In my usual “Linux hopping” travels from distro to distro, I sometimes stretch outside the Ubuntu family of distros. Recently, I have gone between PCLinuxOS to Fedora, and then back to Ubuntu. These are my notes from using both, and my comparison to Ubuntu 7.04.
My first distribution outside of the Ubuntu and Debian code base led me to PCLinuxOS. I have heard much about this system in Linux circles.
The installation of PCLinuxOS was a bit of a challenge. I first had to figure out how to partition the disk. As with all my installations, I always do a full install. At last, I found a “recommended settings” button, which automatically sets the partition settings, such as the / dir, and the other different directories. After this point, it was much easier to install. I believe th installation was based off Knoppix, which I have heard is not for novices.
Using the OS was actually a pleasing experience, as it uses KDE, and Synaptic as a package manager. The applications are of the usual, and there are about 5,000 applications available through synaptic. This is the first system I have ever used with the RPM package system.
Otherwise, everything seemed rather familiar.
Next up, Fedora 7.
The second distro that I used recently is Fedora 7. The installation went rather well, however, downloading a 2.8 GB file on a base-level speed DSL connection is a major pain, taking well over a day.
Installation was easy, however confusing at the beginning with the “check CD” option. Otherwise, the installation is as every bit easy as Ubuntu’s.
Usage was much like Ubuntu. Many of my favorite applications were available. However, when I went to install more applications, (the package manager is accessed by the “add/remove” applications menu option) Apps are in groups of relevant type, with optional packages available. There is also a “list” tab, along with a “search” tab. With 5,000 packages available, there was obviously less than Ubuntu or Debian available, but there were many good apps nonetheless.
However, soon things began to take a turn for the worst. As I added and removed applications, I ran into the problem that made ESR leave Fedora – and it is not fun. The problem is the decencies are so tightly held, that when I removed the eclipse development program, open office went with it. That’s when I decided to call it quits and move back to Ubuntu.
In my opinion, both are easy to use, but the package management mixed with installation troubles both led me to believe that they still have a way to go before they can be labeled “average-joe friendly”. PCLinuxOS is still a new distro, and I beleive that they will begin to mature by the end of this year. Fedora will need to fix their package management system before they can really make it into the mainstream.