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Testimonial: Return Of The Prodigal Son

by wyzwyk

Please forgive me for straying from the fold. I've been away, that is, away from PCLinuxOS, and now that I've seen the error of my ways, I've returned. It's true, all that glitters is not gold! Often times in life you encounter situations where you are presented a tough choice, and sometimes you make the wrong one. This is the story of one of my bad choices.

When I started checking out Linux some years back, I, like so many others, hopped around looking for that "special" distro that would meet all my needs. At PCLinuxOS, I stopped and settled in. Could this be what I was searching for? It had a polished looking KDE desktop, was a rolling release, had a nice selection of applications in the repository, a friendly and helpful forum, a great monthly magazine, and was maintained by a cool and competent Texan who would even converse with users.

Wow! I pinched myself, wondering if this was real. It was real, and I was quite happy with my new home. Everything was going along fine, and then things started to unravel. PCLinuxOS users got word that Texstar needed to take a sabbatical for an unspecified length of time, and that other people needed to step up and take the reins until his return, if he ever returned. Others did come forward and, under very difficult circumstances, did a remarkably good job at maintaining the various distributions. However, as good as they were they weren't Texstar.

Time passed and I started to wonder if the caretakers were capable of keeping the distro going long term to the high standard everyone was used to. Too new to Linux, and certainly too new to PCLinuxOS, I lost faith when applications were slow on being released, when the KDE desktop hadn't been upgraded in almost 1½ years, and when the 64 bit repository long promised was nowhere in sight. Sadly, I thought I was witnessing the slow death of my favorite distro, and I wasn't going to stick around to see it into the grave. Reluctantly, I decided to leave PCLOS and look for another home. In my confused state of mind, to justify leaving, I stupidly played down all of the distro's great qualities and emphasized its shortcomings. Off I went to another distro. Was I happy with it? It was ok and had a number of nice features, but I knew inside it couldn't hold a candle to the old PCLinuxOS.

For over a year I used this other distro, and then something very strange happened that turned the Linux world I knew on end. A new release of that distro came out and I immediately upgraded to it, or should I say tried to upgrade to it. There was some problem, possibly an incompatibility issue, that prevented me from installing the distro. Try and try as I did, I couldn't get it to work. What was the problem? Videocard? New kernel? Missing file or library. I had no clue.

What was really weird was when I tried to install other distros, I often encountered the same problem, especially with KDE and Cinnamon. I never experienced any problem with Xfce or Mate. Now I'm out in the cold again, homeless and looking for a quality KDE distro to use. I won't go into the trials and tribulations of finding that new home other than to say it was time consuming and fruitless.

Then one day, I accidentally opened a bookmark for PCLinuxOS on Twitter and, lo and behold, there were a few posts from Texstar. New ones, at that. Could he be back? My curiosity was stirred and I immediately went to the forum. Yes, there were posts from him there too. It didn't take long to discover that not only was he back, but there were now 64 bit apps in the repository and that a new ISO had been released with an updated KDE desktop. Hallelujah! My search was over and now I could go home. After my initial elation subsided, I was left feeling ashamed and embarrassed that I jumped from the PCLinuxOS ship on first sight of a little water in the hold.

Well, thirteen months adrift in a sea of second-rate distros has certainly set my head straight again. Truth be said, I questioned whether Texstar was strong enough in body and will to ever return. Nor did I believe those who took his place would have the ability and energy level to keep the distro going long term. Lastly, I grossly underestimated the heart and resolve of the PCLinuxOS family to keep the ship afloat through a time of adversity. I was wrong in so many ways, and truly regret losing faith in all of you. Here I'm standing in the doorway to the PCLinuxOS house, asking to come home much like the return of the prodigal son. The question begs, will my father and brother take me in?

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