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Review: PCLinuxOS 2019.02

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PCLinuxOS is a distribution I like to check in on every few years. The project maintains a curious combination of styles and technology which make it both unusual and, curiously enough, pleasantly familiar at the same time. PCLinuxOS was originally forked from Mandriva and has since become an independent distribution that mixes RPM packages with the APT package manager, which is typically paired with Deb packages. The distribution is also unusual in that it is a rolling release that generally keeps up with the latest available software while maintaining a conservative style. The distribution ships with a modern release of KDE Plasma, for example, but uses a classic menu tree for its application menu.

I will get deeper into PCLinuxOS's approach later. For now, I think it is worth noting the project is available in KDE Plasma and MATE editions. There are also community editions in Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, and Trinity flavours. The official releases are available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines only and the ISO for the KDE Plasma edition is a 1GB download.

Booting from the live media brings up a graphical interface and a window appears, asking us to select our keyboard's layout from a list. The window then disappears and the Plasma desktop loads. The Plasma panel is placed at the bottom of the screen and populated with an application menu, the system tray, and quick-launch buttons for some key system utilities. Icons on the desktop open the Dolphin file manager and the distribution's system installer.

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