PCLinuxOS 2007 – a personalized review

First off I have to admit that I am a Ubuntu loyalist. But that does not mean I am any less of a whore when it comes to other linux distros. During long lost weekends in the past I would purposely download a distro just to tinker around with it. These excursions usually end with me pulling at my hair at each distro’s distinct and elitist (read geeky) way of doing things as simple as enabling sound in the OS. I got the jones again this weekend and here I am with PCLinuxOS 2007.

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A cursory glance at the ranking list on distrowatch.com will tell you that PCLOS has overtaken Ubuntu as the top linux flavour. And Ubuntu has been there for a very long time. Installation took all of 15 minutes on my trusty desktop. Within the first few minutes in the desktop I realized that it has knocked out my wifi router and internet connection. Great going PCLOS, I cursed under my breathe.

Without net access is like being stranded Crusoe-style on a deserted island. Nevertheless after some body contortions reaching for the back of my computer, I plugged my adsl modem straight into the network card. I switched into WinXP and made a beeline for the PCLOS forums. Had to find out how to get online with PPPOE in PCLOS. Thankfully the forums are collectively a bottomless well of information.

Back in PCLOS I configured the necessary settings and a cruiser ship appeared on the horizon to whisk me back to civilization. The web was mine again. By this point I was fuming. Stupid OS!

However my wounds were partially soothed by the out-of-the-box multimedia capabilities of PCLOS. No tweaking involved. Its all just there including online flash content and java stuff. A refreshing gust of wind. With a click of button I was even able to switch Compiz on and before you can say ‘eye-candy’, my menus and windows were wobbling merrily away. No strange and impenetrable strings of text had to be cut and pasted into the terminal. Not one! Color me impressed.

Just then my sis tapped me over the shoulder and said she needed one of her CDs to be ripped into mp3s for her iPod. K3b took care of that in no time flat. I was glowing at this point, all my initial frustration ebbing away. Strangely though, PCLOS has problems unmounting the iPod. Try as I may, I still ended up unceremoniously unplugging the media device from the usb port despite the cautionary ‘Do not disconnect’ message. More poking around the forums will no doubt settle this, if I get around to it.

All in all, its been great barring some irritating quirks. I am beginning to see some of the reasons why it has peeped even the mighty Ubuntu at its game. If the programmers continue to work at it, it can only improve in leaps and bounds. Ubuntu? Thats so yesterday!

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