Install extra Themes and Icons in PCLinuxOS

Are you a PCLinuxOS 2007 user?

Are you one of the many that love the default theme and think it’s eye catching but wish you could change it and make it your own? Do you wish there were more themes, icon sets, and bling for your desktop that would be easy to add? I did too. Here’s how I was able to customize PCLinuxOS 2007:

PCLOS Default
PCLOS Custom

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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.

Coming Full Circle on PCLinuxOS Magazine

I see articles like OSWeekly’s “The Future of Publishing with Linux Magazines” and I chuckle a bit.

Mainly because PCLinuxOS Magazine will have its 12 monthly issue published next month. That’s right, we’ve been here a year. Now, I can’t take credit for this fantastic Linux resource because I only sponsor it and help make executive decisions regarding hosting and other things like that…it’s in the hands of great editors and contributors and is continually growing. The staff is well over 10 people strong and gaining.

You’d think that OSWeekly would take this magazine into consideration when writing this article…but they instead opt mentioning and considering the fate of Full Circle Magazine in the Ubuntu community. Now don’t get me wrong, Full Circle is a great magazine and we’re glad they’re also producing a quality magazine for their community…It just perturbs me a bit that the hard working editors, contributors, and proofreaders and layout/website designers that put together PCLinuxOS Magazine don’t get any mention or credit when it comes to online magazines.

So, I’d like to take some time congratulating PCLinuxOS Magazine…with a circulation of over 15 thousand for the PDF alone and nearing 10 thousand unique hits on the HTML Magazine that they simultaneously publish each month for low bandwidth users. Congratulations PCLinuxOS Magazine! For making a magazine not only interesting to PCLinuxOS users but to Linux users as a whole!

PCLinuxOS & What Sets it Apart: Part I

I originally intended this post to be a review of 2007 Final for PCLinuxOS. However, after finishing it up, I realized that posting a review wouldn’t have the desired effect of truly showing off PCLinuxOS to everyone. It would just be a “business as usual” type of post. So, I decided to do a analysis on what I feel sets PCLinuxOS apart from many Linux distributions.

I often see people steer new Linux users to other distros such as OpenSuse, Ubuntu, and SimplyMEPIS…even Sabayon in a few instances. This is fine…they’re good, solid distros. However, out of those distros, I’d recommend only one…OpenSuse. Why? Because of YAST. A New user needs to feel comfortable with system configuration tasks. Not everyone is ready to drop to the shell when coming in from that other operating system. Not every 65 year old grandmother is ready to crack a Konsole and vi their way to .conf bliss. Ubuntu’s control panel is continually getting better but YAST still leads the pack in putting new users or even seasoned ones at ease with system configuration.

I regularly used SimplyMEPIS from 2003 until 2005 and continue to recommend it for new users despite it not having a YAST Like tool. It now has inherited many things from Ubuntu so it has a greatly improved way of doing things. The added tools also make common tasks easier like emptying out logs, installing graphics drivers, and setting up your monitor/resolution. It’s getting there quickly.

That brings me to OpenSuse. YAST is a fantastic and powerful tool. Still, when I use OpenSuse, I often find that I’m not up to date with applications and I find the repositories move much slower than I’d like. I have to rely on third party repos which isn’t a bad thing but often gets me into trouble with dependencies. So I was on a search for a cutting edge distro that was solid, up to date with the latest packages, and had a YAST-like utility for it. Of course, Mandriva (Mandrake at the time) was a good fit but I found PCLinuxOS even better.

So, today I’ll talk about what I feel sets PCLinuxOS apart from other freely available distros.

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Continuing Saga – Dell E521 vs. Linux. Fight!

By now, I feel pretty punch drunk.  My Dell E521 has been kicking my beehind for quite a few days as I’ve tried to install PCLinuxOS 2007 Final.

I’ve used all the boot options in my arsenal and couldn’t stop it from freezing after 30 minutes.

I turned off ACPI, turned it on, turned on APM, turned it off.  Disabled every service I could possibly disable, then turned them on.  No matter what I did, it seemed that it always froze at the wrong time…that time being just after I blogged that I had solved the problem (see previous post).  Actually, can you just ignore that previous post? ;)

Thanks to a comment by reader jsnyder, I was told of an unreleased version of the Dell E521 BIOS (version 1.1.8).  After a BIOS flash, PCLinuxOS Final ran all weekend long without a single freezeup.  Go figure :)  Where can you get this unreleased BIOS from?  Why, it’s rather simple…the Dell public download ftp server of course!

Connect to:  ftp://ftp.us.dell.com/bios/
Look for:  DME521-010108.EXE

Install and enjoy your Linux desktop not freezing!  Thanks again to jsnyder for pointing out that there was another version of the BIOS out there.  My PCLinuxOS 2007 E521 thanks you (as do I).  Hopefully, this will also help others out there that are having similar problems.

PCLinuxOS – 30 Days to #1

PCLinuxOS has continued its upward climb on the distrowatch page hit meter. It is #1 over the span of 30 days…most likely due to the recent release of 2007 Final. Is it really that good? I think it is. It’s powerful enough to satisfy my nerdiest inclination to program and yet soft enough to pad my wife’s computing needs as well. I’ve found it suitable for all my computing needs. Does this mean I’m done looking for the perfect desktop? Far from it! I’ll continue that hunt until I can’t continue it at all.

For now, PCLinuxOS is my #1 desktop choice for my main computer…with other computers in my household rotating distros at quite a good pace. This blog often focuses on items of interest to the desktop Linux user…and it’s updated quite infrequently. This should change after June as I’ll begin a new job in a new city working with Linux on a daily basis :D

Look for more frequent updates and more robust content. I’m also going to be moving away from a KDE Centric blog and experimenting around quite a bit with the Gnome desktop as well by way of Foresight Linux. Quite a bit on the horizon so please stay tuned.