Sunday, June 13, 2010

Comparison: Best 2010 Linux desktop for begginers

April and October are usually months that feel like Christmas for Linux enthusiasts. Around those periods is when many of the major Linux distros meet their 6 month development windows and end up releasing a new version of their work. During the last two months I have been busy testing many of those new releases, which would usually result in review articles published here.

Out of the many distros released, I have always concentrated on ease of use as one of the most important features I look for in a distro. In addition, I consider most Linux desktop releases (at least the main distros) to be fairly similar. In other words, in terms of features, functionality and power, things are fairly leveled, so I like distros that ease up access to those features.

Recently I have reviewed three distros that stood out in terms of ease of use, documentation and user aids: Linux Mint 9, Pardus 2009.2 and PCLinuxOS 2010. I will now run a head to head comparison (Thanks Sebert for the idea) to hopefully help you make up your mind on which one best fits your needs.

Note that since I have already reviewed all three distros, always including plenty of screenshots, I will not be including many on this comparison. Please reffer to my reviews in case you want to see any of these distros in action:

Linux Mint 9 REVIEW
Pardus 2009.2 PREVIEW and FINAL REVIEW
PCLinux 2010 REVIEW and REVIEW UPDATE

CATEGORIES

It is obviously very difficult to provide meaningful conclusions when comparing Linux distros of this quality, for they all are great in their own right. In order to set some points of reference, I will use the following categories for this comparison:

- Installation
- Hardware Support
- Network setup
- Preconfiguration
- Multimedia

Note that the scores provided only apply to the criteria I have used and do not represent a general depiction of the actual performance of that specific distro, just a reference for the purpose of this article.

Enough with the talking already, let´s move on to the comparison...

INSTALLATION

In this section I will be looking at the following criteria:

- Information: Is the installation process providing documentation that is good enough in terms of clarity and quantity?
- Look&Feel: Is it interesting and pleasant to the eye or will scare people off?
- International support: Does it support multiple languages?
- Speed: How many coffees long?

(Scores go from 1 to 5)

PCLinuxOS 2010

Probably the least fancy of the three, PCLinux2010 installation is clear and to the point, with nothing unexpected or out of place. The information provided is probably enough, but it would be nice to provide some more background on certain steps that may be new to non-Linux savvy users. Things could also be better when it comes to Look&Feel, specially because there is no set of slides available to introduce the user to his/her new operating system. Unfortunately, the installation for PCLinuxOS 2010 is only provided in English, which could represent a problem for people who don't know the language. PCLinux2010 does well in terms of speed, installing faster than any of the other two distros in this comparison.



- Information:
- Look&Feel:
- International support:
- Speed:

TOTAL SCORE:



3
3
1
5

12/20


Pardus 2009.2

As you may have already read when I reviewed this Pardus release, I simply love its installation wizard. It is thorough and exhaustive in terms of information and it looks fantastic. Being a Turkish project, the default installation ISO is in Turkish, but the international one is offered only in English. A bit slower than PCLinuxOS's, Pardus installation is still very reasonable... and due to how good it looks, you may end up not having any coffees!



- Information:
- Look&Feel:
- International support:
- Speed:

TOTAL SCORE:



5
5
2
4

16/20


Linux Mint 9

As could be expected, Linux Mint's installation wizard inherits pretty much every aspect from Ubuntu's. As a result, we find a clear and informative installation process which actually provides multilanguage support. The set of slides that are provided while the installation is running is informative and interesting, which is fortunate, as this is the slowest of the three. I must say, though, that the timing differences among all three were minimal, none taking too long.



- Information:
- Look&Feel:
- International support:
- Speed:

TOTAL SCORE:



4
4
5
3

16/20


And the winner is: Linux Mint 9 being a extremely close second, this one has to go to Pardus 2009.2. It is the strongest effort and 100% original work by its developers.

HARDWARE SUPPORT

This is probably the most difficult item to judge. Only by testing a significant amount of computers and devices under each distro would we be able to understand which one provides the most complete support. I will try with my limited resources anyways.

In this section I will be looking at the following criteria:

- New HP 2740p support: Can it handle this new computer?
- Test Tour: HP Compaq 6910p, HP 2730p, HP NX7400, HP 6930p
- Printing support: HP Laserjet 2600N
- Webcam support: Skype test with Creative PD1170, Logitech C250

(Scores go from 1 to 5)

PCLinuxOS 2010

I am still to find a computer this edition of PCLinuxOS 2010 does not support. I am sure there are, but it comes loaded with all kinds of opensource and proprietary drivers. Out of the three distros in this comparison, it is the only one that can actually get the HP 2740p to work, albeit with no 3D acceleration support. In fact, it went as far as to be able to get the onboard webcam to work. In addition, it did excellent on all four other HP computers, as well as recognizing and installing the right drivers for the Laser printer to work (even without a network connection!). Unfortunately, it failed to get the Creative webcam to work, which was probably its only miss, as it got the Logitech to work instantaneously.


PCLinuxOS 2010 even got the HP 2740p onboard webcam right!




- New HP 2740p support:
- Test Tour:
- Printing support:
- Webcam support:

TOTAL SCORE:




4
5
5
4

18/20


Pardus 2009.2

Probably the weakest of the three, Pardus still provides very good hardware support. It did fail in getting the 2740p tablet to work, unable to correctly configure its video display. However, It did very well on the Test tour, successfully running on all four PCs and recognizing all of their hardware on the fly. Unfortunately, it failed again on the printing test, unable to print even after apparently setting up the right driver. As for the webcams test, it successfully configured the Logitech for video, but failed to pass on the audio microphone on board to Skype. Unsurprisingly, it also failed in recognizing the Creative webcam.




- New HP 2740p support:
- Test Tour:
- Printing support:
- Webcam support:

TOTAL SCORE:




1
5
2
3

11/20


Linux Mint 9

Once again, the Ubuntu inheritance proves to be a strong ally, as Linux Mint 9 passed this hardware recognition test with flying colors. Having said so, just like Pardus 2009.2, it couldn't handle the 2740p video display. The tour test was a breeze and so was the printing one. Once again, the Creative webcam proved tough to deal with (definitely not a Linux friendly device, I think), while the Logitech was instantly recognized and configured successfully.


Mint printer setup was a breeze.




- New HP 2740p support:
- Test Tour:
- Printing support:
- Webcam support:

TOTAL SCORE:




1
5
5
4

15/20


And the winner is: PCLinux2010 gets a well deserved first position on this one.

NETWORK SETUP

Having access to the Internet has become such mandatory requirement that I wanted to dedicate a specific section to this topic. Acknowledging that ethernet connections are simple and almost always work from the get go, I will concentrate on wireless and 3G.

In this section I will be looking at the following criteria:

- First configuration steps: How easy is it to connect to a wireless network?
- Facing difficulties: Is it intuitive enough to work around issues easily?
- 3G networks: Are they supported and do they work (using a USB Huawei E172)?

(Scores go from 1 to 5)

PCLinuxOS 2010

PCLinuxOS 2010 uses a network interface very similar (if not the same) to Mandriva's. When accessing the desktop for the first time, users will see the network applet on the system tray. A simply click will bring up the Network manager, which shows the ethernet and wireless sections by default (I don't have computers with 3G modems on them, but I suppose a third section would appear in such case). Simply expanding the wireless section shows a list with all wireless networks in range. Configuring one is simple, as is rescanning to get a fresh list.

Once users get the vibe of the PCLinuxOS network manager, working around problems is somewhat simple. The ability to rescan for wireless networks is certainly welcome, and there is a nice consistency to how each type of network is displayed in the same way. In other words, before you even plug in a 3G modem, you expect how that new connection interface will look like.

PCLinuxOS 2010 correctly recognized and configured my 3G modem, allowing me to browse the web easily and from pretty much anywhere.


PCLinuxOS 2010 rocking my USB 3G modem.




- First configuration steps:
- Facing difficulties:
- 3G networks:

TOTAL SCORE:




4
4
5

13/15


Pardus 2009.2

The Pardus network interface is a bit unique, presenting a singular approach based around profiles. Unlike the other two distros in this comparison, Pardus does not allow users to use the networking devices until they have created a profile for them. For example, if you plug an ethernet cable to a Pardus machine, it will not work until an ethernet profile is set up. Fortunately, creating profiles is fairly simple, but I feel this approach could be confusing for new comers. It also has a bit of an archaic vibe, as it requires manual intervention for something that most operating systems handle automatically nowadays.

Once the profile approach is understood, though, it makes things fairly simple. Like PCLinuxOS, this approach provides consistency that can eventually simplify things for users in the long run. Unfortunately, Pardus 2009.2 only offers (at least in my installation) two types of profiles: Ethernet and wireless. Mobile broadband is nowhere to be found.




- First configuration steps:
- Facing difficulties:
- 3G networks:

TOTAL SCORE:




2
4
1

7/15


Linux Mint 9

As should be expected by now, Linux Mint 9 network interface is the same as the one found in Ubuntu 10.04. The interface is, in my opinion, the simplest of the three. When the user logs in for the first time, a convenient notification informs the user that there are wireless networks in range. Simply clicking on the networking system tray icon displays all networks in range and we can choose the one we want to connect to.

Unfortunately, the Mint network applet does not include a button to rescan or refresh the list of wireless networks, which can be very useful at times. Other than that, as expected with such simple interface, working around problems is usually easy enough. Linux Mint 9 correctly recognized and configured my 3G modem as well.


Linux Mint 9 network applet showing a mobile broadband connection.




- First configuration steps:
- Facing difficulties:
- 3G networks:

TOTAL SCORE:




5
4
5

14/15


And the winner is: Linux Mint 9 is probably the most intuitive and easy to work with, offering native support for mobile broadband devices.

PRECONFIGURATION

In this section I will be looking at the following criteria:

- Introduction: Tours, startkits, etc.
- Out-of-the-box-iness: Is it ready to rock out of the box?
- Styles, Themes and overall looks: Easy to get a decent looking desktop?
- Extra effort quantity: Lots to do before it's ready? (less is better)
- Extra effort quality: How easy or difficult is that? (the easier the better)

(Scores go from 1 to 5)

PCLinuxOS 2010

PCLinuxOS 2010 does not provide any introduction tours per se when you log in for the first time, but does a very smart job at aiming users in the right direction, so they can set up their computers easily and quickly. The set of launchers on the default desktop includes tools such as the language configuration, OpenOffice installation, Firewall setup and others. However, and while there are some worthy efforts in providing convenient explanations when performing any of those steps, it is mostly assumed that the user knows his/her way around the KDE environment.

Once again, PCLinuxOS 2010 comes loaded with pretty much anything you need to get going. Plenty of codecs for both video and audio are offered out of the box, so users will be able to skip the usual Firefox Flash plugin installation, for example. While OpenOffice is not included, the GetOpenOffice application is so good that it certainly makes up for it. In fact, I think the PCLinuxOS 2010 developers have done such a good job that I cannot see users installing much after logging in for the first time. If something extra is required, the great Synaptic package manager (albeit in a somewhat raw state) is at hand to get it for us.

PCLinuxOS 2010 is a bit poor when it comes to style, though. It does not offer many wallpapers, icon or window themes of its own, so users are likely to have to search the web for them before the desktop can trully look stunning.




- Introduction:
- Out-of-the-box-iness:
- Styles, Themes and overall looks:
- Extra effort quantity:
- Extra effort quality:

TOTAL SCORE:




3
5
3
5
3

19/25


Pardus 2009.2

Once again, Pardus excels on this department, offering a wonderful introductory application called Kaptan. In an enjoyable, easy to follow and truly tightly branded wizard, Kaptan will get any user to complete those initial configuration steps in a few clicks. Unfortunately, users will have a hard time trying to find Kaptan after that first run. I personally believe Kaptan should be easily accessible from the panel or as a desktop shortcut, so users that are not KDE savvy can use it anytime they want.

Like PCLinuxOS, Pardus 2009.2 comes fully loaded with all kinds of codecs and a very complete and thorough application catalog, so I see very little need for any extra work. If required, though, Pardus 2009.2 includes its own package manager, which is simple to use, but maybe not as easy to find for someone who's using Linux for the first time.

In terms of branding, icon and window themes and wallpapers, Pardus 2009.2 does a wonderful job. Aside from the usual KDE default wallpapers, users will find some Pardus ones, apparently authored by Turkish artists. The default icon theme is original and a very welcome and fresh departure from the typical Oxygen KDE vibe.


The fabulous Kaptan wizard.




- Introduction:
- Out-of-the-box-iness:
- Styles, Themes and overall looks:
- Extra effort quantity:
- Extra effort quality:

TOTAL SCORE:




5
5
4
4
4

22/25


Linux Mint 9

Linux Mint offers a simplistic yet useful menu when the user first logs in. Describing the new features, known bugs and even including links to the Official user guide and various tutorials, Mint 9 users should have no problems getting up to speed with their new system. The main limitation to this approach, though, is that it is Internet dependent. On top of that, and while lots of interesting concepts are available through the documents provided, how many users will actually read the user manual? I think something easier and more visual is missing so that those using Mint for the very first time can easily get going.

Linux Mint 9 is also very well prepared to provide the end user a seamless experience out of the box. Once again, I feel little need for any extras, but the fantastic Mint Software Center should easily satisfy them. In fact, I feel this is the best package manager of the three.

One other area that Linux Mint 9 excels at is Look&Feel, as it comes with many original wallpapers, icons and window themes included. Getting your desktop some impressive looks is just a couple clicks away!




- Introduction:
- Out-of-the-box-iness:
- Styles, Themes and overall looks:
- Extra effort quantity:
- Extra effort quality:

TOTAL SCORE:




3
5
5
4
5

22/25


And the winner is: Tight again, but Pardus 2009.2 wins partially due to Kaptan, its great introductory wizard.

MULTIMEDIA

In this section I will be looking at the following criteria:

- Web based media: Flash, quicktime, etc.
- DVD playback: Players installed and ease of use.
- Music playback: Players installed and ease of use.

(Scores go from 1 to 5)

PCLinuxOS 2010

As mentioned already, PCLinuxOS 2010 does include plenty of codecs from the get go, so browsing the web is smooth and all media is displayed out of the box. Apple trailers videos play well as do all Flash based sites, like myspace, youtube, gametrailers, etc.

Reproducing a DVD is easy and intuitive. SMPlayer comes preinstalled and listed within the actions available when a DVD is inserted. Playback is usually smooth, although I did find some DVDs that would not play correctly. In terms of music, Amarok handles duties and does it superbly, as could be expected from such great audio player.




- Web based media:
- DVD playback:
- Music playback:

TOTAL SCORE:




5
3
5

13/15


Pardus 2009.2

Pardus also makes things simple for online media, thanks to the many codecs preinstalled in out of the box. Flash, quicktime and all other formats I tried were working perfectly with no extra effort required from the user.

DVD playback was not as good, unfortunately. Even if Pardus comes with a large number of video players, none seemed to be able to handle playback as smoothly as the other two distros do. Not surprisingly, Dragon player was a massive failure, but MPlayer and SMPlayer didn't do much better. Gnome Mplayer was doing best in my tests, but still not up to the quality that could be expected in a distro like Pardus. Amarok is once again the main audio player, but some other options are available, like Jukebox.




- Web based media:
- DVD playback:
- Music playback:

TOTAL SCORE:




5
2
5

12/15


Linux Mint 9

Just like the other two, Linux Mint 9 comes fully prepared to tackle any web based media reproduction. Once again, my tests on the most popular formats all rendered positive results.

DVD playback is certainly simple and works great in Linux Mint 9. It played successfully all DVDs I tried, offering the easiest and most intuitive interface. Music playback is managed by Rhythmbox, which is a fine player for the GNOME desktop.


DVD playback proved particularly simple on Linux Mint 9.




- Web based media:
- DVD playback:
- Music playback:

TOTAL SCORE:




5
4
5

14/15


And the winner is: Linux Mint 9 excels on this department, so it gets a well deserved first position.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There you have it, a close comparison between these three fabulous Linux distros, resulting in very evenly matched scores. I personally love all three, each having its own character, strengths, but also weaknesses. Having said so, looking strictly for which one offers the smoothest and most intuitive experience, I would probably have to say that Linux Mint 9 is the winner in my opinion.

Hopefully this comparison will help you make your choice based on your own needs and taste. I am pretty sure any of the choices is a sure winner.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

77 comments:

  1. We all have our opinions, and I don't share yours. To me, PCLinuxOS, with it's combination of the control center and Synaptic, excellent community where the developers and even the distro owner/maintainer actually helps its userbase, and infrequent re-installation due to the rolling release wins hands down.

    Mint takes second, only because it's Ubuntu based, and that means lots of "sudo..." commands to do stuff, which isn't something many new users want to dive into. Otherwise, it's an outstanding distro.

    Pardus, I've never used, so I'll refrain from making any comment on it's appeal to new users.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @ruel24: Thanks for your comments!

    I LOVE PCLinuxOS 2010 myself, it is an incredible distro, so I completely see where you are coming from and agree with you to a certain extent. The reason I put Linux Mint 9 forward is because I was thinking of someone 100% new to Linux, and I think PCLinux2010 still has a few rough edges that total newbies could have a bit of a hard time dealing with.

    In any case, as I say in my conclusion, all three are very good products.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I used PCLinuxOS 2009 and then 2010 for over a year and now Linux Mint for 6 months. I would say PCLOS has the edge on usability for a newbie whilst Mint is possibly alittle more refined in parts. I would make them a dead heat if it were not for one thing.....support on the forums. The PCLOS community is sooo friendly and a problem posted is invariably answered by many, including some very knowledgable administrators. Texstar the Leading developer is often present and watching to help out and you are really made to feel at home. Newbies are treated with respect and consideration and no-one is ever told to GRTFM. These guys put so much of their time into this distro they ought to get medals. So PCLinuxOS for me.
    caerhays

    ReplyDelete
  4. How about Zorin Os http://zorin-os.webs.com/ I find it to be a very user friendly os.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The only thing I complain in PCLinuxOS is that although it detects my USB 3G Dongle automatically and configures it too, it does it painfully slow. I end up chewing all my finger-nails before it gets done!

    The bonus is, of course, that it *always* works.

    Therefore, my vote for the most user-friendly distro is still with PCLinuxOS. I basically also don't like mint because their chief focus is GNOME, not KDE.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks all for your posts!

    Glad to see PCLinuxOS is so highly regarded, it very much deserves it!

    Keep those opinions coming!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for that comparison, informative and well written, as usual.
    I think I'll give both Linux Mint & PCLinuxOS a try via an USB installation.

    Unfortunately Linux Mint crashes/hangs in Live Mode when run from a CD, I hope it doesn't to that when it is installed on my USB drive.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Sebert: Thanks for your comments:

    I find it very weird that you get a crash on that LiveCD. Have you checked if the MD5 sum is correct? If it is, you could be having a hardware recognition problem, which may or may not be fixed after you run an initial software update. I guess it all depends on whether your machine allows you to complete it before the crash! ;-)

    Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am using PCLinuxOS 2010.I feel it's suitable for beginners. But I think the reply for the problems posted in the forums will easily get solved in Linux Mint forums. PCLinuxOS 2010 interface is simple enough for anyone to understand.

    My PCLinuxOS 2010 KDE desktop alignment had gone. I reset it to plasma desktop. Can you please help me how to get the default KDE desktop back?

    ReplyDelete
  10. "My PCLinuxOS 2010 KDE desktop alignment had gone. I reset it to plasma desktop. Can you please help me how to get the default KDE desktop back? "

    Not sure I understand, but I think all you need to do is right click on your desktop and access the desktop behavior properties. You can then go back to whatever you like. I am sorry I am a little vague on the specific options, but I don't have my KDE machine with me now, typing these lines from Linux Mint 9.

    Good Luck

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like all 3 in the test. But I think Gnome is more easy for a beginner than the latest KDE4.4 desktop.
    So I suppose Mint are more easy to handle than the 2 others.
    But my favourite is Pardus 2009.2, maybe beacause I have used so much myself.
    But PCLinuxOS is great to.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for this useful review. I am familiar with PCLinuxOS & Mint. I have not yet tried Pardus. I wish your review had included a look at the user forums for each distro - this is a critical factor for newbies. In this regard I have to say PCLinuxOS has the best forum support for GNU/Linux newcomers, IMHO.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have used Ubuntu, Mint, and Mepis, on my desktops,
    with one always running Debian. I have tried several
    distros on my HPtx1327 laptop, and the the only one
    that works well is PCLinux. The only problen I have had
    is my mike out sound does not seem to be working, and
    I know of no distro that does my touch screen.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Can I recommend the latest LXDE version of PCLinuxOS, it is excellent and as fast as sidux (which is a real speed demon)
    Tony

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm a big fan of Kde - it's the DE for Power users :D
    Following cash flow problems of society Mandriva, I've decided to give a try to PCLinuxOS
    Initially, all seems to work fine but I did not like :
    - the Mountain MegaBits download to have updates, locale settings language and Open office
    - Synaptic vs Mint Software Manager - guess who is better feel ?
    - Why PCLinuxOS use Compiz for Kde ? Kwin is now egual or better
    - I don't like also those many Gnome packets for a Kde distribution
    - AND... PCLinuxOS is not able to make works Geolocalisation in Digikam... You can try : its don't work because PCLinuxOS is not able to integrate a nammed package kdeedu-marble

    So PCLinuxOS will not be on my computers

    Linux Mint (Kde for me) is great

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've been using PCLinuxOS ever since MS Vista came out. It just keeps getting better and better every release.

    My criteria for an OS is:

    1. Must be able to do everything in the GUI. If I have to go to Command Line the distro is not user friendly. PCLinuxOS does that.

    2. I am forced to use AT&T DSL and that causes problems. Took three weeks of everyday on the phone to get network setup using WinXP. Turned on PCLinuxOS and it self-configged in about 10 seconds. AT&T changed all their email server ports without notifying customers (common), again PCLinuxOS self-configged, while XP quit working. PCLinuxOS has detected all my hardware on every PC I have own without fail, no other distro has that record with me.

    3. I will not allow someone to push their political views on me through their distro. Mint has tried that when they announced that any developers not agreeing with their politics should leave. Therefore, I will not even try Mint.

    I've tried Pardus several times (different versions) and while I believe it is a good OS, it is not quite, IMO, as sophisticated as PCLinuxOS. And as you mentioned PCLinuxOS is fast.


    I just wish PCLinuxOS would hurry up with the 64 bit version development.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for this great comparison.
    I've used Gentoo for a long time, because of it's flexibility, but it was fairly slow considering it compiles everything. Before i found out and tested PCLinuxOS, i tried many various distros...
    PClinuxOS is (for me at least) by far top distro combining best of both worlds, easy setup and usage for beginners, and advanced tools for power users. You can easily setup all kinds of servers, programing platforms, etc...
    Maybe the software in repos are not always bleeding edge, but it's 100% stable which is not case with other distros.
    It's my warm recommendation for everyone.
    I'm sure the Mint and Pardus are also excellent, but i haven't tried them.
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good job on this comparison. Thank you.
    I've tried all three distros and many more. I keep up with the top distros on distrowatch.com and I always come back to PCLinuxOS. Mint is nice, really nice, and so is Pardus but PCLinuxOS has worked for me on more hardware and in more test cases than any other distro. Its speed alone is noteworthy especially after the installation and initial setup is long forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. There is no universal linux for everyone. IMO PCLinuxOS and Mint are on par with Pardus far-far away behind.
    Sometime I really have no idea how you assigned points (e.g. DVD play in PCLinux...)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Been using PCLinuxOS for 2 years now, as an OldGuy I feel it meets all my needs, and I have help other's seniors break into linux with this distro, several of them use it with Skype to talk to family overseas.

    For us over 21'ers, it a good product.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I use PCLinuxOS. The key word being use. I have installed and tried to keep many different versions of Linux rolling on a fairly large array of hardware. I have a small network so I need to keep things similar and tidy.
    The rolling updates for PCLOS are at times a hindrance and can cause some issues with the OS, usually desktop graphics crashes. I use grsync to keep a local ftp-repo up and running so updates can be controlled locally. The desktop is clean and if you are used to KDE it keeps a kind of tried and true method rather than bleeding edge. I have never had a system completely die which is more than I can say for any other distro. I disagree that the forum is the best but it is controlled, responsive and informative. Now my thoughts on Media; as far as I have tried them, almost all media types that are used today will work on this distro but in many cases a visit to apt is required to install the required codecs. My understanding is VLC is working to include BluRay support (but don't hold your breath for it). VLC is available in apt as are many different media players. Within PCLinuxOS choice and a great attempt at stability are the main focal points with strong emphasis on ease of use and configuration. Some interfaces could stand to be simplified further but over all this distro works. All hail Texstar, the king approaches.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Being RPM based user for a long time. From Turbo Linux to Mandriva, tried Ubuntu and Mint still coming back to Mandriva. Found PCLinuxOS 2007, still not satisfied. Want an ease of use Gnome Desktop with the user friendly touch. Tried Pardus, bored to configure anything. Found PCLinuxOS 2008, played with PCLinuxOS KDE updates hates how it's handle portable PC. Whatever DE fans out there says, PCLinuxOS Gnome is rock solid distro. Hail to Texstar and all PCLinuxOS Gnome developers.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Once again good review! I tried pclos 2010 from your first review of it a few months back and have been with it since, it works on every laptop and pc i have, i used mint in the past as well as the most current version 9 but after hours of trying, could not get a new printer to work (HP Deskjet D1600 Printer) i gave up, the same printer worked in 5 min in pclos 2010. I think both mint 9 and pclos 2010 are both very strong distros for new users but im really enjoying Pclos 2010.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Nice overview and good comments. I learned Linux by buying some Slackware floppies on e*ay and eventually got it to show me KDE and Gnome. When I got broadband, I downloaded Ubuntu and PCLOS. Both were earlier versions, but PCLOS worked better for me and I preferred KDE. I had PCLOS '09 on a Dell notebook but always had issues with the Broadcom WiFi adapter. I was tempted to try Mint, but waited for PCLOS '10 version which just plain works, no issues. I do think KDE 4 is not as intuitive to configure as before, so still some learning there. (Bob in CO)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for that interesting article.
    I use PCLinuxOS since it is the only distribution I know, with Mandriva, that supports my old speedtouch ADSL Modem. Configuring it is straightforward, thanks to the great Control center, while one has to play with command line on other distros. Also, the very complete net profiles management is particulary handy when one computer stands sometimes as a server sharing the internet connection with other computers (which is my case at home), and sometimes as a client through wired or wireless connection (my case at work).

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is a very nice review ;) I always find PCLOS better than the rest of linux distros. I have settled with its LXDE version and it's a real delight to use such very stable operating system. PCLOS is like mandriva, opensuse & ubuntu in one. It rocks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. PCLinux is the champion of the people.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sorry beg to differ. PCLinuxOS should be on top here -- in all respects. Unfortunately, any such comparison is flawed.

    I have used PCLinuxOS since the project began and it has all multimedia support out of the box. Funny to see Mint winning in that category!

    Also, PCLinuxOS configures 3G modems "automatically", not even a wizard is required. Why is that not better than a wizard for you? For my 3G modem (in Australia), PCLOS got everything right automatically -- the moment the dongle was plugged in. Funnily, you feel the wizard is preferable :)

    Biased towards Mint definitely -- due to personal preference (or maybe GNOME.)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've run PCLinuxOS 2010 GNOME on our two company desktops for many months now, and PCLinuxOS 2009 GNOME on my own and old battered laptop for even longer. I now run PCLinuxOS 2010 LXDE on the latter. It runs flawslessly, even better and faster than 2009.2 GNOME and much, much better and faster than the Windows XP which it came with many years ago.

    For me, useability, speed and stability are the keys. My staff all find PCLinuxOS easy to use, and it has been compatible with all our hardware, with only the Brother printer drivers requiring command line input. My private HP printer was set up in just seconds.

    A friend of mine has now switched from Windows Vista to PCLinuxOS 2010 GNOME.

    For most people, the true proof in the pudding is not how Linux stacks up against other esoteric Linux distros. It is how it competes against Redmond's finest in the real world.

    And here I'm a PCLinuxOS convert. But do remember that GNOME and LXDE (fast!) also exist in the PCLinuxOS world. Perhaps time to do a comparison between e.g. GNOME distros only or LXDE distros only. The review above does seem somewhat skewed by the fact that a KDE DE goes against GNOME DE's ... a bit like comparing a petrol-fuelled car with a diesel ... Most car brands have both ...

    This is the only distro I have seen that really

    ReplyDelete
  31. (got cut off there)

    ... does replace the most common desktop OS in the world straight out of the box.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ahhhh.... Choosing between PCLinuxOS and Mint is like choosing between a hot russian blond girl and a hot slim thai girl.... You just can't decide, so you toss a coin! Or better yet, get them both!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Linux Mint LXDE - good, fast, stable, with flash and
    codecs, but few customization of system like screen
    resolution, network, appearence...
    PCLinuxOS - good, fast, but sometime freeze in
    flash pages of browser, better configuration center..

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have many hard drive trays. This allows me to try dozens of distros without resorting to virtual drives. When it comes to a warm fuzzy feeling distro, I always return to PCLinuxOS because everthing seems to flow, and I can get work done. My business and home computers use it without issue. The others are great too, but PCLinuxOS feels like a trusted friend.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I work with PCs for a living and have several bootable USB's with linux distros. There are so many new laptops that choke on Mint that I wound up wiping that stick. So far, Linux OS 2010 has booting up everything that has ever come through -- including big mama servers. I also like Puppy and YLMF, but when nothing can boot the darn thing, I plug in LinuxOS 2010 and it boots. Pretty near amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Many think that are no English support for Pardus.
    But they got a good forum and wiki to:
    http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/
    http://en.pardus-wiki.org/Main_Page

    ReplyDelete
  37. @Sylvain: PCLinuxOS has marble in its repository, it is only called differently - "marble" instead of "kdeedu-marble" as you expected. In fact, if you select "marble" to install it, synaptic will prompt you to install "kdeedu" as well.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you for the comparisons of these 3 distros. As a person looking for the best version of Linux for my first foray into the OS I find this very helpful and comforting to know that the types of applications you ran worked well on them.

    Though I am very competent with Windows my only experience with Linux was a short 2 week course a couple of years ago (Fedora).

    This was a real help.

    Thanks again :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Huge fan of PCLinuxOS since 2004..Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Pclinuxos 2007 is the one that got me using Linux exclusively. These days I can use pretty much anything and am happy at the command line but for ease of use its always there as my default install.

    Linux mint is very good too but I have other reasons, not related to its technical merits, for not using it.

    Last time I looked at Pardus, everything seemed to be in a foreign language so I gave up :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks all for your amazing comments!

    For the record I have to say I use PCLinuxOS 2010 more than Mint, but I do use both. My criteria was based around what I thought a new user would appreciate, and I still believe Mint is a bit smoother in that respect.

    For example, the network applet in Mint is a bit more mature than that of PCLinuxOS. The latter is annoing sometimes when you switch from one WiFi network to another, requiring user intervention. Similarly, if you use USB drives, as I do, PCLinuxOS fails to manage the network card first time, so again it requires manual interaction.

    I know they are very minor issues, and surely Mint has its share as well, but I personally feel Mint is a bit more "tamed".

    Both are fabulous distros, of course!

    ReplyDelete
  42. thanks for the nice comparison....
    i have been using PCLinuxOS since 2007 and its been developing and improving so obviously by the day...
    i used mandriva, suse, ubunto before i settled for PCL and never felt so good in any other distro...
    it works out of the box... detects all the hardware, self configure, and let me just enjoy my time...
    plus the great forum where u can find all ur problems fixed and questions answered before they even bother you...
    i tried many other distros since then on my virtualbox but no other distro impressed me enough to change...
    i recommend PCL to everyone...

    ReplyDelete
  43. @Witold : Ok there is marble in repo... So its doesnt make geolocalisation works in Digikam. Have U tried ?

    At this time, there is no way to have geolocalisation works in Digikam with PCLinuxOS.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I think until Mint moves to Debian testing and becomes a rolling release, PCLOS is the distro of choice. However doing so might drop them down the distrowatch rankings, does dist-upgrade from your preferred mirror show in the rankings? Look out for Unity Linux down the road, lots of fun to build from easy minimal to the way you like, then make to live cd. YUM

    ReplyDelete
  45. until 2004 i was a distro-hopper, then i found PCLinuxOS, called the "distro-hopper-stopper" - yes, this was pclos until the end of 2008. then it got buggy, the devs just had problems (tex could not do his work he wanted...now he does and pclos runs better than ever) and it was very instable with every update.....

    so i became a re-distro-hopper.....but after a few weeks of hard testing work i found PardusLinux.....and FOR ME it is the best rolling release distribution i know. And the PiSi-package system is outstanding good!!! i never built packages as easy and powerful like with PiSi!!!! Sometimes updates come slowly, but the devs will build a stable system.....turkish military and many other government offices use Pardus. Pardus is developped from the turkish ministry for science and its developed for all turkish people and of course the rest of the world.

    And no, i am not a turkish man, i am german, but hey, open source is for all of us. thats the good ghost of Pardus Linux!!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I prefer Pardus!
    It's very simple and easy to use.
    User friendly.
    User interface is very useful.
    Try and feel it. u will be agree with me.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Have used PCLinuxOs for around 3 years, coming from Wundoze and now on 2010.2. No way no how would ever go back to Wundoze after the ease of use and hassle free nature of PCLinux. Have tried several other distros, but PCL does it for me in every way.

    Go Texstar !!

    ReplyDelete
  48. PCLinuxOS (PCLOS for short) has been installed on several of my machines for nearly 4 years. Many of these, whether desktop or laptop, have typically been older retired machines that clients have given to me or scavenged systems built from multiple scrapped machines. These are also dual-booted with WinXP and used as simple workstations on a Windows Server network with SAMBA. The only problem I ever had was with trying to run Live-CD X-windows on certain later i810 drivers. As of late I have become particularly partial to the fast and streamlined LXDE version. But even the KDE and/or Gnome versions work on legacy systems very well. Even the most inexperienced IRC user can get quick real-time help as if they were calling a close friend. And this is not just my opinion; I've actually let users of various skill levels put it through their own paces with real-world apps such as OpenOffice, GIMP, Pidgin, VLC, etc. Texstar and his crew has created what I call the "People's Linux" for all those reasons. For *OVERALL* compatibility, ease of installation/configuration and use, and community support, PCLOS wins hands-down.

    ReplyDelete
  49. After trying a spindle worth of distros over a few years,
    I discovered PCLOS and stuck with it the longest.
    Best hardware support and slick looking.
    Mint is good and improving.
    Room for both!
    Pedro

    ReplyDelete
  50. I have an old laptop with 512 meg RAM, no hard drive (dead proprietary and unreplaceable), and a dead PCMCIA slot. I used to run Puppy Linux as it was the only distro that gave decent performance on a usb memory stick, but it had its quirks that I had to live with (I hate pups.)

    I bought a faster USB dongle and thought I would try out the new PClinuxOS with lxde desktop. I expected it to be like other major distros that I have tried on the USB dongle, which is to say so incredibly sluggish as to be unusable. Instead, PClinuxOS blew me away. The performance was so snappy that it made Puppy Linux seem slow. I am in awe of this distro.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I agree with orl15. Zorin should be added to this comparison. I have been a Linux user since Mandrake 8.0. IMHO .deb is much more stable than .rpm. I have recently "tried" PCLinux OS Gnome, KDE, OpenSUSE 11.3, Fedora 13, Ubuntu 10.04 and many of the baby ubu's. I have installed Zorin for 3 friends and my mother. One newbie, from XP, using the Ubuntu forums, figured out how to get his Crackberry Bold to sync up and work. Debs all the way. My 2 cents.
    BTW Very thorough review of the distros involved though. Great Job!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Glad to see so many good and interesting comments!

    Thanks all and keep them coming!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I am too waiting for a rolling-release Mint. I've tried PCLinuxOS for several times, and liked it very much but I had several issues (volume keys not working, so many trouble with USB disks etc.) with my Lenovo SL500 (which works like a charm with Ubuntu 10.04 and Linux Mint 9)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'm a very long time mint user, but i also tried PCLinuxOS. My main concern about Mint is reinstalling everytime a new version comes out.
    PCLinuxOS, being a roll-on distro doesn't have that problem BUT has no 64 bit version (that means a bit of extra free speed...)

    ReplyDelete
  55. PCLinuxOS is the best for newbie like me :) I don't even need to think how to install driver at all! hehehe

    ReplyDelete
  56. I tried a lot distros, but the only one where everything (my hardware is old) worked out of the box, is PCLOS.
    My grandfather doesn't really like computers, but wanted a PC to be able to surf the web. I installed PCLOS on an old machine and gave him a short briefing... not a single proble occured the last 6 months.
    PCLOS... that's the way Linux should be!

    ReplyDelete
  57. "Things could also be better when it comes to Look&Feel, specially because there is no set of slides available to introduce the user to his/her new operating system."

    I didn't realize this was considered core functionality now. GIVE ME A BREAK! That's an incredibly shallow remark, AFAIC.

    When I evaluate an OS, it's based on functionality. A nice interface is important, but only in so much as it contributes to functionality. Enough said.

    ReplyDelete
  58. This is a great review. Ubuntu 10.04 was always freezing on my laptop. I dual booted with Mint 9 and ubuntu and Mint 9 impressed me throughly. I used partition magic to erase Ubuntu. I installed pc Linux 2010 on it and erased mint 9. Needless to say, i don't miss mint 9 at all. This Pc Linux is flawless and it runs so smoothly. I know you mentioned speed, but jeez its almost a night and day difference for me. This Pc Linux Distro needs to be promoted a lot more. First class work from the developers.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The review was quite good and what I needed, thanks.

    I was a BIG Mint fan until someone at Ubuntu went away from what a user would want, thus Linux Mint 7 (x32 or x64) is the only version of Mint I recommend. Mint versions above 7, I do not recommend because the Ubuntu version they are based on strays too far from making the distro the out-of-the-box solution it once was.

    Because distros get old, I looked and found a couple newer distros to replace my former beloved Mint 7. On newer hardware, I like Netrunner 2. It comes with kppp preinstalled, has the newer kernel and many other niceties. It does not have all the Mint tools to tweak the OS, but except for it using grub2, I rarely have to use CLI to 'fix' anything. The last point is important to me, as I look at a distro with the eyes of the windows noob I want to start using Linux.

    On older hardware I like PCLOS (aka PCLinuxOS) 2010.07 LXDE because its speed is better than Peppermint, or a Mint LXDE version. But, I still have to install a GUI-dialer on PCLOS for my modem users. The great-recession had many people drop their expensive higher speed Internet service for a low-cost $7/mo dialup account. Too many distros have abandoned any modem-use consideration, thus do not pre-install a GUI-dialer app in their distro.

    Even an old 1GHz P3 256Mb PC100 PC runs well on PCLOS 2010.07 LXDE. On this type of 'starving-student' PC hardware I also install Puppy 501 which can run in ram, making it even faster. Not bad for an old piece of almost-junk/PC-history.

    My thanks to the people who made the review, those that support Netrunner, and those that support PCLOS.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I myself have been with The PClinux since 2007 and so far i think It's community is a major reason for its continued success and someday i will move from kde 3.5 to kde 4

    ReplyDelete
  61. PCLinuxOS is the first and still only distro that gives me reason to run Linux. The others have some abilities that make me jealous, like 64 bit support or more built in software, but...

    PCLinuxOS has run on a broad range of my real world hardware including wireless laptops, printers and scanners without ever having to open a terminal. It is unique in this regard, and after all if a newbie can't get it installed, then it's worthless.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Nice write up and fair comment.
    I use openSUSE, but also trial most distros. All of these. And basically agree with the comments here. Though I have started putting PCLOS on computers for friends and family because it does as the saying goes: 'just work' so darn well too.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Seems to be a very fair and in depth review, hats off. I have used Linux since RedHat 5 :), and PCLOS was my fav for quite a while. Newer releases, however, have not worked well with my hardware personally, and I have given up in it in favor of Mint.

    The New edition of Mint 9 does not work at all with the atheros WiFi chipset.... although they are working on it so in short no current distro works with my particular WiFi card... yet :(

    PcLinuxOS would not work properly out of the box with WPA or WPA2 ... which made it unusable for me personally.

    I am downloading the newest paradus now, but I doubt it will work either. Dang cutting edge hardware...

    ReplyDelete
  64. Very good review. I'm actually a recent PCLOS convert, thanks to a couple of references on the Linux Mint forum. I used Ubuntu and Mint for a long time, but had lots of random crashes with the recent LTS release, an Intel wifi card was causing it to crash, then I put back in the Broadcom card that I'd replaced with the Intel one about six months ago, and neither Ubuntu nor Mint would work well with it unless I upgraded the kernel. Then problems with suspend and hibernate, uswsusp wouldn't work correctly, et cetera.

    PCLOS? Just worked. Period. I'm amazed.

    (I did try out Pardus on a LiveCD. Nice distro!)

    ReplyDelete
  65. Beside fact that I am using PCLOS for 5 years I am always amazed when I see that someone measure distro quality by its installation?! We are installing OS ones and use it for years!!! Write and measure by daily user activities, something that we have to leave with day by day. Compare way of updating, speed after 8 hours of constant work, etc.

    On other hand nice review :)

    Best Regards

    ReplyDelete
  66. I started my journey in Linux back with PCLOS 2007. and despite using many other distros I always settle back in PCLOS. By far it been a great distro for this beginner user of Linux. Anyone looking for an alternate OS to the one being offer to the masses should take PCLOS for a test drive today.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Amazingly folks see the same situation differently. I once was a user and supported of PCLOS but left because it lacked a 64 bit version, its English only support and most annoying was the quality of the board moderation.

    ReplyDelete
  68. PCLinuxOS for me because Mint can't handle Windows Media formats (not in 64-bit Gnome anyway). Also firefox under PCLOS is very responsive. The plus points for Mint (for me) is that it can play DVDs out of the box and there is a software centre where the applications are reviewed and voters can also write their comments.

    ReplyDelete
  69. As mentioned by someone above, Mint is decidedly anti-Israel - to the point of the head developer mentioning this on the MAIN PAGE in the official Mint blog. VERY unprofessional, and something I do not like. I was already too used to Mint and had it working too well to change by that time, but that is one major strike against it. It if far and away my favorite distro, but any repeat of that BS will force me to turn elsewhere, probably to Sabayon.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Thanks all for your posts!

    @Zocky: Installation is very important because it's the "business card" of a distro for new users. If they find a frustrating and disappointing process, chances are they will never get to the desktop experience you mention. Forget about your point of view and try to look at it from the newbie perspective... Why would they bother "fighting" their way through a poor installation process when Windows does it all for them, nice and easy?

    Linux will never make it as a desktop alternative until its community understands that the VAST majority of users couldn't care less about computers and they they don't want to waste a single minute googleing for answers.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Goldstein said:

    As mentioned by someone above, Mint is decidedly anti-Israel - to the point of the head developer mentioning this on the MAIN PAGE in the official Mint blog

    He is not anti-Israel. He is more than that:

    -He names a distro "Intifada". Curiouly he has not named a distribution by the name Darfur (about two or theree hundred times more dead and these aren't terrorists) or Halabja (the city gassed by Sadam). No his simpathy goes to those people who spend the money they get from international aid into buol;ding missiles they fire at Israel, hide behind children and have tried to blow maternities. For the Darfur people he has nothing.


    -He supports an organization (hamas) who openly declares its purpose is not the destruction of Israel but the extermination of Jews. In Spanish it is said: "Tell me who is your friend and I will tell you who you are".

    I, for one, wouldn't touch Mint with a ten foot pole.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Barrister Global Services Network, one of premier provider of IT solutions, printer repair , Printer Service, managed print services, Barrister Global Services. Printing services as printer repair and Managed Print Services are among the best services provided by barrister.

    ReplyDelete
  73. PcLinuxOS is indeed fantastic.I love being up to date with the latest stable apps and environment but to me it needs a little more..HMPH in terms of its package manager and its out of the box looks. Yes, Synaptic is great, but they should look into doing a package front-end of their own, add some personality to it..and the look and feel of the distro to me when its just installed..is kinda bland. Not appealing. Pardus however has all that, and it appeals to me alot, however their weak package base is an issue..

    ReplyDelete
  74. I learned a very good lesson from this article. I really like this website and hope you will write more. Thanks a lot for your information. power dialer

    ReplyDelete
  75. pclinuxos is great distro,when compared to others

    ReplyDelete
  76. Any chance of an updated comparison, say Linux Mint 13 KDE vs PClinuxOS KDE 2012 vs whatever? Have tried both via live CD on my ancient ASUS A7V400-MX with 1GB and both distros hang up. Checksums right, so it may be my slow IDE disks.

    ReplyDelete