Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

PCLinuxOS Day 11 – Documentation and Information

I am not someone who believes that a Linux distributions sells itself, that technological achievement is enough to push it to the desktop of end users. As long as the educational systems keep on teaching Windows-based skills, there will be a lot of users who need some hand holding, some guidance, some instruction. What does PCLinuxOS have to offer in this regard? A first glance.

PCLinuxOS Magazine

The PCLinuxOS Magazine is hosted at it’s own website. Issue no. 17 was published in January 2008. The first issue appeared in September 2006 with 1401 downloads. In 2007 the number of downloads averages around 1500 with usually high downloads in October (17.136) and November 2007 (15.732). I downloaded all issues to check them out.

Between issue number 1 and number 17 one thing hasn’t changed: it’s format and I mean it’s literal page format (actually, it did change but reverted back again). It’s a bit strange to see a magazine in “Powerpoint” format. The first issue had a mix of personal testimonials and some hands-on articles like installing MiniMe from the hard drive to more indepth articles about RPM packaging, using Rootkit Hunter and creating your own initrd. The most recent issue shows the hard work that has been done in the last year and a half. PCLinuxOS Magazine has a clean and business-like style. Like issue 1, issue 17 also has an article that can be considered “bashing Windows”, though the article contains a well-documented migration from WIndows to Linux with some good pointers. The hands-on article about compressing and backup your data by using Squeeze is a very interesting read.

Browsing back in time through the issues I do have say that it has been hard to keep up the same level. Issue 17 is great and I hope the editors can expand on this foundation. The previous issue do reveal one thing: the desire to teach PCLinuxOS users fundamental Linux and KDE skills.

LORTAL

LORTAL is a portal for novice Linux users, especially PCLinuxOS users. You can find the shortcut to LORTAL in the bookmarks taskbar in Firefox. In short, LORTAL provides a collection of links to online resources about Linux: howto’s, guides, software repositories, graphical fine-tuning and news.

The collection of links is extensive and organized into various categories. One thing that I personally found lack -and I do believe it would help novice Linux users- is to provide descriptions with each link about what to expect. One example, the PolishLinux website is a great resource, but a first timer might not think it is an English-language website or know what type of information is to be found.

MyPCLinuxOS

MyPCLinuxOS is another PCLinuxOS site that can be found on the bookmarks toolbar. The site is set up as a central hub for PCLinuxOS related projects. The following projects are “hosted”:

Beautification
Business Edition
Documentation
EeePCLinuxOS
Gnome
Hardware Database
LiveCD Launcher
Live Install Script
Localization
MythTVOS
Parental Control GUI
PCFluxboxOS
PCLinux Educator
PCLinuxOS 64 bit
Producer Edition
Remaster GUI
RPM HowTo
Santa’s Little Helper
TinyMe

There is quite a difference in quality from one project page to the other, but I have the impression that the website’s staff is going over the pages and is updating them. Right now it serves as a portal to each project’s own websites and (sub-)forums.

More in the next article

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