PCLinuxOS Day 2 – Bringing the system up to date
Any linux distribution is part of a continuous proces of development, updates and upgrades. When you install a freshly downloaded distribution you can expect at least a few updates waiting for you. For that reason I decided to run a full update before taking a closer look at the system as a whole.
Software management via Synaptic
PCLinuxOS uses Synaptic as a tool for software management, which means installing, updating and removing software. Synaptic is a great tool, which I have used on Debian and Ubuntu boxes. You can launch Synaptic by clicking on the Package Manager icon on the panel.
The default steps for a new user would then be to click Reload, then Mark all upgrades and finally Apply. I must admit I didn’t check whether an icon was flashing with “Updates available”. A new PCLinuxOS user who switches from another distribution should have no problems with this. Someone who just moved from Windows may scratch behind the ears on how to proceed. I checked the online Quick start guide (http://docs.pclinuxos.com/Quick_start_guide), but that didn’t mention the full upgrade routine. However that guide is also under construction.
As a curious user I checked the repositories first. There is a list of possible repositories, but only one is enabled by default. Actually, these repositories are all mirrors of the original PCLinuxOS repository and you can select a mirror closest to your home. This is one way to improve download speed. Another way is to make a donation of $ 20,– to the project. You get access to faster repositories in exchange (http://docs.pclinuxos.com/PASS)
The total listed size of the repository is 7.313 packages.
Going for a full update
After reloading and marking all upgrades I was ready to bring the new system completely up to date. The list of changes was quite extensive and I was notified that downloading all new stuff (521 packages to install/upgrade, 16 to remove, of 1159 installed) would take 50 minutes at max speed (2048 down). Wow, that’s almost as much as it took me to download the first iso file.
Fortunately I just went to the store and got the latest copy of LinuxFormat (january 2008), which runs a cover article on PCLinuxOS. I might get some ideas for upcoming articles this way. Just to show how much the world of Linux has been influenced by Ubuntu, the editors decided to add the following tagline on the cover page: “Get started with the Ubuntu alternative”. What? They gave the eeePC a 9/10 score. No kidding.
Back to the desktop
After waking up (sorry, I took nap in between 😉 ) the package manager was waiting with some information about changes it had made. Seeing the list I decided to go for a reboot.
I was greeted by the same desktop again, which is a good thing. Nothing had been broken. The KDE desktop was up a few notches (from 3.5.6 to 3.5.8). A completely painless and relaxing update. I must say that the system feels somewhat more responsive and faster now.