PCLinuxOS: A Bright, New, Live-Linux on the OS Horizon
Preview .92 moves from OpenOffice to KOffice
Mike Angelo -- 19 March 2006 (C) -- Page 1
PCLinuxOS is a newer Linux distro and it already is better than many of the several hundred established Linux distros on the operating system landscape. Simply put, PCLinuxOS is a bright, new, Live-Linux operating system on the OS horizon.
PCLinuxOS still is in the late beta stages of development. We took a quick look at the latest PCLinuxOS live CD, PCLinuxOS Preview .92 (pclinuxos-p92.iso) to see how it is coming along. It's doing well. And we like the PCLinuxOS preview.
Perhaps the best-known Live-Linux is Knoppix, which comes in both CD and DVD versions. As with Knoppix, PCLinuxOS is very KDE-centric. KDE, The K desktop environment (KDE) is the best Linux desktop environment and is an integral part of a good desktop Linux.
If you already are not familiar with Live-Linux, its most salient feature is that you can run Live-Linux without needing to install it on your computer. Live-Linux is a Linux distribution such as PCLinuxOS or Knoppix installed to a bootable CD or DVD rather than installed to a hard drive. Thus, you can run a Live-Linux CD or DVD without installing Linux on your computer.
That makes PCLinuxOS a very good tool to promote migration from Microsoft Windows to Linux. In part, that's because MS Windows users can try PCLinuxOS without having to install it on their Windows computers. Thus Microsoft Windows users can try PCLinuxOS on their Windows boxes without any need for repartitioning, setting up a multi-boot scenario, and so forth.
Underneath the PCLinuxOS Hood
Unlike Knoppix, which is built on top of the Debian GNU-Linux distribution, PCLinuxOS started as a fork from Mandrake Linux 9.2. However, since then PCLinuxOS has become increasingly eclectic, drawing on packages from several of the best Linux distros as well packages developed by Texstar and the PCLinuxOS developers.
We asked PCLinuxOS founder and leader, Texstar, about that in an e-mail discussion:
Terms such as apt-get (APT is Debian's Advanced Package Tool), RPM (Red-Hat Package Management), urpmi (Mandriva's RPM wrapper), and Synaptic (an APT front end), to which Texstar refers are Linux software management tools. They are for installing, updating, and deleting software. For interesting and informative discussions of Linux software management, please see Debian's package management tools in Review of The Debian System: Concepts and Techniques and Installing And Updating Software Is Easy In Mandriva Linux (aka Mandrake Linux)
PCLinuxOS Application Choices
The PCLinuxOS live CD comes with a nice, extensive collection of applications and utilities including games, multimedia apps, networking apps and utilities, office apps, configuration tools, system management utilities, and more. There is a full list of packages included on the PCLinuxOS Preview .92 CD on Page 3 of this article.
PCLinuxOS is pretty much ready to run right out-of-the-box, so to speak. Moreover, PCLinuxOS is easy-to-use. That makes it a good GNU-Linux distro for promoting migration from the Microsoft Windows operating systems to the GNU-Linux operating system.
Earlier PCLinuxOS beta and preview versions included the OpenOffice.org suite of office applications, which is very comparable to Microsoft Office. However, in PCLinuxOS Preview .92 the OpenOffice.org suite is replaced with the KOffice suite of office applications. We asked Texstar about that:
PCLinuxOS Picks KOffice over OpenOffice
Another reason that KOffice might be preferred to OpenOffice for Live-Linux CDs and DVDs is that OpenOffice uses much more memory than does KOffice. On our Pogo Linux box with 1.5-GB of hard RAM and a 2.1-MB Linux swap file running Mandriva Linux 2005, OpenOffice Writer yanks 153-MB of resident and swap memory. However, KWord grabs only 42-MB of resident and swap memory.
By default, Live-Linux uses only hard RAM and a Linux swap file if available for memory. If there is no existing Linux swap file on the computer used for Live-Linux, memory is limited to hard RAM. Moreover, typically Live-Linux uses memory for your home directory since it does not have access to a hard drive (other than the Linux swap file on a hard drive.)
Thus memory can be a very precious commodity when using Live-Linux. On the basis of the memory OpenOffice Writer and KOffice KWord grabbed on our PogoLinux box, one might expect to save about 100-MB of precious memory by using KWord from KOffice rather than OpenOffice Writer.
The KOffice suite can be listed under five categories, Productivity Applications, Creativity Applications, Management Applications, and Supporting Applications.
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