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) 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, 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.

Debunking Confusion in PCLinuxOS

Active readers of this blog know that I help out with a little distribution called PCLinuxOS. I help out through my other website which is a community development website where like minded individuals can gather together to develop add-ons, customizations, and other items to PCLinuxOS to tailor it to what they want in a distro. It’s a great concept and one that has been gathering quite a bit of support from the PCLinuxOS community.

This week, Distrowatch Weekly has redone their top 10 distributions and included PCLinuxOS inside of that top ten for the first time ever. In fact, when I began using PCLinuxOS, it was around 15th on the distrowatch charts. If you look at 2005 vs. 2006 charts, you’ll see that out of the top 15 distros tracked, PCLinuxOS was the largest gainer over the course of that year. I like to think that mypclinuxos (started Mar 27, 2006) had a lot to do with that…and I don’t ask for any recognition at all…but take great satisfaction in helping what I believe to be the premiere Linux distribution for new users gain ground.

As stated, Distrowatch Weekly named PCLinuxOS as one of the “Top Ten” distributions and I was very happy about this. What was less than stellar was some of the negative feedback that resulted from this announcement. I realize that much of the feedback is based on false assumptions, ignorance, and fanboism…but just the same, I found a couple of comments I’d like to respond to so that the correct information is available for everyone to see.

Read more

Why I Choose PCLinuxOS

There’s been quite a few postings and articles on new users and Linux flourishing during the past year. The reason I believe this to be is that desktop Linux is approaching or has arrived at the tipping point where it can gain mainstream adoption. People are seeing Linux as a viable alternative to Microsoft. My wife recently had me nuke the dual boot computer and go with Linux due to Windows Media Player 11 restrictions set to come out when it is released. Her main concern is being told by companies how she should be able to listen to her music after she’s bought it…kinda like buying a car and the dealer tells you where you can drive it and how you can. She’s in the process of converting all her mp3’s to ogg’s to 1) save space and 2) because they sound better and are in a free format. Thus far, she’s not missing Windows.

Many blogs also have taken up this topic and, when determining the best Linux desktop, gushed about Xandros, Freespire, Ubuntu, and MEPIS. The thing I find odd is that they forget the little guy that’s outpacing all the others…and that little guy is PCLinuxOS. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why PCLinuxOS is, IMHO, the best Linux flavor for new users.

Read more

PCLinuxOS .93 xorg.conf problem quick fix

If you’re like me, you change things constantly in your linux desktop. I’m always entering in and tweaking .conf files to see what I can do and where the limits of things might be. In my attempt yesterday to get my EXACT monitor supported in PCLinuxOS, I hosed my xorg.conf file which is where all the Xsession settings (or Xwindows session) are stored (like mouse, keyboard, monitor, and graphics driver settings). Since I hosed this up, my graphical user interface and window manager would not start. So I was dropped to login via the shell. This might be daunting for some new users in Linux so I figured I’d write up this little how-to that would get them back on their feet.

First, don’t be intimidated by the shell. It’s more powerful than a cmd line in windows and you’ll have complete control of your computer from the confines of this awesome tool. Plus, you’re about 15-20 seconds away from having your desktop back up and running by executing only a few commands.

In order to fix your xorg.conf file, it’s important that we become root…so login as root and let’s fix your xorg.conf file in 4 commands.

Read more

Statistics and Trends of an Old Friend

Statistics are something I love. AWStats is my friend. We go out on Fridays and I buy it shots of Jack at the local tavern. Seriously though, statistics are something I generally love to look up and ponder…mainly because with statistics, time is a huge factor and in business time is money. So, if one can learn from past statistics to save oneself time and effort, business can benefit…which explains my interest.

I recently moved and during the move found a couple of old hard drives. Dusting off and installing one brought back some memories…it contained an install of SimplyMEPIS 2003.10, which was my second install of that particular OS. This got me thinking…I wondered what benefits MEPIS garnered from my old, defunct enthusiast site At the time and shortly thereafter, no benefits were clearly visible. In fact, with my somewhat loud depart from the MEPIS community, there were many claims that both my site and I did nothing for the distro.

With Google Trends, statistics are at my fingertips. Using this site, I’m able to look back in time and see if my old 12 page review did any good at all to help MEPIS along…I was very surprised to see that I was part of the highest surge MEPIS has made to date according to Google Trends.

Read more

Why I Hate Mainstream has announced the winners of its members choice 2004 awards for Linux and open source. Upon hearing, I visited the site and slowly scrolled down the list nodding my head every so often, sometimes shaking my head where I disagree. Then I arrived at a category I actually know a little bit about…Live CD’s. Knoppix?!? Again!?!? Ok…let’s think this through. Perhaps it deserves it…afterall, X number of system admins swear by it. However, to me, this isn’t what a Live CD is about.

IMHO, a Live CD is about trying out Linux…not just rescue functions or data recovery. It’s about being able to run an entire operating system as read only from your CD-ROM. It’s about showing the power that Linux has. It’s about having an entire desktop with all the eye candy fixins in sub-5 minutes to attract new users. In a sense, it is a “try before you buy”…in this case download. It’s about detection, installation, configuration, and automation. While Knoppix does a good job on this…actually it wrote the book on it…there are those distributions out there that now PUMMEL Knoppix in detection. Two that come to mind are PCLinuxOS and MEPIS.

I figured that PCLinuxOS would be the major player at this years members choice award…mainly for the reason that it really advanced this year at In 2003, it was 44th. In 2004, it skyrocketed to 9th. That’s the fastest moving Linux distribution that is currently being tracked by Distrowatch. So, when I read Knoppix as the choice…I was surprised. Then I thought about it for a minute, isolated the real problem, and became a bit ticked off.

This isn’t about choice and it definately isn’t about a Live CD…it sure isn’t about the best. It’s about the most popular. Unfortunately, this is becoming the ‘in thing’ for open source. Linux has become chic. Well, maybe shabby chic. Nonetheless, Linux has arrived mainstream and brings entoe all of the things (good or bad) something that goes mainstream will bring with it.

Read more