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Something Old, Something New

by Patrick G Horneker (phorneker)

The past three months brought a lot to the Linux world, namely some new distributions, new tablet and smartphone operating systems (all built on the Linux kernel), giving some real competition to Android (and to iOS and Windows Phone).

Thankfully, the world did not end on December 21st as some predicted. However, the world of Windows did end in October … with the introduction of Windows 8.

The latter event did have some profound changes to the world of Linux, namely for new machines that incorporate the UEFI specification, and what needs to be done to new machines to be able to install PCLinuxOS. This means that in order to install PCLinuxOS, the user would have to take the extra step to disable UEFI before attempting to boot PCLinuxOS. Alternately, we would have to include a bootloader program such as Shim ( html) as well as GRUB 2 on the ISO image.

Predictions for 2013

The following are my predictions for PCLinuxOS for 2013:

Anything specific to GNOME 3 will be removed from the repositories, and replaced with equivalents from the Gnome Legacy project, effectively continuing support for GNOME 2.

Cinnamon and MATE will be implemented as desktops and included in the repos in separate directories, not unlike what we do with KDE and Xfce as desktops.

A bootloader such as Shim will be included in the repository to allow installation of PCLinuxOS on Windows 8 certified desktops and laptops, getting around the UEFI problem.

The 64-bit version of PCLinuxOS will finally be released.

MariaDB will replace MySQL in the repositories.

OpenJDK will replace Oracle Java in the repositories.

A version of PCLinuxOS for ARM devices such as the Raspberry Pi will be implemented. We can already install PCLinuxOS on memory cards and USB flash drives, so such an implementation is possible. However, do not expect a version of PCLinuxOS to work on smartphones.

New ISOs will be available for direct download in addition to torrents. However, they will be installable on blank DVDs, flash drives and memory cards as the size of their ISO images will be too big to fit on blank CDs. ISO Images could incorporate more than one desktop environment, or could be a variant of Full Monty with XFCE, LXDE, WindowMaker or E17 instead of KDE, hence making the Full Monty accessible to older hardware.
,br> A new desktop theme will be implemented for 2013.

What We Need To Do for 2013

A number of new distributions have appeared on the Linux scene, many of which are targeted towards older hardware. What is common to these is the use of Enlightenment, MATE and GNOME 2 for default desktops. (Thankfully we have kept GNOME 2 around.)

So how can we get PCLinuxOS to be an attractive option for people wanting to migrate from Windows 7 or earlier? Last month’s issue already addressed this issue when it comes to migration from Windows.

But what exactly makes PCLinuxOS stand out from other distributions? This is the basis on which my predictions were derived. These days, Linux in general is about much more than replacing the Mac OS-X or Windows desktop. Linux appears in most everything from gaming consoles, to tablets, to smartphones, to the newest embedded device: The Raspberry Pi.

We have had some success getting PCLinuxOS onto desktops and laptops. Otherwise, this distribution would no longer be around for 2013.

We could work on getting PCLinuxOS onto servers, not unlike certain major distribution vendors. This could come in the form of an “enterprise edition” ISO, or an ISO without a graphical desktop intended for server installation.

Or... we could produce an ARM version for devices such as the Raspberry Pi, which has gained significant popularity this past year.

64-Bit Issues

One thing I have learned about 64-bit Linux distributions is that 32-bit binaries will not run on a 64-bit distribution without 32-bit compatibility libraries installed. Though many Linux applications can be compiled for 64-bit, there are some applications and hardware drivers of which there are no 64-bit versions available.

Fortunately, the 64-bit version of Wine in the PCLinuxOS repository contains a 32-bit compatibility package that allows 32-bit Windows binaries to run on 64-bit PCLinuxOS.

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