Yep. That's how old PCLinuxOS will be on October 24, 2019. Over those 16 years, we've seen many changes, and yet there's a lot that remains the same and a constant. People, as always, have come and gone. KDE has always been the "main" desktop offering. Over the years, PCLinuxOS has also been available with FluxBox, Openbox, Xfce, Gnome 2, Mate, LXDE, LXQt, Cinnamon, Trinity, JWM, Enlightenment, and other assorted desktop "flavors."
The most consistent constant, though, has been Texstar at the helm, guiding this awesome Linux distro through sometimes turbulent Linux waters. Tex has managed to keep PCLinuxOS free from the systemd curse that has plagued most other Linux distros, and has vowed to continue to do so for as long as he can. Today, PCLinuxOS is one of the very few systemd-free Linux distros in existence.
Those of us who have been around for a while (I've been here for about 12 years) have heard the story about the origins of PCLinuxOS before. I doubt any of us ever get tired of hearing the story again. Meanwhile, there are always new people who have never heard the story of how PCLinuxOS came about. What follows is Texstar's description of the events.
In the summer of 2003, I became interested in Live CD technology after looking at Knoppix and a fresh distribution from a fellow named Warren, called Mepis. I was interested in helping Warren with Mepis at the time, but I had no clue how to build DEB files. Coming from 5 years of packaging RPMS and not really wanting to learn a new packaging system, I happened to come across a South African fellow by the name of Jaco Greef. He was developing a script called mklivecd and porting it to Mandrake Linux. I, along with Buchanan Milne (Mandrake contributor) and a few others, began working with Jaco to help debug the scripts. I got an idea to make a livecd based on Mandrake Linux 9.2, along with all my customization's, just for fun. I had previously provided an unofficial 3rd party repository for the users of Mandrake for many years, but had since parted ways. Since Mandrake was a trademarked name, myself and others decided to name the Live CD after our news site and forum, pclinuxonline, thus PCLinuxOS.
Preview .3 was my first attempt to make a livecd. I distributed it initially to about 20 people to get their reaction and feedback. Everyone who tested it loved the livecd but there was one thing missing. There wasn't a way to install the thing to the hard drive! srlinuxx from tuxmachines.org came up with a novel way to copy the livecd to the hard drive and posted it on our forums. Jaco utilized this information and inspiration from the Mepis installer and wrote a pyqt script to make the Live CD installable, thus the birth of a new distribution.
On October 24, 2003, PCLinuxOS Preview .4 was released as a fork of Linux Mandrake (Mandriva) 9.2 utilizing mklivecd scripts from Jaco Greef, a multimedia kernel from Thomas Buckland (2.4.22-tmb) and a customized KDE (3.1.4-tex). Preview .5 through .93 were built upon on previous PCLinuxOS releases. After three years of updating one release from the other using the same gcc and glibc core library, we found too many programs would no longer compile or work properly against this aging code base.
In November 2006, we utilized a one time source code snapshot from our friends at Mandriva to pull in an updated glibc/gcc core and associated libraries. We spent the following 6 months rebuilding, debugging, customizing, patching and updating our new code base. We pulled in stuff from our old code base, utilized patches/code from Fedora, Gentoo and Debian just to name a few. This is why you will never see me distro bashing, as it would be hypocritical to do such a thing. We are still dependent in many areas on other distros development processes due to our limited but hard working volunteer development team.
On May 20th, 2007, we felt we had reached a pretty stable base and released PCLinuxOS 2007. It utilized our own kernel from Oclient1, KDE built by MDE developer Ze, updated mklivecd scripts from IKerekes & Ejtr, a heavily patched Control Center, graphics from the PCLinuxOS beautification team, and many application updates from Thac and Neverstopdreaming. Development continues as work is being done for a Minime release and an international DVD. A future release of PCLinuxOS will feature an updated kernel, KDE 4, fresh Xorg server and all the latest applications. All in all it has been a great ride and we have made many friends along the way. Some have gone on to other distributions and many are still here from our first release. As I've always said, we're just enjoying Linux technology and sharing it with friends who might like it too. We hope you have enjoyed the ride as well.
Today, PCLinuxOS only supports 64 bit processors, having dropped support for 32 bit processors a couple of years back. Most other Linux distros have also dropped support for 32 bit processors in recent years, so PCLinuxOS isn't bucking the trend. There are exceptionally few Linux distros that support 32 bit processors today, in fact.
It's easy to understand, too. I can't imagine maintaining two versions (32 bit and 64 bit) of each package, and ensuring that both work as they are supposed to before being released into the stable repositories. Since most computers sold in the past eight to ten years sport 64 bit processors, most of the computers running PCLinuxOS today will have 64 bit processors. It only makes sense, given the limited resources of PCLinuxOS's relatively small, volunteer development team, to focus on support for the processor that most people are going to be using.
PCLinuxOS doesn't have any millionaire/billionaire donors, and isn't supported by any large corporation(s). It's just a bunch of people interested in Linux and interested in putting out the best rolling release Linux distro that they can. Without a doubt, they have succeeded famously. And all while relying on the generosity and small donations from its user base to keep the bills paid and to keep things going.
PCLinuxOS's motto (for as long as I can remember) has been "radically simple." Even today, that motto shines bright. Everything. Just. Works. And it works exceptionally well. In fact, it works so well that sometimes it's boring. But I'll take being bored over the constant onslaught of viruses, malware, spyware, crapware, and any other kind of "ware" with a negative connotation, any day!
So, Happy Birthday, PCLinuxOS! May there be many, many more birthdays in the years to come!
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.