PCLinuxOS: A Linux Distribution Which Mixes And Matches Software For A Better Experience

pclinuxos logo   PCLinuxOS: A Linux Distribution Which Mixes And Matches Software For A Better ExperienceIt’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 desktop   PCLinuxOS: A Linux Distribution Which Mixes And Matches Software For A Better Experience

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 and Mageia.

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 synaptic   PCLinuxOS: A Linux Distribution Which Mixes And Matches Software For A Better Experience

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 internet applications   PCLinuxOS: A Linux Distribution Which Mixes And Matches Software For A Better Experience

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, Choqok, 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. 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!

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Karsten Hormann

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.


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

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.


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

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

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.


ubuntu would be a good place to start


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.


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)

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


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


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?).

Ryan Edwards-kiss

Think I’m going to download it and try…


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.


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

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.

Ashwin Divakaran

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

Zhong Jiang

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.

Stephen Green

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..


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

What “trials and tribulations” have you had?

Kim Jong il

PCLinux is best Linux. :D


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

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

Mohammad Wasiullah

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

Benny (cdbc)

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)

Karsten Hormann

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

Danny Stieben

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

Beirapadua Greaser

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


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

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


“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.


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!!!

Rishi Raj

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.

John Bailey

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