Impressive Quality!

By exploder

I have been running PCLinuxOS 2009.1 for a couple of weeks now and I think I should post my thoughts about this release. Normally I am a Gnome user and have been for quite a few years. I originally took a look at the 2009.1 out of pure curiosity because I saw such a large number of downloads when 2009.1 was released. I look at lots of distributions but never leave them installed for very long. I installed PCLinuxOS and found something I had never seen before, quality! I did not see release notes telling me that some graphics cards would not work and other problems I could expect to see.

I checked for updates after I installed the system and right away I noticed a shiny new version of Gimp was among the updates! I thought, this is great! Normally I have to search for the updated packages I want and here is one I always want all ready to install! Wow, the benefits of a rolling release! I started looking closely at the default build of the system and the reasoning behind it. It seemed to me that the system was built to run on the most hardware humanly possible. Most distributions I look at seem to use packages that just have not reached the level of maturity where things will just work, so I was pleasantly surprised that PCLinuxOS was so well built.

I started looking at the problems people were having with the new release on the forum. There seemed to be some problems with upgrading from the earlier release but fixes seemed to be coming in pretty quickly to get things back on track. I noticed the word, "fixed" associated with the majority of these posts. I never saw the words "upstream issue" mentioned anywhere or that an issue would be addressed in the next release. I feel strongly that problems with a distribution are not "upstream issues", it is the developers of the distributions place to ensure that things work as they should. I see what I consider real development taking place with PCLinuxOS. Texstar takes the time to actually respond to problems that are found; you do not have to sit and wonder if someone has even looked at bugs that have been reported. All of these things I mentioned add up to high quality and very strong support!

Normally when I try out a distribution, I have to load several packages to get the functionality I need to do my daily tasks. This was not the case with PCLinuxOS. I only had to install one application to do my daily work and it was specific to what I do. Most people would have everything they need right from the start. The default packages already provide a very useful system. The remastering tool that comes stock with the system is the best tool I have seen in any distribution I have ever looked at! Remastering a Live/Install CD couldn't be any easier, so there is no excuse not to have a good backup with a default application like this. I made a Live/Install DVD of my system and tested this feature out right away. I customized a lot of the artwork and do not want to spend a lot of time doing things over if my 4 year old borks my system. The iso worked perfectly! The ability to easily remaster the operating system provides opportunity for me in computers I fix to sell. I am not getting very many hours where I work because of the economy and these used computers are helping to keep me from going broke! I can now provide a restore disk to people. This adds value to the finished product and people really like knowing that they can restore their system if the need should arise.

I have always wondered why Linux has never made it mainstream with computer manufacturers. The answer is simple - manufacturers are using the wrong distributions! The Dell Ubuntu machines miss the mark with first time Linux users. How can they expect to sell systems that have system sounds that do not work, DVD burning software that does not recognize a blank DVD, errors and warnings in the terminal for no apparent reason, issues with main stream graphics cards and a host of other bugs and quirks. New users do not want to spend their time fixing bugs that never should have been left in a final release! The IT Manager where I work said that he was looking at Linux but he thought that Ubuntu was more like a beta release than a final product. Long time Linux users tend to ignore problems that make a bad impression on first time users. PCLinuxOS gives a good impression on Linux in general and really should serve as an example of things done right.

PCLinuxOS hasopened my eyes to the fact that computers with Linux pre-installed can be successful. I am so confident in this that I ordered some parts online to build a new machine to sell to test the waters. I am tired of working on an assembly line, barely being able to pay my bills. I want to offer computers to people for an affordable price and I want them to enjoy their system and not have to spend more money for applications, doing virus scans, defragging, etc. PCLinuxOS is the only distribution I have looked at that could completely fulfill what I envision as success.

Almost forgot, I like that PCLinuxOS builds it's own packages and the one-repo-enabled-at-a-time way of installing updates really keeps the chance of breakage under control. The support in the forum is very good, too. I made some suggestions to help to improve PCLinuxOS. They were all cosmetic things that I thought would help to advance the distribution. The community was very nice about what I was suggesting. I felt compelled to make suggestions because the distribution is so close to perfect and ahead of many distributions in many ways. It is nice to know that suggestions can be made without having to wear a flame retardant suit!

I have probably forgotten to mention some of the things I like, but the bottom line is that I see quality that I just don't see anywhere else. My thanks goes out to the Developers of PCLinuxOS!