For my first review, I have switched my virtualization application to InnoTek’s VirtualBox, which has recently been purchased by Sun Microsystems. After trying multiple times to create a system on VMware’s sever, only to fail each time. With VirtualBox, setting up the application was easy as installing it from Add/Remove applications, add my username in VirtualBox’s group via System > Administration > Users and Groups, and then create the virtual machine. Performance has been wonderful, since VirtualBox uses fewer or my system resources than VMware.
I found that choosing a system to review was difficult, since there are so many to choose from and I had already reviewed many of the popular systems in the past. One release stood out, however. PCLinuxOS Gnome 2.21.2 is PCLinuxOS with, well, Gnome 2.21.2. PCLinuxOS is one of the most popular Linux distributions that is built and run by a community of users.
Configuring the system is also easy, via the Administration Center. The Administration center controls all of the aspects of your PCLOS system. Since PCLOS also provides all of the default system controls from the Gnome Desktop Environment.
The above screenshots show what the default PCLOS Gnome 2.21.2 looks like. As you can see, the extra work done with the graphics really does pay off.
The applications that come preinstalled are all popular applications for Linux, with a wide range of internet applications, Gnome Office, and Python programming tools to name a few. There are also a large selection of sound applications, with multiple audio playing and media editing applications. There are also the “default” set of graphic editing utilities, such as F-Spot, G-Thumb, and the GIMP.
All of my favorite applications, both popular and obscure, were easily found through Synaptic package manager, which is the same package manager that Ubuntu uses. PCLOS also uses apt-get for package management, which is also the same as Ubuntu, Debian, and other Debian-based systems.
Installation: 9/10 – Installation was easy, plain and simple. My only complaint is the start-up questions, which are really only useful for system administrators or someone who is using just the LiveCD. The start-up questions are also used in Mandriva, since PCLOS is based off Mandriva.
Ease of Use: 8/10 – Power users will find themselves right at home in PCLOS.
Graphical Appeal: 8/10 – Nice dark theme that blends well into the desktop, but personally I think they could make their own awesome icons.
Application Availability: 9/10 – The repository has all of the applications I need, but there may be something that is not present which may be in another distribution. If you do find one that is not available, you can search for them via RPMseek.
Overall Rating: 8 1/2 – As with any system, there are many different factors that do not fit within a normal review. I feel that I have covered most of them, and if there are any that you, the reader, feel are missing, let me know.
I have found PCLinuxOS Gnome 2.21.2 to be a great release, with updated applications and a quality application set. What is even more amazing is that PCLinuxOS is built by the community that uses it. I know that I have been hard on PCLinuxOS in the past, but now I can truly say that I am very impressed with the Gnome 2.21.2 release, and would certainly recommend it to any power user.