[sf-lug] PCLinuxOS comments (Asheesh Laroia)

Asheesh Laroia asheesh at asheesh.org
Wed Dec 19 22:14:39 PST 2007

On Wed, 19 Dec 2007, Kristian Erik Hermansen wrote:

> On Dec 19, 2007 9:34 PM, Christian Einfeldt <einfeldt at gmail.com> wrote:
>> but isn't this a problem with lots of distros?  And remember, we had
>> defective memory on that box.  Has anyone tested it on a box without
>> hardware issues?
> I think most major distros, including Ubuntu and Fedora, all have
> NetwrokManager installed and on by default these days.  We should
> retest on a working box though, as you mention.  Good point...

Yes, agreed - we didn't know about the RAM issues at that time.  If 
someone brings in a PCLinuxOS machine sometime to an SF-LUG meeting, I 
will try to give it a fresh evaluation!

>> Yes, that was a problem for me until I understood that I just had to 
>> reboot. Then it was not really a problem.  In fact, one of the reasons 
>> that I am using PClos (short for PClinuxOS) is that I was not able to 
>> install Ubuntu or openSUSE or Linspire or Freespire or Mepis on a 
>> couple of boxes.
> Some would consider this a huge bug :-)  Or if not that, at least shows 
> that perhaps there are many more bugs lying underneath the rug!

Yes, and the Ubuntu/etc. communities would benefit from you filing those 
bugs where Ubuntu doesn't install.

As for the installer requiring a reboot, "What a pain."  I know, that's 
all it is, but it makes me fear for the installed user experience, having 
been through years of Linux systems of varying friendliness.

>> Actually I am not sure if you looked at the Firefox link bar at the top when
>> it boots up under PClos.  It has links to lots of sites that seem to give
>> good documentation.  Also, their IRC channel is one of the most newbie
>> friendly channels that I have ever seen.
> This is true.  However, when you don't have net access, most veteran
> Linux users know to check for docs in /usr/share/doc or wherever, but
> sometimes distros like to deviate from certain customs.  It is not
> particular to PCLinuxOS and every distro has their quirks of course...

Friendly IRC channels rule.  (That reminds me, maybe we should have a 
San Francisco (Bay Area)-related channel on FreeNode.)  Join me on #sfbay 
if you like....

Quirkiness is

>> I can tell you that appearance and *apparent* ease of use is key with 
>> newbies, as we can see with Windows.  Windows is a flea-bitten piece of 
>> crap, but people keep using it because of the marketing muscle of 
>> Microsoft, and part of that is making it look nice and easy to use.
> I agree with you and you make some good points...

At the same time, one of the major reasons for Windows' success is the 
developer and "sysadmin" documentation.  Whether or not it's great for 
experts, it's fantastic for people starting out.  In the same sense, I 
think that software systems shine or fall flat in how they treat people 
who, given time, will become experts and promoters of that system.

>> So far, the teachers and the kids have not complained much.  The teachers
>> don't like the fact that their bloated Excel spreadsheets won't open on OOo
>> under PClos, but that is another issue altogether, and the same problem
>> appeared with other distros, too.
> Won't open at all?

We've all been over this at a previous meeting.  I'm curious if the Ruby 
on Rails replacement for that spreadsheet has materialized.

>> The other thing that I like about PClos is that it ALWAYS gets the screen
>> resolution perfect.  I have never seen it present a screen resolution that
>> is too high, as is the case with Ubuntu.  I often have to correct the screen
>> resolution for the kids with edubuntu on the thin client server and on other
>> workstation installs, such as the edubuntu file server that the school is
>> using.  I have changed the default on the file server.
> Hrmm, wonder what would be different...

Perhaps they bundle i915resolution (or whatever that thing is called)?

I think maybe one good way to build upon the successes of Ubuntu, rather 
than go a totally different direction when you don't like what they do, is 
to build custom installers with fixes or special features that Ubuntu.com 
won't add.

>> So I have gotten into the habit of giving PClos to newbies.  But as I say, I
>> like Ubuntu and openSUSE just as well, more or less, although I am a bit
>> more fond of KDE than GNOME.
> So I guess if PCLinuxOS improved a bit to clean up, and had funding, I
> would say it's polished KDE environment is nice.  The only problem I
> see going forward is funding.  It's great to have a nice clean OS, but
> it really sucks if people start learning it and then the company goes
> under.  With Ubuntu, Canonical should be in business for a while at
> least, even if lots of the core developers defected to Red Hat.

I find that unlikely that Canonical devs will fall in line at Red Hat, 
given that most of their most well-known developers are also well-known 
Debian[-derived distro] elitists. (-;

> I don't see how PCLinuxOS has the financial backing to compete with 
> Canonical or Red Hat.  Maybe someone can fill me in, because, as I see 
> it, and this is only my opinion, it doesn't appear to me to be properly 
> quality-tested just from your confirmation of the bugs I tested.

Well, funding isn't the only way to be excellent!  After all, the 
stability and rock-solid package quality of Debian stable is real despite 
the lack of funding for the Debian "organization" (strictly speaking, 
there is no Debian organization, actually; it happens to be supported by 
Software in the Public Interest, but it's not *inside* SPI).

> Let's see how it works out though.  I have been wrong before, and 
> sometimes a good idea creeps up and surprises you much later...


I'm open to new things, too, but I still am disappointed by what I saw 
with this one networkmanager package + knetworkmanager.  I do also know 
that I have seen poor-quality packages in Ubuntu remain poor-quality for 
years, as I just emailed Kristian (CC:ing the list; the pakage is 'bb') 

To be maximally (perhaps more than I should be, or perhaps exactly as 
much as I should be) fair to PC Linux OS, I do know my way around the 
Ubuntu and Debian systems (and to some extent RedHat/Fedora based systems, 
too), and if something seems weird or broken I have good knowledge of why 
it might be and what I might try instead.  With this system, once I failed 
to find documentation in /usr/share/doc/$packagename, I was stuck in a way 
that I would not be in Debian/Ubuntu.

I did, I hope (and I do believe), mention that "you'll find more people in 
SF-LUG who have experience with Ubuntu" is a reason to switch to it, and I 
do believe that's a valid reason since Ubuntu isn't utter junk.  (If it 
were, it'd be worth fighting that installed base and getting us all to 
learn something else.)

-- Asheesh.

Also, the Scots are said to have invented golf.  Then they had
to invent Scotch whiskey to take away the pain and frustration.

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