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 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.

Hmmm… Interesting and very tempting…

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.

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?

I’m a firm believer in users should use what works …

< 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?

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.

Can be and is for some of us. :slight_smile: All of what you described, given we have different hardware, works for me just as easy with openSUSE.

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.

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.

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. :slight_smile:

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

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.

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.

Comparing stable releases with milestones… I’m so tired of people.

And Growbag, most of the stuff you’re claiming about you’re either lying or just pulling stuff out of your ass.

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/screenshots/screenshot-desktop-pclos-001.jpeg

I don’t know if this comment will start a flame war, but here goes, anyway: one of my assistants, a long-time Linux lover, has nonetheless moved back to Windows XP for most of his personal work. The primary reasons are (a), never-ending sound issues under Linux and (b), the pain and aggravation of getting proprietary codecs to work.

Or, in his words, if his brother sends him a video of his kids, he just wants to click on it and watch it. Even with the codecs supposedly installed under Fedora and OpenSuse, it won’t work half the time. When it does, it’s slow, clunky and non-intuitive (ex., why does Amarok take forever to load, and then insist on leaving an icon in the taskbar, when all I want is a quick preview of a .WAV file?).

If PCLinuxOS addresses these issues, it might move up in the rankings very quickly. I’ve tried previous versions myself and have been very impressed with it.

I definitely understand your assistant’s view.

But the reverse is also true.

The only reason my wife boots to openSUSE linux is the codecs work (as set up by me). She can NOT figure out how to set up the codecs in WinXP, and whats more, she does NOT want to spend the time to figure out. So she boots to openSUSE Linux when someone sends her a video or when she wants to convert an audio file from one format to another. It is setup in openSUSE and it works easy for her.

When my mother wants to play a movie sent to her by friends, she boots to openSUSE Linux, because it works for her in openSUSE Linux and it does NOT work for her in WinXP. That is because she can NOT figure out how to setup the codecs in WinXP. I remotely setup things for her in openSUSE.

Now it takes me minutes (a small number) after a fresh openSUSE install (if I have a high bandwidth connection) to setup the multimedia to do this. I add packman, switch to using Packman as the default respository for all current packages, and I add libffmpeg0 and w32codec-all, plus I add my preferred players amarok, vlc, smplayer and xine/xine-ui, and it works. Thats all I do and it is done in minutes. No pain. No hastle. It works. In openSUSE Linux. It does NOT work in any of our family winXP desktops.

The point here is I have been using Linux for years and I can do this. I can NOT get codecs to work in Windows without a lot of pain and surfing, and clearly neither can my mother nor can my wife.

So it all boils down to what works for one is often what one is familiar with. I am not familiar with WinXP. My mother is not familiar with winXP. My wife is familiar with winXP (but she REFUSES to spend the time to figure out). … and none of us can get codecs to work as well in WinXP as we can in Linux.

The grass is always greener next door.

growbag, I am a strong believer in going with what works, and if you find a distribution that works theway that YOU like then IMHO you should really use that.

I personally believe, like you point out, that hardware selection plays a big roll in this, but I also believe familiarity plays a bigger roll. I am familiar with openSUSE, having been on it (or SuSE) for almost 9 years now. Hence setting up the network printer was a breeze for me. When I said minutes, I am not kidding. It was minutes. It took my wife OVER AN HOUR to set up the same Network printer with MS-Windows. I had 4 openSUSE PCs set in the time in which she still did not have that HP Network printer working under WinXP. … and I have posted about this elsewhere.

Setting up codecs in openSUSE are a breeze for me. Many other aspects of openSUSE are also familiar to me.

When someone tells me they spent days pulling their hair out trying to solve a problem, I have serious puzzlement over why someone would be so masochistic. In today’s day of mailing lists, forums, and IRC chat, not to mention work colleagues who can provide hints, there is no need to spend days. I seriously can not understand why some one would waste so much valuable time, when there are easy ways to get help on things which in many cases are easy. … But maybe thats just me. I’m lazy and I like things to work easy … which is probably why with my knowing openSUSE’s quirks, I won’t be leaving any time soon.

That’s why I run it in a Virtual Machine for testing purposes. That way, it doesn’t disrupt my desktop–which keeps my wife happy.:wink:

lol!It’s no problem if you have the aural equivalent of 4WD fitted and the cerebral equivalent of a C2D processor implanted to decode the 4-ear input. I think @growbag was a little economical concerning the transplant dependencies required for a real-world application. :wink:

@growbag, good luck and prosper with your new PCLOS 2010. :slight_smile:

BTW another advantage of PCLOS is that you can keep updating it through the next release, i.e. a “rolling” release. Oh, wait a minute that was the theory, until the massive 2009 update was applied to the impressive 2007 release, during the absence of the all-encompassing developer. Oops, a bit of a train wreck, with the release crew vanishing before a public enquiry could be held. That was only with tried and tested KDE3, and only 32bit to look after. Obviously it took a while for the updates (many) and fixes to come through, but some glitches remain e.g. sometimes the cd/dvd mounts and sometimes it doesn’t. So, if I do 2010 it will need a clean install and so much for the theory :P.

I only use it for a couple of applications where PCLOS stayed on older package levels. Just glad it isn’t my main distro.

I nearly forgot to mention that PCLOS have long been criticised for their record on security updates. When I last looked FF got to 3.5.6 on the 2009 release when it should have been at 3.5.8 a while ago. Hardly any updates come through for the current release during a few months prior to a new release. Apart from all that, it’s been quite a good distro.

I used PCLOS for a long time (3 to 4 years) until the 2007 debacle , after that I tried the 2009.1 and God it was awful , had it on a Lenovo laptop (openSUSE on the rest), keyboard would type strange characters , tried everything , nothing worked , and after being banned from the forum for making a comment about KDE4 , I formatted and put openSUSE 11.2 on , God so much better keyboard works flawlessly , buttons work that have never with PCLOS .
Was a fan but PCLOS is losing it fast , Mandrake (Mandriva) clone .
I for one will never try PCLOS again , ban me for asking why KDE4 was not a option and I will spread bad press , I was a member of PCLOS forum years before the person who banned me , and was told by them “this is my house” , you can have your house , I will just move on , try Unity , the main developers from PCLOS are doing it .
Funny thing is I worked with the Developer Texstar on a problem months before .
I always try to help when I can , am a huge fan of Linux and have been for over 12 years .
openSUSE forum has no problems with asking questions as to when a certain app or program will be likely added , my kind of forum .

Glad you mentioned their rather aggressive forum (elders, and fanboys) - and that was just the Help sections. I didn’t want to over-egg my comments with that, but it was pretty bad the way they treated any form of criticism. However, the developer was probably right to hold back on KDE4 until they really had no choice with 2010, given their smaller set of resources (i.e. compared to openSUSE).

I think I will only be putting openSUSE 11.2 on my new Lenovo notebook, since the KDE livecd works so well with the h/w. No issues with the k/b, and the ultranav seems to work as well or better than Win7. :slight_smile:

Haven’t tried the new os called Unity on the desktop PC, but IIRC that is produced by the developers who allegedly screwed up the PCLOS 2009 release and left under a cloud, or a “night of the long knives” scenario, never to be discussed on that PCLOS forum anyway. Or were we misled into believing that?

Yeah , maybe PCLOS should not mess with KDE4 (Mandriva has had a successful KDE4 for a while) , they seem to be stuck on KDE3.5 , okay I guess but , got to come to the 21st century sometime .
I remember the huge debate 2.4 or 2.6 kernel , Jesus , I installed 2.6 kernel never looked back , same with KDE4 .
Yeah the Unity crew is the PCLOS same , I don’t recommend it just yet , still beta phase , however I did like the new Igelle distro , very slick and fast , their own GUI “Esther” I think they call it , pretty slick stuff .

Both were contributing factors when I decided not to replace openSUSE with PCLOS as my main desktop.