Testimonial: Hello, From St. Louis!

by Fred McKinney (fredbird67)

First of all, many many thanks to Texstar and the gang for creating such a fine distribution.

My name's Fred, and I'm living in Ballwin, Missouri, which is one of MANY suburbs of St. Louis. I was a WinD'OH's user for over 10 years, until switching to Linux on my computer in January of 2005. I haven't looked back since, with my first distro being Mandrake 10.1. Believe it or not, I'm a returning PCLinuxOS user. I had tried PCLinuxOS once in 2006 and had a little problem with the monitor I had at the time. I didn't have a clue how to fix it. So I went with Mepis instead. Mepis worked great, although I didn't care for some of its default settings in KDE.

One evening during the summer of 2007, out of curiosity, I was wondering what else was out there in distro-land. I had seen that PCLinuxOS had come out with the 2007 version a few months before, so I tried it. Honestly, I liked it a lot better than Mepis, so I went with PCLinuxOS 2007 in August, especially since I had missed some of the eye-candy that Mandrake offered. I loved that "Galaxy 2" KWin decoration that Mandrake used as the default at the time I was using it, and was happy to see that it was available in the PCLinuxOS repos.

Everything was going great, until I learned that KDE was coming out with version 4. I had seen some bad reviews of it, but I thought I'd give it a chance. In early 2008, I downloaded a Live CD of SuSE with KDE4. It was unstable, slow, and I felt LOST in the thing. I felt that if KDE was gonna throw the perfectly good version 3.5.x away for that piece of crap, then why bother staying? I reluctantly got rid of PCLinuxOS 2007 in favor of Ubuntu and Gnome, later switching to Mint. However, at the time, I had no idea that Texstar was planning to stay with KDE 3.5.10 for the desktop. Yet, I felt that if KDE was going to dump it for the piece of crap that KDE 4 turned out to be, at least when it first came out, I wanted no part of it at all.

Some 6 months later or so, I had heard that there was a GNOME version of PCLinuxOS available, which naturally got my attention. I tried it once, but never could get the printer I had at the time to install on there, so I gave up on it and went back to Ubuntu.

This past spring, I switched desktop environments again to Xfce when I learned that Gnome was going to do a major overhaul in the form of Gnome 3. Remembering what I had gone through with KDE, I did NOT want to go through that again. Also, I had noticed several people on Gnome-Look who were outright hateful and rude, and I'd had enough of their attitudes. That too played a part in my switch from Gnome to Xfce, even though I can comfortably run Gnome and maybe the current KDE on my system.

Eventually, Ubuntu's and Mint's policies of coming out with a new release every six months got on my nerves (backing things up, doing a clean installation, etc.). Especially considering that Ubuntu has never been a rolling-release distro, which would very much be appreciated if they're gonna release new versions that frequently.

I had also discovered that earlier this year, PCLinuxOS came out in nine different versions in addition to KDE and GNOME, such as Xfce, Openbox, LXDE, and Enlightenment. Plus, since I had seen that PCLinuxOS is a rolling-release distro, I had to try it. I tried it once, a month or two ago, and was really liking it until I found that a GTK theme I like wasn't displaying properly on it, and no one else had mentioned the problem I had found. I went back to Mint for a while, but the urge for a rolling-release distro was still there like an itch that wouldn't go away, so I downloaded Phoenix (the Xfce edition).

I had tried the latest Crunchbang, which wasn't bad, but I never could get Compiz to work on it. I then gave PCLinuxOS another try when I learned that the theme I had a problem with, (one of the Shiki-Colors series of themes), also came in a Clearlooks version, in addition to the Murrine version. I thought "OK, I could live with that". It turns out that the Murrine version from GNOME-Look worked perfectly. I had used the Shiki-Colors themes in the repos earlier, so I thought I'd explore things further.

The other night I was trying to set up the printer I have connected to my PCLinuxOS box, and boy was I having a hard time getting it properly set up to print from my wife's laptop. The advice I had gotten from the forum wasn't all that helpful and I came THIS CLOSE to giving up and going to Xubuntu. But I then tried having PrinterDrake detect and install it -- and from there, I got it to print perfectly from both computers! Turns out that I made the mistake of installing it from CUPS, which made it a pain to get networked printing working just right. But PrinterDrake made it much easier to accomplish, so I was happy.

I then set up Compiz, which I was able to do in about 5 minutes. And I must say that whenever I have the Emerald Theme Manager open, on Ubuntu or Mint, it would periodically gray out and become unresponsive. But I haven't seen that at all with PCLinuxOS -- it's ready to do whatever else I want and, so far, it has stayed completely responsive at all times. I've still got a lot more to do in getting everything set up and getting my backed-up files on their new home on PCLinuxOS. But once I do, I'm planning on also putting it on a spare desktop we have.

And then, I'm planning to install PCLinuxOS Phoenix on a flash drive I carry around with me all the time. It currently has PC/OS (no relation to PCLinuxOS) on it, which is one of only a handful of distros I've tried that properly detects the Broadcom wireless card on my wife's Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop. The reason I've been wanting to get rid of PC/OS is because of their plans to charge for the next version. But, thankfully, I've found that PCLinuxOS also properly detects that Broadcom card, too. Plus, I love how you can create a USB drive of PCLinuxOS with whatever programs you have installed at the time you create it too. So that will be so cool to be able to take ALL my favorite Linux programs with me in my pocket!

In closing, (did you think I'd ever get here? LOL), I must say that I'm quite pleased to see PCLinuxOS available with multiple desktops, that it's a rolling-release distro, that it has some very advanced capabilities for creating a live USB, and that it detects Broadcom's wireless cards. Ubuntu may get the most publicity, but as far as I'm concerned, PCLinuxOS sets THE standard by which all other distros are judged.