Networkless PCLinuxOS Installation

by Patrick G Horneker (phorneker)

PCLinuxOS is an easy to install and maintain distribution for everyday use. Installation consists of a LiveCD image that is written to a CD/DVD disc, a USB flash drive (2GB or larger), or a memory card with at least 2GB of capacity, preferably larger.

If you are using the Full Monty distribution, you will need to use a blank DVD or flash drive with at least 4GB, preferably more because of the size of the disk image (about 3.2GB).

When you install PCLinuxOS from a disk image, what you get is enough to get a basic system running. Generally, you would need to use a high speed Internet connection to do an initial update (using Synaptic) first, then install any and all software you need from the repository (or any if its mirrors).

But what if you are installing PCLinuxOS on a machine that has a dial-up connection, or worse, a machine that is not connected to the Internet?

As of this writing, there are 171 packages for the initial update. On a 56K dial-up connection, the initial update would have to be done overnight as it would take several hours to download and install the initial updates.

Yes, there are still a number of dialup Internet connection providers around, usually costing about $10.00/month on average. For some people, this is the only way to connect to the Internet.

After the initial update, you might want to install additional packages, right? If you have a 56K dialup, you would have to either tie up the phone line for several hours, or go to a local cybercafe and use their Wi-Fi connection.

There are two ways to get around this problem.

Full Monty Distribution

The first solution is to get a copy of the Full Monty edition of PCLinuxOS. This is a 3.9GB image of a standard KDE installation, a very organized layout with six desktops, and loaded with most every application you would want installed on the disk image.

Without an Internet connection, you will not be able to do an initial update, but you have a nearly complete system containing most anything you want. I say nearly complete because some multimedia codecs are not installed by default (due to licensing restrictions on the codecs).

Get The Repository on DVDs

It is possible to get the PCLinuxOS software repository as a DVD set. Vendors such as sell a six DVD set containing the entire PCLinuxOS repository (at this writing contains updates through January 19, 2012).

It is with this set that you can install a complete PCLinuxOS system without having to rely on a high speed Internet connection. You will also need to order a Live CD, since the repository DVD set does not include a Live CD for installation.

Another Case Where This Would Be Useful

Imagine one day not being able to access your favorite repository with Synpatic (due to Internet censorship). Having the DVD set is handy if you ever have to reinstall PCLinuxOS without access to the repository. You may not have the latest updated packages, but at least you will have a working PCLinuxOS system.