Nevermind. That's a different story.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... No, that's not right, either.
They say the third time's a charm. Here we go. In 2000, I began my Linux journey with baby steps. I was already a bit familiar with UNIX from using limited shell accounts at work. I tried Slackware, Debian, Red Hat and quite a few lesser distros. None seemed to really fit until I tried SuSe 9.1. It was very comfortable, but the SuSe team changed direction with 9.3. Although I was using Linux, it was still playing second fiddle to my WindowsXP and AmigaOS 3.1 computers.
PCLinuxOS 0.91 in late 2005. It was a new project started by a packager for Mandrake. It seemed similar to SuSe, but somehow better. When PCLinuxOS 0.92 came out, I reinstalled from scratch, even though it was not necessary. I simply wanted to start fresh, minus the cruft I had accumulated. I was still dual booting with WindowsXP, and was still on dialup internet. It was at this point that I began having problems with Windows viruses. No amount of diligence with my virus checker, firewall and spyware guard software seemed to be enough to combat the problem.
The cat and mouse game of zero day exploits eventually became more than I was willing to tolerate. I decided that I would run Linux full time at home, and never use Windows again. I still use nothing but PCLinuxOS on all my home computers. There are several reasons why I stay with it.
StabilityPCLinuxOS is an rpm-based distribution. Much has been said about rpm “circular dependency hell”. Although I have experienced it firsthand, it has never been an issue with PCLinuxOS. I remain convinced it is because of the quality of the distribution's packages. Although there have occasionally been minor glitches down the road, I have never been left with a non-functioning Xwindows session or a non-working desktop after an update or upgrade. That is saying a lot, because PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution. Since its inception, there has only been one instance where a reinstall was required to stay current. It was due to a major upgrade in the gcc toolchain. Procedures are now in place to assure a reinstall will no longer be necessary.
DEsPCLinuxOS has been, traditionally, a KDE-centric distro. This is due to Texstar's preference. There were also Gnome and XFCE desktop environment iso images available. But, when the changeover from KDE3 to KDE4 happened, Texstar did not immediately make the jump. He considered KDE4's first incarnations too unstable and unusable to offer to his users. It wasn't until the KDE4.3 version that he released a beta for testing. With Texstar's customizations, the new desktop looked and felt much like the older 3.5 versions. This made the transition easier, in my opinion. Of course, all the KDE4 features were available. I believe it was the KDE4.4 version that made the final cut for a full release.
At the same time, several community remasters came out sporting different desktop environments. They were Gnome and XFCE, the old mainstays. But, added to the list were LXDE and e17. Later came an Openbox remaster. I had foregone the change to KDE4. Instead, I installed the e17 version. It was better than I remembered during previous forays with the e17 desktop. For one thing, the only time the desktop ever crashed was during KDE software updates. A simple restart of the e17 desktop always cured the problem, without having to restart X.
I now use LXDE and Openbox as the main desktops on my computers. I also use e17, along with IceWM and WindowMaker. There are a few other desktop environments that can be installed in PCLinuxOS, right from the repositories. In addition to the previously mentioned ones, there are Blackbox, Fluxbox, FVWM, AfterStep, Awesome, DWM, Matchbox, PekWM, and, yes, even Ratpoison. Freedom of choice is one of Linux's strong points, and PCLinuxOS offers many choices.
CommunityPCLinuxOS is a community based distro. There are no commercial interests sponsoring it, and no one is paid to develop, package or offer support on the forum. As mentioned, individuals regularly produce remastered iso images for a specific desktop. The PCLinuxOS forum is one of the friendliest I've ever been a part of. Newbie questions are treated as any others. The forum moderators have some policies in place that some may consider too restrictive, but they are to ensure that spamming of the boards and flamefests are nipped in the bud early on.
The PCLinuxOS Knowledge Base wiki has undergone a complete change, and is a good help resource. In addition, some forum members provide repository mirrors, and one forum member provides an email service. Another member consolidates the monthly desktop screenshots posted in the forum, and compiles them into a video which is published once a month on YouTube. We also have members who contribute artwork in the form of custom wallpapers and themes.
Not enough can be said about the packagers. Not only are they a presence on the forum to answer questions or help with user problems, they often create new custom packages for the distro. They also create packages for a new distro application if there are user requests for it, and the application is stable enough for everyday use. Many do this in their spare time, in addition to holding down a job and raising a family. That is true dedication, in my book.
MagazineSince September 2006, the PCLinuxOS magazine has been published almost continuously, every month. Occasionally, an extra edition is published. There was a lull in mid 2009, due to some community changes. Each issue is available online in HTML format or as a downloadable pdf. Besides covering community news and showcasing monthly desktop screenshots, the magazine offers tutorials, as well as a look at changing Linux trends. I am proud to have contributed several articles over the last few months. After all, very few Linux distributions regularly publish their own magazine.
TexstarBill Reynolds, the founder of and main developer for PCLinuxOS, is the very heart and soul of the distribution. Users who were clamoring for his custom Mandrake packages encouraged him to start his own distribution. It is Texstar's touch that makes the distribution rock-solid dependable and stable. His devotion to quality and stability has been evident ever since he first created PCLinuxOS. As regular users, we owe a lot to Texstar. I will take dependability and reliability over bleeding edge any day of the week.
This is a guest post by Darrel Johnston