domingo, 31 de julio de 2011

PCLinuxOS, the REAL deal!

A couple of days ago, I described how I had an unfortunate experience while I attempted an install of PCLinuxOS. Because of lack of time, I had to remove the distro to recover my PC and finish my work, promising to get back at PCLOS later.

Well, time has come: a kind reader of my post, to solve the problem of the multiple boot, recommended me to visit the PCLOS forums and find the wise sage, who goes through forum-land under the name of Old Pollack.

Since I'm not a registered user in the forums, all I could do was read some previous posts, but that was enough to identify the problem and find the solution. It pays doing your homework, doesn't it?

So, now I'm discovering new possibilities with the distro that displays a Longhorn as its logo :-)

Old Pollack, let me thank you for your selfless sharing. I don't know if my words will get to you, but here's one more PCLinuxOS user thanks to your knowledge.

Wish me luck; I have many things to learn ... but who is afraid of learning?

viernes, 29 de julio de 2011

Not a Tug o'War, but Convergence

I tested the Mandriva 2011 RC2 yesterday and what I never thought possible happened: I'm finally warming to the ROSA panel.

The words of an Ubuntu user upon transitioning to Unity still echo in my ears..."First you hate it, but then, you start to like it". Well, I'm sure I cannot claim that I like the ROSA panel, but I started seeing its functionality.

It's the first time that a Linux upgrade gives me this kind of anxiety. I have some questions on the table:

1. Do I want to erase Mandriva 2010.2, which works perfectly for me, in favor of the brand new Mandriva 2011? Can't I stay with 2010.2?
2. If I go for Mandriva 2011... Will I be able to type in Japanese? マンドリバ2010で、私は日本語を書くことができるので、新しいのではできなかったら、大ピンチだ!After all, this is a great advantage that Linux has over the trumpeted Windows 7: I don't have to pay more to get the features that I need for work and that XP did have.

If I switch to Mageia 1 as my main desktop OS, I know that typing in Japanese is not a problem, but maybe the software repositories will be a bit more limited.

I can also switch to PCLinuxOS, but then I will have to train myself in the way of the Synaptic Package Manager...which is fine with me thanks to Mepis, but I'd probably have to use the distro in English because of the problems with the Spanish translation...and I have to see if I can get the Japanese IME to work there, too.

So, this is my "existential" dilemma right now. Pretty prosaic, I know, but that's the worst I can get in the world of Linux... I no longer have to depend on the rip-off industry of anti-virus solutions, or get frustrated because of sluggish PC performance, or believe my computer is clean until someone thanks me for the link in a message that was sent from my email account but that I never wrote...

If I cannot make up my mind, well, ... I'll simply keep the four distros. That's the beauty of Linux; while some people see a Tug o'War among distributions, I can see the Magdeburg hemispheres: what keeps the Linux world united is stronger than divisions.

jueves, 28 de julio de 2011

Yes, I broke my computer with PCLinuxOS

After last week's post and my testing of PCLinuxOS encouraged by this helpful review by Prashanth, I decided to install that distro to my desktop computer, a system that runs Mandriva 2010.2 PowerPack and Pardus 2011. Since the installer is basically the same one that Mandriva and Mageia use, I assumed I would not have any problem carrying out the installation. Well, I forgot that, when you are a newbie, you must keep your eyes open not to damage your system. I broke mine. And the timing could not possibly have been better: I was time pressed because I wanted to finish an academic article on Pinter's Theater of the Absurd for publication...

Let me put this straight: I'm not blaming PCLOS at all. The installer performed the actions I commanded, nothing less, nothing more. Granted, I might be a non-technical Linux user, but I'm also beyond that childish stage in which users blame Linux when something does not go as planned. I should have paid attention to the small voice telling me that it was not a good idea to use a free HD space BEFORE my Mandriva partition and that it was an even worse choice to install the PCLinuxOS GRUB to the main sector of the partition table, but I stubbornly ignored the still small voice of wisdom.

After rebooting, PCLinuxOS was there but I got error messages when I tried to boot the other two systems. "Do not panic," I said to myself. "You can always restore the Mandriva GRUB using the rescue application in the Mandriva PowerPack DVD. Havent' you done it before?"

Yes, I've done it twice. But this time was different. When I ran the application, it told me that there was not a Mandriva system in the GRUB. Aaaaarggggh, it made perfect sense! The partitions had been renumbered and PCLOS' GRUB wiped out Mandriva's...

How do you get out of that mess? Simple. As Eric Layton, the wise Linux guru, says in his Nocturnal Slacker v.1.0 blog, "sometimes, you just have to revert". I booted the Mandriva installer, deleted the PCLOS partition (this is not defeat, but a strategic retreat) so that the partitions could get their usual numbering and then I ran the reinstall-GRUB utility. Flawless. I recovered my system in less than 3 minutes.

That's why I haven't posted anything in more than a week: I've been working diligently with the absurd world of literary criticism. Yes, with a computer that WORKS thanks to Linux.

Oh, my article is almost done, by the way. This means that I'm almost ready to give PCLinuxOS another go. This time, I'll use my Linux sense, I promise.

UPDATE of this post here :-)

lunes, 18 de julio de 2011

I owe you an apology, PCLinuxOS

Two years ago, when I first entered this vast world that Linux is, I came to realize that there was a distribution that was mentioned over and over: PCLinuxOS. I became curious and followed some old posts in multiple threads. To be honest, being a total newbie, I felt sort of intimidated by the vocal followers of this distro and my aversion grew stronger when I visited the forum and was greeted by the rules. Boy, did I ever read something harsh!
Even so, I downloaded the Live CD and tested it. I was disappointed because there was not an office suite with it, so I never considered installing it.

However, the more I learned about Linux (without pretending to be an expert), the more the rules in the PCLOS forum made sense. Later, I discovered they had not made them, but were quoted from a source.

I started visiting the Sandbox (that's the PCLOS forum equivalent of Mandriva's community chat or Mageia's Wizard Lair) and I must admit that everytime I visited, I got a very good laugh thanks to their sense of humor.

Oh, yes, I also downloaded the last PCLinuxOS KDE release and installed it for testing. I discovered that its installation is as simple and efficient as Mandriva/Mageia's, but a lot faster. I also noticed that my disappointment because of the lack of an office suite was a misperception: there is a way to download the current Libre Office suite. And multimedia works out of the box, too. In my installation, there were only two points that I disliked: there is no way to change the language from default English to Spanish and the Kwin effects refused to work. With the minimal experience I have accumulated in these two years, I visited the PCLOS forum and quickly got a thread that explained how to change the language to Spanish. I followed the steps and it worked (90% I'd say, because Dolphin still shows some menus in English and applets stayed speaking the language of Shakespeare as well). I did not work with the other problem, but I'm sure they must have a thread to tackle that issue. While I was using it, this last release of PCLOS was reliable and stable. It's a solid distribution; no wonder why it is relatively popular in the DistroWatch charts.

Besides, I have to admit that the image that I had originally formed of this Linux community, the distribution, and its developer has been changing from negative to positive, to the point of considering using PCLinuxOS in one of my systems.

I would definitely recommend this distribution today, provided that the person installing it has an inquisitive mind and is not afraid of reading...S/he must have an acceptable command of English, too :-)

From all of this, my biggest conclusion is that I, because of my lack of experience with Linux, acted unfairly. However, as Ezra Pound said of Walt Whitman, "I am old enough now to make friends". Yes, PCLinuxOS... I owe you an apology.

domingo, 10 de julio de 2011

July 10 and I'm waiting for Pardus 2011.1

I checked Distrowatch and there was nothing about Pardus yet. But the day is still young. Paraphrasing Shakespeare in Julius Caesar, the ides of July are come, but not gone. Let's see if the soothsayer is right.

jueves, 7 de julio de 2011

Good bye, Eugeni!

Eugeni Dodonov, the voice of Mandriva, is leaving Mandriva S.A.

Eugeni, as a Mandriva user, I wish you the best and thank you for your hard work.

(Section of the map taken from LinuxMap originally pusblished by