posted by Jesse Smith on Mon 19th Apr 2010 22:32 UTC
IconThe PCLinuxOS distribution is the popular brain child of a man best known as Texstar. PCLinuxOS's website, which carries a pleasant blue theme with ads bordering the pages, claims the distro is "radically simple" and easy to use. If we stopped there, it would probably give the impression PCLinuxOS is aimed at newcomers to the Linux community, but that does not appear to be the case.

The site is laid out in a manner which suggests it's aimed at intermediate users who won't be put off by technical information... Or jokes. The site, for example, occasionally carries tag-lines poking at other distributions, such as Ubuntu ("Our window buttons are right" and "The democratic Linux distribution"). Clicking on the FAQ link displays a list of ten commandments for Linux users ("Thou shalt use the command line"), along with another link to the real FAQs.

Prior to trying out the new version of PCLinuxOS, I had the opportunity to ask Texstar a few questions.

What is your focus in PCLinuxOS 2010? Were there any special features you rolled into this release?

Texstar: The primary goal of this release was to make the transition to KDE 4. PCLinuxOS 2010 aims at providing an optimum out-of-the-box desktop experience with the latest hardware drivers and popular applications. New special features include intuitive support for multi-language setup, OpenOffice installation, and several desktop environments. Moreover we added security enhancements such as encryption and parental controls, and the completely reworked script "mylivecd" which can be used to easily backup, or build a customized re-master of, an installed system.

Your head quarters are in Texas. Some distributions based out of the USA are concerned with patents and their effects on codecs (mp3 for example). PCLinuxOS ships with a full range of codecs and Flash. Do you have any concerns about the legality?

Texstar: We do not ship Win32codecs or libdvdcss2. Almost everything else is either redistributable in a non-commercial environment, licensed or provided by open source libraries.

Your distribution started as a fork of Mandriva. How does PCLinuxOS differ from Mandriva?

Texstar: PCLinuxOS 2010 was built from the ground up using the packages in our repository. It is not based on a Mandriva install nor is it based on our 2009 release updated. The packages in our repo may be original creations but may also contain repackaged and modified srpms from Fedora, OpenSuse and Mandriva. PCLinuxOS may also contain patches from Ubuntu, Debian, PLD and Charka. So in summary it is similar to Mandriva due to some ported packages and different in that we create our own packages, import packages from other distributions and patches as needed.

PCLinuxOS releases don't appear to stick to any set schedule. How do you decide when your distro is ready to release into the wild?

Texstar: As a community driven distribution we do not have a need to stick to a fixed schedule just to keep the bean counters happy but instead release when everything has been sufficiently tested to comply with our main principle: provide a reliable and stable system.

How many people are currently working on PCLinuxOS? And what can volunteers do to help?

Texstar: We are a small group of 30 plus volunteers working in our free time. Volunteers can test packages, write documentation and translations, create graphics, help others users on the forums and let the rest of the world know about PCLinuxOS.

Your website tag-line keeps changing, generally it seems to be poking fun at other distros. Are you trying to start a flame war or just making a jest?

Texstar: It is about having a sense of humor - some things get taken too serious. We are just a group of guys and gals enjoying Linux and sharing it with others who might like it too.

Table of contents
  1. Interview: Texstar
  2. PCLinuxOS 2010
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