Reader's Write Back

PCLinuxOS Magazine has received a number of Letters to the Editor from our readers. Starting this month, we will publish them here along with our answers to your questions. Please keep in mind, though, that this is not a substitute for the main PCLinuxOS Help Forums. Note that some letters have been edited for spelling, grammar, and readability. Except as noted, all responses are from Tim Robinson, Editor in Chief, PCLinuxOS Magazine.

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

I visited a Solaris site the other day and saw that they had a very intensive listing of professional software suites for their operating system. Everything from Inventory control, Finances, data bases, Point of Sale to what have you was listed. I don't see anything like this for Linux. Perhaps you could kill two birds with one stone. Have a software section section for PClinuxOS that is actually paid advertising. Please keep it honest and keep it to Linux though. Maybe a bit like the advertising section in the old Hobby magazines. Perhaps a commercial software company would like to test the Linux waters and let people know they have software available. - Dick C.

PCLOS Magazine is currently developing a business plan that will allow us to accept advertising of both software and hardware, as well as from Value-Added Retailers. All revenues generated thereby will be sent directly to Texstar to aid in the ongoing development of PCLOS. The magazine would welcome anyone wishing to take over management and development of this task. Email us if interested.

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

I am new to Linux. I have just installed PCLinuxOs on a 'worn out' Windows computer from my company, and I am amazed how easy the installation was and how easy I could find things and setup as an old Windows user. I would like to see an article about how to install a PPTP VPN software (Microsoft style), since this is what we use for connection from home computers. Likewise, we use Terminal Server /Remote desktop so something about a Linux version of that would great too. - Eric W.

Thanks, Eric. We are always looking for fresh topics to address. We will pass your request to our researcher and see if he can come up with something.

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

I have read several issues of your magazine. EVERY issue had articles that explained how to do tasks that I have been anxious to try.

Congratulations! You have created a magazine that has interesting, easy to understand articles for people who enjoy computing! - D. Nielsen

Thank you D. Nielsen. From the beginning, we here at PCLinuxOS Magazine have sought to provide articles that are both informative and interesting. Our commitment is to continue providing the best in how-tos, reviews, news and as clearly understandable articles as is possible. - Merlin Whitewolf, Editor

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

I started to use PCLinuxOS a few weeks ago and I must say it's absolutely brilliant. It looks great and it just works. I hate Win-doze XP (will not bother with Windows XP Service Pack 3 aka Vista) and I want to spread Linux. But as I'm using the Test 3 of PCLinux OS I want the complete, full version.

Please, let me know when the final release will be out. I hope its a matter of days and not weeks though!! I don't see anything about what is going on with the final release anywhere on the net. There must be new things we should know about? New features etc... right??

Please don't take this the wrong way, but why is it taking so long??!! There's Ubuntu 7.04 coming out, Mandriva, Fedora, Suse also. All the "Big Names" are all I read about on Distrowatch!!

PCLinuxOS 2007 final version must be released soon. Its looks way better than Ubuntu could ever look like, and appearance IS important nowadays.

Well, great job making this distro and hope to get the final version really, really, soon!!! - Sam P.

Dear Sam P.,

The development team is hard at work in preparations for the final release of PCLinuxOS 2007. They are committed to providing us with as stable and usable an operating system as it is beautiful; they do not publish a timetable of releases for this very reason. Releases are made only when they are ready. The development team will release 2007 final when its stability and usability meets their high standards.

We, the users of this OS are lucky to enjoy the benefits of such dedicated developers as Texstar and The Ripper Gang. We reap the benefits of their extensive work on developing and testing. Our patience awaiting the release will be rewarded with the best that can be developed. - Merlin Whitewolf, Editor

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

I enjoyed reading your March 2007 issue. I have been using Linux for about 3 years and I have found that PCLOS is by far the most complete "out-of-the-box" distribution out there. I love how easy it is to install and use.

My question is regarding clustering with PCLOS. Have you considered creating tools similar to OSCAR for Red Hat clones, that make it easier to create an HPC cluster running PCLOS?

Thanks and keep up the good work. - Ben A.

Dear Ben. If you have not already joined the main PCLinuxOS Help Forums, you should do so. Once registered, you may post there for help with problems, and after you have made ten posts, you will have access to the Software request forum. You should post your software request there. Tex and the Rippers read that section regularly, and after the Final of PCLOS 2007 is released, you can expect quick response to software requests. Right now, with things still being developed prior to Final, they may not respond at all. Be sure when you post that request that you explain what the software does, who will benefit from it, where the software is available, etc. A link to the source code will increase your chances.

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

First thought:

These are really cool stories. Very funny and I actually read all of them from the beginning to the end.

Second thought:

Why do you call it PCLinuxOS Magazine? This has nothing to to with PCLOS. I want to know what is up and running in the community. Any events? What is Texstar doing? What is causing the delay of 2007 final? What is going to be different in PCLOS in the future? Make an interview with one of the artists crew. They are doing a great job. Present a developer. I mean there is so much about PCLOS that is cool and all you can do is invent funny stories and newbie howtos??

Again, the stories are good, and somebody has a real writing talent there. But I want info about my community. The jokes I can get somewhere else. - Christophe O.

Hello Christophe. Thanks for your feedback. As PCLinuxOS Magazine is a monthly publication, it is impossible to include late breaking news. We started editing and proofreading articles for this issue (May 2007) on April 1st, 2007. Most of the material had been collected over the preceding month or longer. For the sort of information you asked about, visit the main PCLinuxOS site or the help Forums. There is plenty of activity in the forums and important information gets posted on the main page of the PCLinuxOS site. PCLinuxOS Magazine is compiled by a small staff of volunteers who love PCLOS. This distro is intended as a user friendly, ex-Windows user friendly, and newbie friendly version of Linux. The typical PCLOS user is looking for simple solutions to simple problems, or clear explanations of how to use basic features of PCLOS so they can accomplish their tasks. Typically, our readers surf the Web, write letters in word processors, send/read email, and play multimedia on their systems. Most are not interested in networking or other complex subjects. Occasionally we handle such topics if we come across an article that addresses it in a simple and clear manner that our readership can handle. As always, we welcome submissions from anyone who wishes to write on a topic they feel strongly about or in which they have particular expertise.

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

Merlin Whitewolf says many things that need to be said, about freedom, and software, and "free software". But he got the phrase usage completely wrong! The term has been around for a long time.

"Free as in Beer" means exactly that. Raise your hand, and someone puts a nice cold one in it, no questions asked, no price to pay. Much of Linux, and Free/Open Software in general, is Free as in Beer. After all, how much can you really charge when anyone can download your source and compile it themselves? And/or give it away to their friends?

But the important thing is that Linux and other FOSS is also "Free as in Speech". This is what Merlin is talking about in his article.

Much software is available today that is Free as in Beer. Even Windows-specific software. Just do a Google search for "Freeware." But Free as in Beer does not mean Free as in Speech. A lot (most?) Windows freeware is closed-source. You're allowed to download it, and run it, but you can't look at how it does what it does, or fix something to make it work better, or anything like that. While the software is no-cost, you are also denied the four freedoms of Free Software.

It's really just a nit-pick, but it grated on my eyes to see Free as in Beer being defined as Free as in Speech. - Padma

Dear Padma, did you check the free beer website? Did you research other sources? I did. While I do not claim any great expertise, I stand by what I said. The free in "free beer" is liberty. The free in closed source software is 'without monetary cost'. The two are not the same thing. There are open source companies that charge, though their code is open. That makes them free (as in liberty). Freeware companies hide their code, thus they are not free, no matter that they give away their software. Open is free. Closed is not free. The exchange of money or lack thereof has nothing to do with it. - Merlin Whitewolf, Editor

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

I like PCLOS_2007! I have tested many OS. XP Pro, Ubuntu, Suse etc. But, now it is PCLOS-2007 and in case I need any more: XP as second choice! I like that... but I have some problems with my hardware settings... Naturally, because I`m in Norway and have an Acer Aspire 5101 AWLMi notebook PC... and onboard webcam, cardreader for SD etc.

So my question: where/how can I get driver for these hardware for Linux? Any suggestion? - Veli O.

The best suggestion we can offer is for you to visit the main PCLinuxOS Help Forums and ask there for help.

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

I have a few proposals (All in all I like PCLinuxOS)

Your window decoration and such is not that nice. I recommend looking at kore on kde-look. Code2 made the best looking style I've seen yet (though it's not finished), including windeco for emerald, qtcurve style and shutdown-dialog image (konqui is a bit too childish for such a polished distro.

Linspire has two wonderful tools for their distro, Lphoto and Lsongs (, unmatched by any other tools in that direction. Would be nice if they could be added.

And last, a very personal preference as kbfx member: we're soon releasing kbfx 4.9.3. would be nice if you could provide that in your repositories. You can count on our assistance.

That's all.

Good work.

PS: when is the final version to come out? - Nathaniel G.

Dear Nathaniel, all suggestions for improving PCLinuxOS are of course welcome, but it would be more effective if you posted these suggestions on the main PCLinuxOS Help Forums. We here at the Magazine have no direct involvement in the ongoing development of PCLinuxOS.

Dear PCLOS Magazine:

What a great mag! Excellent writing, fantastic humor! This is the first PC mag that I've read that makes me want to read it all the way through, as opposed to simply skimming the TOC and using it basically as a reference resource.
Keep up the great work! Is there a print version? - Jim D.

Thanks for the kind words, Jim. We're glad you enjoyed the magazine. A major goal has always been to create exactly what you said: a magazine to be read, not just a reference. Yes, there is a print version. Find it here: