PCLinuxOS is Great!!!


People who know me are aware that my favorite distros are openSUSE and Debian. Of late, I liked Vector as well, but at the end of the day they have only about 1,000 apps in their repos. If you pay them, you'll get an extended, 2 CD edition with KDE4 on it. I belong to the group of KDE users who hate KDE4. At best, in my opinion it is not ready for prime time yet.

Recently I downloaded and installed PCLinuxOS 2009.1. I used to find PCLinuxOS a decent distribution, but not a lot better than others. The latest release surprised me. I was astonished what a distro created by a small team can do. Texstar has always been a perfectionist; he didn't call his distro "stable" for years. I feel that he has achieved that perfection now.

At the moment I only own a a Samsung NP-R700 notebook. Notebooks are notoriously finicky with "alternative" operating systems and until the previous release I had great trouble setting up a wireless connection. I still have a lot of trouble configuring X the way I want it (especially after installing the NVIDIA driver): resolution, brightness, etc.. From this point of view, I found Vector to be better than others, but I gave up in the end because of the reasons explained above. With PCLinuxOS, everything worked out of the box: NVIDIA drivers automatically installed (or rather, activated with one click), X very easily configured the way I wanted (even if the proprietary NVIDIA drivers are not on par with the Windows ones, at least not for all hardware), the codecs also installed or very easily available from Synaptic and, what matters most, they ACTUALLY WORK! One night some (Internet) friends and I were waiting for a program on line, most of those using Windows and WMP couldn't watch it but could and very well with Mplayer!!! I have 8,945 apps available from Synaptic, which is of course a lot less than Debian, but plenty for most uses (and it is a very careful selection of what PCLinuxOS users might actually want).

What else to say? I did find one problem though, nothing is quite perfect. At first boot the system got stuck on "resetting X" (or something like that). After a couple of forced shutdowns (and not even restart worked) I was able to solve the matter. Another amazing feature is the extreme ease with which you can create a custom LiveCD/DVD: one click does it all for you! You can expect every program vetted by the PCLinuxOS team to work out of the box, and to work well!

Give PCLinuxOS a spin: you won't be disappointed.