Testimonial - On becoming a Deep Water Sailor

by wyzwyk

For the past several years, I've been dabbling around with Linux distributions, a few dozen in fact. There wasn't anything I wouldn't give at least a passing look at. Initially, my distro hopping was born out of simple curiosity, but as time passed I started to look at Linux as a possible alternative to Windows. Yes, the ultimate goal became casting off Microsoft's always leaky operating system for good, once I found a viable replacement. I knew this wasn't going to be a short term goal, because I was still far too dependent on Windows 7, and no distribution clearly emerged from the masses as a clear favorite. Enter PClinuxOS KDE. At first, I didn't fully appreciate all of what I was looking at. The distribution hadn't released a new version in a while, and was still using KDE 3.5.10 when most all other distros were several versions into KDE 4. Was PCLinuxOS one of those small "one man band" distros that would forever be behind the times, or was there a savvy mental force holding the distro back until 4 was truly ready? As we all know, Texstar was the force and he was correct, the first few versions of KDE 4 were not better than its predecessor. When PCLinuxOS 2010 was finally released I started to look at the distro closely, and it was soon apparent there was a lot more positive about it than I first saw. A lot more!

   I was first struck by how compatible all my hardware was with PCLinuxOS right out of the box. Everything worked, and that was fantastic. It's difficult enough for a newbie to learn the ways of Linux let alone having to hunt down and install drivers. This is often a major turnoff for those new to Linux. I found that not only did it run well with all my hardware, but the distro didn't hang up, slow down, or crash with anywhere near the frequency of Windows. While there are a number of distributions that include more software on their installation discs, I found the programs offered by PCLinuxOS of quality and more than adequate. If the software I wanted wasn't on the disc, I could, in all likelihood, find it in one of their 12,000 program repositories. Sweet! For me one of the best features of PCLinuxOS is the rolling release. While it is not a totally unique feature, there aren't many distributions that have it. Who wants to reinstall their operating system every six to nine months in order to get driver and software updates? This was a major selling point for me, but it wasn't the only one.

The PCLinuxOS forum would have to be included as one. I can't speak highly enough of the folks that comprise this forum; truly first class! It strikes me as being more akin to a family than a group of users who congregate online. While I don't actively participate that much, I do assiduously read and follow what's going on in the forum. When I do chime in to ask one of my stupid newbie questions, I'm never made to feel like a leper to be shunned. Often, a slew of knowledgeable people are ready to help me through my problem. Nothing will ever make me feel more at home in using PCLinuxOS than knowing I have an army of fellow users willing to help me up when I've fallen. Thanks to all of you.

When you list all the great things PCLinuxOS brings to the table, you can't forget the magazine. Parnote and his staff put together a monthly release that would be the envy of all other distributions. Every month, I look forward to its release as there are many interesting, informative, and diversified topics covered. Simply put, the magazine is first rate. While I love the KDE desktop, I know it's not for everyone. No problem, since PCLinuxOS gives users a choice, as they can try out one of these: KDE, Gnome, Zen Mini, Enlightenment, Enlightenment light, KDE Full Monty, LXDE, LXDE Mini, Minime, Openbox, Openbox Bonsai, Phoenix Mini, and Phoenix XFCE. Does any distribution offer a better choice than this? If all this wasn't enough, Texstar is about to come out with a 64 bit version also.

 It's pretty easy to extol the virtues of PCLinuxOS, but all this gets me away from my main reason for writing this testimonial. For the past year and a half, I have been pretty consistently using PCLinuxOS on a dual boot system with Windows 7. The other day, I decided to take the step to become a deep water sailor – I removed Windows 7 from my computer. While I'm not quite ready to circumnavigate the Linux world, it feels good to sail out of Microsoft's mill pond and seek open water. I know I sail on a great ship and have an experienced crew. Anchors away!

Update: A couple of weeks have passed since giving Windows 7 the deep six, and I'm happy to say I'm having no regrets, so far. Do I feel totally comfortable? No, not at all, but I steer a slow and steady course. While there is so much to learn, I think I'm up for this challenge. Aye, Linux makes marlinspike look like child's play. I was just so frustrated with h.M.$ Redmond's ever-present instability that it ultimately forced me to jump ship. With any luck, they will soon be hull down on the horizon astern, with nary a chance of ever seeing me again, not even my wake!