PCLinuxOS 2013--An Old Friend Revisited
I first heard about Bill Reynolds (AKA "Texstar") when I was using Mandrake Linux 7 (later called "Mandriva") many years ago. Back then, Texstar was putting together updated KDE releases for Mandrake Linux, as Mandrake would only typically update their KDE release once or twice a year.
Texstar was fanatic about getting everything working right, and his response was rapid if you'd report any issues with KDE's operation.
Eventually, Texstar decided to gather a group together and create his own (then Mandriva derived) distribution called PCLinuxOS. Cautiously, I stayed with Mandriva as my primary distro for a few months, and then jumped ship to the new PCLinuxOS.
It was a great time--fast KDE updates, sound worked great, the latest and greatest multimedia codecs, and the nvidia drivers were great.
Then Texstar took about a year long hiatus (due, I think, to exhaustion and illness) and the distro deteriorated. I moved my primary distro to Kubuntu, and have used it for about three years now.
So, earlier this week, I saw on Distrowatch that PCLinuxOS 2013.12 has just been released, and it has KDE 4.11.3. Well, that's fairly current as KDE just released 4.11.4. This was the quarterly update release of the ISO images--so, I thought I'd give it a try.
This PCLinusOS KDE occurs in three versions: "KDE Full", "FullMonty", and "MiniMe" with all three in both 32 and 64-bit releases. In addition PCLinuxOS also has the LXDE Desktop and MATE Desktop releases.
The "FullMonty" release contains the KDE Full desktop, with a special very customized KDE desktop layout, and additional applications and drivers. Since I like to configure my own KDE, this didn't seem right for me. In addition, it's 3.8 GB in size.
The "MiniMe" release provides a basic KDE desktop and is directed for advanced users that can fine tune their own system--and no printer drivers are included. Probably a little minimalist for me.
The "KDE Full" version provides a standard KDE desktop and contains many popular applications and drivers. Like Goldilocks, I thought this version was just right. And, so I downloaded this 1.6GB version and installed it on my secondary desktop machine.
PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution, and I don't know how they do it with this many different versions. But I still found familiarity with it as you would greeting an old friend you haven't seen in a good while. It still uses Synaptic with RPM files for software installs and updates. The sound drivers and codecs are great, nvidia drivers are installed by default, and the "system just works".
I modified the fstab file to load my Synology NAS (Network Attached Storage) shared drive, which works well. I found all the files needed to customize the KDE desktop.
Any issues at all? Well, I still do a little programming, and I found that PCLinuxOS contains the old 1.8.7 version of the Ruby programming language--I wish it were at least Ruby 1.9.3 or later. And PCLinuxOS uses an older kernel (3.4.64).
I need to send them a donation. Welcome back, PCLinuxOS.