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Could PCLinuxOS 2007 Spell Death for Windows on the Desktop?

Oct 05, 2007, 00:00 (49 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kenneth Hess)

[ Thanks to Kenneth Hess for this article. ]

I have been using Linux for about 12 years now and a few weeks ago I discovered PCLinuxOS 2007. Being so impressed with this new, fast, and super easy to use Linux distribution, has made me not only an advocate but an evangelist. And I am a guy that can use any distribution out there regardless of the number of tweaks it needs to be ready for use. I have used a lot of different distributions over the years as my personal Desktop: Slackware, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Gentoo, WhiteBox, and maybe a few others. This one has them all beat and is, as they advertise, Radically Simple.

PCLinuxOS 2007 sports a snappy KDE interface that falls somewhere between the look and feel of Windows XP and the fresh coolness of Vista without all the heaviness that accompanies Vista. At 700MB, the CD is packed full of productivity applications like OpenOffice.org, Multimedia programs, and Remote Access tools.

For starters, PCLinuxOS 2007 is not another Mandriva clone. Its kernel has been recompiled--explaining its responsiveness and it uses the Synaptic Package Manager to install, update, and remove software packages. Once installed, you gain access to over 5,000 more software packages to complete any fully-equipped Desktop computer.

The hardware detection capabilities are also very impressive. I inserted a USB Pendrive into my laptop with the Live CD as my OS and it was immediately available in all applications and on my Desktop as a little icon. The beauty of the way it handled that USB Pendrive is that I don't need to know the device name to use it. I can drag and drop files to it or use any application to save my data.

The system is also managed by a set of Wizards in the Control Center. There are about 50 Wizards that manage shared directories, user accounts, hardware, and more. Installation is very simple too using the installation Wizard on the Desktop. The Wizard requires no knowledge of hardware, device names, or networking to successfully install itself and become useful to the new user.

This distribution is so simple and the look and feel is so familiar that any user, regardless of age or expertise, could install and enjoy it as their personal desktop operating system.

I like PCLinuxOS 2007. It is a great effort by the developers to create an easy to use but productive and useful distribution. As soon as my backup finishes, PCLinuxOS 2007 is about to get installed on my laptop. Radically Simple and Radically Cool.

Goodbye Windows. Maybe you can have the server market now. Oh wait, Linux does that better, too. Never mind.

Ken Hess is a freelance technical writer on a variety of open source topics and is the "On the Desktop" columnist for Linux Magazine. You may contact him via his website.

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