15 Jul 2011

Pardus 2011.1: Turkish Delight

I am not sure about you, but Pardus 2011.1 was one of the more awaited Linux releases this summer for me. Why? Because I considered it to be one of the candidates to replace my previous "boots". Unfortunately, I was not patient enough and already started process of migration from *buntus. Mageia is my current choice for KDE system.
If you still don't know what 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.
Pardus Kaptan
Just after boot you are met by infamous Pardus Kaptan who guides you through the configuration steps. They relate to desktop wallpapers, menu style, windows theme, default keyboard layout. After main part Kaptan also suggests to make additional changes, i.e. open System Settings. It was a time for me to configure keyboard layouts. It was done in usual for KDE way, in few clicks.
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
Graphic applications are represented widely. Of course GIMP is here. It is accompanied by a dozen of other utilities like DjVu viewer, GwenView, KSnapshot and Skanlite.
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!
Turkish delight.
Image by Rev Stan
To finalize my understanding of Pardus, I tried to boot system once again, choosing Russian language at initialisation menu. I was nicely surprised to see that system worked in Russian without any unfortunate surprises. All the menues, all the texts were in good Russian. At least where I could see it. Nice job, Pardus team!

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.

24 comments:

  1. I'm testing Pardus as I'm moving away from Ubuntu (Unity just sux) and I'm looking for something with KDE now. And so far it is very nice. I'm still not done testing all the KDE distributions, but so far I'd say I liked Pardus the most. Second best for me would be mandriva, but the version 2010.2 I tested had old KDE so I will have to revisit Mandriva when ne version comes out.

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  2. @Anonymous: have you tried Mageia? I migrated to it.

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  3. No, I didn't try Mageia yet. I'll add it to my list of distros to check out. Thanks.

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  4. Nice review, DD.

    You naturally focus on issues like Russian language support, which make your POV valuable to those who have problems wtih Latin alphabets -- much like it's very hard to occidentals to read Cyrillic.

    Also, since everybody, his brother and his dog are praising Pardus, I am bound to give it a spin one of these days.

    But does it support Portuguese (my family's native language)?

    Now, someone point me in the right direction please, but I think distros sometimes "drop the ball": wouldn't it be so cool if we could just overlay a language pack and make *any distro* support your native language? I think this is perfectly doable and would follow Unix' philosophy of modularity.

    And what about uniform, standardized repositories? So that any distro could pull any app from any (trusted) source. Maybe we should have an "app repository" maintainer community, just like we have a Linux kernel developer community.

    Talking is so easy... 8-/

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  5. You can have install a community repo from here:

    http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/index.php?topic=3478.msg18496#msg18496

    Include Google Earth and some other nice programs.

    I think some are interesting to translate it to Portugese.But I dont know how far that work is going.

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  6. @Anonymous:
    Languages at the boot screen are:
    Deustsch
    English (US)
    Francais
    Magyar
    Italiano
    Nederlands
    Русский
    Svenska
    Turkce

    Sorry, no Portuguese.

    As for universal translation, that is not feasible. First of all because translation comes on the level of each individual application: KDE, Koffice, LibreOffice, Firefox, Chrome etc. All they have individual team and each of these teams has or has not translators for particular language.

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  7. @Anonymous:
    Thanks for the link.
    I tried to look through the list quickly.
    What I have found:
    Skype is there.
    Qutim is not there.
    I tried to check VLC, but could not- list is too big for my computer to work with it. 8-(

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  8. Hi, nice review!

    You should really try installing Pardus, at least in a virtual machine, to get the real feel.



    I installed 2011.1 beta on my notebook on a spare drive.



    I played with it for a couple of hours and I'm very impressed with this distro, if Pardus installer supported disk encription I would replace Kubuntu with it in no time.



    In the mean time, I just downloaded 2011.1 final and I'm going to install it on my desktop PC so I can use it more and experiment with it without risking my work ;)

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  9. > Sorry, no Portuguese.
    I somehow suspected Turkish folks wouldn't know Portuguese... ;-P

    > As for universal translation, that is not feasible. First of all because translation comes on the level of each individual application: KDE, Koffice, LibreOffice, Firefox, Chrome etc. All they have individual team and each of these teams has or has not translators for particular language.

    That is the same thing with every OS (including evil one$). But I think distros aren't responsible for app translation. One good scheme would be doing the same a browser does: a priority list of languages. E.g., in your case, Russian first, English second, etc.

    So the OS would come up in Russian -- ok.

    An advanced app (like Libreoffice) could just have French, English and Italian -- English would be automatically chosen.

    For older apps without automatic language selection (e.g., alsamixer), the OS would not intervene -- and the app would use whatever it knows.

    I still think this is feasible and would give acess to much more distro choice for everyone (what if the best distro one looks for is a Japanese one?)

    Of course there are a lot of grammatical issues... that this is hard should make it more attractive to hackers -- not less.

    Zeca. (temporary nom-de-plume)

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  10. @Ricardo:
    Nice to hear you like this distro.
    Feel free to share your experience here as comment of maybe even as guest-post.

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  11. @Anonymous:
    > I somehow suspected Turkish folks wouldn't know Portuguese...
    If they have English, Russian and Magyar (Hungarian), then why not Portuguese?

    As for universal translation... I think your idea makes sense. Moreover, I think KDE works similar way. At least, that is my understanding of configuration Locales / Languages.

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  12. http://transifex.pardus.org.tr/transifex/
    Pardus translation system

    http://developer.pardus.org.tr/guides/newcontributor/introduction-to-translation.html#introduction-to-translation

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  13. external stores created by other users:
    32 Bit :
    http://paketler.pardus-linux.org/P2011/i686/pisi-index.xml.xz
    http://pardus.isamert.net/pisi-index.xml.xz
    http://pakete.pardususer.de/pardus-2011/i686/pisi-index.xml.xz


    64 Bit :
    http://pakete.pardususer.de/pardus-2011/x86_64/pisi-index.xml.xz
    http://paketler.pardus-linux.org/P2011/x86_64/pisi-index.xml.xz

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  14. added to the translation of those over 60%


    Ukrainian (uk) 62% (1267/28/744)
    Polish (pl) 52% (1064/128/847)
    Portuguese (Brazilian) (pt_BR)37% (768/117/1154)
    Danish (da) 22% (464/11/1564)
    Serbian (sr) 9% (185/27/1827)
    Azerbaijani (az) 8% (169/1/1869)
    Catalan (Valencian) (ca) 7% (152/174/1713)

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  15. hi.I am very curious. What is your best favorite kde distro? mageia, pardus, kubuntu, mandriva, pclinuxos, mint kde.... which :)I will use your choice :) thanks too

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  16. @omergex:
    Thanks for good idea! I wrote a post about this: What is your best favourite KDE distro?
    Welcome to read!

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  17. Thanks for the review

    Can the Live DVD be installed to hard drive or should we have use the install DVD? Will 64 bit version work as good as 32 bit in areas like libre office, codecs, flash etc?

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  18. @Anonymous:
    Unfortunately, I have neither did Live DVD installation, nor used 64 bit version.
    I can't advise you here.
    You would probably get better advice at Pardus forum.

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  19. Cant believe how good this distro is. I have being trying loads but ran into issues with all of them until I tried this. Highly recommended, work right out the box :)

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  20. @Anonymous:
    Happy you liked this distro. It is well worth every word you wrote about it.

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  21. Pardus will become one of longest life distro because it's supported by turkish government. The team works independantly without control of politics, it is a big advantage compared to free working teams. I've installed 2011.1 and i'm very impressed by the evolution of stability of the system since older versions. Very simple to use and it gives the choice to install very easily lighter desktops than kde: xfce, fluxbox, lxde,...If you come from windows, pardus is the best choice to discover linux.

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  22. @Anonymous:
    Since Pardus is financed by government organisation, it is not absolutely free from politics. It is different matter that politics are not much involved in its development. And this situation is just brilliant!
    I wish we had same situation with many other brilliant distributions!

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  23. I somehow suspected Turkish folks wouldn't know Portuguese... ;-P

    No, some turkish Know Portuquese... are purtequese know Andalusia! or how many poeple's name is Tarik!

    Thanks for critics.

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  24. @sabri ünal:
    You are welcome! Hope critic is constructive.
    Will Portuguese translation be included into standard distribution at some point of time?

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