Friday, February 29, 2008

PCLinuxOS Leads Early 2008 Fav Distro

pclinuxos leads desktop war again

Please click on the image to see its actual size

One more good reason to rejoice. PCLinuxOS is leading the early 2008 desktop distro race.
Visit tuxmachines and cast your vote in favour of pclos.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tips from a PCLinuxOS User on Buying a PC and Choosing an OS

pclinuxos pc hot deals from linpc.usPC has now become a necessity, be it a desktop or laptop. It's the next big thing in everyone's gadget wish list after mobile phones. But choosing a make/model of PC and choosing an OS for it is quite different from that of a mobile phone. Very often home users are duped into buying the latest and most powerful piece of desktop/laptop though they never utilize the full power of their desktop/laptop hardware and the software that comes preinstalled.

Choosing OS for Home Users

Most of the power desktops/laptops come with Vista preinstalled. But is it worthwhile for the extra money you pay for it? Even some windows lunatics say MS took more than 5 years to downgrade the good old XP. Well, if you will choose other OS than that of the preinstalled Vista, you will need to gather drivers and other productivity software. So, it's wise to run a Linux flavour such as PCLinuxOS 2008, Mandriva 2008, Mepis 7.0 or Linux Mint 4 Daryana (these are the latest as of Feb. 2008).

Always choose the latest desktop oriented linux (or pclinuxos without any second thought) flavour for home computing. Ensure the Linux desktop you are going to use is newer than that of your hardware. And always choose Intel hardware (it has better drivers support in linux world). You won't have configure your devices and/or look for drivers. Just pop in the disk and you will get a working desktop/laptop within a few minutes.

If your hardware is very old use an old distribution or the one with generic kernel. But ensure the distribution you are using should be newer than the hardware.

What's more a desktop linux such as pclinuxos will provide you with just enough software for your home computing requirement. You will get a cutting edge office suite (openoffice), image manipulation program (gimp), a truck load of instant messengers, p2p clients, browsers, multimedia players, and all that. Even you won't need to install a single program. However, if you need more, than the repository is just a click away.

Choosing Laptop/Desktop for Home Users

Go to a PC retailer, ask her about the desktops and laptops. She will most definitely lead you to the selves having PCs with specs such as Intel Core2Duo, Dual Core, Centrino, ATI or Nvidia Graphics, and heavy RAMs exceeding 1GB. Probably she will tell you to buy the latest HP, Thinkpad or Vaio, or even more, a powerbook. Many customers go by it and bring home a power performer.

My friend, Satya, an HR manager, asked me to about buying a laptop. His requirements included word processing, spreadsheet generation, web surfing and watching movies. He is not a gamer. Last night he brought home a HP DV series laptop (specs: 1 GB RAM, Intel Core2Duo and NVidia Graphics with 256 display memory). I tried it. It was very fast and responsive. It is very good box for avid gamers and developers. It costs around Rs. 60,000.

Then we compared his HP DV laptop with my bare basic Compaq laptop (specs: 512MB RAM, Celeron M 530 1.73GHz, Intel 965GMA graphics, it costs only Rs. 25,000). Our comparison involved jobs such as: word processing, image editing, watching VCD, DVD and some Xvids, and ripping DVD, on PCLinuxOS Gnome Remaster and Vista Basic.

To our surprise, that costly HP laptop performed better while ripping a DVD, else the performance difference in other jobs was zero, we could not notice any difference.

So, what's the point buying that power machine paying almost twice the price than that of a model that just meets your requirement impeccably?

Anybody who is looking for buying a laptop/desktop for home use please don't be fooled at the latest Intel processors, costly graphics cards, high capacity hard drives and that pre-installed Vista OS. No need to pay almost twice the price of a base model.

Ideal hardware specs for home computing

Processor: Celeron M 530 or above (cheap yet great performance)
Memory: 512MB (enough you will never need more)
Graphics: Onboard Intel Graphics (don't go for those Nvidia or ATI if you are not a gamer)
Hard drive: 80 GB (why more than this, buy some DVDs instead and store those heavy files)

Monday, February 11, 2008

PCLinuxOS Gnome 2008 - Linstized screenshots

I was looking for PCLinuxOS flavours with latest xorg and kernel. PCLinuxOS official version is yet to be released. And it may be May till the final reaches mirrors. So I thought why not try its gnome remaster. It's the same pclinuxos with gnome desktop. To the gnome remaster I added crossover linux and installed photoshop (my fav image editing software) and ms office (my favourite office suite, though I love Linux I don't like openoffice or gnome office). Also I searched a while for themes in gnome-look.org. And here is the result of what I got. Even vista people will envy this eye-candy pclinuxos.

Click on the images to see the actual sizes

pclinuxos gnome screenshot 2

PCLinuxOS Gnome screenshot showing nerolinux, ms office apps and photoshop icons. Also the theme manager showing the default themes + customized linsta theme. I also changed the gnome main menu with vista icon. Some where I have renamed native linux icons. So that many windows users will feel at home.

pclinuxos gnome screenshot 3

Nerolinux on top of crossover linux on my pclinuxos gnome desktop.

pclinuxos gnome screenshot 4

MS Office on top of crossover linux on my pclinuxos gnome desktop.

pclinuxos gnome screenshot 5

rxvt on my pclinuxos gnome remaster.

pclinuxos gnome screenshot 6

Epiphany on my pclinuxos gnome remaster.

pclinuxos gnome screenshot 7

My PCLinuxOS gnome desktop with the launch icons of the apps that I use.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Linux woes told through PCLinuxOS - as my friend tells it

My friend Sudhanshu wants to share few words with Linux community. He was a Windows user now turned to a full-time Linux user only last week. He asked me several good things and bad things of linux, I told him to recollect all his thought and put into paper. Here is what he says. I thought it would be better to put the ideas on this blog. Because PCLinuxOS is the best usable and easiest desktop in the Linux world. At least I think so.

Hope, the members will address some of the issues raised by my friend. So that he (and many others) will know why Linux is so if it is so.

Here goes my friend Sudhanshu......

"I just want to share some of linux ecstacy and agony with you.
Linux is a great server. In my office we never had any problem running web servers on Mandriva, RHEL or Debian. But I wonder why Linux Desktop is still rough around the corners. Let me site some examples (all from my experience).

  1. I am never sure whether I can copy the next VCD on my Linux Desktop.
    The first time I tried to copy the vcd files I miserably failed. Then somebody suggested me to use vcdimager and/or vcdgear. Tried that. Some of the vcds got copied, some still could not (but i tried them on XP, all get copied like breeze). Then somebody else told me to use cdfs. I did that as well. And it was a tedious job building a kernel module (dkms-cdfs). It did better job then vcdimager and vcdgear. But still I find problem.
  2. Next is the issue with drivers. PCLinuxOS 2007 did not have drivers for my x3100 graphics card. Somebody told me to download the latest xorg-video-intel driver. Downloaded it, but it could not go. It asked for a later xorg-server. Upgraded it. Still could not succeed. Of course, PCLinuxOS Gnome Remaster 2008 install detected my driver and autoconfigured. But, again a big but, I get only 24bit color at the best, whereas on windows I could get 32bit color. It's not a big issue, but nontheless a concern.
  3. I always loved my system clean. That's why I used many disk-cleaning tools on windows partition. But while using kleansweep on PCLinuxOS, I got dire results. I could not got my desktop back. I had to do a fresh install. Later I came to know that kleansweep is quite unintelligent while choosing what keep and what to dump. But I never had such a problem before.
  4. Then big issue was with getting proper software. Take for example K3b. It's versatile. But again not like that of Nero (I am talking about the Windows version, NeroLinux lags behind K3b). Whenever I write CD/DVD on Nero, I am sure it will burn well. But in K3b I have to be cautious about the burning speed, else the media is gone.
  5. The same thing goes with other softwares like Deluge and Ktorrent. None of them are as good as utorrent or bitcomet... On other front such as Office suites and graphics, linux apps are not that much productive. Let me explain, I never found OpenOffice as responsive (and fast) as MS Office. I never find GIMP as usable and versatile as Photoshop. Coming to illustration software, inkscape, xara and sodipodi lag miles behind CorelDraw and Adobe illustrator. The same goes with video-editing and audio-editing apps.
  6. Another big challenge. Last week I purchased disks of Britannica Encyclopedia and Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. I refer to both of them at home and office. Both of them have option to speak/pronounce text and both come with Linux and Windows versons in a pack. In windows I never had any problem. OALD took MS speech engine and Britannica took quicktime. But while trying them on PCLinuxOS the speech engines did not work. Britannica and OLAD both asked to install VLC (despite the fact that the system already had the latest versions of VLC) then it told to use the VLC binary that came with the Britannica and OLAD. Did that as well. But still no going....
  7. Coming to web browsing. Previously, I had 64kbp bandwidth. I upgraded it to 128 last month (64kbp sucks). In windows I have always found it a bad experience to browse, but accessing the web was never a challenge. While in PCLinuxOS I could not access some of the websites. Firefox would fire some rounds of search and then it will say "The server is redirecting the page in such a way that would never....." and stand still... Later after a full days toil, I came to know it was an ipv6 issue. I disabled ipv6 globally. Now I enjoy browsing on firefox the best. Well, let me explain one more thing... Firefox is great in many respects, but it has one drawback, it's still very slow to start, whereas IE4, 5, 6 and 7 all are very fast to start, though they fall flat before FF feature-wise.
  8. I visit distrowatch regularly. Love to read the software and new-releases. I am very annoyed, when will the bugs will ever go. Every new release note tells it fixed certain bugs, but still there are many to be fixed on the next release. The n-number of alphas, betas and rcs...
  9. Then coming to desktop environment. Windows Desktop Environment (Explorer) and Mac Environment (Aqua) rarely break/crash. (I am talking about desktop environment and not the system or OS). But I have crashed KDE and GNOME several times. You tinker a little and will be dragged to a text terminal. At some good times you can come back to desktop
    and at some bad times you have to re-install or re-configure the desktop...
  10. The integration puzzle: On windows I never have problems in adding/removing/changing programs. My MS Office default install had Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, and many others, but I removed everything except Word, Excel and Powerpoing. But while trying the same with OpenOffice on PCLinuxOS, synaptic says it's going to remove the whole of OO.o. And the same thing goes with others. I know I have x3100 video driver installed. But on synaptic I see many others video drivers (and tons of other drivers). While trying to uninstall them, it says it's going to remove the x3100 driver as well. What a mess! The same is true with removing quite a lot of other software. When I try to remove some of unnecessary software, synaptic says it's going to remove some necessary software as well. Oh!!

Last words...

Despite all those things I use Linux. I am proud of its growth. It's improving like anything. Only last sunday, I deleted my windows partition and did a fresh install of PCLinuxOS. Because I love FOSS, GNU and Linux. I like their philosophy of software development and deployment. And I like the linux security. But as I told earlier, I just pray god and the developers to smooth the rough edges of Linux. Hope the situation will improve in next few years.

Thanks all the forum members."

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