Laying to Rest the Mandriva/PCLOS Debate

The one thing about FOSS that I love is that you can take whatever you need from various sources and build what you opine is a better wheel. Take Ubuntu for instance…they took Debian and made it into something that many users are happy with.

Is this wrong? Not at all. Each day, many non-commercial distro makes wake up and check various distributions for updated security fixes. They pull source rpms, updated tar.gz’s, and debs into their distro, make minor adjustments, and drop it into their repository. Distros share with one another…they take and hopefully give back. If not monetarily, at least by the number of users that they have that may report bugs or provide fixes.

So what’s the beef that some Distrowatch Weekly commenter’s seem to have with PCLinuxOS? During the past 3 weeks of comments on the DW, some have been hounding PCLinuxOS with accusations saying that the developers hide things from their community and that PCLinuxOS eradicates changelogs and/or lights small dogs on fire while chopping kittens to bits in blenders, etc.

Myth #1: PCLinuxOS Hides the Fact it is Mandriva based (False)

PCLinuxOS.com has always had an “About” link on every single webpage it has ever had. Let’s look at what information has been conveyed there:

“PCLinuxOS was originally based on another distribution under the name of Mandriva
and shares many features of Mandriva such as the Control Center and the
Draklive Installer
. Texstar and team would like to thank the
developers, contributors and others associated with Mandriva who may
have indirectly contributed to the PCLinuxOS distribution.”

Let’s look at some other distro front pages to see how they compare. Sabayon Linux has their footer at the bottom with Gentoo in it…but no mention on the front page as to what they’re based on. No real ‘about’ link there either. Move on to Ubuntu. No mention of Debian on the front page. You have to visit the Community >> The Ubuntu Story link in order to find that it is based on Debian. Once again, no ‘about’ link on the front page.

Let’s take a look at the PCLinuxOS Page on Distrowatch shall we? This has been utterly unchanged in 4 years:

“PCLinuxOS is an English only live CD initially based on Mandrake Linux
that runs entirely from a bootable CD. Data on the CD is uncompressed
on the fly, allowing up to 2GB of programs on one CD including a
complete X server, KDE desktop, OpenOffice.org and many more
applications all ready to use. In addition to the live CD, you can also
install PCLinuxOS to your hard drive with an easy-to-use
livecd-installer. Additional applications can be added or removed from
your hard drive using a friendly apt-get front end via Synaptic.”

If that paragraph is an attempt to hide things, I’m Miles Davis.

Considering these two points, I’d say PCLinuxOS hasn’t been ‘hiding’ the fact that it is Mandriva based. I’d say they’re doing quite well with where they have this information. I welcome any comments with information otherwise. If you have specific examples, please make sure they’re from a developer and not a general user…because if general users are where we’re getting our information from, every distro is in trouble.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

  • Elliot

    I agree with you. I’m from Panama City, Panama and started with GNU/Linux since 2003 with Mandrake 8.x, then tryed many other distros including Vector, Madriva, eLive, Sabayon, OpenSuse, Mint, X_K_Ubuntu and others. Right now I’m using PCLOS and is my distro of choice, I have it installed in my Desktop and laptop and I’m very happy with it. No crashes, is fast, a good looking distro, all the necessary programs included and in general well designed.

  • Kevin

    Anybody that didn’t know PCLinuxOS was based off of Mandriva, just didn’t bother to read most information available on PCLinux’S website and other locations that cover related news. Being based on Mandriva is what attracted me to PCLiunxOS too start with.
    Trouble makers and trolls can say what ever they want to. I just right it off as them being jealous because they just can’t build there own distro and garner the following the Texstar and Ripper Gang has.

  • http://www.thenixedreport.com Thomas Holbrook II

    If you want some misleading, then just take a look at DW’s home page, and you’ll see the top ranked distros…. [b]from the past six months.[/b] That in and of itself is misleading. I currently use 2007, because it simply works. I have chosen that to be my main system for business (the magazine I am working on).

    The only complaints I have at the moment is the lack of inclusion for XMMS alternatives. I want a Winamp-like experience, and while Amarok does rok, I still miss the Winamp-like experience, with customizable skins and everything. :-)

    Also, it would be nice if in their control center if they had an option to install a driver from a separate disk. Now that would be cool.

  • ShakaZ

    Just to clears things up directly, i’m a linux user (the kind you find not worthy of giving their opinion). Not related to Mandriva, last time i installed was a Mandrake something like 8 or 10 years ago and installed PCLinuxOS latest version shortly after this whole affair.
    I generally still prefer non-commercial debian/slackware/gentoo based distros.

    Nicely misleading article, here are some major points about the whole polemic which you chose to ignore.

    Myth #1: PCLinuxOS Hides the Fact it is Mandriva based (False)

    “PCLinuxOS was [b]originally based[/b] on another distribution under the name of Mandriva.

    You put the emphasis on the wrong part of this statement. The main issue in this case was that the “originally based” bit is clearly false.

    Myth #2: PCLinuxOS Erases Spec Files to Cover Up Mandriva Roots (False)

    Here again you twisted the real issue at hand.
    What bothered Adam Williamson was that developers who had contributed to the code that PCLinuxOS borrowed had their names and contributions list removed from those files, but also that other helpfull changelog information they contained had been removed.

    Myth #6: PCLinuxOS is a STRAIGHT copy of Mandriva 2007 and Steals its Code (False)

    Despite your claims that both distros are so different due to all the rebuilding and stuff, i remember seeing a proof of the contrary posted on Distrowatch by a Mandriva teammember, think it was Adam too. He showed, picking the 1st package starting with several letters of the alphabet, that the PCLinuxOS packages were exactly the same as those from Mandriva released several months before. While he didn’t test ALL PCLinuxOS packages in this manner, his test clearly showed without doubt that many packages in PCLinuxOS were exact copies of Mandriva code, and several of them were even outdated as they didn’t contain fixes provided since then by the Mandriva team.

    I have no problem with PCLinuxOS being based on Mandriva & adding some of it’s polish to Mandriva, making it the popular distro it is. The PCLinuxOS team currently doesn’t have near the ressources needed to adapt all of Mandriva code, let alone be independant of it. So please stop trying to portray it for what it’s not.

    Myth #8: Texstar Does Not Submit Feedback Upline to Mandriva (Partially True)

    You might as well have said true…

    I also notice that you ignored the statement by Texstar (as seen on DW & on the PCLinuxOS forums thread on this matter) where he acknowledges all those issues and says he will do something about it… like not stripping the changelogs completely, and checking with Mandriva if they can find a way for PCLinuxOS to upstream their improvements.

    That’s the spirit, take some give some…

  • burpnrun

    It sounds like sour grapes and aggrieved egos over at Mandriva. As should be the case when somebody *listens* to users, then takes something and improves it, tests the heck out of it, and then releases and supports it free of charge.

    Too bad Mandriva wailers waste their and our time moaning and complaining, rather than improving their fading distribution.

    I used to be a Mandrake/iva user, and a RH user. Now I’m an openSuse user who is carefully evaluating the surprising goodness, quality and responsiveness of the PClinuxOS 2007 release, in case openSuse screws up 10.3 too.

    I tried the free version of Spring 2007 and, sorry, it wasn’t ready for prime time. An embarrassment, in fact. So Mandriva should mend their own fences long before planning to tear down their neighbour’s just because it “offends their sensibilities”.

    Moaners and wailers, the lot of them. If they spent the same time and energy improving their woe-begotten product, instead of tearing down someone else’s, this ugly dialogue wouldn’t be going on at all. And Mandriva’s offerings wouldn’t be slipping into oblivion while PClinuxOS’s continue their rise through second place at DW.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    First off, you approach this wrong. You state that I’m misleading. That implies that I’m purpously and with ill intent trying to FUD over people on this issue. For that point alone you negate any argument you try to make. You don’t know me from anyone else so claiming to know my intentions is pompous and wrong…FYI: my ‘users’ comment was made so that people would stop referring to standard PCLinuxOS users comments in Distrowatch Weekly because those users were not privy to technical information on either OS.

    If you were really interested in helping this debate that exists, you’d have posted this as possible corrections instead of arrogantly assuming you know me and my intentions.

    Plus, if you were really interested and supportive of Open Source, specifically, Linux…you’d want in-fighting and FUD to stop and you’d have approached this once again different than the less than humble way you did.

    Despite this argument ad hominem…I’ll respond to YOUR attempts not to help, but to hinder clarification in this issue.

    [quote]Myth #1: PCLinuxOS Hides the Fact it is Mandriva based (False)

    “PCLinuxOS was originally based on another distribution under the name of Mandriva.

    You put the emphasis on the wrong part of this statement. The main issue in this case was that the “originally based” bit is clearly false.[/quote]
    No I don’t. I put the emphasis on the right points that those leaving comments on distrowatch were talking about. My aim of this article is to address them, not you.

    Is Ubuntu based on Debian? Is it ‘originally’ based on it? Is MEPIS ‘originally’ based on Ubuntu and now switching back to Debian? The line is blurred because these distros are SEPARATE from their parent distro…and that is the aim of PCLinuxOS. It is a distro originally based on Mandriva now doing it’s own thing.

    [quote]Myth #2: PCLinuxOS Erases Spec Files to Cover Up Mandriva Roots (False)

    Here again you twisted the real issue at hand.
    What bothered Adam Williamson was that developers who had contributed to the code that PCLinuxOS borrowed had their names and contributions list removed from those files, but also that other helpfull changelog information they contained had been removed. [/quote]
    No, the issue was that developers in the code that PCLinuxOS grabbed from Mandriva had their names in the SPEC file I was speaking of…some of them going back 2 years and many hundred changed. These names were removed and after Adam was given the reason, he was fine with it.

    The word “roots” means affinity in this case…as it does many times in the English language. It doesn’t mean just the distribution roots…it means the changelogs, code, dev contribution, spec files, etc. It’s the whole kit and kaboodle.

    [quote]Myth #6: PCLinuxOS is a STRAIGHT copy of Mandriva 2007 and Steals its Code (False)

    Despite your claims that both distros are so different due to all the rebuilding and stuff, i remember seeing a proof of the contrary posted on Distrowatch by a Mandriva teammember, think it was Adam too. He showed, picking the 1st package starting with several letters of the alphabet, that the PCLinuxOS packages were exactly the same as those from Mandriva released several months before. While he didn’t test ALL PCLinuxOS packages in this manner, his test clearly showed without doubt that many packages in PCLinuxOS were exact copies of Mandriva code, and several of them were even outdated as they didn’t contain fixes provided since then by the Mandriva team.

    I have no problem with PCLinuxOS being based on Mandriva & adding some of it’s polish to Mandriva, making it the popular distro it is. The PCLinuxOS team currently doesn’t have near the ressources needed to adapt all of Mandriva code, let alone be independant of it. So please stop trying to portray it for what it’s not. [/quote]

    Let’s also take note that PCLOS was synced in NOVEMBER 2006…so there are going to be TONS of similarities in it…and if you pick out alphabetic packages, you’re bound to see them. However, plucking out a few packages and claiming things are a straight copy doesn’t prove anything. A much larger study would have to take place…otherwise, one could look at Windows and claim since it shares parts of a BSD TCP/IP stack that it’s a straight copy of Unix. Dipping your toe in the ocean and finding out it’s cold doesn’t make the ocean cold everywhere. You should keep this in mind because it’s what you’re claiming.

    So yes, you’re going to see more similarities than differences. The aim of PCLOS is to be independent now. Should I stop trying to tell this intention because you said so? Go ahead and have him test again…he’ll have the same findings…PCLOS shares much of Mandriva synced in November 2006. I guarantee that as time goes on, less and less of it will match up as the intention of moving PCLOS in other directions is clear.

    The major changes are KDE repackaged, init, and the kernel. Last I checked if you roll your own kernel, make UI changes and change the ways something boots…you’ve got quite a bit of divergence. The myth here busted is that PCLinuxOS just took a STRAIGHT COPY of Mandriva and rebranded it. It’s not misinformation here…it’s factual. I’m not trying to mislead anyone. Compare the two and you’ll see more similarities than differences….but just the same you’ll still see divergence…much like looking at two cars you’ll see they share many of the same things but have unique identifiers that make them a Chevy, or a Ford.

    [quote]Myth #8: Texstar Does Not Submit Feedback Upline to Mandriva (Partially True)

    You might as well have said true…

    I also notice that you ignored the statement by Texstar (as seen on DW & on the PCLinuxOS forums thread on this matter) where he acknowledges all those issues and says he will do something about it… like not stripping the changelogs completely, and checking with Mandriva if they can find a way for PCLinuxOS to upstream their improvements.

    That’s the spirit, take some give some…[/quote]

    Once again with the spec files.

    Let’s look at facts shall we? There was a perceived problem which boils down to hurt feelings because the spec files were trimmed. The license for the rpm is not MIT or artistic so you are not required to keep anything in the spec files…but Tex went ahead and changed things to make people happy. It’s time to move past this argument because it’s over. The horse is dead, leave it be…everyone is satisfied with the outcome, why aren’t you?

    It’s also important to note that the GPL doesn’t require that developers submit anything upstream in order to use GPL licensed code. If Mandriva apologizes to Texstar for outing him and calling his packages crap, I’m sure he might be more inclined to work with them. Then again, I don’t know because I’m not him. I do know that he’s very easy to work with and I’ve worked with many, many, many people in open source and Linux including many people who shape the kernel and shape much of the Linux landscape today. He’s one of the best and easiest to work with.

    As I said, PCLOS intends to fully diverge as much as possible from Mandriva. Upstream communication therefore will not be needed because it will hinder rather than help. So things worked themselves out in this respect.

  • http://www.happyassassin.net Adam Williamson

    Shaka: I’m entirely happy with devnet’s post made here. I consider the issues that have been raised between MDV and PCLOS resolved, and I have no issues with anything devnet has written in this post.

    Thomas: the ‘last six months’ thing on Distrowatch means that the time span being measured is the last six months – it’s counting the last six months of hits. It doesn’t mean it only refers to distros released in the last six months.

    burpnrun: who are where are these mythical Mandriva wailers? Please do introduce me to them. Shaka explicitly said he has nothing to do with Mandriva and doesn’t use it. I’ve never wailed about anything, merely explained the extent to which PCLOS uses Mandriva work to people who seemed to be unaware of it. Note that this does not include devnet, Texstar, or anyone else actually involved in PCLOS development, it only ever involved certain enthusiastic PCLOS boosters from outside the development team.

    And please don’t use fake quotes. “offends their sensibilities” is YOUR text, no one else’s, so don’t put it in quotation marks. No-one related to Mandriva or otherwise has said PCLOS offends their sensibilities.

    Mandriva employs myself and Rick James as English-speaking community representatives, and Remi Mathieu as a French-speaking community representative. We monitor all available Mandriva discussion areas, such as the official forums, mailing lists, third party forums like MandrivaUsers, and Mandriva discussion on other sites. Mandriva development is entirely open and conducted on public mailing lists with the involvement of Mandriva developers and volunteers. This means there are countless ways for Mandriva users to have their voices heard, and they are. I’ve lost count of the amount of updates and backports I have built for 2007 Spring based on user requests at the official forums or at MandrivaUsers.

    And in conclusion, Distrowatch’s rankings are not reliable measures of popularity or use, and you’d be a fool to set any stock by them. We said this the entire time we were ranked #1 on Distrowatch, and we continue to say it now we’re not.

    Adam Williamson
    Mandriva

  • sour grapes and aggrieved egos

    Talk about sour grapes and aggrieved egos!
    “I tried the free version of Spring 2007 and, sorry, it wasn’t ready for prime time. An embarrassment, in fact.”

    Watch what is falling from the hole you call a mouth before you start speaking about sour grapes and aggrieved egos!

    Kubuntu rock!

  • Jose

    I won’t attack Texstar, and I won’t defend Mandriva for not valuing Texstar. It is foolish, however, to ignore the significant springboard Mandriva/Mandrake provided for any distro that forked off it.

    That said, Texstar, Mandriva, and everyone else, including every single user, owe a bunch to an awful lot of people. No one has done so much as to have it be said they are mostly responsible for any distro.

  • davecs

    You won’t catch me attacking Mandriva. Were it not for Mandrake 9.x series, I would probably not be a Linux user today.

    A possible reason for PCLinuxOS’s popularity is that, the official version at least, does not seek to serve more than one master. Mandriva has little choice in this matter, having to satisfy its corporate users, free downloaders and everyone in between.

    Texstar and the Ripper Gang can concentrate on the SOHO user, and thanks to the community that has sprung up around PCLinuxOS, can leave Business, Educational, Music, Lightweight, etc, variants to others.

    Mandriva meets its mandate as well as it can, ultimately its a business and decisions have to be made. It makes its money from people who want a Linux system and are prepared to pay for it, with support and such thrown in.

    PCLinuxOS has a different mandate, more community oriented. It aims to bring free Linux to those who haven’t tried it or want a more simple experience.

    That’s why they are on different paths, that’s what drives the diversion between them. They both do what they do well. For a Home User like me, PCLinuxOS is better suited. I can’t speak for others.

  • http://tinyme.mypclinuxos.com KDulcimer

    How does Audacity sound? I’m including in the next release of TinyMe (which is PCLOS-based). http://tinyme.mypclinuxos.com

  • http://www.thenixedreport.com Thomas Holbrook II

    [quote]
    Thomas: the ‘last six months’ thing on Distrowatch means that the time span being measured is the last six months – it’s counting the last six months of hits. It doesn’t mean it only refers to distros released in the last six months.[/quote]

    I understand it pertains to page hits as opposed to released distros. However, it can be used as a general gauge for determining popular distributions. The span of six months is still mis-leading. Things need to be done for a span of seven days, and [b]then the option for a 30 day span can be chosen[/b].

    [quote]
    And in conclusion, Distrowatch’s rankings are not reliable measures of popularity or use, and you’d be a fool to set any stock by them. We said this the entire time we were ranked #1 on Distrowatch, and we continue to say it now we’re not.[/quote]

    Understandable, hence why I am also saying that it can be used as a gauge to a degree. If it is in the top 100, then it’s a basic guarantee that people have at least heard of it. Everything can be easily manipulated to cause a distro to look like it is #1, even if it is absolutely horrible. I was simply airing a pet peeve of mine about that site, which is a good site for news of releases and such. They just need to move site rankings closer to real time imo.

  • http://gettinther.googlepages.com/home Gettinther

    I package apps for pclinuxos. As a matter of fact I also helped to build mandriva packages for compiz-fusion. Why are most packages similar? Because the source codes, that are distribution independant, for most do not require patching so the spec files are minimal. The main work only consist of rebuilding them against the installed libraries.
    Tex respects enough Mandriva to have chosen to keep the mandriva layout when building spec files (so do I) and that’s why spec files will be so similar.
    Pclinuxos is what Mandriva could have been if they had made different choices. I just hope they will accept to learn from Pclinuxos to become something even better than they currently are. Tex showed then the path, it’s up to Mandriva to follow it.

  • Barrabus

    First Houston radio, then the Indy 500, and now this. Can’t you do anything without making people mad?

    If it was one instance, people could dismiss it as a fluke or somebody with an agenda. But when you and helios are always in the hot seat month after month while denying accussations, it looks pathetic. Either there’s a world-wide conspiracy and the knights of the Templar and the Illuminatti are in on it, or you’re guilty of everything.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    Hiya Barrabus,

    No idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never been to Houston…I live in Raleigh, NC. The indy 500 was something that Tux500 did…I was a supporter of the project with blogging and donated 10 dollars but that’s as far as I got with involvement.

    Helios is my friend and has been since 2003. I host his website and help him with CMS stuff…as for his message, he’s responsible for it. Sometimes I support what he says and post about it…other times I don’t and say nothing.

    Thanks for making a comment with a topic that has nothing to do with the posted entry.

    If you have something to say, hit the forums at mypclinuxos.com and I’ll debate you til your hearts content. Your posts here that are off topic will not be approved.

  • Chris

    Mandriva, PCLOS, what does it matter? They’re both excellent distros and having the control center really makes those two stand out.

    As for Ubuntu, it is very dependent on Debian. In order to make Ubuntu, the Ubuntu devs take a snapshot of all the debian packages of all the packages and attempt to make it “stable”.

  • http://PCLOS RadOH

    Thank You devnet, Mandrake was free, mandriva as said above serves two mistress’s 1 for profit, this side controls the other and thats life, real life. PCLinuxOS as TEX has stated many times is free today and as far as he can see will stay free. As long as the FREE is out here all for profit OS’s are in competition for the users and like M$ for there money. So the long road as I have seen in the past will be the same in the future. FUD with out facts to support any other reasoning.

  • Bones113

    It seems to me that some mandriva user’s are a bit jealous of the success and popularity of pclinuxos.Mandriva is a fine distro and has been a backbone of the linux world.The bottom line is that linux is made to be diced,sliced etc in a way that make evryone benifit from each other’s work.I appreciate what mandriva has meant to pclinuxos but the fact is that pclinuxos is a rock solid distro in it’s own right and will be a player in the linux world.People should get used to it.This argument is dead as far as I am concerned.I have alway’s knew that pclinuxos was first based on mandriva/mandrake.It has been no secret.Move on people.

  • JAFO

    I’ve started using Linux with Mandrake 8.0 and now with Mandriva Spring 2007 and the first time I installed PCLinuxOS and went to the control panel, I knew right away that it was Mandriva based.

    Maybe you can do a follow up article about the major differences in both distro besides the icons that would make me want to switch.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    No need for another article. Look at Myth #6

  • Chris

    Looks like Mandriva finally dropped the subscription for its club. Now you can be part of it for free. To me, that shows Mandriva is turning around in the right direction.

  • ZakoZ

    “PCLinux is based on Mandriva” and “Mint is based on Ubuntu” yada yada yada. I can tell you guys that the scores for ‘End-User-friendliness’ are not remotely congruent.

    Of the scores for ‘Killer Apps lurking in the repositories’, PCLOS stands alone; regardless of what Control Centers look like.

    Now the ‘Customer Satisfaction’ score that seems to piss a whole lot of Linux Lovers off for some unknown reason: ‘Linux worth PAYING FOR’. Please, no more calls; we have a winner: PCLinuxOS.

    The only distro that made it from Live-CD to permanent single-boot installation; so I sent in my donations.