Saturday, April 12, 2008

Packing Punch Into PCLinuxOS

I saw an interesting comment on this blog (browse it here). The person talked about remastering a linux that would be the real answer to Black XP. Good idea! After going through his comment I browsed web for that Windows and came to know that it is a remaster (nonetheless a pirated one) that is very convenient for home users. It is an unattended version that includes as much bells and whistles as possible. Some of those are: Tuneup Utilities, Acrobat, WindowsBlinds, Sun Java, IE7, Firefox and Thunderbird, K Lite Mega Codec Pack, Windows Media Player 11, Nero Lite, ZoneAlarm, BlindWrite, UltraISO, Quicktime Alternative, WinRAR and Windows Vista themepack plus extra widgets . Had it packed something more such as MS Office, Photoshop, DVD Ripper and Player, it would have been a great bundle for every Windows user. However, it's still good.

Now what about packing those punches (software) into linux or more specifically PCLinuxOS? Is there any such Linux that is full with all these necessary software so that a user need not have to download a single stuff from web?

The answer is Yes and No. PCLinuxOS loads a lot of stuff in just one CD – a good office suite, a good selection of media players, a cd/dvd burner, a terminal and a fairly good number of internet applications. One of its remasters, Granular Linux had really done good job offering a nice selection of apps in its Funworks release, though I am not quite aware of its present release. Of other linux desktops I found Linux Mint and Mepis to be complete desktops that add a lots of proprietary stuff. Mint has gone bold to add libdvdcss and unrar in its Daryana release. And everybody knows Mepis has always tried its best to punch as much as it can despite some hue and cry from FOSS people.

mac like linuxIn my opinion, the power to choose and install software should be at users end because everybody is using it anyway and exclusion of some proprietary stuff like mp3 and dvd playback and rar/unrar only adds to user annoyance. That's it. For example Fedora does not pack any proprietary stuff but is there any Fedora user who has not added those proprietary stuff after installation? I just wonder who will keep oneself away from them when mp3 and dvd video have become major commodities of entertainment.

It would really be very good if a desktop linux distribution comes with Mac OS like philosophy. I mean it would be really very good if Linux becomes as stable and polished as Mac OSX (deep inside it remains bsd core) with options for installing proprietary software the way it's possible in Mac OS.

Ok. Let me dream of a PCLinuxOS remaster that will outdo any other OS under the sun if it includes following stuff:

  • Office Suite: OpenOffice (excluding draw, math, base and web, as there are better apps for these purpose)

  • Internet: Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission, D4X, Skype, Pidgin.

  • Graphics: Gimp, Inkscape, Blender

  • Sound and Video: VLC, Audacious, Realplay, Totem Xine, Acidrip, Audacity, WinFF, plus libdvdcss, recordmydesktop or xvidcap and cdfs.

  • Accessories: Isomaster, unrar, gnochm, brasero

  • Lastly a Mac Aqua like desktop environment, may be the linux aqua will differ in look but it sould as stable as Aqua. Everybody knows Linux desktop environment breaks quite often if somebody tinkers around.

Even PCLinuxOS or a remaster of it can add all these stuff into one CD, if it exclude some less used features such as wallpapers, a few icons and themes and 3d desktop stuff and follows one application per task philosophy. It seems most desktop linux distros still come with some apps/packages that a very few people use and excludes many useful apps mentioned above.

There is in fact a pclinuxos remaster with includes all these goodies and more. It includes: Wine, w32codecs, dvd playback, ntfs, openoffice with office 2007 file support, emulators, games, amarok & banshee, latest firefox & thunderbird, pptp support, windows shortcut key pre-configured, compiz-fusion and a lot more to name!

Download this fully loaded pclinuxos remaster.


Anonymous said...

found this article dont know if it would help or not but could get ideas,

and jfg69 in my post i did say It’s exactly this reason why I switched to ultimate1.7 and pclinuxos2008 he

ultimate edition 1.7 is really great and so is the remaster pclinuxos2008-he

also i think more than 98% people use pirated versions of xp in pakistan , the 2 % can be error margin but let me say that i went to a bank and the computer was having problems and he had called in a computer tecnician who had in his hand a pirated copy of xp , well i guess the bank might have had the lisence and stuff but the tech guy was using a pirated copy .

another point i can get a p4 for 500rs who in their right mind would pay more than 10000 for vista or even 5000 extra for xp

how is the piracy in india??

Anonymous said...

hi manmath sahu you said
Had it packed something more such as MS Office, Photoshop, DVD Ripper and Player, it would have been a great bundle for every Windows user.

let me tell u that the version i have used does have em and much more
after xp installation you come to a screen where u get grouped programmes like in office
Corel WordPerfect Office X3 Retail
Open Office 2.30
MS Office 2003 SP3
Star Office 8.10 Retail
Office 2007 + Updates
MS Office 2007 Compatibility Pack
500 Office 2007 Templates
ClassicMenu 3.8 For Office 2008
Abi Word 2.46

and u just choose the ones u like

which would be a gr8 idea for post installaton dvd for pclinuxos2007

lets face it most of the people do have dvd drives and its easier to use em as well

another remaster i,m trying out now is MIB-Live-2008.0.iso
according to Home
MIB Live Games is a treasure trove for Linux gamers; at last count over 100 games, 48 in arcade alone. As it is based on Mandriva 2008, the setup (and possible installation) are a breeze; to say that everything is included out of the box on this remaster of Mandriva 2008 ‘One’ would be an understatement indeed.

manmath sahu said...

You are right.

manmath sahu said...

Except some political differences India and Pakistan have much in common. Both countries have almost similar lifestyle, similar music, similar culture, similar development, and similar condition in software piracy.

In India piracy is like that of Pakistan. Only few big corporates use licensed copies and more than 98% users have pirated XP in their systems.

I am big fan of Mehdi Hassan and I came to know that some people also love Mohd. Rafi. I also share some knowledge with some really great linux users of Pakistan. We also discuss a lot of piracy and came to know that both countries face the widespread piracy.

Anyways, thanks a ton for sharing ideas with me.

Anonymous said...

bro any chance of getting that elusive remaster

manmath sahu said...

Granular Funworks, a pclinuxos remaster had a great selection of packages to qualify enough to be a perfect linux remaster. I don't see another one... May be we will see one soon.

Anonymous said...

try PCLinuxOS-2008-HE (dvd) and do tell what u think of it

manmath sahu said...

Thanks a ton for pointing me to that great pclinuxos remaster.

shankar said...

that hebrew remaster of pclinux seems heavy to download, is there any lighter remasters with all the bells and whistles?

ספי לוי said...

Regarding the Hebrew Remaster, as i'm the one behind it. There is no "lighter" one, mostly because i've found that just adding hebrew translation and running an update on the regular PCL2007 CD will boost the size over the limit.

So i figured if i'm going over the CD size as it is, i'll pump it up with every good application needed for a first time use so you don't need to add anything when you are done.

I would love if you could give it a try and tell me what you think, i was kinda disappointed when my Remaster was ditched because of the Codecs/DVD that i included and would like an honest opinion.

Best Wishes,

Anonymous said...

how to get granny(windows user) to use linux

from article
Here's a quick list of suggestions to make life easier on you both:

1. Set up automatic login. Logging in is often a tough concept, I don't know why.
2. Install things like Flash, Java, MP3 support, DVD support, video streaming plugins, and true type fonts.
3. Put bookmarks on the browser's toolbar. Label them so Granny will understand.
4. Make the taskbar/panel large
5. Install Skype and/or instant messaging software, and preconfigure them so Granny can chat with you. You'll both love it. Again, automatic login.
6. Configure system updates to run as automatically as possible.
7. Standardize Granny's passwords. I know this is insecure, but I think it's worth it.
8. Make sure Granny calls you with questions, not cousin Eddie.
9. Remind Granny not to try buying software from Walmart, or online. Have her ask you first.
I have OEMed Linux a lot, here are the common links I put on the desktop. Literally, the icons are named.

Write a Letter (Points to OO Writer, Abiword on one low powered machine)
Internet (links to FF)
Email (links to thunderbird)
Pre-Configure their Junk folder, show them how to mark things as Junk.
Listen to Music (Points to Amarok)
GRIP Pre-COnfigured to RIP into the default music folder of Amarok, all set up.
Pre-Configure any MP3 players in Amarok before I turn them loose
Watch a movie (Points to Kaffeine, as you said, with ALL codecs installed)
Get Pictures (points to digiKam, preconfigured with default pictures directory)
Look at Pictures (points to GQiew configured to start at top of picture folder, large icons, etc)
In GQView, right click will edit in default Picassa
I drag the ENTIRE games menu to the desktop
Chat with people (points to Pidgin, autologin)
I drag KDE Control Center to the desktop, leave it as Control Center

The above are the defaults. A few other items.
1) Show them where downloads from the web are defaulted, change if needed.
2) Remove the delete (if present) and leave the "move to trash". Everyone understands the trash can concept.
3) I demonstrate how to find and install software (if savvy, otherwise, I tell them to call me).
4) Enable Mouse Over Previews of everything, including MP3s.
5) Pre-Configure ANY hardware they use, if required, as SANE to the desktop, etc.
6) Change KDE so that unmounted CD/DVDs icons remain on desktop, make sure that all removable drives/devices show up on desktop when mounted (automount). For some reason, even when no CD/DVD there, having the icon is re-assuring.

full article

manmath sahu said...

Hi Sefy,

Thanks for your comments. I have no problems with all the non-free codecs as I live in India. In fact, I tried your remaster. Overall, it is well put together pclinuxos remaster.

What I meant is that can we make it fit to one CD after removing hebrew lang pack and some other stuff. May be we will need to remove compiz, java and few other stuff.


Anonymous said...

hi manmath sahu , i disagree with the fit it on a cd limitation ,but thats just me, i would like more stuff to be added not removed also the ability to CHOOSE what i instal , like on black xp
well lets face it the computer specs used to be for a low end system to be a p2 450 , but now i think its more like a p3 800mhz and even then the price of optical drives has come down so much that dvd drives are as cheap as peanuts
also for a p4 1.8ghz dell with 80gb hd and 512mb ram its about rs 5000 in pakistan that does include a dvd drive , so it should not be that much of a problem

manmath sahu said...

Thanks for posting comment on my blog.

I respect your views regarding a pclinuxos remaster dvd. Actually, I wanted to limit that distro to fit in a CD, because being from a developing country like India I know downloading a live DVD would be difficult (hope you are aware of bandwidth crisis in this part of the globe). And a live CD would be good, because the user will have to download just the few required cosmetics like compiz etc.

Well, what about bringing two version - a live CD and a live DVD?

Anonymous said...

hi manmath sahu , actually i am from pakistan , and i do definately knopw about bandwidth problems, plus right now in pakistan we r having power shortages, thats why i wanted it on a dvd with everything on it , in mypclinuxos forums i was after dvds for repos ,could not get hold of em ,
what i do after downloading a linux distro , i give a copy to local software market and in local lux group tell people where to get hold of it
thats a very good idea of having two versions cd and dvd

manmath sahu said...

nice thoughts!
some people are already working towards it.
please send me your email ID i will let you know as soon as some really home user feature-rich distro comes out.
keep posting on my blog.

Anonymous said...

hi manmath sahu , my email id is
thanks for your offer

ספי לוי said...

Unfortunatly I don't think it's possible, even if i'd remove all the hebrew, that's the least of the size.

If you just take the PCL2007 ISO and only did a full update of the existing apps and not include anything else, it would still pass the size of a CD.

So i figured if i already passed the size of the CD, why not push everything good in it? i am still trying to keep it minimum.

manmath sahu said...

Hi Sefy,

That's a good decision.

ספי לוי said...

Hi Manmath,

I've just about finished doing a remaster for my testing, currently the file size is at 1750mb. Again the size difference is a lot due to the KDE 3.5.9, newer Kernel and updates on the existing apps.

Although i did had a few things and also a bit of small changes to default programs, also added guides into the main page that starts with FireFox. I'm hoping to finish and release new ISO next month.

manmath sahu said...


It feels good to know the news from you. As you have already made a DVD version, I would like to see some packages (that are quite useful but not present in popular desktop linux) such as kchmviewer (or gnochm), ddrescue, cdfs kernel module and wordnet in your spin of pclinuxos.

Best regards.

ספי לוי said...

Hi Again,

If those packages exist on the repos, then no problem, i'll add them to the next ISO i'm planning for next month. But i won't add anything from outside the repos as to not damage the setup.

Best Wishes,

manmath sahu said...

all of those packages available in pclinuxos repo except ddrescue.

ddrescue is very small package (50 kb). its mandriva packages are available in rpmbone portal and they work pretty well on pclinuxos. IMO you need to just do very small changes, if at all.

ספי לוי said...

if you recall on the forums, i nearly had my head removed for doing the changes i've already done. I'm not a developer or even a programmer, and doing those things could cause issues neither of us is aware.

I will add the packages you wanted that do exist, and anything to do with "dd" that I can find.

manmath sahu said...

thanks a ton for the nice words!

ספי לוי said...

I've just added kchmviewer and wordnet to the remaster, my friend Roy Weiss is now working on a new welcome screen. I've done a few more add-ons, and the only thing i'm unable to do is pre-set the ntfs to auto mount as i have no idea how to do it and no one on the forums is telling me :-/

If all goes well, new Remaster will be out in a week!

manmath sahu said...

it's really a great news.

ספי לוי said...

PCLinuxOS 2008 - Hebrew Enabled Remaster - 07/05/2008!

I've just released it! so first downloads are going to be very slow since i'm the only one who is seeding.

manmath sahu said...

downloading it.

ספי לוי said...

Let me know what you think and if you like the changes made, so far because of lack of responds and even lack of downloads, i'm thinking of quitting it :-/

ספי לוי said...

I've released my final Remaster, you are free to download and see and maybe even install if you like :-)

manmath sahu said...

thanks sefy.
i will definitely give a try and recommend as many people as possible, because your previous pclinuxos remaster was also very good. and am sure this time it would be even better.

ספי לוי said...

It's almost a year later now, you might like to try the latest remaster i've made which is based on my previous ones which is a "powerpack" edition:

If you try it, let me know if you like! :)

manmath sahu said...

sefy, i tried your remaster. it's really good. two thumbs up!

keep up the good job.

hope you will make a kde4 remaster when tex packs it into the next quarterly release.

ספי לוי said...

Thanks for the compliments, i'm now trying to work on a refresh for my last one. Although considering the last one was downloaded like 20 or 40 times, i'm not sure if i'll even bother uploading :-/

ספי לוי said...

Hi Again, you are probably aware of the situation in PCLinuxOS forums, which due to them, i'm not longer distributing any new Remaster.

However, as i grow tired of seeing those lies written about me in their forum, i've wanted to let you know the other side of what they wrote:

manmath sahu said...

Hi Sefy,

Sorry, I could not reply soon as I was preparing my wife for her MCA exams. And I was disheartened to know that you won't be building pclos remasters any more. Visited pclos fora and your post regarding the whole state of affairs. Pity!

I really liked all your builds. In fact, a couple of copies dating 2008 - 2010 are lying around my home, and I am distributing them to my friends as and when somebody asks me.

Here, I'd go beyond reason-cause process. Dissociating yourself from pclos forums doesn't stop you from remastering. I'd still like you to make use of pclos and create remasters packing all those bits and pieces that people fight for after installing a vanilla pclos. You can still release the remasters to some torrent sites or other file sharing portals.

Please tell me how can I help you in your remastering process.

I am always thankful to your efforts. I am sure there are many who recognize your good work.

ספי לוי said...

As i have promised that i would not do any distribution of my Remasters, I will keep my promise out of respect to the dev team.

However, that does not stop me from doing Remasters for my personal use and to give those who might request them. All i will request, is that it's not distributed on any torrent or FTP sites.

I am currently "wrapping up" an updated Remaster which would be, to my opinion, one of my best ones so far. If you like I can send you a link to download from me directly.

manmath sahu said...

sefy, the download link to my gmail account:

ספי לוי said...

I've already emailed you the link to that gmail address about 4 days ago :)

manmath sahu said...

sefy, i got the download link.

How about this