You may recall that I had mentioned that I bought a new hard disk for use with Server 2003 software which left me with a old 20G drive just begging to be used. And on Tuesday we had some down time, so I thought I would play with some Linux distro’s. And I took 3 out for a quick spin around the block.

Mandriva 2007 Free – this is a whopping 4.4G .iso file which has all the bells and whistles from workstation to server software all included. Plus a super great package of software products. I have used Mandriva before and have always found it a great product. But since this was the Free product, you don’t get the grownup support like the paid version. But I was able to use a free site Mandy pointed me to, to get my wireless card working. But I had to use the command console to do this, which may not be to comfortable for new users. But once this was done, it functioned perfectly. Only minor problem I noted was that in the log off screen there were no option to shutdown, so I used to power button to complete this task. Overall experience was pleasant and I can easily recommend this distro.

Next it was Kubuntu 6.10. I just like the KDE GUI better than Gnome. Installation was quick and very user friendly. You don’t get asked to many questions here. Once setup, Kubuntu was quickly up and running including a auto download for my wireless network card. Compared to Mandy, Kubuntu comes with less software at startup, but the user is able to readily install any software they need by using the built-in apt-get system. This is a very easy distro. to use and it it easy to see why it has become so popular. I believe that once Linspire and Ubuntu/Kubuntu get Click-n-Run up and running, this distro. is only going to increase in popularity. Everything I tried worked perfectly. Once I got Firefox installed I was a happy camper. I highly recommend this distro. for those who are new to Linux.

And one of my personal favorites has been PCLinuxOS 2007 [beta] , which is a derivative of Mandriva. The first thing I noticed was a new sleek design. Gone were the cartoon like characters that had been in past versions. This new version screams at the user, ‘heh, I’m here to work – not play”. Everything worked perfectly on first boot including my wireless with no drivers to load plus Firefox is pre-installed as well. And PCLinuxOS 2007 has a fine compliment of software ready to go without the need for downloading stuff to make the system useable. A great distro. and the best of those tested.

My ranking of the distro’s:

  1. PCLinuxOS 2007 – professional look and ready to replace Windows on the desktop right out of the box.
  2. Unbuntu/Kunbuntu – easy to use and great for new users. Can only improve once Click-N-Run becomes available.
  3. Mandriva – stable and comes with the best software options, including server software.

PCLinuxOS 2007 is well worth taking a look at. It is a contender for replacing the Windows Desktop with it’s clean lines and sleek appearance. I really like the look and feel. Your mileage may vary.
[tags]linux, mandriva, kubuntu, ubuntu, pclinuxos[/tags]