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19 March, 2006
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Live-Linux

PCLinuxOS: A Bright, New, Live-Linux on the OS Horizon

Preview .92 moves from OpenOffice to KOffice

KOffice replaced Open Office in the 0.92 release . . . Open Office 2.0.x is over 400 megs and would take away from many other applications we want on the live CD.

-- Texstar

Mike Angelo -- 19 March 2006 (C) -- Page 1

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Article Index

Introduction

Underneath the PCLinuxOS Hood

PCLinuxOS Application Choices

PCLinuxOS Picks KOffice over OpenOffice

Looking Ahead to PCLinuxOS 1.0

Persistent PCLinuxOS

Test-Drive PCLinuxOS

Resources

PCLinuxOS Preview .92 packages list

Note: we do not look at a beta-product release, particularly a pre-1.0 beta, with the same level of scrutiny that we look at a release-version of a product.
To learn why Linux is so much a better choice than is Microsoft Windows, please see our article Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows
logical cross-section of a Linux-based computer system

Figure 1. A somewhat simplified, logical cross-section of a Linux-based computer system.

Please see Anatomy of a Linux Distribution in our article SCO Clears Linux Kernel but Implicates Red Hat and SuSE. for the details, an explanation, and a bigger figure.

Executive Summary

PCLinuxOS (PCLOS) is a nicely-developing, Live-Linux on CD distribution. It is a good desktop Linux, which also can be installed permanently. PCLinuxOS is a bright, new, Live-Linux operating system on the OS horizon.

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 good tool for migration from Microsoft Windows to Linux. Windows users can try PCLinuxOS without installing it on their computers. Thus Microsoft Windows users can try PCLinuxOS on their computers without any need to repartition, set up a multi-boot scenario, and so forth.

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. A list of packages included in the PCLinuxOS Preview is on Page 3 of this article.

PCLinuxOS is easy-to-use and ready to run out-of-the-box. That makes it a good GNU-Linux distro for promoting migration from the Microsoft Windows operating systems to the GNU-Linux operating system.

To save CD space and offer a greater selection of applications, OpenOffice was replaced with KOffice in the Preview .92 edition. KOffice also is preferable to OpenOffice for Live-Linux CDs/DVDs because KOffice uses much less memory than does OpenOffice.

There likely will be some changes in PCLinuxOS as it progresses through the preview stages to PCLinuxOS 1.0. The changes more likely will be behind the scenes stuff rather than in the selection of applications offered.

Learn for yourself what PCLinuxOS is like. Take it for a test drive. Simply download the appropriate PCLinuxOS image and use your CD burning software to burn the bootable PCLinuxOS CD.

PCLinuxOS (PCLOS) is a nicely-developing, Live-Linux on CD distribution. It is a good desktop Linux, which also can be installed permanently if you like.

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:

MozillaQuest Magazine: As I understand things, PCLinuxOS is a fork off of Mandrake 9.x and it includes many Mandrake packages, is that correct?

Texstar: PCLinuxOS was initially built as a live CD using Mandrake 9.2 base with many custom Texstar RPMs. Each release since preview 4 has been built against a previous PCLinuxOS release. PCLinuxOS and Mandriva are not compatible with each other. We use our own kernel, our own KDE, apt-get with Synaptic front-end instead of urpmi, and a different menu system as well as a repository of RPMs designed to work with PCLinuxOS.

Texstar: PCLinuxOS does have Mandriva in it as well as Fedora, Debian, a few patches from Ubuntu, and some stuff from SUSE. We use what works best and try to incorporate the good things and weed out the bad.

Texstar: We do plan to change our code base in an upcoming 0.94 release sometime this summer that will give us a new gcc to replace our aging compiler, xdg menu system, and more. So this change should allow us to move forward towards a 1.0 release.

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:

MozillaQuest Magazine: As I read the docs, it seems that PCLinuxOS includes OpenOffice. However, I do not see OOO or any of its components in K-Menu? Am I missing something?

Texstar: KOffice replaced Open Office in the 0.92 release . . . Open Office 2.0.x is over 400 megs and would take away from many other applications we want on the live CD.

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.

Productivity Applications

  • KWord - word processor
  • KSpread - spreadsheet
  • KPresenter - presentations
  • Kexi - creating databases and database applications

Creativity Applications

  • Kivio - flowcharting
  • Karbon14 - vector drawing
  • Krita - image manipulation (photo editing)

Management Application

  • KPlato - project management and planning (not in PCLinuxOS Preview .92)

Supporting Applications

  • KChart - graph and chart drawing
  • KFormula - formula editor
  • Kugar - business reports


  • See Looking Ahead to PCLinuxOS 1.0 on Page 2 ----->

  • Article Index

    Introduction

    Underneath the PCLinuxOS Hood

    PCLinuxOS Application Choices

    PCLinuxOS Picks KOffice over OpenOffice

    Looking Ahead to PCLinuxOS 1.0

    Persistent PCLinuxOS

    Test-Drive PCLinuxOS

    Resources

    PCLinuxOS Preview .92 packages list

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