Saturday, September 15, 2007

Living the Linux life in Arno's world

I have to say that I never thought of myself as being a fanboy of anything, but recently I downloaded a copy of PCLinuxOS. It is a live CD Linux distro and when I popped it in I immediately started comparing it to my experience with Ubuntu Linux. I was negative and skeptical and nit-picky. I could not believe I was having this reaction. Have I really been a Ubuntu fanboy all this time? Imagine what MS Windows users go through looking at Linux. This brings to mind a couple of thoughts on Linux. When looking at the Linux world, the MS Windows user sees the confusion of choices. How does one make a good Linux choice? I look at what other people are downloading (Distrowatch) and the many reviews on each of the top versions. Is the most popular version the best place to start? I think it is safe to assume that, at least until one is more knowledgeable. Then if it doesn't come as a live CD then it is a little more riskier to install. I'd stick with the live CD's.
I think more and more the live CD is popular because you can try it before you commit it to your hard drive. If Linux could do as AOL did, Linux disc would be all over the place (not going to happen).
So, having downloaded PCLinuxOS, what did I find? I find that it doesn't take a well moneyed backer to put together a well thought out Linux distribution. Well, being Debian based and using KDE desktop makes it very close to how Kubuntu looks and feels, BUT. PCLinuxOS seems faster, snappier. The config tools are a little better and compressing the software archive and putting it on the CD is a great idea. It has some Windows XP looks for you transition types and can be changed to look very different. PCLinuxOS has one flavor, not one for 32-bit and another for 64-bit CPU's. This means you don't have to get special 64-bit drivers and codecs or use "wrappers" to get 32-bit plugins to work in 64-bit programs. I'm not clear on the legal/illegal inclusion of propietary code in free software. All I know is PCLinuxOS worked on my hardware pretty good. The rest of the review will come from living with the day to day use and perhaps I will even put it on a spare hard drive on my main box. This Ubuntu fanboy has to say that I have seen something that appears a little nicer than Ubuntu (what am I saying!!). There are still some lingering questions concerning updates, security support and the like. These things are of interest especially if you are a business user, but I am a single user so I can let those questions slide for now. I could recommend PCLinuxOS with the same fervor as Kubuntu. They are very close but PCLinuxOS seems better, this I will explore further.

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