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pclinuxos reviewIt’s an understatement to say that Linux users have plenty of choice when it comes to which distribution they’d like to use. There are multiple approaches to accomplishing the same tasks, from what kind of packages (such as .deb or .rpm) are used to what packages are included by default on installation media to the purpose of a distribution — whether it’s stable or cutting edge and if its pure or accepting of proprietary software.

In any case, there are plenty of aspects of distributions which you can have your own preferences, and then choose a distribution which caters to those. If you are looking for the best Linux distribution that mixes up a lot of different distributions, I have something for you.

About PCLinuxOS

pclinuxos review

PCLinuxOS is a pretty unique Linux distribution for people who are fairly knowledgeable about Linux. By the way, for anyone else, you might want to check out our ultimate guide to Linux. Therefore, it isn’t quite a distribution which I can recommend for new users, but it’s great for Linux users who want to try new combinations. PCLinuxOS is often seen as an independent project as its quite a bit different from any other major Linux distribution, but it still has roots with Mandrake Linux 9.2, whose successors now include Mandriva Linux Mandriva 2011: A Different Linux Experience Mandriva 2011: A Different Linux Experience Mandriva isn't considered to be a major player in the Linux world anymore, but it used to be back when it was still called Mandrake Linux. A couple months ago, Mandriva let loose their 2011... Read More and Mageia Mageia: Enjoy The New Fork Of RPM-based Mandriva [Linux] Mageia: Enjoy The New Fork Of RPM-based Mandriva [Linux] Mageia is an RPM-based Linux distribution which forked off Mandriva (formerly Mandrake) in September 2010 when Mandriva was experiencing severe financial difficulties. It’s first release was in July 2011, and after just about a year... Read More .

There’s an interesting mix of Mandrake Linux elements remaining in PCLinuxOS, as well as a couple notable features found in other distributions.

Mix & Match

pclinuxos linux

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First, PCLinuxOS uses the RPM package format, which it inherited from Mandrake Linux. However, the included package manager is Synaptic Package Manager, which is found in Debian as well as distributions derived from Debian. It also includes a Control Center that is similar to what can be found in Mageia and its precursors. As a unique feature, PCLinuxOS is a rolling release with the publication of occasional new ISO images so that you can always test out and install a recently updated version of the distribution.

However, once installed, you’ll simply need to keep up with updates to stay up to date – no new releases to upgrade to.

Plenty Of Software

pclinuxos review

Recent publications of the PCLinuxOS ISO images include a boatload of software for you to use, right out of the box. If you can think of it, it’s probably already included. Even just the Internet section alone includes about everything you’ll need, like Firefox, Thunderbird, Kopete, Xchat, Filezilla Transfer Files by FTP with FileZilla Transfer Files by FTP with FileZilla Read More , Choqok Manage Your Twitter & Accounts With Choqok [Linux] Manage Your Twitter & Accounts With Choqok [Linux] One possible choice for twitterholics is to have Twitter up and running in the browser most of the time. While this is a feasible solution, you'll start missing out when the browser is minimized. Also,... Read More , and Dropbox. It even includes codecs from the start, which is something you won’t find on other major distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora. In other words, there probably won’t be much more that you’ll need to install to have a fully functioning system.

Plus, because PCLinuxOS uses a rolling release model, you can be sure that it offers the latest versions out there. In fact, the December 2012 ISO images currently uses the latest version of KDE 4.9.

Testing & Installation

In order to try out PCLinuxOS for yourself or even install it, you’ll need to head over to their download page and get their latest ISO images. There are other desktop environments available besides KDE, but I recommend it the most if you have the available system resources. While the site offers both torrents as well as images on HTTP mirrors, I recommend that you use the suggested torrent link and avoid the HTTP mirrors so that you have the best download rates and the latest ISO images. When I looked at the HTTP mirrors, some of them were hosting ISO images from December 2010.

Once you have downloaded the ISO image, you’ll need to burn it to a DVD or write it onto a USB drive. Then configure your system’s BIOS to boot off of the prepared media, and then launch into the new distribution. From there, you can mess around in the live environment or go ahead and start the installer.


PCLinuxOS is an interesting twist to the regular, popular distributions. I do think that Linux enthusiasts would like it, but the only downside to the distribution is that it is only supported by a community, and not a larger entity as compared to Ubuntu, Fedora, or even Linux Mint Linux Mint 13 "Maya": A Very Stable Release With Long-Term Support Linux Mint 13 "Maya": A Very Stable Release With Long-Term Support The "Linux release season" is starting to come to an end as the last few major distributions are coming out with their latest release, most notably Linux Mint. This time around the Linux Mint developers... Read More . However, if you like what you see, there’s nothing wrong with trying it out!

How do you like PCLinuxOS’s selection of technologies? What would you want in your own ideal distribution? Let us know in the comments!

  1. John Bailey
    July 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I have been using different versions of PCLinuxOS for about 4 years. At first I jumped between the Gnome and KDE interfaces, but there has been a slowdown in the Gome side, and I'm running PCLinuxOS64 right now. I was a novice, still am, but once I learned the basics of files, upgrades, and installing programs, it is my primary home system. I used Microsoft at work due to supporting our software for customers.

    I find this is a very user friendly OS and should be fairly comfortable for any new user if they choose to download the ISO for an Live CD to test drive

  2. Rishi Raj
    June 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I am using PCLinuxOS at home. it does not eat on much power and resources. I like it very much. And, let me tell you all there that those who are new to linux or are used to Windows-like OS's can have a smooth migration into the world of linux with PCLinuxOS. The reason is that you can do most of your day-to-day tasks using GUI alone.
    For geeks, yes! , there is no single day when they don't type commands in.

  3. urez2beat
    April 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I Think that without a doubt PCLinuxOS 2013 is the absolute BEST Linux Distro
    a newbie can start out with. It works it works it works it just simple works. I found Ubuntu to be buggy and freezing up on my system.HP Pavilion g4, but PCLINUX
    works flawlessly no freeze ups it runs my laptop perfectly even the webcam!!!

  4. dragonmouth
    January 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    The one issue I have with PClinuxOS is that when the developers put out a major update to the basic system, they unilaterally change the config files overwriting any user-made changes. After each system update I have go into System Settings and re-apply any customizations I made in the past. In other distros Synaptic package manager pops up a screen asking "There is a new version of XYZ.config file. What do you want to do: Use your version, use developers version or compare the two?" I suspect that functionality is disabled in PCLinuxOS.

    Other than that little quirk, PCLOS is a great distro.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 1, 2013 at 5:38 am

      I wonder if anyone has suggested that to the devs yet?

      • dragonmouth
        February 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

        "I wonder if anyone has suggested that to the devs yet?"

        I have made the observation/comment about config files on couple of forums in the past (eg. DistroWatch). In each case I was told in no uncertain terms that it is the developer's prerogative to make any changes they deem necessary and if I didn't like it, I should use another distro or Windows.

  5. Beirapadua Greaser
    January 26, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Really liked the idea of publishing magazine alongside the distro. If not for linuxmint, i might be using this distro. who knows :D

  6. Karsten Hormann
    January 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Gave PCLinuxOS a try and so far everything runs smoothly. This is not a bad distribution for beginners, actually.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 1, 2013 at 5:37 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Karsten! I'm glad that you're having such success with PCLinuxOS! :)

  7. Benny (cdbc)
    January 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    In one word: GREAT!
    Personally, i've got four laptops / pc's running PCLinuxOS :-) LXDE and KDE flavours...
    Come on in and play with us, we've even got a "sandbox" :-D :-D Great forum and a magazine on a monthly basis... Ohhh.... and a boatload of nice people ;-)
    Regards Benny (cdbc)

  8. Mohammad Wasiullah
    January 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Hi can you publish about the RHEL 6 server and also with command from starting to ending

  9. racuna
    January 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I been an Ubuntu user couple of years a go, but when i dont like the change of his desktop and the many bugs of some of their releases I decided try PCLinuxOS and I been used it for 2 years and I love it because I dont need to update of release to release downloading gigas at once (or formating if the upgrade doesn't work).

    • Danny Stieben
      February 1, 2013 at 5:36 am

      I've always liked the idea of a rolling release. Distros are out there which are successfully pulling it off, why can't others?

  10. Kim Jong il
    January 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    PCLinux is best Linux. :D

  11. Stephen Green
    January 13, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    While the article was spot on, you could have mentioned more about the trials and tribulations of installation. The quirky installer does always work with some hardware..

    • dragonmouth
      January 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      "you could have mentioned more about the trials and tribulations of installation"

      What "trials and tribulations" have you had?

  12. Zhong Jiang
    January 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    There are so many distributions, people tend to pick Ubuntu because it's popular, easy and conform to the general/professional user. But the way I've picked Debian was to learn the system more and being a previous Ubuntu user/Windows, I found it more entertaining than just installing it merely for the purpose of surfing the web and not exploring the contents and capability of the system.

  13. Ashwin Divakaran
    January 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I ve used PClinux OS for quite sometime and really impressed with out-of-box support for hardware

  14. Anonymous
    January 13, 2013 at 5:37 am

    i'm a Ubuntu user since 2008 and still using it, and ubuntu become my primary operating system for everything. The real reason of using it for so long is its supports from online community! now day by day it becoming more rich and stable.

    My recommendation to every one is Ubuntu Linux . Its suitable everyone novice to professional.

    The former hardcore windows user!

    • Danny Stieben
      February 1, 2013 at 5:35 am

      I have to agree that overall there have been improvements between 8.10 and 12.10. The "just works" feel is definitely more noticeable in 12.10. That being said, ignoring all the gripes about Unity and whatnot.

  15. Anonymous
    January 13, 2013 at 3:50 am

    The release of windows 8 brings loads of disappointment and chaos for many PC users. I guess this is the best time for those to give a honest try to Linux instead of learning windows 8. There are bunch of Linux distributions available, each has its pro's and con's. the good about Linux is! you always have the liberty to customize the desktop environment, the way you want it (with little effort). i recommend Ubuntu (a Debian based distro) or any of its fork for newbies. Ubuntu have a huge community so its easier for new user to find solution related to it.

  16. Ryan Edwards-kiss
    January 13, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Think I'm going to download it and try...

  17. dragonmouth
    January 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    On what exactly do you base your comment "it isn’t quite a distribution which I can recommend for new users"?

    I've been using PCLinixOS for a few years now. It is just as easy to install as *buntus or Mint and it offers more freedom to the user. Ubuntu is may be supported by a corporation but so is Windows. IMO, in both cases corporate support is a detriment rather than a plus because you are forced to accept what the corporate weenies decide is best for you. Linux is about freedom of choice. The other *buntus and Mint are community developed and supported just as PCLinuxOS is so support is about the same for all these distros.

    • Danny Stieben
      February 1, 2013 at 5:33 am


      I suppose it can still be beginner friendly, but I find that it's a bit more up-front about what Linux is made up of. Ubuntu, on the other hand does hide a few details (can a new user figure out that it uses packages if going solely based off of the Software Center?).

  18. Karsten Hormann
    January 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I've been thinking about giving Linux a try for a while now, but this distribution doesn't sound like it would be something I should start with. Still, once I get the hang of Linux, it might be an option, so I'll definitely keep an eye out.

    • dragonmouth
      January 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Ubuntu and Mint get the most press but that doesn't mean they are any better or worse than other distributions. PCLinuxOS is just as easy to learn and use as Ubuntu and/or Mint. If you are currently using Windows or O/S X, there will be a learning curve no matter which distro you choose and don't let anybody tell you different. Windows and O/S X users forget, or don't want to admit, that there is a learning curve to both of those operating systems if one comes from Linux.

      SimplyMEPIS and openSUSe are couple of other newbie-friendly distros. However, newbies should stay away from Arch, Gentoo, Calculate, CentOS distros. They do take some basic Linux knowledge to use to the full extent of their capabilities.

      • Karsten Hormann
        January 13, 2013 at 3:52 am

        Thanks! That already gives me a lot of options. I guess what you are looking for as a newbie is something that wouldn't have you do a lot of configuring right from the start, as all you want to do is check everything out, not spend hours getting it running.

        • dragonmouth
          January 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

          Most of distros have a LiveCD option meaning that if your PC can boot from an optical drive, you can run the distro from a CD/DVD without going through the process of an install. If you like what you see, you install it. If not, you move on to the next distro.

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          January 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm

          I'm a newbie too. My approach is to install distros I want to try into a pendrive to test which one suits my needs before installing to the hards drive.
          My own setup for now:
          On the go:Puppy Linux
          I agree. Once I'm comfortable with the system I'd exploring, but I just want to begin with the nuts and bolts.

        • Danny Stieben
          February 1, 2013 at 5:31 am

          This is a great way to get started. Plus there's nothing wrong with dual-booting or even using the Wubi method (mainly an Ubuntu thing) to be able to easily remove the distro if you don't like it.

    • owen420
      January 13, 2013 at 12:40 am

      ubuntu would be a good place to start

    • cirrus
      January 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      I started with this distro , it has a great community/forums always willing to help them guys taught me tons , i now use archon main PC but keep a pclos install on the laptop simply because it works. id recommend it to a linux novice any day.

    • Anonymous
      January 17, 2013 at 12:13 am

      I started Linux with PC Linux, with the less popular gnome edition. It worked great, as a matter of fact Distrowatch lists it as for beginners. I still use easy OS's, Solus and Zorin. Still PC Linux gave me the start to Linux, and I still see it as a great OS.

    • Benny (cdbc)
      January 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Wrong! This is absolutely the one to start with, and you don't have to look any further :-) Live a little ;-) danish: "det bli'r ik' bedre!"
      Regards Benny

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