Monday, October 29, 2007

Reason Behind the Lack of Release Cycle for PCLinuxOS

Let me ask you a question - why does a Linux distribution need release cycles?

A software release is the distribution, of a new and upgraded version of a computer software product. Each time a system or a software program is changed, the developers and the company (or community) doing the work decide on how to distribute the software (or the latest changes to the software) to the users (customers or community members or general public). Software patches are one method and the full package (full OS and/or software including the patches and changes) is the other.

pclinuxos release cycle

Generally a distribution undergoes a release cycle such as: pre-alfa, alfa, beta, release candidate, general release and the boxed copy. A release cycle is necessary to be on the edge of the latest stable software.

So, why does PCLinuxOS lack a regular release cycle, whereas Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSuse, Mandriva come up with roughly two releases and many alphas, betas, rc (release candidate)s and boxed editions? The reasons are:

  • PCLinuxOS repository keeps itself always updated with the latest in the Linux World. The users can easily update their systems online, so there is no need to download the full bundle. It's tiresome. By the way, every release of PCLinuxOS is so stable, up to date and usable that any desktop user can have happy computing for quite a long time (till a major release), even without installing the updates.
  • PCLinuxOS has a unique approach to releases (and updates). Each of its release comes with some major updates, so that the user can feel the difference in the Linux world in general (between two consequitive releases) and PCLinuxOS in particular. That's why there are discernible changes among PCLinuxOS 92, 93 (Big Daddy) and 94 (2007). In other Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Mepis, Fedora, Suse...) you will hardly find any major difference between two releases, except for some change in software update numbers.
  • PCLinuxOS has no set dates for releasing. This helps the developer and the community to be patient and work on the distro steadily to offer a really stable and usable distro, when they are at all satisfied after much alpha, beta and release candidates. Hence, every PCLinuxOS release has very less number of bugs compared to other distros.
  • Frequent Release Cycles create chaos in Linux User Community. They feel the urge to update (though for not worthwhile benefits). And they spare much work-hours in tweaking the system, updating, installing and configuring. The actual productive computing is ignored. But late and stable releases help users to work on a usable system and forget about the update thing, till a really major release knocks in.

As of now, I think the next PCLinuxOS release will be groundbreaking with stable KDE4. So, I would tell every Desktop Linux User to get back to life and work on PCLinuxOS 2007, than trying the minor updates of Gutsy, Herdy, Celena, bla... bla.... bla…..

14 comments:

thomas said...

ok. so, it's only after kde4 big release we will get the next big pclinuxos?

manmath sahu said...

thomas, i think so. kde4 will bring a definitel revolution and give the already leading kde distributions such as pclinuxos, the much sought after boost.

rubin said...

i've installed pclinuxos 2007 on my compaq presario c702tu laptop. my graphi card (intel gma 965) is not working properly, i can't get 1280x800 resolution. please help me, how to install gma 965 drivers into pclinuxos and/or how to set up resolution upto 1280x800.

manmath sahu said...

hi rubin,
i am facing exactly the same problem since last two days. upgrade your kernel and xorg-server to the latest available. then configure xorg.conf.
hope this will work, though i have not tried yet.

sameer said...

so, there is one good reason for a next pclinuxos release. all we like tex and the ripper gang to release pclinuxos with the latest kernel and xorg to support some latest hardware, pclinuxos is solid otherwise.

brent said...

So many users are being left out from the PCLinuxOS revolution because of troublesome problems with Sata and NVidia chipsets. This pretty much includes most HP laptop users and a whole lot of other laptop users as well.

With it being Christmas and so many people getting laptops for Christmas, PCLos is going to miss the boat if all these new laptop owners can't install PCLos and have to pick another distro that is up to date (or worse, they opt to stick with the Vista that came with their computer).

I know releasing a new version requires extra special work that requires a lot of time that could be spent much better. So instead of releasing a full version update (say "2008"), I cannot stress enough that an updated version of the current release be made available for laptop users that address all the questions, problems, potential cheat codes and everything else that could possibly make PCLinuxOS work on these laptops with little or no fuss. YES, I also realize that for most problems, a solution is available if you look hard enough. But for average users, it's determining the problem of the boot error and installation failure that is difficult to determine.

Just an FYI ... I've been a PCLinuxOS user for over a year and a Linux user for over 4 years, and I cannot get PCLinuxOS to install on this new laptop. Ubuntu works and SUSE works.

My final thought on this is Tex and the gang know this OS far better than any of us do. You all know the tricks, the only-slightly documented or hidden codes, etc... What will probably take y'all 2 hours and a re-master and upload is frustrating many of us to no end. I have patience and look forward to the day I have my PCLinuxOS back. But I doubt others will have the patience. They'll just move on. It simply cannot be that difficult to add a couple of new options to the boot options of the LiveCD (even if it requires adding another kernel option as well).

I hate to see PCLos lose market share because the lack of release updates that affect such a large segment of the user market (and potentially so many more in the coming month)

manmath sahu said...

Brent,
I agree with your points. But then, this is a tradeoff to achieve a stable and usable desktop whose every release leaves a mark.
I also had much difficulty to get PCLinuxOS work on my new compaq laptop. But Tex and the Gang will roll out a release very soon which will support most of the latest hardware.
Besides, I would suggest you to do a complete upgradation of your system in sync with pclos repository. Hope this will help.
Please keep posting your views.
Regards,
Manmath

brent said...

Hi Manmath ...
Thanks for the suggestion, but I can't even get the live CD to load (much less install). I've tried all the suggestions I've read about (cheat codes), and none of them work. My laptop is a HP DV6605us with both of the common obstacles: an NVidia chipset and a Sata drive. I literally stayed up all one night doing everything I could think of and reading every place I knew to look at on the net to see if I could come up with a solution. Nothing works. Then I installed Ubuntu and it worked right away. I dug through as much of the documentation I could find in the Ubuntu (Gutsy) install to see if I could find out the mysterious hack(s) they used to get it working. But I fell short of finding the answer there too. No offense to the Ubuntu community, but I just don't like it now that I grew accustom to PCLinuxOS. I typically don't jump on alpha or even beta releases because I like stability. But I'm making an exception and downloading and installing PCLos 2008 the second it's made available. Yesterday wouldn't be soon enough for me.

-- Brent
btj@brentcctx.com

manmath sahu said...

brent,
i had faced the similar problems with pclinuxos, all regarding to fit the latest hardware. but never liked the idea to hop a distro like ubuntu, sabayon or mandriva.
because i never wanted to miss the stability of pclinuxos. then, i tried the pclinuxos gnome remaster. that worked fine on the hardware similar to yours. please just give a try to it. it's a gnome version of pclos. but anyways, you can install kde-desktop from the repository.

download link: http://www.linuxgator.org/PCLinuxOS/PCLOS-Gnome-2.18.0.1.iso

brent said...

Manmath Sahu ...
You are definitely on to something here. For the first time, I managed to get the live CD to run without problems. WOOHOO ! It even installed just fine without one single hiccup. But that's where the success ended. Regardless of the cheat codes I used, I had no luck at all. Most of the time it didn't even get to the ESC screen. I tried pretty much every combination I could think of.

Would you mind looking at your menu.lst and sharing the one that works for you? Maybe it would give me some hint as to what I should use.

I truly appreciate your help in this. At least this is a progress !

manmath sahu said...

brent,
i appreciate your passion for pclinuxos. but i am sorry, i am 2000km away from my laptop. so, i can't post the contents of my menu.lst.
i would suggest you to pop in the gnome remaster cd again and then rewrite grub to master boot record.
i hope this will definitely work.
just try it. you might also try to change the grub boot options such as disabling acpi.

manmath sahu said...

hi rubin,
try the latest pclinuxos gnome remaster or pclinuxos 2008 minime. they both have support for your graphics driver.

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