11 Nov 2011

Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal - quick, powerful, rogue

I have confessed several times that KDE is my favorite Desktop Environment. And even more, that I prefer KDE3 to KDE4. That's why every time I approach Linux distribution with KDE3 on top, I am full of awe.
Some time ago one of my readers advised me to try Pardus Corporate as distribution which runs KDE3. I have always highly appreciated Pardus. And, of course, I was absolutely excited to see KDE3 on top of this Linux distribution.
As you can understand from its name, Pardus Corporate is targeted to corporate users. With all the security features required by them: remote installation, management and so on. Is it any good for personal use? That was a task for me to study.
Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal was released in February 2011.
Unfortunately, this version of Pardus does not have Live version. You can only get installation ISO image of this distribution. Of course, I could not try this Pardus until recent.
If you remember, Salix XFCE was replaced with Ubuntu 11.10 and then with Kubuntu 11.10. Neither of these systems was good for me to stick to them, so I eventually got a partition on my HDD to try something new.
Finally, it was my turn to try Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal.
ISO file for Pardus Kurumsal weights about 1Gb. It means you can't burn it to CD. Instructions to create Live USB also did not work for me. Finally, I burnt DVD-RW with the image.
So... DVD-RW is ready and inserted into the optical drive of my laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

Installation process of Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal took very long time to finish. Installer itself is available in several languages. English and Turkish are in the list, of course. I was surprised to see Catalan in the list too. Unfortunately for me, Russian was not listed.
Installer includes all the usual steps you expect from it. First of all, you are presented with partition manager. It is very good one, easy to use and rich of features. Then you have a setup of user ID, followed by choice of keyboard layouts. English UK is available here. Then you set up local time and location. Finally, you can setup bootloader, or skip this step. My choice was NOT to install one. That was my mistake.
As a result, bootloader was not installed. Reboot. Choose Debian from the GRUB2 list. Run update-grub. And... Pardus is not listed! GRUB2 was not able to recognise this operating system. To be precise, it showed Pardus in the processing list, but nothing got added into the menu.
After several attempts to get Pardus properly booted from GRUB2, I decided to go through installation again. This time bootloader was installed. And... It only included Pardus in the list! Neither of three other operating systems was listed. Windows? No! Debian? No! Mageia? No! Such a mess!
Finally, I got my Debian booted in almost manual exercise. Then I added Pardus item into the manual part of grub.d configuration and only after that I had all my systems correctly listed in the GRUB2 menu.
As a side effect of all these fights between GRUB2 and Pardus, I got my other systems broken! Neither Mageia 1, nor Debian Squeeze booted properly after some point. Having made some research I was in despair and found my way to LinuxQuestions.org forum. And solution was found! The reason for failure was that Pardus changed permissions on the root folders of other partitions! That's definitely not the behaviour one should expect from respectable distributions! You can read more on this error and solution in LQ thread.
Anyway, this post is about Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal. Let's come back to the main topic.
Pardus, as usual, met me with Kaptan. It is kind of trademark of this distribution. Kaptan is guide through configuration of user environment. This time Kaptan's features were even more exciting than in previous versions of Pardus which I tried. Let me highlight some of them.
  • Default wallpaper in Pardus Corporate 2 is in grey colors. But it can be replaced with any other. And selection of wallpapers in Pardus Kurumsal is very good. My favorite was macro image of green flower. Awesome!
  • Pardus uses KDE 3.5.10. But it does not mean that you can only have classic menu style. Indeed, you can have Kick-off style menus in it! That's truly amazing - to hybrid high-performance low-resource KDE3 with achievements of KDE4.
  • At the end of Kaptan, I was presented with options to launch Tasma, which is configuration centre, or look at Internet user groups.
Tasma is another configuration manager in Pardus. But if Kaptan deals mostly with external outlook of the system, Tasma is dedicated to deeper configuration activities.
Keyboard configuration (I actually wrote Konfiguration initially - that's KDE to blame) is a separate task in Tasma. It allowed me to configure English (GB) and Russian keyboard layouts, but alas my usual switch (Ctrl-Shift) did not work. It's known KDE3 issue.

Another feature which I missed in KDE3 was ability to quickly search for applications in Alt-F2 tool. Of course, you still have an option to quickly start the program you need from Alt-F2, but you need to know application name in full. Search function is not working here.

Pardus Kurumsal was able to correctly detect, configure and activate WiFi card in my laptop - Intel 3945ABG. My home network was listed in the Network Connections. Few clicks and keystrokes - and I am connected. The issue appeared during reboot - security key is not stored in Pardus, and I had to enter it again every time I booted Pardus.

Right after installation system recommended me to install updates. I was surprised, but number of updates was much lower than I expected - only about 50. It is quite low for distribution which is more than 6 months old and includes lots of software packages. I have moaned at some point that OpenSuSE, for example, got updates for almost same size as distribution itself after 6-months period. Why does Pardus keep this number so low? Because not all the packages receive security and functional updates? Or because of something else? I can't answer this question.

Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal uses about 540Mb of memory when idle. It is way too much from my perspective for KDE3-based distribution.

I have mentioned above that KMenu in Pardus Kurumsal can be configured in Kick-off style. But this Kick-off is different from what you usually see in KDE4-based Linux distributions. In particular, tabs for History and Applications swapped places. Not sure if this is good decision. Also, almost everything in Applications section of menu is hidden further under Programs item. It makes your search for the necessary tool longer. This issue can be fixed quite quickly by simple drag&drop excercise in Menu Editor, which is available by right-click on menu button.

What is included into Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal? A lot!
Default browser is Firefox 3.6.13. During update it was replaced with version 3.6.23. That is very strange for me. Firefox currently has version 8 as latest stable. Why did Pardus development team freeze version a such a low level? Of course, Firefox is not the only browser available. KDE native Konqueror is also included in the distribution. Plus you can get other browsers from Software Centre - more about it later.
Other than browsers, Internet section of Pardus' menu contains many other useful applications, mostly KDE-specific, like KMail, KGet, Akgregator, Kopete. Non-KDE applications are only represented by mentioned above Firefox and Thunderbird.
Pardus Corporate ships several games, even if it sounds little bit strange. These games are KDE-native like KMahjongg and KBackgammon.
Graphics section of menu lists whole bunch of different viewers: Gwenview, KFax, KGhostView and so on. Of course, there are editors too, and they are pretty much usual suspects: GIMP and KolourPaint. KSnapshop is also here. Unfortunately, it is not associated with PrintScreen key.
Multimedia section of menu is rich with players: Amarok, Kaffeine, Juk are only few from the list. Of course, there are audio configuration utilities too. And K3B finalizes the list of Multimedia applications.
Full set of LibreOffice applications is available in Office part of Pardus' menu. Of course, other KDE-specific applications are also here: KMail, KOrganizer, KAddressbook. Some of them are also listed in other parts of menu, like Internet.
System menu allows configure system and its components. Apart from usual suspects like Konsole, User Manager and Disk Manager, you can find Virtual Machine Manager here. Interesting enough, Terminal (Konsole) window uses tinted desktop wallpaper from under its current location as background. Software management tool (Package Manager) is also listed here. But I would say that it can be easier located in Computer tab of Kick-off menu.
Of course, Pardus Corporate 2 includes lots of different utilities: for Desktop, for Accessibility, for peripherals. Most of those applications, as you may guess, are KDE-native. Purpose of some of those utilities is not always clear. For example, what is KNazar for? "About" window of this application says "KNazar is useful part of Pardus Linux" - not very informative.
As you can see, lots of applications are already included into default Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal distribution. But you may wish something else. Here is where Package Manager comes into play. It is quite nice tool which allows you to search for packages using either text search, or groups, or both together. Just a quick look into what's available:
  • Chromium is available there, and version 15 is quite fresh. At least, it is much fresher than Firefox 3.6.23
  • Opera browser is also available.
  • Skype is readily available to install.
  • Unfortunately my favorite Instant Messenger qutim is not listed.
  • Same for Pidgin - it is not here.
  • OpenOffice is here with version
  • VLC is listed.

KNetAttach, which is part of Internet section of Pardus' menu, was able to quickly and correctly configure connection to my external network drive using smb:/ protocol. All the Russian characters were working correctly in file manager. I was even able to play my music directly from drive connected with this method. Unfortunately, not all the players were able to deal with it properly, but at least Kaffeine Player and Amarok were good enough. And only Amarok was able to play files with Russian characters in path.
Flash is included into Pardus distribution by default. I was able to watch videos from YouTube and other hosting sites without any additional hassle.
Pardus Corporate 2: KDE3 with Kick-off menu
and Flash player are included

Unfortunately, Pardus Kurumsal was not better than any other distributions I had tried so far in terms of work with semi-hardware key combinations for volume control. Fn-F5 and Fn-F6 on my laptop made system stuck. It did not freeze, like some other systems, but volume still sticked to lowest possible level. I was not able to restore it - volume moved down automatically all the time. Situation fixed itself after some time. I was able to lift up the volume and it remained stable.

As you can see, Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal is little bit controversial.
+ From functional point of view, I fully support this distribution. It has good selection of applications, nice and stable base, lightweight but still functional desktop environment KDE3. Pardus Kurumsal works extremely fast. These are all the positive points.
- On other hand, my experience with Pardus was spoiled with few issues: long story with changing access rights on other partitions, inability to "remember" security code for WiFi connection, issues with switch between keyboard layouts via Ctrl-Shift.
Some of those "drawbacks" are quite significant for me. That's why I must admit that Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal won't live long on my laptop. But if you're not scared by these drawbacks, then Pardus Corporate 2 can be a good choice for you.
Search of distribution to occupy the partition on my laptop goes on!


  1. Thanks for the review. There is a community package repository that located at http://pardus.linux.org.tr/corporate2-i686/pisi-index.xml.xz for 32 bit and
    http://pardus.linux.org.tr/corporate2-x86_64/pisi-index.xml.xz for 64 bit. There will be an update release for this distro. Then it gets the 2.1 version number. A few of the changes which will be made are:
    -package signing
    -YALI enhancements-multiple network installation
    -AHENK enhancements
    -and so on.

  2. @Anonymous:
    Thanks for the update!

  3. Hello;

    Coparate 2 use 182 Mb memory on my Laptop. Not 540 Mb.

  4. @Anonymous:
    You're lucky then. I don't know why it took so much on mine...

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, Anonymous (15 November 2011)!!!!

    This repo contains a working version of Krusader!!! Finally I have it back! It was the biggest lack of software since Corporate arrived. And I totally fail to understand why the Pardus devel team excluded it when they released Corporate.

    Made my day!

  6. @Anonymous:
    I am happy I helped you to meet each other. 8-)