Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

PCLinuxOS Day 9 – Wrapping up the control center

I am enjoying these days with the control center, but it’s time to wrap it up and move on. There are plenty of other things that need attention.

Network & Internet

Connectivity can be considered a key element, especially when you moving around with a laptop. The page Network & Internet is packed with tasks, some of which are pretty complicated.

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One of the easiest is to set up a new network interface. That function is a mirror of the one while booting the live cd. Setting up a Wireless network requires the Windows-based driver file for ndiswrapper. The icon Wireless connection allows you to select one of the wireless networks that are available. Unfortunately it still isn’t rare to find open wifi connections due to badly configured routers.

The task “Configure VPN connections” is not something for the average home user. You can choose from two VPN types: Cisco VPN Concentrator and OpenVPN. Selecting OpenVPN led to yet another download.

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Security

This should be more familiar terrain, even for novice W2L migrators. Setting the system security level fortunately starts with five profiles, ranging fro poor to paranoid. The setting “high” is the maximum recommended level for desktop systems. The three other tabs reveal detailed settings that must be heaven for the security tinkering paranoid. This shows the strength and flexibility of PCLinuxOS when it comes to fine-tuning the security of your system.

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I decided to leave everything as it was and move on the firewall. It was a surprise that the default setting was “no firewall”. Does this mean that the system is wide open with all ports easily accessible from the internet? Something to put on the list for further research.

System

The final page to look into is called “System”. You can manage users and services, as well as the fonts and localisation. It was a pleasant surprise to see a backup function.

That last one is a great interface to setup up periodic backups. When you choose the advanced option the question What, When and Where are visible. Even the advanced option has been made simple and consistent enough to allow for complex backup tasks to be setup by relatively inexperienced users. This is the first time I thought: “I want this on my Ubuntu system!”.

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The task “Manage, add and remove fonts. Import Windows fonts” shows a button “Get Windows fonts”. It doesn’t get them for you, but it scans the system whether they are available or not. For people who use a lot of fonts and download font sets from the internet regularly the button Import allows you to add them to your collection.

PCLinuxOS Control Center: impressions

There are a few words I would like to use to describe the PCLinuxOS Control Center. First, “impressive”. The CC is absolutely packed with tasks that are easily accessible, from the mundane to the complicated.

The second word is “out-of-balance”. Maybe I am progressing from the wrong premise, but I have the impression that PCLinuxOS is created as a desktop oriented distribution. The CC has quite a few functions that are not desktop oriented, are very complex to set up and master and even not needed in a desktop environment.

One function that shows the team does understand how to make complex tools available to desktop users, it is the backup function. Like I wrote, I want it on my Ubuntu box just as it is implemented in PCLinuxOS.

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