I Prefer LINUX on my Computer
For a non-WINDOWS non-M$ Operating System, I like LINUX and my preferred LINUX distro is "PCLinuxOS."
Why Do I Love Linux? Let Me Count The Ways...
Some cavalier, random and completely novice thoughts and experiences I have been having finding the LINUX distro that is right for me.
I have switched Linux Distros. Again. I'm into Tux now. “Tux” in computer geekdom implies penguins. And penguins in the computer world could only mean LINUX!
A “Distro” is an abbreviation of “Distribution” being either:
* 1) A package of the Linux kernel with a desktop interface and numerous programs
* 2) A set of software components, typically (but not necessarily) open source components, that have been packaged into a larger product or component
Dating Linux Distros
I started out using a Linux distro called “Puppy”. It was fun, fast and it is a very small footprint. I learned a little bit about Linux and became hooked. It reminded me of the good ol’ carefree days of DOS. Before WINDOWS, I lived in DOS, the “Disk Operating System” that was the only way to do anything in a computer back in the day of i286 and earlier
I was liking it. Linux can be fun and you get a sense of “being involved” with what is happening with your computer.
I switched to another distro called “DSL” (”Damn Small Linux”) for awhile. Then, -what did I try next? I forget. I casually dated a few available Linux distros but I ended up almost going steady with a relatively newcomer, “PCLinuxOS”. We had an off and on relationship for several months. More on than off, I’m delighted to say. It was becoming serious, this love of "PCLinuxOS." My 'ex' however (-that’s “XP” to everyone else) still had a strong hold over me.
Then, I switched to Ubuntu to 'play the field.' I don’t why or what inspired me to try Ubuntu. I just have this secret crush on Linux and all her lovely sisters and good things were being said about Ubuntu.
More than an anti-MS diatribe, the whole concept of “open source” appeals to me on some primary level and I wanted some. The same could be argued of any Linux Distro but the Ubuntu mantra of “It Just Works” appealed deeply to my very core and isn’t that the Holy Grail of a computer’s Operating System, that they “just work?”
Growing Pains Learning Linux
But with Ubuntu I had this nagging problem that it returned errors on start-up trying to mount (”install drivers”) for my multiple USB ports. It “searched” for about a minute to find an appropriate driver I guess, before failing. It was returning one error message and then moving on to the NEXT USB port, returning a failed error for that, etc. I have six USB ports so this process took awhile. To boot Ubuntu took about 6 or 7 minutes it seemed (probably a bit less, but easily 3X longer than booting Windows_XP! That hurt!)
I could not really get any “help” with this, -even in the Ubuntu forums the best answer that anyone could provide was a sincere albeit slightly smug reply of “…what a wonderful opportunity for you to learn something new!” And yeah, their glass really is half-full.
I didn’t really NEED my USB ports as much as I needed Ubuntu to start-up in under 7-minutes. That is what I needed.
These people were of course, completely and undeniable correct about the “you could learn” bit. But I wasn’t after a deep learning experience just yet. I wanted a faster boot-time and solution to solving the USB error messages.
What I wanted (and let’s be brutally honest) was a handout FIX.
A “download this and run it” solver patch. Whatever. Even a “cheat sheet” D-I-Y would suffice. A ‘do this, this and then do this, and voilá! FIXED!’
-Wasn’t happening folks. I should have figured this out. Yes, I have missed an important opportunity to LEARN something useful that *I* could have shared with other Ubuntu users. Ubuntu is an awesome distro but that it was not working right just pained me too much. I wanted it to, well, keep it’s vows and ...just work.
So, just over a week ago I switched to little sister KUBUNTU. I have heard that it is very easy to learn, etc.
With KUBUNTU, the USB ports were now being recognized and the interface was pretty awesome, beautiful and pristine. Yet, it is seemed MORE confusing than even UBUNTU! There are just too many choices.
KDE has been around longer than GNOME so there’s more support for it just and there are many more programs for it. But that isn’t necessarily a GOOD thing for the quintessential Linux newbie. Can too many choices be a bad thing? (A rhetorical question. I am not expecting any challenges and they will go un-answered if there are any).
It just felt to me that KUBUNTU has this inherent “clunkiness” about it. It just seemed to be struggling to do anything.
For example, for two days I played around with the CD-player AMORAK trying to get something in the way of music out of my CD-player, but with no luck. Come to find out, it was working, -I just had to turn the sound up to 100% to actually HEAR anything!
Rather faint, but there was sound... Granted, my sound card is a cheapie but it WORKS and it should be quite audible at even 50% volume.
So, in desperation, I found and installed old flame http://www.pclinuxos.com/ PCLinuxOS 2007. Okay… WOW!!!! They changed a LOT of things with PCLinuxOS! A new desktop, faster load-time, -a new attitude! The whole experience is slipstreamed.
PCLinuxOS is still KDE, the “K-Desktop Environment” and while I am the most comfortable using the other environment “GNOME”, this has a welcoming feeling about it. PCLinuxOS is set-up very similar to XP. Things like programs and folders are in an intuitive place! I can learn this!
I have read that PCLinuxOS was originally based upon Mandrake 9.2 but later changed to Mandriva 2007. Maybe this is the notable change I mentioned? I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the same distro that I used over a year ago. It is better!
More Praise for PCLinuxOS
It’s very slick, smooth, -even more so than before. Easy to use, very intuitive! For me it loads in about one-minute fifteen seconds to the “log-on” screen and another 15-seconds for me to type my phat-def password in and then, I’m lovin' Linux again. A “under 2-minute start-up” beats Ubuntu/Kubuntu’s 3 and 5+minute respectively start-up times!
In fairness, the faults here are probably all mine. Other people have not had the difficulty with the Ubuntu/Kubuntu distros as I have. Or, -maybe they have and they are not reporting them? I don’t know. I have not been to the Ubuntu forum in awhile. But I’m definitely going to drop by the PCLinuxOS boards. I like my new PCLinux Operating System. I like it a lot.
Instead of ‘It just works’ and “It just works barely” I’ve gone back to “PCLinuxOS” and likely here I shall stay for a long, long time. They herald PCLinuxOS as “the distro-hopper stopper”. I readily concur.
The opinions expressed in this article, while biased are to be taken somewhat lightly. But they are free to become your own. That is true “open source” folks.
I recommend to anyone interested in trying Linux to give PCLinuxOS a chance.