How Can YOU Contribute To PCLinuxOS?

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

A couple of months ago, we talked about community, and specifically, the PCLinuxOS Community. Last month, we talked about how to be a good citizen in the PCLinuxOS Forum. Most any PCLinuxOS user can vouch for the value of the incredibly stable operating system that Texstar and the Packaging Crew provide for us. None of us are forced to give anything back. Not even a thank you. No money. Nothing. But, as a good community citizen, there are ways you can contribute back to PCLinuxOS. Let's take a look at some of those ways.

Donate and receive PASS Server account as a thank you from Texstar. Like I said before, no one forces you to pay anything for PCLinuxOS. Yet, there are operating costs involved. Those costs include payment for the servers that run the PCLinuxOS web site. Surely, PCLinuxOS is a free Linux operating system. And that is what attracts many of us to it. By making an annual donation of $25 (U.S.) or more, you will get access to the PASS server for one year. In case you aren't familiar with it, the PASS server is where the stable packages appear first (often about three days earlier), before being posted to the public access servers. With a PASS Server account, you get access to new packages before the rest of the community.

When you think about the value of what you've received from using PCLinuxOS, that's a pretty cheap price. Another way of thinking about it is how much would you spend for a commercial operating system, were a free alternative like PCLinuxOS not be available? For the price of only five or six Grande Latte's from Starbucks, you can help defer the costs involved in running PCLinuxOS, and get access to the PASS server in return.


Volunteer your services. All of us have areas that we excel in. Some may do exceptionally well at creating graphics. Some may write well. Yet others may be really good at explaining things. Whatever your area of excellence is, you can volunteer those services for the community. For me, I volunteer my time to help create The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine. It doesn't matter how inconsequential you may think your contribution is. It is valued. Sproggy, Archie and Timeth all excel at graphics. Coffeetime excels at helping users sort out their wireless issues. MBantz is the resident MythTV expert. AndrzejL excels at making videos that help showcase PCLinuxOS. There are many others who excel in their area of expertise. Even our forum moderators and administrators volunteer their time to help insure that everything runs well and in an orderly fashion, lest chaos should reign.


Become an evangelist. Tell other computer users of the wonderful thing you've found with PCLinuxOS. Talk up the fantastic job it does at recognizing your computer's hardware, old and new. Brag on how stable it is. Wax poetic on how you can browse the internet, without fear of picking up a virus, malware or spyware ... all without running an anti-virus suite or an anti-spyware package. Reveal how secure your computer is running PCLinuxOS. Chat about all the programs you can run, that are all available for the same price as PCLinuxOS: free!

Give out free copies of the Live CD. I don't know about you, but I give out copies of the PCLinuxOS Live CD (or one of its excellent remasters) like I'm giving out free cotton candy at the state fair. I'm rarely without a copy (or more) to give out to those who express more than a passing curiosity about PCLinuxOS. Often times, these are computer users who have older hardware who feel left behind with the "advances" of commercial operating systems, who cannot afford to go out and buy new hardware every time a new version of the commercial operating system comes out. By doing this, I've converted the following to PCLinuxOS (either KDE, or one of the remasters): a father-in-law, two brothers, three co-workers, my shift supervisor, my wife, a nephew, and two nieces. Those are just the ones that I know about. By giving out free copies of the Live CD, and explaining that they can try it out without making any changes to their computer's hard drive, you are likely to get them to at least give it a try. And, the cost for you is minimal (at least in the U.S.), with blank CD-Rs costing well under 25 cents each.


Attend local LUG meetings. Most people have local Linux User Groups in their area. Attend their meetings. Volunteer to give a talk about PCLinuxOS. Hand out free copies of the PCLinuxOS Live CD. Evangelize at those meetings. Show off your laptop running PCLinuxOS.

Post product reviews for your computer equipment. Believe it or not, people DO read the product reviews at such online retailers as and When I am looking to purchase a new piece of computer equipment, I frequent the online retailers (there's little that can beat shopping from the comfort of my sofa, without any pressure or misinformation from ill-informed sales people). Once on the online retailer's site, I look through the product reviews. Specifically, I look for reports that the hardware works well with Linux. I'm doubly thrilled when I see a report that a piece of hardware works well with PCLinuxOS.

I recently purchased a new laptop from After it was delivered, one of the first things I did was to run some of my PCLinuxOS Live CDs on the new computer. I then went back and entered a product review for that laptop. As a result of my product review, it weighed heavily in the decision of another PCLinuxOS community member to purchase the same laptop for his use.

An added benefit is that it helps get the name of PCLinuxOS out there for others to see. The more they see it, the more likely they are to remember it when they go distro hopping. So, every PCLinuxOS user should take the time to go back and enter a product review for every piece of computer hardware they purchase and use with PCLinuxOS.

Learn how to package. Believe it or not, you can learn how to package RPMs for PCLinuxOS. If you are interested, you can head on over to the Packager's Section of the PCLinuxOS Forum. There, you will find instructions on how to get started with packaging, and also be able to pick the brains of those who are already helping create packages for PCLinuxOS. It might also be advantageous to check out the "Santa's Little Helpers" archived thread over at the community projects forum, at (link takes you straight to the archived thread).


Help other users solve their problems. Of course, PCLinuxOS has some fairly active forums. Jump on in there and help other users solve their problems and dilemmas. By doing so, you ARE giving back to the community. You are reinforcing your Linux knowledge. And you may even learn something new in the process of helping others, further expanding your knowledge. Most Linux users have their own special area of "specialty" that they can help other users with. Share yours.


As you can see, there are several ways you can contribute back to PCLinuxOS. Maybe you've already thought of these. And maybe I've brought up some ways you haven't considered. I'm sure you can come up with some other, equally productive ways that you can give back to PCLinuxOS. The suggestions I offer are, I'm sure, only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways you can contribute back to PCLinuxOS. If you have other ideas, I'd love to hear them. If I get enough suggestions (half dozen or more), I'll publish them in a follow up article in the magazine.