Updated: August 4, 2007
PCLinuxOS is another rising star in the Linux constellation. Based on Mandriva, PCLinuxOS aims to be a simple distribution that reaches to the masses, allowing Windows users to easily and painlessly convert.
Compared to Mandriva, PCLinuxOS is not shadowed by the political controversy of its copyright battles over the distribution name (formerly known as Mandrake), firings and the alleged direction in which it is headed, of becoming more enterprise-oriented rather than community-oriented.
As a simple user, this should definitely not bother you. What more, you might find it very refreshing that PCLinuxOS uses Synaptic as the frontend for the APT package management system, also used in Ubuntu. On the other hand, it retains many of the GUI-oriented functions that Mandriva has, making it suitable for Linux newbies.
Therefore, in a way, this tutorial will well complement the Mandriva tutorial I have written and posted some time ago, as well as allow you to compare the usability and flexibility between PCLinuxOS and Kubuntu, both of which use KDE as default desktop.
Some things you should know before you start
This guide will be slightly shorter and less detailed than my previous tutorials, for several reasons: My tutorials build one upon another; you are well advised to read them first. The tutorials are written in such a way that they introduce new concepts and levels of difficulty gradually, allowing you to slowly progress in your understanding of Linux. PCLinuxOS and Mandriva are quite similar. Several stages in the installation and some post-install configurations are practically identical. While all of the stages will be mentioned here, you can easily refer to the Mandriva tutorial for more details.
Namely, for full step-by-step tutorials into the installation of some other Linux distributions, you should read:
To understand how to setup virtual machines, try VMware Player - A great friend.
To get into dual booting, try Dual booting - Windows & Linux - Full tutorial.
To learn about Linux command line, read Highly useful Linux commands & configurations.
Ready? Let's install PCLinuxOS
At the time this article was written, the current release of the distribution is PCLinuxOS 2007 Final. Like most popular distributions, it comes with a live CD installer and offers a ready-to-go installation with lots of goodies included, to name but a few: Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, Amarok, as well as eye-candy Compiz and Beryl 3D desktop managers. These and similar Vista-killer gems are now part of many modern Linux distributions, including Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn, LinuxMint 3.0, Mandriva 2007 Spring, Sabayon 3.4, and others.
You can download the image from the PCLinuxOS site.
Furthermore, you will need:
- A computer with a modern processor, 256MB of RAM and a CD/DVD-ROM drive.
- Optionally, a virtualization product like VMware Player, VMware Server, VirtualBox, or others. I recommend the VMware Server, as the most wholesome package.
Finally, a confession. I have already written the PCLinuxOS tutorial once, for the 0.93 Big Daddy release. However, while it waited to be uploaded, the new version (2007) was released. After consultation with people on several forums, I decided to ditch the old tutorial and write a new one. That's about it. If you're ready, head on to the next page.
Warning for the 56K dial-up users: For the purpose of better readability, I will use full-size images rather than thumbnails that link to images. This may cause some slowdown during the loading of the pages.
Again, you do not have to really do any of this. You could just read and practice the next time you really install from scratch. But I suggest you try to follow the instructions and do it for yourself. You will only benefit from it.