Top Linux Distros: PCLinuxOS
Desktop Training - Desktop Reviews

 Lesson 7 / Lesson 9

What began as a Mandrake fork in 2003 turned into PCLinuxOS which was rebased on Mandriva 2007 for the PCLinuxOS 2007 release. PCLinuxOS is distributed as a live CD that can be installed onto a hard drive. Data on the CD is uncompressed on the fly allowing up to 2 GB of programs on one CD. Programs like a complete desktop environment, office suite, web-browsers, email clients, p2p file sharing, multimedia applications and much more, all pre configured and ready for you to use.

A few of the things that PCLinuxOS enforces:

  • Keep it beginner friendly
  • Out-of-the box proprietary kernel module support
  • Out-of-the-box browser plugins and media codecs
  • Function as a live CD with simple intuitive interface.

PCLinuxOS is a Windows replacement distribution that has a similar look and feel and Windows plus includes an application replacement for just about any software you needed to use on Windows. Windows users also enjoy the ability to install on old hardware and all of this software is FREE! To get the exact results you need out of PCLinuxOS you may need to install some additional packages. The nice thing about this is it's so easy to do.

Desktop Screenshot
Upon looking at the default desktop I noticed a blue background and bottom panel with a few icons to the left of the desktop. I also notices the PCLinuxOs menu icon on the bottom left of the panel, some shortcut icons, and a desktop switcher. To the right side of the bottom panel are sound controls, digital clock and the date right beneath the clock. The icons throughout the desktop seemed to be relevant and I was happy not to have to dig through the KDE menu to find what I needed. KDE is installed by defauly however a Gnome version of PCLinuxOS is available as well and has been compared to Windows Vista with its Vista-like graphical look.

Help Resources is a great place to start looking for help as it contains a forum with active community members, a high traffic blog, valuable links, press reviews, information about PCLinuxOS and development team information. If you want to skip right to the documentation point your browser to docs. This is the documentation section that features getting started, how tos, advanced section and more. also take a look at this site is a new blog that has posted 27 videos, over 4 hours of PCLinuxOS video tutorials for free. Voice over narration is included with these videos and they are very detailed, broken into small segments makes it easier to browse through them until you find the episode you're looking for.

A few bad things about the PCLinuxOS Linux distribution are that it does not currently offer a 64-bit edition or provide out-of-the-box language support for non-English packages. Probably the biggest downer about PCLinuxOS is that it lacks release schedule planning so a user has no way to know when the next big version will be developed and released. The community is not a strong as many other top 10 Linux distros but still is growing at a fast rate and offers support through a small number of close-knit users that seem fairly receptive to newbies. Texstar also known as Bill Reynolds still heads most of the development and decision-making and frequently errors on the side of caution making the releases far and between. Bugs are usually completed worked out before release.

My Feeling
PCLinuxOS provides a stable desktop for daily computer use and with the proper applications added through the PCLinuxOS APT package management system, this distro could provide the complete solution for users migrating away from Microsoft Windows. I enjoyed the Gnome version of this distro as it appeared clear, colorful and reminded me of an operating system i'd buy.