My Pardus 2009.1 Experience
Desktop Training - Desktop Reviews

If you're a KDE fan but haven't taken Pardus Linux out for a spin in awhile, maybe it's time you should. Yesterday brought us Pardus 2009.1 which features the new hybrid .iso files, one of the easiest installers around in YALI, a sweet KDE 4.3.4 desktop, and growing number of available applications. I gave the new version of Pardus a shot and here's what I found.

Pardus 2009.1 includes the latest stable version of KDE 4.3.4, Linux kernel 2.6.31.11, OpenOffice.Org 3.1.1.5, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7, Gimp 2.6.8, Xorg 1.6.5 and Python 2.6.4.

Installation
I had to cover installation because the Pardus installation is unlike any you've experienced. The Pardus 2009.1 release includes special hybrid .iso files that make installation even easier. Download the .iso files and read the release announcement here. Pardus is currently only available in 32-bit, however a 64-bit effort is currently underway and should be seen around the middle of 2010. If you can't download it, buy Pardus from the BeginLinux cart for $1.95.

The Pardus installation is done by an installation tool named YALI (Yet Another Linux Installer). Just to give you an idea of how easy the installation is and the amazing graphical look, check out these screenshots from the time I inserted the Pardus install CD to the final Pardus desktop. YALI works well guiding even the most novice users through an uneventful installation.
Pardus Startup Screen

Press F2 on the first screen you see after inserting the CD if you want to enable English.

On the first screen of the Pardus installer you need to agree to the GPL License. Click Next.
Pardus Accept GPL


On the next screen we can avoid errors in the installation process by choosing to test the installation discs integrity by clicking on the button in the middle of the window. click Next to continue.
Pardus Test Disc
Now we need to choose a keyboard layout. I’ve selected English and then the Next button.

Set your date, time and timezone on the next screen of the installer. Click Next.
Pardus Timezone

Now enter your real name, user name, and password. Click Next.

The Set Administrator screen allows us to set the root password. Type this in, confirm it, set your host name if you want, and click Next.
Set Administrator

When choosing your partition options you can select automatic or manual. I selected manual and clicked Next.

Check over the summary of your installation and Click Begin Install.
Pardus Install Summary

Up to this point I was very impressed with the visual presentation of the Pardus setup so far. It just flows nicely making a snapping seamless install. After the installation begins you’ll notice the status bar start to fill up along with a slideshow of Pardus features. The slideshow is an excellent addition and pointed me right to the sweet spots of Pardus.

After waiting for the installation to finish you’ll be presented with a confirmation screen. You’ll need to reboot your new Pardus 2009.1 system from here.

The matching login screen is a nice touch.
Pardus 2009.1 Login

Kaptan
Kaptan will allow you to configure all types of things on your Pardus system. Kaptan will run automatically after installation.

The first window is a welcome screen.
Pardus Kaptan Welcome

Next you can set your Pardus mouse behavior options.
Pardus Kaptan Mouse Behavior

Select your theme and desktop type on the Customize Your Desktop Screen
Pardus Kaptan Customize Desktop

Choose a menu style. Pardus has multiple menu options that can be selected here.
Pardus Kaptan Menu Style

Now select your preferred desktop wallpaper using the thumbnails and scroll bar. You can also select a wallpaper from a file or choose not to change the background.
Pardus Kaptan Wallpaper

Strigi is a tool that allows Pardus to index your most commonly used files. This makes desktop file search much faster. Click the checkbox to turn Strigi on.
Pardus Kaptan Strigi

Here you can create a internet connection profile.
Pardus Kaptan Internet Connection

Smolt collects your data and sends it to Pardus developers so that they can make the distro better.
Pardus Kaptan Smolt

Set a few options for your updates including how often to check and system tray icon. You can also enable the Contrib repository at the bottom which will make more applications accessible to your Pardus desktop.
Pardus Kaptan Install and Remove

Here's a summary of your settings
Pardus Kaptan Installation Summary

Finally, confirmation the new settings have been applied, press finish and you're done with Kaptan.
Pardus Kaptan Changes Applied

Now that we're through with installing and configuring Pardus lets take a look at the desktop itself.

Appearance
The Pardus 2009.1 graphical features are evident immediately after you insert the Pardus 2009.1. This distro comes with a maroon graphical look that appears throughout the startup and transitions into a sharp blue desktop that I really liked. The menus style, themes and other options can be changed within the Kaptan system utility, which will run upon installation or can be configured later. The default setup really makes KDE give off a high class vibe in my opinion and overall everything was right on graphically.

Package Mangement
I've found Pisi, the Pardus 2009.1 package manager, to have an easy-to-use interface and features, and though it doesn't have the selection of applications you get with distros like Ubuntu, the amount of applications continues to grow. Plus you can access the contrib repo using Kaptan to enable more applications.

Overall
Pardus 2009 really rubbed me the right way. Pardus 2009.1 was just an confirmation of what I thought the first time around. I use GNOME in my everyday work and it's a real treat to explore such a great looking and behaving KDE distro. I've used many KDE distros but this is one of my favorites because everything flows so well, looks good, and is overall just easy to use. These are all big factors in getting newbies on board and keeping them there. Overall, definitely worth a look for basic Linux users and newbies.