Linux – Partial Success

Well it seems I have had at least a partial success with the installation of Linux onto this machine. Numerous attempts with openSUSE, Ubuntu and Solaris all failed dismally.

openSUSE 10.2 in both 32 and 64bit versions refused point blank to find the USB device (previously they found it) and certainly wouldn’t give me the facility to configure it. This is doubly strange as I have openSUSE 10.2 running on an older machine in the spare room which uses an identical USB WiFI dongle, and it worked straight out of the box. This really is a shame as over the years, I have come to like SUSE and thought it’s progress was excellent.

Ubuntu 6.10 (32/64bit) and Ubuntu 6.06 (32 bit) also completely failed to work. While it was similar to openSUSE, Ubuntu is a lot more frustrating with it’s problems. The way Ubuntu obsesses about hiding the inner workings and hand-holding pretty much drive me insane. As I see it, the main reason some one will go to Linux is because they want the power and capabilities offered by a great OS. Making all of this hidden and “unintuitive” strikes me as abject lunacy.

Solaris 10.2 (32 bit) bombed. I wasn’t really expecting much from this, my experiences with Solaris on desktops in the past has never been “fun.” This time was no different. It got as far as trying to set up the graphical interface and crashed. A reboot and it was the same all over again.

While the Solaris farce was no surprise, I was a bit disappointed by the first two. This time last year I was happily running multiple linux machines (SUSE and Ubuntu) and would regularly tell people about the benefits of using them (see blog archives for examples). I honestly thought that the way both were heading, there was actually a chance you could get Linux out to the broader audience (ask heather – I kept harassing her to try it, saying how easy it is now, etc.). Give my recent experiences, I think both have taken a step backwards.

No one expects a “niche” OS like Linux to have out of the box support for every hardware device on Earth, but I would expect them to make it easier for people to find the problems. Having lots of on-line resources is useless when your problem is the network connection! I wonder what the goals of the various distros are – in the case of Ubuntu, I can only assume world domination. If the distro makers want to really move away from the small home market share (in the main, people who work in technical jobs), they need to re-think their approach.

This brings me to my last attempt. PCLinuxOS. Worked straight out of the box. I even did it twice to check. Both time this ran perfectly. Given the frustrations, and the cabinet full of install DVD/CD-Roms I have, this was amazing. I am even writing this on Firefox, under PCLinuxOS.

While I am impressed with it’s ability to find and connect to the network first time (with lots more configuration options than either SUSE or Ubuntu), I am not fully convinced I “like” PCLinuxOS yet. Give me some time to play with it, and see what installing new software is like – the main reason I want Linux is to set up an Apache server with PHP5, Perl, Python and Ruby/Rails to assist with web development. If this is not up to the task….

Anyway, let me close with a big well done to PCLinuxOS. It has succeeded where the bigger names failed (Even Mepis dropped the ball).

16 thoughts on “Linux – Partial Success

  1. by the way, do you know ubuntu 7.04 is supposed to have brilliant wireless networking support, right out of the box.

    not tried it myself so i’ve no idea what it is like.

  2. I am surprised you couldn’t get mepis to work – in the past I’ve found it was great at networking and simple to install.

  3. I’m glad you like PCLinuxOS so far. Are you using TR3/2007 or .93?

    A couple of things have been said about PCLOS:
    1. “It just works.”
    2. “The distro-hoppers distro.”

    Both seem appropriate. The new logon artwork appears to be “PCLinuxOS-Radically Simple.”


  4. I have been in a similar boat. I used to work for a non-profit organization and was looking for an alternative to Microsoft software products. I, too, tried Ubuntu and openSUSE, as well as Linspire, Xandros, SimplyMempis, Fox, Mandriva, etc., etc. Then I stumbled upon PCLinuxOS. Wow. Everything worked just as it said. I have been using it since it’s .92 release. We are in the test phases of the 2007 release (looks like one more test before final). If you look in the PCLinuxOS Control Center, you will probably find all of the things you need to set up your servers.

    Peace be with you.


  5. Thanks for all the comments. I am using the Test Release 3 of PCLinuxOS and it is, excuse the hyperbole, great.

    It is simple and it certainly does, “just work.”

    I still hanker for openSUSE, and I am having all manner of problems getting MySql working. I dislike Synaptic at the best of times, and this seems like a typical set up for it…

  6. I am a PCLinuxOS user and forum moderator, so I do declare an interest. What you found is why PCLinuxOS is still in testing, Texstar won’t put out anything in his name which isn’t perfect! Other distros (including and especially Windows) are not as fussy!

    Anyway I am writing to you because you mentioned Ruby/Rails. Thought I’d let you know that the Ruby on Rails live development CD is built on … PCLinuxOS! (Or it was last time I looked)

  7. Thanks for post, and thanks for the info about Ruby/Rails! It is good to hear.

    I am more than impressed with PCLinuxOS and I am sure it is only going to get better with time.


  8. Nice review. I moved over to pclos for exactly the reasons you cited – internet out of the box. Before that I was on ubuntu and had problems. I’m currently using .93 and waiting for the final release of 2007. I’m prepared to wait as i know the devs will bring out a finished product. The TR3 could be put out as finished by others but it still needs some tweaks so expect a really good distro. By the way PCLOS passes the wife test. She never used linux before but is totally happy with PClinuxOS. I hope you stick with it and if you do run into any difficulties the friendly folk at the pclos forums will be only too happy to help. (At least you can access the forums on pclos 🙂 )

  9. One more think to be aware of is that not all software packages have been made available in the 2007 repositories yet. The developers are busy putting the final touches on the base system and are slowly adding more apps, as time allows. Expect to have a lot more apps available through synaptic one the final version is out.

  10. Thanks Justin. I have noticed the repositories are missing some things – although (so far) I have been able to hand install them.

    After two full days of use, I still really like PCLinuxOS. (Although, as you can see, I still have it Dual Boot).

    Well done to everyone involved.

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  12. Installed Ubuntu 7.04 inc. 330 updates.
    Opera 9.10 has been installed and reinstalled but will not open/run.
    Any ideas what the problem may be???

  13. I am not too sure about Ubuntu – I have no end of problems with it, getting opera installed would be a plus!

    When you try to open / run what error messages do you get? (If any)

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