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Thread: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

  1. #1
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    Default PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    I recently put a brand new desktop system together in order to get better performance with some of the FPS games I like to play, as my trusty old HP laptop with it's rather low-end Nvidia 8400m gs card just couldn't handle it.

    Of course the first thing I did was install openSUSE 11.2 onto the nice clean 500 gig hard disk.

    I've never had too many problems with Linux and hardware incompatabilities in the past, apart from obscure cheapo-brand webcams and the odd inconsequential laptop device, but on my shiny new system I was confronted with several extremely annoying and puzzling problems.

    First of all it seemed everything was running as normal, my Nvidia GTX260 beast was working like a charm, the system booted to the desktop in a little over 15 seconds, my 1920x1080 LCD screen gave me a decent sized desktop, life was good.

    Then all of a sudden, in a game, the sound cut out when I received an IRC message. I didn't pay too much attention to this, as I was quite used to games giving me problems, but then it happened again as I was playing a movie on the desktop, and again when I was playing an mp3 file!

    It turned out that no two applications could use the sound system at once. I tried all sorts of combinations of oss and packman versions of media players and alsa versions, I even resorted to installing the dreaded pulse audio to see if that would fix it! Nope, still the same.

    Then I tried the simple task of burning an .iso file to a CD to see if an older version of openSUSE would fix the problem, this was the start of the real headaches, it completely refused to burn a CD or DVD properly, oh it would start and burn just long enough to destroy the media, but never finish.

    Again I tried several different versions of software, created, joined, and searched many threads here trying to figure it out, but nothing. As far as I could make out it was simply hardware incompatability.

    Then WINE started to have sound issues, it would work one day, then refuse the next. After installing and re-installing many different versions of openSUSE, I just decided to accept the fact that my machine was too new.

    Then yesterday I stumbled into distrowatch.com and saw that PCLinuxOS had just released a new beta version of their 2010 distro. It sounded interesting, and I really liked their 2008 mini-me distro at the time, but came to openSUSE instead, mainly because PCLOS always had an older kernel and openSUSE just looked more professional.

    I booted their liveCD on my desktop and was completely blown away with how it functioned. EVERYTHING worked out-of-the-box!

    I had 4 videos playing on the desktop, while also playing an mp3 file with amarok2, konversation sounds didn't cut the sound out, and the Nvidia driver was already installed and working. I clicked on the "enable 3d effects" button for a laugh, and low-and-behold it worked. All this on the LiveCD!

    I plugged in my LUKS encrypted USB drive, entered the password, it appeared in Dolphin no worries. I decided to push my luck and try to play a .vob file - it played. OK, surely not .avi, or .wmv? Yup, even a .mkv (matroska video HD) played.

    I wanted to try burning a CD, but of course I couldn't do that from the LiveCD, so I plugged in a spare hard drive into my desktop and installed PCLinuxOS 2010 beta1 on it.

    It successfully resized the old NTFS partition that was still on there and the installation went smooth and easy. I did run into a problem when trying to use an encrypted /home partition because on first boot it flicked up a message asking me to press "y" if I wanted to use the LUKS partition that it had found within 5 seconds and it took me too long to read it and respond! It took me a bit of fiddling and command line work to get the LUKS home partition automatically mounting at boot, but when it did there was another nice surprise waiting.

    I'm used to having the system drop out of the nice graphical bootsplash screen to a text terminal so I could enter the LUKS password, but not with PCLOS, it popped up a nice graphical box informing me that /home was encrypted and that I should enter my password! Very nice.

    Next to see if PCLOS provided all the usual apps I like to use for everyday stuff, off to Synaptic to learn how to use it. Well, I was all ready to enter a lengthy search on their forum to find out how to add the "useful" repos, and learn how to change all the useless purposely "crippled" apps to useful ones. I was delightfully disappointed.

    All I had to do was click on the "refresh" button and it went off and did it's magic. A few seconds later all I had to do was click on the "mark all upgrades" button, then click on apply.

    After about a few minutes of downloading and installing updates, I decided to search for all the usual suspects - konversation (xchat installed by default), codecs, acetoneiso, pysolFC, devede, kernel sources, compiler, skype; everything was either immediately available or already installed! I did notice that there was an amd64 CPU specific kernel available so I decided to install that.

    On reboot it was taking a rather long time to boot, so I pressed ESCAPE to see what was going on, and bugger me the system was automatically recompiling all the drivers that were effected by the change in kernel!!!! Never in my life have I seen Linux behaving in such a user-friendly way.

    I didn't have to ask it, I didn't have to read through pages of incoherent guff or be tut-tutted by the white sock and sandle brigade because it is naughty to use "non OSS drivers", it knew what to do, and just got on with it with out asking stupid questions or making me jump through hoops.

    Now this is how Linux SHOULD be, and obviously CAN be!

    Chuffed by this amazing display, I decided to boot the LiveCD on my laptop, what would it do with the Broadcom 4312 wireless adapter? Surely I would have to do more reading and go through the usual nonsense of installing firmware files? Nope, the blue light came on straight away, and once at the desktop I entered the password and bugger me I was connected to the net!

    There's just one last acid test - could PCLinuxOS 2010 beta1 burn a CD? No other distro could, and I tried several versions of Ubuntu, openSUSE, and even Mandriva out of desperation, all failed.

    I'm now writing this from a PCLOS LiveCD (running from RAM by the way) burnt with my "non-compatible" DVD burner, while playing 4 movies, one mp3 (through my incompatible sound card), chatting on IRC, and using the wireless network!

    Setting up my HP wireless printer/scanner was also painless, that took me days of bashing my head against the keyboard fighting with the hplip drivers in 11.2, where it wouldn't work if you selected the printer the software discovered, you had to enter the IP manually. Plus PCLOS set the scanner part up automatically, that has to be done seperately in 11.2.

    Of course most of this might all be simply due to the newer 2.6.32.8 kernel it's using (although I had the same and worse problems with openSUSE 11.3 milestone1 and I think that kernel was newer), but the sheer luxury of actually being able to use my system without having to jump through hoops and fiddle just to get it to play a simple mp3 file is fantastic.

    One major downer is that there is no 64bit version of PCLinuxOS, well, I never found one anyway. And it does seem to run a little slower than openSUSE 11.2 64bit.

    It's well worth checking out if you're like me and don't have the patience anymore for fiddling and just want to "get on with it", if you want to see how Linux can be without all the restrictions and political nonsense. The final release should be very interesting indeed.

    It's the details that make the difference between good and great, and this distro looks really nice.
    HP dv6645, Nvidia 8400m-gs, KDE 4.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    Hmmm.... Interesting and very tempting...
    openSUSE 12.3 (x86_64) with Kernel 3.7.10-1.16-desktop and KDE 4.11.2 on MacBook Pro
    Latest MS Windows version used: Win95

  3. #3

    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    I have good memories of PCLinuxOS 2007 running on an old laptop someone had given me. Even the beta of that version was more stable than some final products I had tried.
    I'm confused...No, wait...Maybe I'm not...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    Nice write up growbag

    I have used PCLOS in the past and it was very good. I was a little worried at one point after 2007 release that it was going to die. Good to hear your report.
    kde4 version?
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    I'm a firm believer in users should use what works ...

    Quote Originally Posted by growbag View Post
    I had 4 videos playing on the desktop, while also playing an mp3 file with amarok2, konversation sounds didn't cut the sound out, and the Nvidia driver was already installed and working. I clicked on the "enable 3d effects" button for a laugh, and low-and-behold it worked. All this on the LiveCD!
    < gulp > I get the same on the openSUSE-11.1 and 11.2 and 11.3 LiveCD (albeit I need to install proprietary drivers on the LiveCD for special desktop effects) on one PC. On another I do not and 3D "just works" with the liveCD with openSUSE. Am I doing something wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by growbag View Post
    I decided to push my luck and try to play a .vob file - it played. OK, surely not .avi, or .wmv? Yup, even a .mkv (matroska video HD) played.
    I do this when testing my openSUSE-11.1/11.2/11.3 liveCD after installing mplayer/smplayer from Packman (all into RAM). I live having music in the back groud when testing.

    PCLinuxOS are not a billion dollar corporation with almost a billion in cash that is a nice target for a law suit. Novell is a billion dollar corporation with almost a billion in cash that is a nice target for a law suit (and it is also a target for a take over - but I digress). So while its nice that this is part of the PCLinux OS, but in truth it is also darn easy to do in openSUSE if one has been doing this for a while. And IMHO PCLiinux would be sued if they had money that people thought they could get by sueing.

    Quote Originally Posted by growbag View Post
    Now this is how Linux SHOULD be, and obviously CAN be!
    Can be and is for some of us. All of what you described, given we have different hardware, works for me just as easy with openSUSE.

    Quote Originally Posted by growbag View Post
    Setting up my HP wireless printer/scanner was also painless, that took me days of bashing my head against the keyboard fighting with the hplip drivers in 11.2,
    wow! Days ? I think it took me a matter of minutes on 11.1, 11.2 and now also 11.3. Sorry to read you struggled. I do not know what to say, as it was fast for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by growbag View Post
    It's the details that make the difference between good and great, and this distro looks really nice.
    I think a problem here, is an average user like me, who is by no means an expert, but rather a long in the tooth average user, can configure openSUSE-11.2 in minutes.

    I may out of curiosity look at PCLinuxOS, but I confess the last version, after burning and testing, I rebooted my PC, and threw the liveCD across the room in disgust. ... Disgust at me at being unable to figure out a liveCD that every one else was saying is obvious and "just works" but did not just work for me.

    So given my disgust with what I saw in PCLinux, I can not truthly recommend anything there be applied to openSUSE. We need users like YOU who see something that I can not see (in another distro) to DIVE into the TECHNICAL details and provide the differences that are postitive. Because when I tried (PCLinuxOS - mind you the previous version) I saw negatives.

    I'm comfortable with openSUSE. It works for me. I know its quirks. I like it. But I know that since I like it I will use it, and those who do not like it should not use it. I don't preach openSUSE to users on Ubuntu nor PCLinux OS forums, nor Fedora Forums. I do sing its praises on openSUSE forums.

    Anyway, go with what works for you. If you think you can contribute what you learned from PCLinuxOS to openSUSE then great. But if not, then go with what works.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    Do you really mean you have the sound of four or more sources all together through the loudspeakers? Wow, lucky boy (but nothing for me).

    But in earnest, you seem have been busy and having a fruitfull and exiting time. And thanks for taking some more time to share your experiences with us.
    Henk van Velden

  7. #7

    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    After having nothing with problems with 11.3M2 I tried
    the newest version of Mint Linux. Same results as was had
    with PCLinux, went in, everything worked, zero issues and
    now I can tweak without spending an hour or two just to get
    the release running. I have weird results with the OpenSuse
    milestones, one runs perfectly and the next one won't even
    load. The alternating thing has been going on since 11.1

  8. #8
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    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    rehunn wrote:

    >
    > After having nothing with problems with 11.3M2 I tried
    > the newest version of Mint Linux. Same results as was had
    > with PCLinux, went in, everything worked, zero issues and
    > now I can tweak without spending an hour or two just to get
    > the release running. I have weird results with the OpenSuse
    > milestones, one runs perfectly and the next one won't even
    > load. The alternating thing has been going on since 11.1
    >
    >

    But this is exactly what you have to expect with the milestones.
    The milestones are for testing (and reporting the errors), sometimes one may
    have luck that one of them is somewhat stable but this is by accident.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    Quote Originally Posted by rehunn View Post
    After having nothing with problems with 11.3M2 I tried the newest version of Mint Linux. Same results as was had with PCLinux, went in, everything worked,...I have weird results with the OpenSuse milestones, one runs perfectly and the next one won't even load.
    Many thanks for running the milestone release. I hope you wrote bug reports as is the intention when milestone releases are made available? This should be especially good re: the bug reports, since you took the time to try out other distro's and compare them. Thanks for taking the time.

    If SuSE-GmbH did not want bug reports raised they would not make the milestone releases available.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PCLinuxOS 2010 beta - fantastic!

    Thanks for all the positive feedback, quite frankly I already had my fireproof undies on in anticipation of the flame throwers .

    @caf - it uses KDE 4.4.1 and very nice it is indeed. I've had one or two plasma crashes so far, which is to be expected, but nothing serious. It uses "smoothtasks" too as default, it makes the taskbar look less cramped.

    @oldcpu - I really think it just comes down to which hardware you are running, openSUSE 11.2 runs perfectly on my HP laptop, I've never had a single problem. It's just this ratbag desktop, but thankfully that now runs beautifully with PCLOS.

    Screenshot here - http://christiane.homeip.net/screens...pclos-001.jpeg
    HP dv6645, Nvidia 8400m-gs, KDE 4.

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