I will admit right away that I have not been all that hip to the Mandriva side of the fence these days, especially regarding PCLinuxOS. For myself, I have been happy with Ubuntu and for others looking at expanding into an addition OS, I have been pushing Linux Mint. Well, after looking at PCLinuxOS from head to toe, I have some new insights that I would like to share. Prepare yourselves for a little bit of a shock, as I know that I certainly was.

When I first booted the LiveCD, I felt very good about the level of detail that was put into it. I have a suspicion that much of this is Mandriva leftovers, but the fact remains that it boots very cleanly. Like Xandros and Mandriva, users will find a very well put together control panel that makes sense regardless of which OS you are used to using. Again, I cannot express just how clean this control panel was – I was in awe. Those of you enjoying the Beryl/Compiz eye candy will be delighted to discover that it has been included by default, much like with Feisty. Same idea of activating it has been employed here.

But enough of the raves, let’s examine the aspects that make or break a Linux distro for a Windows user migrating over.

Hardware detection- I would say that both Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS are on equal footing here. Everything was detected perfectly, no problems at all. PCLinuxOS however, allows me to set up my scanner without needing to download any of the SANE programs like Kooka.

Video drivers- Considering how many people are looking to try Linux to enjoy 3D effects without the cost of Windows Ultimate, this is something that I have rated as important. So now we are going to look at how the needed video drivers are to be installed to make this happen.


ATI- http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/SetupAti
NVIDIA- http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/SetupNVidia



NVIDIA – http://tinyurl.com/2uhc69
ATI – http://wiki.cchtml.com/index.php/Ubuntu_Feisty_Installation_Guide

*Both ATi and NVIDIA (Fully GUI)- http://www.albertomilone.com/nvidia_scripts1.html

Software- If there is one thing that makes or breaks an operating system for me, it is the availability of software that I need to get things done. But sometimes the offered download sources (repos) that come with a distro are not enough. And this was something that I ran into with most ndwbie friendly distros in general; Linspire, Xandros and so on. So considering this, here is a run down on software sources.









So how does all of this break down? Well, I will say the following. Unlike every other RPM based distro I have tried, PCLinuxOS was the first that did not begin tossing errors at me when running updates and installing new software. It has a vastly superior menuing system and really makes the best use out of KDE, excluding SuSE of course.

But on the flip side of this, the fact remains that Ubuntu has access (indirectly or otherwise) to more software and has a stronger community in the sense of user created add-ons like GetDeb.net, AutoMatix and Envy driver installer. I also feel Ubuntu has a clearer mission as to their release schedule, although I am very impressed with what I have seen in the latest release of PCLinuxOS.

Again, I cannot express enough just how impressed I was with PCLinuxOS. It may not be the distro for me, but this is something that I would seriously consider installing for my family members over other distros in stone cold minute, that’s for sure. Based on my findings, I am beginning to see Ubuntu as more of an “advanced beginner” to “intermediate user” distro. Same as I see OpenSuSE and Fedora for the intermediate to advanced crowd.

PCLinuxOS nails the needs of the typical home user perfectly. For the Windows convert, I can see this making a lot sense over Ubuntu. But if you try this distro and are not finding titles that you need, you may wish to consider Ubuntu. With that said though, I suspect that the Fedora RPM will offer up a shot at installing Democracy Player, but you will need to use a command line or locate kpackage (not found in the provided repos it’s there, I just did not see it) to make this happen on PCLinuxOS.