This is a place for me to share my random thoughts..

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ubuntu vs PCLinuxOS

Well It is not about which is a better OS overall, but which suited me better. Please read ahead for knowing further..

Generally the applications I use/dependant in a desktop:
email client
Java IDE
sometimes Eyecandy

Things I like:
PCLinuxOS(/Ripper Gang) did a really nice job in giving a very polished setup and collecting very good packages for PCLinuxOS 2007. I was not able to configure my KDE env in any other distro as good looking as the one how PCLinuxOS looks by default. And when I started setting up my box, I was just giving it a try and was thinking, "It must be another Linux, and I have to spend ages setting it up right to my preferences and applications". Amazingly it only took me 2 days of time(Including things I setup which I am going to use remotely). And its zooming faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast(well atleast in my box :) ). At one point I was even worried since I missed getting my hands dirtier in certain set ups. I will recommend it for anyone who wants to try linux(or even advanced users). Good thing was all the multimedia codecs were available "out of the box". (I mean, except for windows media codecs) 99% of the softwares I needed, I was able to get from the repository. (The remaining 1% is for setting up IE, Eclipse). Packages include Synaptic, Firefox, thunderbird, PCLinuxOS control center.

Things I am concerned:
1. I had to install ntfs-3g externally and do some configurations for mounting my ntfs harddisk. It would be great if Tex decided to include it in newer version.
2. I am waiting for the newer version to get released. But I dont know the exact schedule when it is going to get released. Sure I know it is for good. But it would be great if they atleast announces a tentative date.
3. Documentation in some areas need to be improved. I was not able to set up kopete over a proxy server. I knew I could somehow do it, but I was never able to find the right steps. I had to stick to Pidgin
4. I had to use lot of GTK2 applications which I feel does not fit well with KDE. Some applications I can say are Firefox, thunderbird, synaptic, pidgin, gparted(I might be wrong in thinking some applications uses GTK2 here). Whenever I use these applications, because of their performance and integration, I thought it would be better to use gnome(though its boring & sloooooow, this was one of the reasons for me in ubuntu right now...)

Things I was not able to do with Linux:
Sun Secure desktop Client.

It is a very good OS for a desktop if you have internet (and was not able to configure pclinuxos for some reason ;) ). It has huge repositories and eyecandies. But the policy of Ubuntu of not using proprietory software is a big stumble stone for someone who is newly starting up with Linux newly. Sure lot of help available over net. But for someone without net(if you are thinking, Yeah it is definitely possible and most people in India doesn't have net yet) it will not be a good choice. And setting up of the system took me almost a week(and I am still doing :( because gnome does not offer much configuration options). But since I have most of the ubuntu setup in my new laptop, I dont want to switch back to PCLinuxOS until the new version arrives. To be frank, I am not impressed. Ubuntu is too slow even with most of the services I configured not to start up with sysv. Boot chart shows time until log screen is 30:30. I have to change net to dhcp in home and static in workplace along with hostnames. In those cases, Ubuntu takes forever to log me from the login screen. Even sudo command takes a lot of time. But I had learned to live with it. And I dont want to waste another week of my productivity in setting up the system. So I ll stick with ubuntu for now. Reasons I chose Ubuntu are:
1. Excellent repository
2. Really responsive communtiy
3. NTFS supported from gutsy version. So I dont have to cross my fingers when I partition my disk(Yeah I know ntfs-3g is in beta stages. But so far it was very reliable for me)

When I tried kubuntu, I didn't get the same kind of attraction I got towards PCLinuxOS. Might be its just my taste :) so its ubuntu for me now...

The above comments are my personal and are from ONLY my experiences. You always have a choice to differ from it. After all "Its choice, which makes good people good" :)


Zak said...

Uh... you know, there IS a PCLinux Gnome for fans of that desktop. Before that, PCLinux ruled KDE and Mint ruled Gnome.

It sounds like you like to 'get your hands dirty' and fiddle w/ your OS for a hobby. Some of us want to get right to it and DO work on our PC instead of working on our PC.

Some of us who've been using the CLI for decades are sick to death of it, and enjoy the 'push- button sex' of PCLinux. Also, PCLinux and Mint are prettier than a pail full of kittens and are ROBUST distros that give the end user about EVERYTHING they want and look for in a REAL OS. Thats how they got the donations rolling in so quickly.

Ubuntu asks you to sacrifice COOL and productivity and usefulness for Linux; Ubuntu is CrippleWare for the second- class Geek set. WinDoze is the Old- Peoples OS. My Mac friends drool over my PCLinux- Baghira/Metal4KDE- Compiz/Fusion- Beast, afraid that they may have paid too much for those Apple cartons.

PCLinux for EVERYONE; not just the Nerds. PCLinux is Productivity. Mint Meant for the Masses, too. PCLinux Planet, Baby!

Daveleh said...

2. I am waiting for the newer version to get released. But I dont know the exact schedule when it is going to get released. Sure I know it is for good. But it would be great if they atleast announces a tentative date.

PCLinuxOS is a roling distro and not one which id=s redistributed at regular intervals. Once you have updated your installed packages after installing,via synaptic, then you will have the most up to date version and any new release will be a copy of what you have.

To upgrade simply open synaptic, click reload in the ntoolbar and then click apply. Click apply to accept the upgrades and wait for it to finish.

One benefit of this distro is that packages are not made available until they have been proved to work by Tex and the Gang.


Dave Le Huray

Stormy said...

It sounds like you like to 'get your hands dirty' and fiddle w/ your OS for a hobby.

It is a very good OS. No doubt about that.. I was trying to describe here the user friendliness of PCLinux. It makes everything easier out of the box. That was my point. And I am not looking for a new "gnome" desktop. PCLinuxOS works just great for me. But since my new system had NTFS and I had to Install offline, I had to go with ubuntu and now I will have to migrate all my settings to pclinuxos which I am kind of lazy to do. And only thing about ubuntu is the speed which I can bear atleast for now..

And to mention the truth I am no expert in Linux. I will consider myself as someone above novice who gained some knowledge over experimenting.

Yeah I remember that PCLinuxOS and Arch are rolling OS. But the problem was with the offline install where I was not be able to install ntfs-3g :(. I thought I will be able to create a live cd for pclinuxos with the existing system. But I was not able to use create live cd tool in my desktop. It was failing on me. I did some research. But I thought it will better to install a new one with NTFS.

Kudos to Ripper gang and Ubuntu team for taking the desktop to the next level. They both are doing a great job.

Stormy said...

hmm.. Just now I remember I should have considered PCLinuxOS MiniMe. Might be it already supports resizing an NTFS partition...

v said...

Im a Gentoo guy but I used to run 'Buntu on friends-family who wanted to switch (I only do free tech support on Linux machines).

Then about 18 months ago I noticed that the number one distro was PCLinuxOS, tried it and have been using it since for family (I use Xubuntu and Puppy for older computers).
Its super easy to set up, never had problems and my mum, dad, aunts, uncles and so on love using it.

I give Kubuntu a 9/10 and PCLOS a 10/10.

Hats off to Texstar and Ripper Gang for a fine job.

Might I suggest you try their Minime version and maybe even the new Mandriva 2008.1 since this is what PCLOS is based on.

I am getting my wife the new Acer sub $400 laptop (EEE competitor) and will be trying MiniMe on it..

Stormy said...

Its time I get back to pclinuxOS... and for the second time my configuration worries were not there since pclinuxos made it so easier.. One nice thing I noticed was it had firefox in the upgrade stream, and firefox 3 as a separate software. (I am not going to use firefox 3 for now with pclinuxos since some pages are not rendered correctly and those pages are important for my office work. If I want to use it I anyway have it in my windows boot). Good thinking.. :)

Stormy said...

For the windows people who are installing pclinuxos, these were the things I had to configure(dont worry about the '#' characters, this is just my way of organizing todo's :) ):

#ntfs-config - make the windows drives writable(system-configuration-hardware-ntfs)
#system upgrade - mv *rpmsave, *rpmnew files label: SYSUPGRADERPMNEWRPMSAVE
#kde pim
stardict/kde dict?
#virtualbox vmserver


Action items:
#Setup synaptic proxy
#point the home directory to /media/subbu/subbu/mydocs/linux/home/subgovin
#recreate links & panel items
#synchronize firefox, thunderbird bookmarks & proxy settings & profiles
#edit /etc/fstab to mount ntfs automatically
#edit /boot to boot into latest kernel
windows network shares : see /media/subbu/subbu/mydocs/official/linuxshift/windowsnetworkshares.txt
green kde
#firefox close button: browser.tabs.closeButtons=3
#firefox to save downloaded files
#configure vim
#configure bash
#configure eclipse jdev tarantella jdk


This is a place for me to share my random thoughts..

About Me

Well, I ll tell things that you will remember first. My birth date is 9/11. Feel free to take a plunge into my blog... :)