Linux Review 3- PCLinuxOS 2007

PCLinuxOS 2007
PCLinuxOS has always been criticized for shoving to much software onto it's users. That is evident, as I could find anything I want for day to day use in the menu. There is tools for CD burning, the popular, and powerful Open Office Office Suite, The GIMP(v2.3), and many others. Installing was speedy and quick, taking only a minor 10 minutes on my dual-core system. The OS was also very usable in LiveCD mode, and it was quick and speedy in my opinion. You need to manually configure your time zone, keyboard, and network interface before you actually get into the desktop, which I found odd, and you also have to go through a login process, which has a guest account and a root account. You login with passwords, guest for guest and root for root, and they give it to you at the top-left of the screen, but I just thought it would make it take longer. The installed is called Drak-Live Enhanced, and the graphic is a PCLOS Icon with a witch's hat. Further on when installing the boot loader, it is a PCLOS Icon with a hat and it shows an LCD screen with the longer PCLOS icon, which I wish I had.

Updating takes quite a while, using the 2007 version in 2008 probably should be discouraged. Why? There are 538 packages to download, and some others to remove, or some to do other things to. Looking at the summary it said "76 MB will be used, and 616 MB will be downloaded", at least I can write my review while I download it.

The large bar at the bottom made me feel cramped, so I changed it to "tiny" I still feel cramped on the 1024x768 resolution and I wish I could turn it up to 1280x1024 so it is less cramped, but I need to install video card drivers. The blue theme with KDE is my favorite theme so far, it really is easy on your eyes and it is bright and easy to read. The start menu resembles a Windos start menu, it works well, and you can find everything in there.

Something unique with PCLinuxOS is that it comes with proprietary software, such as Flash player and Sun Java. The versions of these two programs are 9 and 6 respectively. It also comes with tools such as MPlayer for playback of MP3's and Windows Media files.

After installing the proprietary NVidia drivers from synaptic, you get a nice looking NVidia Splash screen before you log in. You are also enabled to use Compiz Fusion, the 3D desktop program, and with Compiz enabled it looks very good, although I couldn't actually get the cube to turn by dragging a window, you can still make it do that by pushing CTRL+ALT+left arrow/right arrow. You also get a better resolution, I now have a true 1024x768 so It isn't so cramped, and I have full usability. It feels much better now.

If you are switching from Windos, this OS is a great choice, sure there is some setting up required, and there will be some updates, but this OS is stable, and is full of software you'd need. There will be a learning curve, but you had that with Windos anyway. If your considering switching, this is a great choice, It even looks like Windos.

The Compiz Fusion Effects are really cool, the 3DCube is on, I found the configure tool in the start menu and now it is snowing on my desktop. I also tried the Draw Fire feature, and the water effects feature, both are very well rendered and blend in nicely. I played a combat flight simulator called GL-117. With NVidia drivers enabling OpenGL, it looked great, and it achieved around 40-45 fps. This is an outstanding OS that I would defiantly use for stuff like Word and Web and it would probably make a good system rescue CD if it weren't for high requirements. PCLinuxOS is a Linux OS that needs a pretty good system. Looking at KSysGuard it shows me that 600MB of my Memory is being used, and there is 97 processes running. That's where it needs a good system. The require for proprietary drivers for a good system and effects is annoying, could NVidia or ATI make open-source drivers, or can they let the drivers be included in major distributions, or even the small distributions that not many have heard about? Downloading drivers from their website requires that you install them from the command line, new Linux users probably will not know how to do that. I wouldn't have been able to do it if it weren't for the drivers being included in the repositories, and Synaptic.

This distribution is on the top of the list at DistroWatch, and I believe it deserves it. It is easy to use and fast, and it would work great for a Win-Lin switcher. It deserves a 4.5/5, just I wish it weren't so cramped(Resolution Wise).

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