PCLinuxOS. unexpected king of the hill

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by clevin, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    As you probably already noticed, this strange named, from nowhere PCLinuxOS has been sitting on the top of distrowatch visiting list for quite a while, surpassing Ubuntu, Fedora etc.

    So, after I give my acer away (with Ubuntu 7.10), I found my old COMPAQ Evo N610C, which Ubuntu refused to run due to some issues with my C(DV)D-ROM. Looking around at the list of distros, Im pretty familiar with most of the distros already, so I gave PCLinuxOS a shot.

    First, PCLinuxOS is a fork of Mandriva. Its maintainer is Texstar, obviously, a texan, specifically, H-town.

    Current version of PCLinuxOS is 2007, released in May.

    The most significant feature, and the feature I like most as well, is that, in PCLinuxOS, you don't need to re-install the entire system to get latest stuff.

    In ubuntu, if 7.04 release has firefox 2.0.0.x, then the future firefox 3 have to be "backported" for 7.04, maybe some app as popular as firefox will be, but many, or most of other stuff won't be backported.
    However, in PCLinuxOS, everything (AFAIK) can be updated in the official repo. want a better font? try update freetype (which you need to manually add unofficial repo for ubuntu to do so, and risk comes with it)

    e.g. 2007 has beryl built-in, but you can goto official repo, and get latest tested compiz-fusion. Thunderbird can be updated from original 1.5.x to 2.0.0.x. even firefox 3 beta 1 is in repo now.
    One of the problem with linux is that each new release almost certainly require a new re-installation. I have never been one of those guys who report they successfully "updated" from previous version. Thoe whole idea of update OS w/o re-installation is very attractive to me.

    All in all, PClinuxOS official repo is the most user friendly I have ever seen.

    PCLinuxOS "seems" to run better than ubuntu on my old machine, with ATi radeon 7500 mobile, PCLinuxOS runs the compiz-fusion very smoothly, of course, I can't rule out the possibility that compiz-fusion improved alot.
    Downside is KDE, its a personal opinion tho. I still like Gnome more, and there is a user remastered project for PClinuxOS-Gnome.

    Will add more if something comes up later.
  2. Shadow macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Keele, United Kingdom
    To be completely fair, I dont think anyone cares. Personally, I despise Linux. I would gladly take any version of Windows from 98 onwards (yes, even Me) over it; but thats just personal opinion. Having said that, I do recognize what its trying to do and I do think that it is a good server platform.

    On a more personal level Clive, why do you constantly post about Linux and why people should switch to it? On a Mac forum most people couldn't give 2 s**ts.
  3. eji macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2004
    Inland Empire
    I quite like the idea of Linux posts on a Mac forum. I think it's important for Mac users to be aware of the state other OSs are in and possibly consider them as alternatives.

    The reason I use OS X on Apple computers is because I think it's the best hardware/software combo for my personal needs that's currently available. If the combination of some flavor of Linux and a retail or home-built PC ever surpassed Apple's offerings, you can be sure I'd switch.

    Having defended the idea of Linux-themed posts on a Mac-themed site, I still don't quite understand the angle of clevin's post here. It seemed to appear apropos of nothing, and the post itself is a jumble of unsubstantiated observations and tiny screenshots with equally little context. Some of it sounds vaguely impressive, but it's not really convincing me of anything more than that clevin likes to install new OSs on old computers.
  4. EMU1337 macrumors member


    Nov 2, 2007
    With a comment like that, I would expect you wouldn't understand why anyone would care about linux. Its far superior to any version of Windows, the only downside is the lack of software but thats what Windows users have always said why they hate Macs too. Come on ME, are you kidding me, you couldn't even run that on a computer today and expect it to not crash within 20 minutes, and Vista.....well enough said about that.
  5. Shadow macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Keele, United Kingdom
    I've tried desperately to like Linux. Indeed, I've tried multiple versions and distros on several machines yet it still manages to be the most unstable OS I've ever used. I can certainly see potential in the OS and it is indeed the best server OS out there. For the desktop however, I just can't see why anyone would choose it over OS X or Windows.
  6. martychang macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2007
    Unstable? I've only had one kernel panic in my whole Linux experience, and that was on a strange distro that KP'd on boot, and I promptly disposed of it...

    I'll admit things tend to funk up depending on what distro you choose. Any Debian release except stable is a nightmare, as is any Fedora release(they move too fast for their own good). I've personally even had a few hiccups on Debian Stable(sound suddenly would only work for root user).

    If you want something that works, Ubuntu or Slackware really. I used Ubuntu for a while, and it was about as trustworthy as Debian Stable as far as I could tell, but had more up to date packages(I also never had any major hiccups with it). Personally, I like Slackware. It is a bit more involved to install software, but it's the most rock solid OS I've ever used. It will literally only screw up if you tell it to.

    The only reason I can see for someone finding Linux to be unstable is if they've been trying out some of "those" distros, or if they haven't touched Linux in the past year(it has really improved a lot across the board in 2007).

    In any case, I like Mac OS X, I'm sure I'll still like it when I get my Macbook in a couple days, but I'll always like Linux as well.

    P.S. Clevin, how did you get window decorations to work in PCLinuxOS? Even with Emerald, I've never seen KDE work right with Beryl/Compiz, PCLinuxOS or any another distro.
  7. neonblue2 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 25, 2006
    Port Pirie, South Australia
    All an installed Linux needs is a little work. I had Ubuntu 7.04 installed on my MBP for a while. To even get it working initially I had to download display drivers from the command line. Once I got it working I had to install a mouse driver to control tap-click.

    I was forced to get rid of it though when I accidently moved the wrong system folder...the one with the terminal app in it. Unlike OS X you must use the terminal to move things around the system folders. I did have a terminal window still open so I could have moved it back but I killed it.

    Leopard was coming out in a few months anyway so I've decided to wait for my portable hard drive until I reinstall it. I get it tomorrow of course :D
  8. tominated macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2006
    Queensland, Australia
    in that last screenshot, is that the kde menu/start menu or whatever you want to call it? i am a real sucker for a nice UI
  9. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    It works for me right out of box, I actually have no idea about how. :(
    actually, due to the fact that I can't stand KDE, I now have mandriva 2008 installed. may try pclinuxos-gnome later if necessary. Ubuntu 7.10 runs extremely slow on my old laptop.

    first, "clevin" not "clive" lol

    second, please get your fact straight, you can check how many posts I post here. and in which one did I ask people to switch to linux.

    finally, if mac forum only allows mac topic, I think mods would have deleted this topic long time ago.

    PS. Linux is a very important part that, IMHO, mac users should care, since as we all know, apple is constantly incorporate the new fruit of OSS into mac osx. altho generally on a slower pace. but what you see today in linux, might be in osx tomorrow (you like perian? isquint? visualhub? and do some digging, you will find out all these apps are funded on ffmpeg which is developed under linux). there is nothing wrong about that, or is there? what are you worrying about?:eek:
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    As you know I've finally getting my hands much dirtier in Linux than I ever had before... this issue of updating Linux without re-installing, alongside the extent to which the newest versions of applications are not always installable because dependent packages are out of date, really surprises me.

    If/when a linux reliably lets you click a button and upgrade to its latest release version (e.g. if you were on Ubuntu 7.10, and wanted to go to next year's 8.04), this will be a huge asset to Linux. PCLinuxOS, absurd name aside, seems like it is closer to this than anything else, including the reigning gorilla, Ubuntu.
  11. martychang macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2007
    Well, I decided to try PCLinuxOS for grins, and for some reason Emerald worked this time, so I can have Compiz and window decorations at the same time. I've never seen Compiz do an Expose imitation, just go to the upper right hot corner and it's just like a Mac. I'm just trying to find where in the Compiz settings they enabled it...

    They really have all the latest stuff in repository, having proprietary things like NVIDIA drivers and Flash isn't much for those of us who know what we're doing, it just means that when we "apt-get dist-upgrade" that will all be up to date too, which IS nice no matter who you are. I also love that they have betas packaged as well if you want them: it's the only distro I know that has betas of Firefox 3 and NVIDIA 169.xx series in the main repository. And apt-get with rpms works way better than Fedora's yum it seems.

    Seems like a much better distro than Ubuntu, though it won't totally take Slackware's fire away for me. A totally granular package selection process during the install would get it there though.
  12. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    I do...its nice to know where Linux is going

    Um...want to explain WHY?


    Really? I refuse to believe that true....because I know its false. Maybe mad luck. Or have you only used Mac OS X? And maybe Windows Xp, after 6 years on the market?

    Cuz I can tell yea, Ubuntu 7 and 6 are worlds better then ME for stablity
  13. -::ubermann::- macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2006
    Everyday I convince me more that Linux will be my plattform of preference
  14. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    For now, IMO OSX is far superior, but Linux is slowly catching up. Hopefully Hardy Heron will make Linux enough for average-Joe to set up and use...
  15. stupidregister macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2007
    Being both unstable and the best server OS seems a bit contradictory doesn't it?

    My experience is different than yours. Whereas browsing the web in Leopard has resulted in kernel panics many times, the worse that has happened in similar usage in the various Ubuntu releases has been the crashing of the browser. The Leopard problem was specific to problems with the Airport card, but it does seem fairly pathetic that the problem is still open; especially since Apple only has to deal with a relatively small set of hardware.

    Small UI niceties (like consistent keyboard shortcut, having both a control key and a command key, and the Dock) and not stability are why I currently use OS X more than Ubuntu. The sorry state of Spaces is making me consider using Ubuntu more though.
  16. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    not really, about only superiority OSX has are:
    1. looks
    2. non tech users friendliness
    3. adobe and microsoft softwares. or other professional apps to whom might be important.

    I regard OSX's looks as "elegant", windows vista's as "classic", Linux's? its so flexible, I can only generally say its "cool", but not elegant enough, Im not sure if a somewhat fixed
    elegant theme (like vista/OSX) would do linux any good. many people tried tho.

    Ubuntu is the closest linux to "user friendly", I didn't have to deal with vast amount of repo in almost all cases. but still not to the level of OSX and Windows.

    there is no technical superiority otherwise inside OSX. it always lag behind actually on this part. In some ways I feel OSX is like Debian stable release - very stable, and very old, not putting anything cutting edge in it, just for the sake of stability...

    I have no problem with the prominent features of OSX(elegant looks, security) or windows (widest availability on pc's with all kinds of prices, largest software/hardware support). Just like I have no problem to state linux's prominent features (cool, cheap, bleeding edge, flexibility)

    I do feel linux is for users who
    1. have computers that are too old for windows vista, and can't afford a (new) mac
    2. has some base level knowledge of linux.
    3. has less need of professional apps like photoshop, M$ Office, etc (crossover might work tho)
    4. has less gadgets that require certain OSes (you can charge most iPods, zunes under linux, but at least for zune, no syncing is possible for now)

    all in all, Im happy there is an option like linux, OSX is a beneficiary of the development of linux, and they are, at least for now, having different user base. Its good for OSX users to know some activity on linux side. who knows when apple will just put it in next OSX release...SJ is expecting OSX to last 20 years, without the development from linux side, that 20 years would be very hard to imagine.
  17. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    One thing that stops many kinda-techie people using Linux, even Ubuntu is the difficulty of installing apps found on the web.

    There is also a lack of a good, simple music app. Songbird looks promising, but is too buggy, and iTunes is so good it can make Windows bearable.
  18. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    indeed, there are two ways of installing apps under linux, actually, its just like OSX, one is to download installer (yes, many linux distroes make this kinda tough, so repo is pretty much the only way), the other is download and extract, same mechanism as OSX's download and drag. hopefully this type of apps will grow bigger in numbers for linux.
    well, this is a mistake tho, amarok is such a top of the line app for linux, its basically on par with iTunes. I understand songbird is the most hyped since its derived from mozilla, most famous brand outside linux. but it by no means is the best music manager/player for linux


    (I have trouble to agree with "iTunes makes windows bearable", it actually makes windows unbearable, for some reason, iTunes consumes unnecessarily large amount of system resources of windows and thus slows down the windows significantly, especially when users has less than 512MB memory.)

    Its hard to blame the whole situation on one single app. I don't believe OSX's attraction can be attribute to any significant extend on iTunes.

    I mean, think this way, K3B(burning), K9copy(backup DVDs), amarok(music manager), compiz-fusion(3D desktop, now default in most distroes), pidgin(IM, code lib base for adium), avidemux (video editor), Mplayer/mencoder/ffmpeg(video manupulate, bases for isquint, visualhub), etc, are all unbelievable apps for linux. but there is nobody will switch to linux just for them.

    i.e. you can blame linux of lacking of some big time commercial apps, buts as far as finishing task is concerned, in many cases, you can do better and easier in linux than under windows/OSX, and for free.
  19. martychang macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2007
    What? I have little idea what either of those methods are, and they're certainly not the only ways, or even the most common.

    The main ways are either:
    1. get from repo using a package manager, if your distro has one.
    2. compile from a source tarball.

    The other ways I'm aware of:
    1. A very few package developer provide installers for their programs, Mozilla programs, VMWare products, Virtualbox, Abiword, etc. are some of these.
    2. non-repo packages, in Debian or Ubuntu the package developer may provide it's own .deb, same for Fedora/Mandriva/etc possibly having a premade .rpm, or Slackware having a .tgz. Once again, usually only more popular programs like VLC will offer these.
    3. There's technically nothing preventing you from compressing a binary(and all it's dependencies if you want) in a package file and distributing that, as long as the extracted binary can find what it needs it would work right away. I've never seen this method before, unless you count PC-BSD's .pbi format. TECHNICALLY this is what Slackware's .tgz format is as well.

    Regardless, if you're not in repo, chances are you're going to be compiling, and in all seriousness that's not hard at all. Once you know the process and find all the dependencies(google being our undying friend), you'll bang packages out effortlessly.

    I guess what I'm asking is how other distros make this difficult? Granted, anything you compile you have to keep track of yourself since you're outside of the package manager, and uninstall those programs manually if you ever want to, but you can put the files wherever you want, isolated from your other programs/system files if you want, so the difficulty of that is moot, as long as you make a folder for each of your compiled programs.

    Agreed on amaroK, a great media player, audacious and xmms are plenty simple as well if you truly want simple, no idea what psychofreak is talking about there.

    Really, I haven't found anything I can do on my macbook that I can't do on my Linux machine so far. Compiz even lets me do Expose on my Linux machine, not to mention the infamous cube. I may come to appreciate my mac more when I get into university for CS, and start programming, Objective-C/XCode seems like the most sensical way to program based on my understanding of it...
  20. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    well, forgive me if i didn't make myself clear.

    repo is the first way I was talking about.

    about #2, yes, compiling from source is a way, I just felt it wasn't easy enpugh for normal users. Of course for advanced users, there is nothing difficult, but advanced users are not a problem linux is facing now. Heck, the middle level users probably are fine too, like me.

    I referred the mozilla's binary, as well as opera's tar.gz etc, of being similar to mac's way of installing apps, which is easy, and I hope more developers provide this type of binary.
  21. thesdx macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2007
    I used to use Linux before I switched to the Mac. Infact, I still have Mandriva on my PC laptop. That laptop's outta here as soon as the ultra-portable is released!
  22. martychang macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2007
    Ah, sorry about the misunderstanding. I know what you mean, PC-BSD's .pbi format is the only place I know of that this is being done. If you've never used PC-BSD it's sort of like a Windows installer, it's the binary and all it's dependencies in a compressed package, with an executable graphical install wizard. You just click/doubleclick it and it asks you a couple questions about where you want it installed/optional items, and then installs it.

    The killer thing to me is that you have that granular control of finding packages yourself on the web, but you don't have to hunt all the dependencies like in Slackware, whose .tgz format is otherwise similar. Only reason I wouldn't recommend PC-BSD as the best free UNIX system for new users is because BSD still doesn't have a Flash port, no youtube or many modern websites, unless you want to use Flash 7 for a Linux 2.4 browser in emulation mode(which doesn't even work very well).

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