Let me give you some background to my love-hate crazy thoughts about PCLinuxOS (PCLOS).
My linux experience dates back to 1999, when Linux as a desktop was not so much of a hoopla. We used RedHat 7 and Mandrake 5 or 6. My last Linux box was Fedora Core 6, until a lucky chance hit me, that's PCLinuxOS.
As DOS/Windows convert to Linux, I had much difficulties at the beginning. Because Linux just did not work the way I wanted it to, as it was oriented towards the developers and hobbyists, and for server purposes. But now the talk of the hour is Desktop OS and Desktop Linux for home users. In distrowatch everyday I find a dozen of desktop distros struggling to get better ranks. So far Ubuntu has been commanding the position at No. 1 and PCLinuxOS is a close second. But if there were a fairplay, there would have been a role reversal, i.e., Ubuntu in second position and PCLOS at first position. You might ask why, because much of the credit of Ubuntu owes to its Shipit program. Well, Ubuntu is also a great disto - cutting edge and stable. But my concern is a very usable and running-on-the-fly OS. And that's PCLinuxOS. Let's count the points why.
- Ease of Installation: I installed PCLinuxOS 2007 onto my PIV 2.66, VIA M24800 Motherboard, 512 MB RAM box in 10 minutes. Luckily enough the installation detected all the hardware and chips. Though later I had to configure it for my new Nvidia card.
- Fully Loaded Applications for Home Desktop Users: PCLOS installs almost 2GB of applications that home users will love to have. Its canon of apps are: OpenOffice 2.2, Gimp 2.2, Latest KDE apps+add-ons, Mplayer, Amarok, Kaffeine, DeVeDe, K3B, KTorrent, Frostwire, Samba, Firefox, Thunderbird and lot more.
- Proprietary Multimedia Support: I had no problem playing MP3 and DVD Video right away, though for some encrypted videos I needed libdvdcss2.
- Easy configuration: PCLinuxOS Control Center (PCC) is the most usable control panel I have ever come across in any OS (I mean all - windows, linux, Mac and BSD). It's often just a single click and you are done.
- A great repository of Software: The other day after installation of PCLinuxOS I wanted it to make a fully loaded system so that I can wipe out the blue devil - Win XP. Within 10 minutes I was able to install unrar, rar, win32codecs, ntfs-3g, xvidcap, xmms with wma codecs, libdvdcss2, pdfedit, wordnet, realplayer, avidemux, antiword, Vobcopy and VLC. Lo, I have it all - now I can play any DVD, copy any VCD (using vcdxrip that comes with VCDImager), dump lossless DVD using vobcopy, author video disks using Devede, encode any video using mencoder, look up words using wordnet, use ntfs disk drives using ntfs-3g, watch/listen any windows multimedia (as I have win32codecs installed), view/edit MS Office files using OpenOffice, even I can edit PDF files.
- Blazing speed: My PCLinuxOS had a moderate (in comparison to Windows) boot speed and application-response time. But after removing those Beryl+Compiz stuff and optimizing system services, it became a rocket. Now it boots in just 30 seconds.
I will discuss you about the full-story of PCLinuxOS home desktop tweaks later.