to be users and who need somewhat more handholding etc. I can see similar issues in the Ubuntu forums and as such it can become a serious problem for the further development of Linux. Both groups “need” eachother, though -no doubt- not all will agree on that.

  96. txMike on said:

    I agree with that, Thing is you cant live in the past. If you do, you get left behind. As far as Pclos, Tex is a good man. Straight up. But the site moderators are a completely different story. I am a Sr. Systems Analyst. Been programming for 26 years now. Thought I had seen it all until I ran head on into their moderators. So, I just decided to move forward and not look back.

  97. kenedy.j on said:

    why is UBUNTU #1 on the polls and not PCLOS?

    1. marketing–deep pockets=ubuntu showing up in schools, live cd’s shipped for free, free stickers everywhere

    2. bigger repos-thanks to debian and the boatload of programmers mark shuttleworth hires

    3. saftey in numbers–everyone thinks bigger user base = better support, so they stay with Ubuntu.

    PCLOS is a better OS for this user, however.

    Great OS, not so great nazi-style discussion board moderators.

    Long live PCLOS!

    By the way, out of the box, Kubuntu is absolutely nothing like PCLOS, KDE non withstanding. You could tweak it to feel more like PCLOS, but why waste your time?

  98. @ kenedy
    I don’t often say this, but your remarks are a load of crap.
    (1) When you check the Distrowatch stats for the last seven days you will see that PCLinux OS beats Ubuntu by about 700 pagehits. Does that mean that now PCLinuxOS has deep marketing pockets as well? Crap. Distrowatch pagehits list is just that. At least it proves that tons of PCLinuxOX users click on those pages (if I decided to be negative). PCLinuxOS has it’s own following that is seriously promoting it, like my friends at Tuxmachines. Promotion is good and a higher ranking with Distrowatch doesn’t have to be the result of any manipulation.
    (2) Yep and PCLinuxOS could use those repo’s too. They’re open for anyone to use.
    (3) Safety in numbers? Load of crap. The Linux install base is hardly scratching the 3% number, splintered over tons of distributions and little people who think their distro is absolutely super the best. Duh! Just give me some serious arguments for that. Like, what is the fundamental difference between Kubuntu’s implementation of KDE and PCLinuxOS’s? That would be informative.
    And to go back to the big pockets of Ubuntu and it showing up everywhere: just be fracking glad someone is willing to spend millions of his own money to prmote Linux and open source. It makes it possible for Linux to be taken seriously in quarters previously not reached. At least it makes more of a contribution than your efforts. Or do you have a few millons lying around to put some money where your mouth is? Which brings me to an interesting question: how much money did you donate to PCLinuxOS?

  99. Sonny Jordan on said:

    Sorry about that guys, I am still a novice at this and maybe did not explain a couple of things well enough. On the repos I am talking about you get your downloads mostly the same way, maybe different names for the managers, and some do have more than others.
    Kubuntu, I had No luck with. Sure it’s kde & I might have had a bad install. But I found it slow and not that workable or appealing. I gave it & Ubuntu about four days worth of time because they were highly rated and I was new to linux.
    As I said, I Loved the look & feel of Fedora. I tried it 3 times. But at that stage of my experience, it was way too ‘technical’ for me to understand.
    Yes I would love for PCLOS to have more in the repos. Yes, it could be a lot better.
    But it was & is the easiest to install and understand, it is the fastest kde I have used and intuitive enough to make me happy.

  100. But it was & is the easiest to install and understand, it is the fastest kde I have used and intuitive enough to make me happy.

    Which is perhaps the only argument that really counts when it comes to selecting a Linux distribution. 😉

  101. Well after reading this article I find it hard to understand what OS you might find radically more simple than PCLinuxOS? I’ve tried all the newest and most highly rated Linux Operating Systems, but nothing, .. and I do mean nothing even comes close to PCLinuxOS. I have it on two Desktop PC’s as well as my IBM Thinkpad, .. after trying many others where not even one of them seemed easy enough to set up my Wireless Internet access on. It’s not like my D-Link cards are uncommon, and maybe someone who is more linux savy might not have a problem with this at all, but for me it’s refreshing to find a distro like PCLinuxOS that not only picks up on my wireless but is easily configured to work and be online every time as soon as I log on to my PC or Laptop. Radically Simple, …. most definitely in my humble opinion as well as the very best LInux OS ever.

  102. LastChip on said:

    Frankly, I despair at this review. Yes, there are some valid points, but there seems to be far too much emphasis on Windows comparisons. We have to get away from this mind-set. If we’re going to compare the two, let’s talk about installation time for a complete working system for starters, then when we’ve finished with that, the on-going maintenance to attempt to prevent viruses and malware in Windows. Or indeed, an architecture that is a security nightmare.

    Linux is never going to be Windows, nor should it be. Ease of use is a different issue and I found PCLinuxOS to be the easiest to date, bar none. I’ve tried RedHat, Mandrake (now Mandriva), SuSE, Debian, Xandros, Mint, Ubuntu and Kubuntu over the years, and none of them comes close to the hardware recognition of this distro.

    So let’s look at a practical example.

    Recently, I bought a new Acer laptop with Vista pre-installed. It was entry level, so only had 512Mb of RAM and Vista ran like glue; virtually unusable.! Off it came and on went PCLinuxOS. I now have a laptop that is so fast, it’s hard to believe it’s the same piece of equipment. With the exception of the inbuilt card reader, all the hardware was recognized and it just purrs along. The card reader issue is hardly the fault of the distro, but the crappy support of Acer and ENE to supply suitable drivers! When are these people ever going to learn?

    All in all, a brilliant effort on the part of the development team and I look forward to the future using this system.

  103. For the most part I love PCLOS, but some things about it drive me crazy! For instance, my Palm synced with K-Pilot and J-Pilot once, but never again because now it isn’t recognized; Encrypted rental DVDs play with no problems but trying to play non-encrypted DVDs brings up a box that says I don’t have enough permissions; KlamAV is now available for PCLOS but ClamAV still won’t update automatically and Klam crashes when I try to do it manually; What the heck do the choices mean when you try to turn on the firewall??? I’m relatively computer literate and have been playing with Linux for a while but if I can’t figure this stuff out how in the world would a complete noob do it? It’s unreasonable to expect a new user to fathom command lines and it’s not making me happy, either. PCLOS should get rid of them!

  104. Forgot to mention that I’ve tried many, many, MANY distros and even with its faults PCLOS is the best by far, with SimplyMEPIS coming in at a close second.

  105. Wow… so many comments:-)

    I’ll just add my 2cents… I thought the review was terrific. This reviewer has clearly worked with newbie users before. I’m not talking about new Windows power users that are new to Linux but able to install multiple distros, setup virtualization software, burn ISOs, etc… I’m talking about the mass market.

    In this regard, the reviewer made points that I hope the development team picks up on. I’ve been running a few popular distros lately looking for one that I can recommend to eternally-newbie Windows users. Once I settle on this Microsoft-alternative, it’ll be the distro I wind up with also (as I plan on supporting it for family, friends and co-workers).

    I’ve looked at Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS and a few others. I’m still looking at a few more. At this point, if I had to recommend an alternative to XP/Vista purely on usability features – much to my surprise… that it isn’t even a Linux distro… it’s a FreeBSD-based distro named PC-BSD.

    So far this *BSD distro has done an unbelievable job in delivering a product that both the newbie and casual computer users can immediately use. It needs to come bundled with a Ports Manager but it works very well for many in the Windows2Linux/BSD crowd. (to the author of this article… if you review this distro – pay attention to what happens when you drag a file, right-click on files, menu organization – ie, normal PC operations).

    On the Linux side, I like PCLinuxOS very much as well as Ubuntu (with usability features heavy in Ubuntu’s favor).

    As much as I like PC-BSD, it still needs a stable Ports Manager as part of the core and many more PBI files added to it’s collection – but it’s worth a look at this point for many.

    Considering everything (usability, access to apps, support, etc…) for the best alternative MS-distro, I would have to choose Ubuntu (still need to try Kubuntu…) based on the few distros I’ve looked at.

    Ubuntu is simple enough to get working with right away, it’s application manager is much clearer and easier to work with than PCLinuxOS and it’s menu organization easier for most users to work with.

    In addition to this, you can crawl the web and find alot of 3rd-party support for this distro including direct downloads. If this wasn’t enough, there’s a version suited for nearly every type of user (desktop, server, small devices, resource light devices, etc..)

    PCLinuxOS is close and I wish their devTeam continued success. I have no doubt that this distro will be a major player in the coming years but they need to take (as well as other PCLinuxOS users) criticisms like the one in this article because it’s meant to make the distro even better.

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  107. I love PCLinuxOS. But I am waiting for its Gnome Version. I would have been still better if it had full ntfs rw support.

  108. Ok, it has been a couple of months since I commented. I am still a newbie compared to the rest of you. But I still run PCLOS every day, do my website with it, PDF files,media, etc. The only differenceis this. I wiped the drive and installed Gnome as my default, then downloaded the KDE Desktop from the repo’s. So I am running Gnome & Kde. I love them both. I have only had to use the command line about 3 times. I have everything I need or want right on my desktop. And unlike windows it is still fast & efficient. I have a Lot of programs. I do not have Windows on the same drive, that might make a difference. I have downloaded around 20 Live CD’s from other distros and tried them. I am still with PCLOS. I have even tried Ubuntu again. The Gnome PCLOS still wins for me. I am a simple man with simple needs when it comes to an OS, but for a name that everyone picks on, a logo that gets run down, it is still the best and easiest for me and my needs. I don’t mind the forums, I am not examining every comment, and I think Texstar and his crew has done a wonderful job, Again, this is my opinion & is based on the ease of use for me & what PCLOS does to meet my requirements for prgrams from the repo’s. Every one has their own favorite OS, mine happens to be PCLOS.

  109. Hi, well i am a newbie on linux and i did start using ubuntu but finally after a few weeks i did come back to windows because i was totally lost… i didnt know how to do basic things without do a lot of research in internet, after a couple of months i did find Pclinux and i did try it for a week and did decide to delete my windows xp and go for it, Pclinux is really easy and even thinking is not perfect, is really esy to do much of the things… one i found really interesting is… that is the only distro i found that will set up a bluettoth gprs conecticon with my phone automatic without the need of command line.
    So i think the review is a bit hard, PclinuxOs is the easy distro

  110. Don’t worry Oscar. If you are happy with PCLinuxOS you should stick with it. My points of criticism have nothing to do with the value as a Linux distribution, but with the goals it set for itself. I know I have been scorched for hammering on the slogan “Radically simple”, but I am just as critical towards any other Linux distribution or -as I am doing now- about PC-BSD. To be honest, considering the string of comments this article received and some actions by the more radical PCLinuxOS users, I could only add one single major turnoff for this distribution: the agressive fanboyism. From where I am standing PCLinuxOS is no better nor worse than a couple of other leading Linux distributions that try to cater to the needs of desktop users. Each one shines in an area of two that the others don’t have and falls dramatically short in other areas. If criticism is met with agression innovation grinds to a halt sooner or later. That being said, I appreciate all the contributors for their opinions and especially those that really pointed out the things that made PCLinuxOS work for them (like Bluetooth support in your case). Those are the contributions that matter and are informative.

  111. William on said:


    while i agree with your review, which was nicely done, I have really enjoyed installing PCLinux, up and running in 15 mins or less with my wireless configured……..”Excellent”, This with a dual boot with XP, I believe I could insatll this on my mothers machine and she would find it radically simple, or at least much “simpler” then MS……


  112. Manuel Otzoy on said:

    Sin duda alguna, PcLinuxOS es la distribución de LInux que me ha convencido. La recomiendo sin duda alguna. Por supuesto cada persona es libre de elegir la distribución que más le guste. A mi me gusta PClinuxOS

  113. Well, I installed PClinuxOS yesterday and have spent today playing. I’ve been using linux fr seven years and exclusively for two years. I’ve installed linux only computers for several of my friends. I’ve used versions of Suse from 7.1 to 10.3, also Kubuntu Dapper and Fedora 6. My first impression is that PClinuxOS is by far the simplest to install and configure to my liking. Not perfect, but very good: most stuff just works. The stuff that isn’t perfect would not bother most computer users as they just gratefully accept what’s given them. I like KDE as it is, and so do my friends – I hope it isn’t radically redesigned. The main advantage of Suse 10.3 is that one can install FMJ and it works without tweaking – very good for OpenOffice impress. I shall keep this distro on my laptop until I work out how to get JMF working on PClinuxOS or hack FMJ for it. Otherwise, I shall be recommending PClinuxOS to my friends and installing and maintaining it for some of them. I am very grateful to everyone in the linux community whose hard work has enabled me to have a computer which mostly does what I want it to do without crashing and destroying my data and hardware. 🙂

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  116. I have tried several Linux distros. PCLOS is absolutely the bomb!. I was connected to the internet before installation was complete. I am a W2L guy and using Ubuntu 10.0 almost drove me away from Linux. It took a month and the help of a professional to get my wireless connected and he took 3 hours to do it. Every time I rebooted Ubuntu, I had to go into Manger and reconfigure to get on the internet. I was never able to install anything using Synaptic much less apt-get.

    This is what I like about PCLOS: (1) Easy wireless connection; (2) Synaptic has tons of programs easy to install; (3) Firefox came fully loaded with no need to search for flash plugins, etc.; (4) UTube worked great (never would in Ubuntu); (5) My broadcom and ATI drivers were there in Synaptic; (6) Setting up email was far simpler than Windows; (7) The eye-candy was awesome.

    I really believe that PCLOS and Linux are ready for primetime. However, here are some things that are really needed that would push Linux over the top: (1) A real pdf editor that works as well as Nitro PDF Professional – whats out there is worthless; (2) A descent web page maker such as Web Page Maker 2.5 -Nvu is awefull and as far as I am concerned, unusable; (3) a good cd/dvd burner such as CopytoDvd; For me, a good genealogy program comparable to Family Tree Maker – Gramps is the pits.

    Linux is on the verge of greatness and a few software programs are all thats needed to give Bill Gates a massive headache. Vista ran me away from Windows. All I can say is thank you, Bill, you finally did something nice for me, and God Bless PCLinuxOS

  117. Thank you Oscar. Maybe it is nice to know that in a few weeks time I will start a new “30 days” series (currently about DesktopBSD), this time with PCLinuxOS.

  118. Jan:

    Please notify me. I very much want to read the article. One thing I want you to look at is the PCLinux Control Center. This has made switching from various wifi providers as I travel, an invaluable tool.

    As you know, most Linux distros use Synaptic for installing software. I have been thinking: since so many software manufacturers have been slowly providing some software in Linux and since some of these you must purchase, i.e., NERO – it would be nice if you could install them on a trial basis using Synaptic and there would be a link to go to the manufacturers homepage and pay and obtain a SN, then unlock the software if you like it. This would make installation a breeze as such devices as apt-get for this purpose remain Greek to me although I am trying to learn the codes and techniques for using the terminal. What do you think?

  119. Hi Oscar, I think there are plenty of manufacturers out there that would appreciate such a channel, though it won’t be easy. In Ubuntu I know there is special channel “ubuntu partner” that needs to be enabled in Synaptic. Xandros already implemented this via Xandros Networks and Linspire is doing the same via the Click-and-Run Warehouse.

    On the other hand, I haven’t used (for example) Nero for more than a year now. K3b is providing the same functionality through an easy to understand interface. Nero would have a hard time selling it’s product against K3b or similar programs. One of the foundations of free and open source software is the fact that it is free, can be obtained non-commercial and still provide the top-quality end-users might need.

    One thing you and all of us could do is to continue exerting our influence to make sure open source and free software is indeed as easy to use and accessible as we need it.

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