Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MCLinuxPC 2012 - The Whole Kitchen Sink

Kind of bubble sort, distributions come up, tumble down, some grow, some die unmaintained. First we had Slack, then Redhat, Mandy, Mepis, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS... and now Mint. Most often the popularity of a distribution depends on the degree of "out of the box" functionality it offers, plus how well it integrates the various bits and pieces. IMO, only three distributions championed in this regards - Mepis, PCLinuxOS and Mint.

Now on to the business. Here I am reviewing MCLinuxPC 2012, a remaster that comes from one of my favorite distributions that manages rpm packages on synaptic, by Sefy. No awards for guessing. But I won't reveal the name for two obvious reasons: first, this remaster has gone too far in including the software not allowed to be legally redistributed, second, it's not been publicly announced.

The good thing is, that legality neither applies to him in Israel, nor me in India. Besides, Sefy has taken all care to rebuild some base packages related to lsb, issue, grub, etc., altering every reference of that famous distribution. For now, the remaster is floating across a few close friends.

Hope it doesn't violate any rule.

Here's the review.

I'm a big time fan of that popular distribution for one solid reason - it never failed on my hardware. It's neither the most beautiful, nor the most cutting edge distribution. Stable, and may be a little conservative, but it just-works, you won't have to fiddle much. You are ready to go the very next minute after installation. Having said that, seems it's a great feat for the remaster to maintain that quality, after loading so much extra stuff.

I won't repeat here the livecd experience and the installation. It's pretty much similar to that big distribution. So, fast forward to the installed environment.

Hardware

As of now the remaster has been running on four different set of hardware at my home and office -  a Dual Core Pentium Dell Optiplex 360, an old PIV Compaq, an Asus Eee PC 1215b with AMD Fusion C-50, and an Intel Essential D410PT nettop. Some of those machines have housed Debian Squeeze, Arch and Ubuntu Natty also. Let's see how well MCLinuxPC fares against those veteran distros.

Booting

As always, no surprises here. MCLinuxPC booted just fine across all the four different configurations. Of course the bootup time was a few seconds more than Arch and Debian, it's the price for its heavy customization. The freshly booted desktop seems to be pimping Windows 7 and Mac OS on top of the default KDE 4.6.5. Under the hood there's a bfs patched 2.6.38 kernel. The application software selection is huge and all-encompassing, we'll see later. The look is quite different from its parent distro. It doesn't do blue and gray that much.

Memory Consumption

Memory consumption right after booting was around 350MB on all the machines, except that EEE PC 1215b, where it was around 400MB. No bad for a KDE 4 remaster.

Performance

I can't site any numbers here. As far as my perception goes MCLinuxPC is as responsive as Natty, Arch and Squeeze on all the machines except Eee 1215B. Squeeze was the most responsive of all on this tiny computer. 1GHz Ontario C-50 APU is not enough for KDE 4, may be.

Desktop Experience

No surprises here. For the first time my Eee 1215B worked as expected. Graphics, Touchpad, Wireless, Webcam and Bluetooth behaved smooth. The other three machines worked well too including my old PCI Hauppage analog TV tuner on a dated PIV system. Apple Trailers, Microsoft Media Server, flash videos, MP3 et al played. Oh the good xbmc, the local media files were shelved the way they should be. MCLinuxPC does a very good job of managing additional languages through its Localization Manager. For the rest, there's good old MCLinuxPC Control Center.

The systems are stable - I've been working on the machines for last 4 days, so far no crashes related either to KDE or kernel.

Applications

MCLinuxPC outshines almost every other distribution in this department. There is the whole kitchen and sink. The system utilities, internet suite, productivity suites, multimedia suites + xbmc + codecs + media converters, graphics suites, games, emulators, and believe it or not, the universal computer learning suite comprising the full jdk, gcc, g++, assembly, mysql. Wow! A superb selection. Be it sharing your stuff, using internet, doing some serious office work, converting your media, syncing your devices with PC, managing security, cleaning the system, sharing peer desktops, or whatsoever, you name any popular modern system software or application software, it's all there. Also, there's a balance of the software - not much duplicity. Under 2.6GB it packs so much applications that the good old synaptic seems an overdo. You can live your life without using it ever, except for updating the system, if you like.

Here's a list of applications that comes with MCLinuxPC, sorted items menu-wise:

Communication:
qtadb for android
barry backup
synce kde pda manager
Configuration:
ATI catalyst manager
3D acceleration configuration
cairo dock
chbg
compiz manager
emerald
ezswitch
firewall
floppy formatter
google gadgets
kde grub manager
gtk theme switch
hardware information
install MCLinuxPC
localization
libreoffice manager
network center
ntfs configuration manager
nvclock
partition manager
pulse audio manager
redo mbr
samba configuration
unetbootin
user administration
kwallet manager
Development:
diff/patch configuration
teamviewer
kompozer
complete gcc, g++, nasm, assembly (nasm), sun jdk, mysql
Text editors:
medit
vi
kwrite
File tools:
bleachbit
krename
krusader
midnight commander
kleansweep
Games:
complete bundle from arcade, board games, puzzles, strategy, etc.
Graphics:
imagemagick gui
gimp
kolourpaint
kamoso
gpicview
digikam
picasa
ksnapshot
xsane
kruler
Sound:
amarok
songbird
kscd
kradio
timidity
cd ripper
nvidia tv output
floola
volume control
sound recorder
Package management:
dupclean
synaptic
libreoffice manager
opera widget manager
Emulators:
wine - Windows Emulator
desmuke - Nintendo DS
dosbox - DOSbox
epsxe - Playstation One
xgngeo - NeoGeo
nintendo - Nintendo
hu-go! - HuGo
pcxs -
virtualbox
visualboy - Advance Gameboy
winetricks
gsnes - Sega Master System & Genesis
yabause - Sega Saturn
zsnes - Super Nintendo
Monitoring:
thinkpad battery monitor
desktop widgets
netapplet
removable media utility
system monitor
xkill
view disk usage
Terminal:
konsole
xterm
Archiving:
acetoneiso
k3b
nero
ark
file roller
iso master
nepomuk backup
p7zip gui
Internet:
google earth
qbittorrent
filezilla
dropbox
teamviewer
firefox
chrome
opera
kdesktop sharing krfb
thunderbird
kopete
kppp
groupware
blogging
putty
tightvnc
xchat irc
tkpppoe
Office:
libreoffice
note taking tools
time management
adobe reader
personal organizer
artha
calibre
Video:
imagination
cheese
coriander
me tv
xbmc media center
tv time
realplayer
vlc
video4fuze
mobile media converter
kplayer
winff
gtk-recordmydesktop

Conclusion

Question: So, what's so good about Sefy and his remaster?
Answer: MCLinuxPC is godsend for all those who love linux but can't stand the annoyances and pains that come with it. Yes, it's fat, it's not as clean and swift as a default Arch or Debian setup. But that's a small tradeoff for the amount of goodies you get. You only need to download just the remastered iso, and have a secure, modern, entertaining and productive life without the need for any extra bit or piece. Another big point is this is the only Linux with "out-of-the-box" adb pre-configuration for immediate access to Android phones.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd guess you're talking about Ubuntu by the sound of things.
I wouldn't worry there are many distros based off Ubuntu.

oldhack said...

I have used several Linux OS s over several years but PCLinux is now my main system of choice, because it 'just works' and reliably all the time!

ashwini said...

Hello Manmaths

I love PCLNUXOS for KDE and Linux Mint for Gnome. No doubt if someone want stability and rock solid performance on KDE one has to chose PCLINUXOS. I tried many KDE based distro, but always come back to PCLINUXOS for KDE.

You might be receiving many mails regarding their liking, features of PCLINUXOS and good things in it. Let me tell you some drawback in it.

1. No 64 bit officially. Officially I said because, I know Textar is working on 64 bit and in my VB I have installed the 64 bit test, which is working good. But it lacks software compared to 32 bit.

2. Very difficult to give feed back. You have to be a registered member to give a feed back. And only God know when they will register you or not.

3. Its always stays behind in updating the kernel.

4. If you stuck somewhere, very difficult to solve the problem.

5. For the newbee like me it is impossible to install software which are not in synaptic e.g. games like, Supertux Kart, Google Chrome (Not Chromium) and many more.


Well I thought, I should write good things also, since you asked.

1. Reliable, not gon'na crash. Until any application don'nt becomes stable, Textar is not gon'na pass the same to its user. So on the user side, rest assured there will be no pain at all. In a few sentence, I would say its like Debian for solid performance.

2. NO problems in upgrading.

3. Except kernel, you will always be using latest applications (e.g. firefox LB office etc. etc.) In a way it is better than Debian.

Lastly, In India there was an old advertisement of Hero Honda a bike company and the quotes were "Fill it, shut it and forget it" (its for bike). I just changed the quote for PCLINUXOS "install it, use it and forgot it".

Well Manmath (since I don'nt know you name), hope it has not become lengthy and you might not be feeling bored.

Anonymous said...

hi
could u give a link as where to download
MCLinuxPC 2012, i assume ure not talking about
Release Date: 09-17-2011
KDE Full Monty (pclinuxos-kde-fullmonty-2011.09.iso)

thanks in asvancewhiesi

manmath sahu said...

it's not kde-full-monty.

ashwini said...

Sahu!, so you seems to be from India only. Next obvious question, which state? (if in India) I am from Delhi.

Well thanks for the link. But to tell you frankly, I am very much satisfied with Linux Mint-12 (Cinnamon) and PCLINUX OS. After trying many distros, I now settled to the two distros named above.

As the PCLINUXOS has already released 2012.02 KDE, I will be trying that.

I am not very much interested in *buntus. But of course I some time try some distros in VB, including Ubuntu, but only when it reached upto beta stage not alpha. As I am not much expert in Linux. But I enjoy reading about linux and using them.

Its good to see our community blogs and the persons using Linux from our country. Please don'nt hesitate to talk/ converse to me. Or sending me some good links to good posts etc. I would certainly like to read/ know more about linux.

Regards,

(Ashwani)

manmath sahu said...

Ashwini thanks a lot for such nice words. Yes, I hail from Orissa, these days staying at Kisangarh, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.

Here's my conclusions for Linux use at home.

#1 You want a painfree linux experience - use PCLinuxOS, Mepis or Mint
#2 You want to get great performance, simple, sane and highly customizable Linux - use Arch
#3 You want to make a career out of linux - use CEntOS or Debian

So, with that break down, I am using a mix of debian and centos at office. Cos both of them are very stable and supported for years. At home I've Arch, Debian and PCLinxOS in a multiboot setup.

Well, if you want to learn what happens inside a distribution, Arch wiki is the best place. Besides, there're several websites. For latest news you may refer to tuxmachines.org, and phoronix.com. There's also good old tldp, the linux documentation project.

It's nice interacting you.

kamrananvaar said...

hi
could u give a link as where to download
MCLinuxPC 2012

my email kamrananvaar@yahoo.com

thanks

ספי לוי said...

I'd just like to add that the "illegal" software that is mentioned, are these:

win32codecs
adobe reader
google chrome
google picasa
virtualbox
nero trial edition

All of which, are freely available to get from repos or anywhere on the net.

manmath sahu said...

yeah, i also don't see them as illegal owing to their free availability.

bro would you please send you the new link of your remaster to kamran (kamrananvaar@yahoo.com). he said that the old link was not working.

ספי לוי said...

Current ISO was deleted, i'm uploading an updated one with the new Firefox/Gimp and all the rest of the new updates.

Should be up by evening tomorrow

Javier Reyes said...

Will you please send me the link, I would love to try this remaster. Thanks

email: javier51679@gmail.com

manmath sahu said...

thanks javier for dropping by.
please ask sefy (the generous remasterer, his comments are posted above you) for the link.

ספי לוי said...

@Javier Reyes, give me a couple of days, i am doing a refresh for the Remaster to include all updates upto April 1st :)

Chavoux said...

Shalom Sephi

I assume the remaster is done by now? Is it possible to get a link? I would love to test it.

ספי לוי said...

@Chavoux, i've promised not to put any public links, but i can give you a private one. The last current ready Remaster is from 22/04/2012 but i am already updating it for a June release :)

btw, it's Sefy!

navya said...


Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting.
Sinks for Kitchen India

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