All things considered (IT)

Here I present my views on things in IT that impress me the most. Hope you like it. FYI I am open to meaningful criticism.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A great distro that makes Linux ready for desktop - PCLinuxOS

All of us have heard ''Linux is ready for desktop" time and over again to the point that users on the Microsoft side of the isle say 'yeah whatever...' . But this time its a dream come true, thanks to PCLinuxOS.

So what makes PCLinuxOS (PCLOS) stand out? To answer that, we need to sidebar a bit and understand the philosophy behind it. The philosophy is, keep it simple, user friendly with a centralized control. Towards that goal, PCLOS has a graphical PCLOS Control Center which makes configuring devices and settings a child's play. Every configuration from basic to the most complex can be done from this one place, by simple clicks (no more cryptic shell commands required). One has to see it to believe it, this feature in itself makes a hard core Windows XP user right at home. After PCLOS is installed its ready to use and no configuration is required to do all the basic tasks and most of the complex tasks, see examples below.

As an example of the most basic tasks, say viewing move trailers at apple.com PCLOS installs firefox preconfigured with all the plugins not only for QuickTime format but also for Windows Media player and Realplayer. Same goes for email (thunderbird), playing music (Amarok) and Instant Messaging (Gaim and Kopete).

As an example of the most complex task I was able to accomplish without using any shell command was moving system data from old to a new partition and then mounting it. I have tried to do this with many other distros (MEPIS, Ubuntu, Xandros, Mandriva and Fedora) none of them provided this functionality without using the command line. Best of all I was able to reboot the system without any problems. Now that is a big accomplishment and all credits goes to the great thinker in the PCLOS team.

In terms of the Desktop UI even the giants like SUSE, Xandros, Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu and MEPIS fall short of expectations, it is here that a PCLOS user experiences the comfort they desired for so long, a comfort they experienced in the Windows world.

Apart from the above examples, one more thing that makes PCLOS the best distro out there (for those frustrated with MS Windows) is their contributors are the most helpful people. They don't look down on new linux converts and they listen to the request for a new software package if its not in the repository already. See PCLOS's forum and mailing list for yourself before you believe me.

PCLOS is released as a live CD, so it can be experienced without any installation required. However I must point out that the installation is a breeze (approx 20 min).

Take it for a ride, I am sure you will enjoy the readiness of desktop linux,.