I've been looking for a lightweight distribution to use on my Dell desktop with older hardware. While searching for a worthy candidate I almost immediately ran across last weeks release of PC/OS 10. With a familiar Ubuntu base and new improvements such as Google Chrome and Skype, I thought PC/OS Webstation was worth a look.
Versions: You can download Webstation and OpenWorkstation versions of PC/OS. Or buy PC/OS from our cart. This review is on Webstation, the home version that is a 686MB installable live CD. The DVD version, OpenWorkstation, is 1129 MB.
Highlights: PC/OS 10 features the Linux kernel 2.6.28, Skype on both versions, and Google Chrome web browser as default on Webstation. PC/OS 10 also features BFS filesystem support and recovery tools, Atunes as the OpenWorkstation's new default media player and many other fixes and improvements. (See the PC/OS Release Announcement)
Pre-Installation: I decided to install PC/OS 10 Webstation on my Dell PowerEdge 400SC which has 512 MB of RAM and an Intel 2.8 processor. Upon putting a burned copy of PC/OS 10 Webstation into my CD-Rom drive, I found a snappy live CD with the XFCE desktop environment. I use a larger 24inch widescreen monitor, although resolution wasn't perfect out-of-the-box on the live CD, it was easily fixed. Overall I found hardware support to be excellent.
Installation: The actual installation of this distribution may look familiar if you've ever installed any flavor of Ubuntu. I noticed graphical changes, good ones at that, but no differences in the contents of the actual installation screens.
I selected all the basic options you'd expect, including "entire disk" on the partition manager screen as I'm only working with a 10 GB hard drive. Next i set up my user name and password and began the installation which, in about 10 minutes, was complete. I was surprised by the lightining fast installation. Ususally installation involves getting a coffee, bagel or other treat while i wait. I'd be hard pressed to make it in time while waiting for PC/OS Webstation, which is a good thing.
Post Installation: After restarting I enjoyed a tech-looking word map login window and also the mountainside photo on the desktop but couldn't find the relationship between the two. The PC/OS logo/button, on the left side of the top panel, opens the menu. More system icons appear in the top panel while the panel/dock at the bottom includes icons for Google Chrome, Facebook, Gmail,Youtube, Gooogle Maps and a few others. I didn't find the bottom dock as useful out-of-the-box as some other docks I've used, but a little customization goes a long way.
Expansion kits: The latest release of PC/OS was released with these expansion kits to extend the functionality of the PC/OS 10 distro. Developer and Office kits and available to all users for free while the Multimedia extensions is available with a retail purchase of PC/OS.
Multimedia - Create, edit, and publish multimedia content.
Developer - All development tools including runtime, Monodevelop, Gambas, WT Creator, and Eclipse.
Office - The Webstation expansion includes AbiWord, Gnumeri and Mozilla Thunderbird.
Conclusion: I found PC/OS Webstation to be a customized version of Xubuntu that could work very well for the home environment it was built for. The main advantage I noticed for beginners choosing PC/OS over Xubuntu or even traditional Ubuntu is the out-of-the-box support.