Linux Mint 10 Reviewed – Part #1

I was going to wait and do a 30 day review, but I found that Mint is just too good to not pass along.

I must admit that it has been just about 12 months since I had last tested a Linux distribution. During my past experiences, I normally uninstalled whatever distribution I tried, because I either had issues getting a wireless connection or was unable to print to my HP laser Jet via a print server. Either of these is a deal breaker for me. I also spent way too much time trying to configure either the wireless connection or printer and basically just gave up. I won’t bore you with the installation details, since you have one of three choices. You can install as a standalone OS, dual-boot [this was what I opted to do} , or run as a Live CD.

I choose the dual-boot option because I wanted to give Mint a fair shot at testing. Running any Linux version as a Live CD normally runs slow and you can not save settings nor install software for testing. I also wanted to be able to access Windows 7 during testing, because I intended to transfer my personal stuff over to Mint, where possible.

Here is the Mint 10 desktop at startup:

The desktop is simple and I actually liked the simple gray background. The logo is an M with a small 10 in the upper right corner. Nothing fancy but in a simple way it is elegant. What I really liked is the ‘Welcome To Linux Mint’ menu. The menu contain a help guide in .pdf format as well as a link to install all of the packages that come on the DVD.

Also located on the welcome menu are New Features, Known Problems, Tutorials, Forums, Chat and other useful information. add

Setting up my wireless to the Internet was a snap. Like most operating systems I have used, Windows XP, Vista, 7, the new Chrome and other Linux versions, I setup my wireless connection manually to my router. It rarely every shows up as one of the found connections, but once setup, works flawlessly. Mint was easy to set up but more importantly, instantly connects when I boot into Mint.

Next, I was able to set up my printer from a wireless print server, including the correct driver for my HP Laser Jet 1100. Printing is flawless and the pages come out perfect.

This was enough for me to start using Mint full-time.

The first thing I did was to install all of the add-ons that I used for Firefox on Windows 7. I next set up my blog add-ons and tweaked all of my settings. Everything ran perfectly. In fact what I immediately noticed was how fast Firefox ran, compared to Windows 7 install.

I setup Thunderbird to handle all three of my email accounts. I have my private email for personal use from my ISP, a Gmail account for Google alerts and mics. emails and a MSN – Hotmail account required by Microsoft as an MVP.

I also needed a program to replace Quickbooks Started Edition for some very minor accounting matters. I found GNUCash and setup two new accounts. Thus far GNUCash is meeting my needs.

I have also downloaded software, including PCLinuxOS. I used the software Brasero and burned the .iso image easily. I am also going to try dual-layer DVDs to see if I am able to rip video using K3b. Should be interesting to see what happens.

So why did I download PCLinuxOS? I wanted to see if PCLinuxOS had improved, but unfortunately, I couldn’t setup my wireless. Where Mint was simple to set up my wireless Internet and wireless print server, I just couldn’t get PCLinuxOS to play well with my hardware.

Mint also has a great video player named Totem. It worked great viewing video I tried and the streaming was extremely smooth. No problems what so ever.

Mint also has a very easy to use Software Manger that is broken down into categories. I downloaded some software just to try the manager and it works perfectly. I am impressed with the ease in using this. I am impressed with this feature and believe Mint has done and outstanding job.

I have installed Picasso, Google Earth, K3b, Google Chrome, plus additional software that was installed when I updated to the DVD edition.

So what isn’t working correctly or that I had issues with.?

Power options issues. I selected , when possible, to spin down the hard disk in power saving mode. When this happens and the laptop goes to sleep, I need to hit the power button to wake the machine back up. Once I disabled this feature, all was well. No biggie. More of an observation than a complaint. :-)

Take a look at the Linux Mint Community site and see what you think.

Comments welcome.

Source – Mint

PS Stay tuned for part #2.

PCLinuxOS Magazine – Special Issue Available

Over at the PCLinuxOS site, they have a special edition of their magazine in .pdf format available for download. If you are a PCLinuxOS user you can also get free copies of the magazine as well. I checked out the special edition and there are some articles that may be of interest especially if you are new to PCLinuxOS. On their site they have the following information:

PCLinuxOS Magazine, Special issue (Issue 29) is available to download. You can find it at the PCLinuxOS Magazine website. If you’d like to be informed immediately about our releases, please signup for the Magazine-Announce mailing list .

As we always do, the HTML version is simultaneously being published for low bandwidth users. The HTML Site is W3C standards compliant for easy browsing.

Some highlights include:

  1. PCLinuxOS is great
  2. Impressive Quality
  3. Testimonial
  4. PCC
  5. and more..

Get your free copy today.

Comments welcome.

Source

June 2008 PCLinuxOS Magazine Available

The June 2008 PCLinuxOS Magazine is now available for download. PCLinuxOS is one of the better distribution available and is highly recommended for new users. In this months issue are the following:

PCLinuxOS Magazine, June 2008 (Issue 22) is available to download. You can find it at the PCLinuxOS Magazine website. If you’d like to be informed immediately about our releases, please signup for the Magazine-Announce mailing list .

 

As we always do, the HTML version is simultaneously being published for low bandwidth users. The HTML Site is W3C standards compliant for easy browsing.

Some highlights include:

  1. What is root?
  2. Configuring a 5 Button Mouse
  3. Burn an ISO Disk
  4. Google Goodies
  5. And more…


Please note that the magazine is released under the Creative Commons Atribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 license
unless otherwise stated on the articles themselves. By downloading this magazine you acknowledge and accept this license agreement.

Thanks for your interest in PCLinuxOS! If you feel you’d like to contribute to future issues, please check out the contribute link in the main menu. If you have any suggestions, comments, corrections, or letters to the editor, feel free to submit them this way or send an email to [email protected] <!– var prefix = ‘ma’ + ‘il’ + ‘to’; var path = ‘hr’ + ‘ef’ + ‘=’; var addy38460 = ‘mag’ + ‘@’; addy38460 = addy38460 + ‘pclosmag’ + ‘.’ + ‘com’; document.write( ” ); document.write( addy38460 ); document.write( ” ); //–>\n <!– document.write( ” ); //–> This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it <!– document.write( ” ); //–>

Thanks and enjoy!

 

PDF Version June 2008 (Issue 22)

HTML Version June 2008 (Issue 22)

You got beat the price either. It’s FREE!

Comments welcome.

PCLinuxOS And Ubuntu Examined

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.

PCLinuxOS

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

And…

Ubuntu

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.

PCLinuxOS

http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/QuickStartSynaptic

http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/HowToInstallSoftware

and…

Ubuntu

http://monkeyblog.org/ubuntu/installing.html

http://www.getdeb.net/

http://www.getautomatix.com/

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.

[tags]PCLInuxOS,Ubuntu,Linux,software,drivers,hardware,support[/tags]

PCLinuxOS Launching Hardware Certification Program

It seems that the folks over at PCLinuxOS are taking it serious the hope of having OEM’s distribute pre-installed copies of Linux on computer systems and are offering a free certification program to prove their point. Though certification by Linux software companies is not new, most charge a fee for certification. The folks at PCLinuxOS are going to do this on their own with the support of volunteers to do the testing.

Over at Linux.com the article states that:

The certification team plans to test computer models with the latest version of the distribution and, if it proves compatible, allow the manufacturer to add a “Certified — Works with PCLinusOS” label to the computer’s packaging. Initially, the team plans to perform certification testing without vendor participation and report results unsolicited to manufacturers.

Requirements for being PCLOS-certified are not yet fleshed out, but the general yardstick has been defined as “out of the box” compatibility with prebuilt systems. According to HWDB founder Jeremiah Summers, “the assumption [is] that the performance will be as the manufacturer intended when the device was designed, or that the manufacturer has provided drivers that come with an installer that is easy to use while still not degrading any performance for the hardware.” Summers will work with volunteers from the PCLOS community on the certification program.

I think the idea of surprising manufacturers with the results is a great. This will surely demonstrate to the OEM’s that these folks are serious about seeing Linux distributed on new computer systems. If you are not famaliar with PCLinuxOS it is one of the easier Linux distributions to use. The product comes on a Live-CD so there is no need to install Linux on your box in order to run it. If you do decide to install PCLinuxOS on your system, there is a simple desktop icon labeled “install” that will start the install process.

I personally wish to thank the volunteers at PCLinuxOS for taking the ‘bulls by the horn’ and getting Linux moving into mainstream use. Good job.

Full article here.

[tags]linux, pclinuxos, certification, hardware, [/tags]

Linux – I Took Mandriva 2007, Kubuntu 6.10 and PCLinuxOS 2007 All Out For A Quick Spin

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]