Something that is asked about quite a bit in the PCLinuxOS support IRC channel is “how to change repositories”. One of the main reasons this is needed is that not all repositories are reachable depending on your geographic location. Some of the repositories are also down at random intervals. To equip the standard PCLinuxOS user with how to change repos, we first need to understand how the repository is structured, how the developers use the repositories, and how the community should make use of repositories.
During distro comparisons, many call a lack of release cycle for PCLinuxOS one of its negative aspects. In my opinion, this is the most attractive and positive aspects of the small distribution. Not to take away from a distribution that sets a release cycle…I understand that normal release cycles are a must with companies and software engineering. However, I think PCLinuxOS has a unique approach to releases and updates. Allow me a bit of time to show you the method in my madness on this one.
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.
Interesting tidbit of information…amidst all the hype about Ubuntu and Dell PC’s…the little distro that could has marched up to the #1 spot for the span of 7 days.
It’s important to note that the last test release took place 6 days ago…so that could be part of things…but it’s also important to note that PCLOS forums have seen over 700 new members in the past week an a half. That’s quite a bit of interest in my favorite Desktop Linux Makes me happy to be part of the team of people that help make this distro special.
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.
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.