Pardus is, I can tell you. This is indepent Linux distribution developed by Turkish government organisation TUBITAK.
I have already written about previous version of Pardus 2011. That time I was very delighted by this system, and people in comments also left positive feedback.
Anyway, I was very happy to learn that Pardus 2011.1 was released. It happened on 12th of July, with about a week delay from roadmap plans.
Pardus 2011.1 has code name Dama Dama. This is Latin for Fallow Deer. Also this Turkish word in has 2 English translations: checkers and king. Or maybe King checkers?
Image of Pardus 2011.1 weights 1.3 GB, and I could only put it to DVD-RW and run on Toshiba laptop. Official site says Unetbootin is not supported, and only other methods are to use Mandriva Seed or dd command. But anyway I do not have USB stick large enough to get this image.
So, DVD-RW is burtn. It is in the drive of my Toshiba L500 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from optical drive. Let's go!
First screen of Pardus 2011.1 requires you to make 2 selections. First, you select language. Default is English (US), and about a dozen of other languages available. Russian and of course Turkish are in the list. Next, you select boot option. I went for Live run in English.
Pardus only has KDE version. If you like other Desktop Environments, then unfortunately there is no option for you. But please don't rush to close this window. Pardus has so much interesting that it is worth trying by everyone.
Pardus boots by default into KDE desktop in soft grey colours. Only buttons on the taskbar (KMenu and "Show desktop" icons) give you some bright colours. Seems like even KDE standard splash screen where icons from HDD to KDE logo appear was reworked to be close to soft-grey pattern.
KDE version is 4.6.5. This is a version which was released literally 5 days before Pardus 2011.1, and Pardus is probably the first project to include it into official distribution. Is it a reason for delay? Very likely to be.
At the same time as Pardus Kaptan captured my attention, I noticed that network icon on the taskbar evolved into the small circle, which indicated something interesting is happening. Yes, Pardus 2011.1 recognised WiFi card on my laptop, which is Realtek 8191. It is not the first, but very rare case. Not many distributions so far could activate this card out of the box. Even Pardus 2011 stopped half way here, if you look at my previous review.
Let's go on... Couple of clicks, few keystroked to enter security key, and I am connected to the Internet. Bravo, Pardus!
Firefox is default browser here, as in many other distributions. It has version 5 which is current at the moment. If you don't like Firefox, then Konqueror is another option.
Other than Firefox and Konqueror, network tools are KDE-standard: KTorrent, Akgregator, Kopete, KMail etc. There is quite a big selection of tools included into Pardus.
Multimedia tools are also widely represented. Clementine is default player, but you can also use GNOME MPlayer, SMplayer and CD Player if you wish. K3B is disk buring tool. Pardus 2011.1 also includes Kdenlive video editor.
Educational part of Pardus 2011.1 is represented by virtual globe Marble.
There are several games and even a screen toy in default Pardus distribution. I have not tried any, since I am not gamer at all.
|Pardus 2011.1 desktop in action|
Office applications in Pardus are from LibreOffie package. There is whole lot of them, including Base and Draw. For some reason, Draw is not linked from Graphics menu section. LibreOffice is also has the very latest version 3.4.1.
What frustrated me a little, is that I could not find a way to install other applications in Pardus. There is nothing like software centre in KMenu. Is it an issue of Live version? Probably, because I saw references to this function in duscussion forums related to installed version of Pardus. Unfortunately, this time again I could not see what is offered to Pardus users as additional software. That could be very important since Pardus uses its own package mechanism PiSi. Of course, software compilation from .tar.gz files is still an option here, but ready-to-use packages are also useful.
Actually it looks like Pardus team gathered together the freshest (still with smell of print press) packages: LibreOffice, Firefox, KDE just to name the main ones. Did it worth waiting for few days more to get ability to play with new software? I think yes.
Dolphin is a default file browser in Pardus, like in most KDE-based distributions. It has a function to mount smb:/ partitions. My network drive was mounted by this Dolphin tools without any issues. Russian fonts in filenames and folders were shown without additional tweaks.
But what I saw in Pardus (and some other distributions too) that Clementine could only play a file from smb:/ -mounted partition after copying (cashing?) it to local drive. That is not the best approach, from my perspective. Sure enough, that is not an issue of Pardus, but feature of KDE/Dolphin.
To double check if this is Dolphin utility of Pardus behaviour, I mounted same network drive with usual mount command. Then files started to play from remote location without local copy.
By the way... Success of all the mounting excersises means Samba is included in Pardus distribution by default. You don't need to install anything to start using it.
MP3 files, as you could already guessed, played in Pardus 2011.1 without any issues out of the box. Clementine is default player. From my perspective, it is not the best choice. Interface of Clementine is overcomplicated for me. I still prefer something simple. GNOME Player could be OK for me as default player. Or my favourite VLC, but it is not in Pardus distribution DVD at all.
YouTube videos also played out of the box. Nothing to worry about, just open the YouTube page in Firefox and here you go!
Image by Rev Stan
I have written in my previous review that Pardus is OS which deserves very close attention. New release proved it again. Yes, there are still small bits here and there which should be cured, but I won't be surprised if Pardus will be mentioned soon as good competitor to market leaders for desktop Linux like Ubuntu and Fedora.