PCLOS Revisited!

PCLOSSPlashAt my office, we have several 'new' systems that have been donated to us recently -- four laptops and six desktops. These systems were given to us 'as is' and without OS or applications. So, this was a great time to install PCLOS. After the initial install, I showed them to my supervisor. 'Wow', was her response. She was blown away at how smooth everything looked and how smooth everything worked. I took one of the laptops (a Compaq Evo N800c) into another room and attached an LCD projector to it. I booted up the laptop and the image appeared on the wall. PCLOS mirrored the image without any changes from me (This is very much like it works with Mac, btw.).

Also, these laptops come with an Ati Radeon M video card with a native resolution of 1400 x 1050. PCLOS not only identified this card correctly, it even used the native resolution -- even while running from the LiveCD! Amazing. In Windows, I have to download the latest drivers from Ati; install them; reboot; right-click on the desktop and select 'Properties' from the pop-up menu; change the resolution; and still have to put up with the Ati system app always running at startup (if I don't want this feature -- and I don't -- I have to remove it from starting up either by changing the settings manually or by downloading and installing another app). Again, PCLOS works great right out of the box, or, more correctly, PCLOS works great right off the CD!

One of these laptops have been used on several occasions and has worked flawlessly. As I right this, one of the office mates has it out of town and connects to his desktop computer here at the office to work on some files. He does this using Grdesktop. As you can see from the screen-shots on the link, it looks a lot like Terminal Services or Remote Desktop from Microsoft. And it works just as well (if not better).

I also installed OpenOffice on them using the built-in software manager Synaptic. This office suite is the best one out there, IMO. It has been used for running Powerpoint presentations. OpenOffice loads and runs these presentations effortlessly. OpenOffice can be used on Windows and Macs, too (the Mac version is NeoOffice and you can find it here).

While I prefer using a Mac, if you don't have the funds (and, according to some recent reports, Macs are actually cheaper than Dells when configured similarly) but are tired of all the gunk you get to use with Windows, I highly recommend giving PCLinuxOS a spin.

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.



Pinball said…
I'm one of the friends who has received an installation of PCLOS from Captain Odysseus.

My wife knows almost nothing about computers, and I hate them, so we're perfect test subjects. We haven't been without hiccups, but I can say unequivocally that they are much fewer and farther between than hiccups with Windows were. Also, our computer was built when Windows 98 reigned supreme. We have the same speed cable internet connection as my sister, whose computer was built for Windows XP. I can't believe how much faster our internet is than hers. Going to her house reminds me of when we had dial-up. It's not that slow, but it's slow enough for me to think, "When is this page ever going to load?" Her CPU is faster and she has more memory, and my connection is noticeably faster. It has to be the Linux!

The biggest problem we've seen is that Flash doesn't work on some sites. Usually it's Flash games, which we don't need to waste our time on anyway. Very rarely have I had a problem that has actually annoyed me.

For a non-computer person, it's a great solution. There is a learning curve, but it's not too steep.
Odysseus said…

Thanks for the input! I was beginning to wonder if anyone was even reading this blog!

FWIW, Flash is a problem with almost all Linux distros. Flash 8 was never released for Linux and Flash 9, although it has been released for Linux, it is still rough around the edges (it crashes the web browsers!). So, you aren't alone in that regard.

I am curious about the 'learning curve' for someone who is not a geek. Would you explain that a little further?

Pinball said…
Learning curve: Mostly, it's getting used to the differences in terminology and structure compared to Winblows. One good thing you can say about Microsuck is that with one team in charge, there is standardization and all that stuff. With Linux, you have people all over the planet writing on each other's programs, and frankly, some are better than others. So there is a lot of crap to sift through if you ever use help menus.

Also, I had to get used to the Synaptic Updater (I think that's what the Rubik's cube thing is called.) and which control panel to use. (I have 2: the K one and the PCLOS one.) They have some differences, but also do a lot of the same things. So if I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with something, it ain't always easy. The PCLOS control center looks a LOT better than the K control center.

Also, there is always a challenge when you're buying something that is "like" something else. It's like buying Wal-Mart brand vs. the name brand. If it's shampoo or acetaminophen, I don't really care one way or the other. But have you ever had the Wal-Mart brand Cocoa Puffs or Macaroni and Cheese? Yuck. Some apps truly do work "like" their counterparts. Firefox, for example, is at least as good -- if not better than -- Internet Explorer. OpenOffice, once you get used to the buttons looking different, also works as well as MS Office. Firefox's mail client, Thunderbird, is also very good.

But then you have crap like GIMP that makes Photoshop look EASY to use. (Photoshop actually IS easy to use, once you figure out what the tools mean.) But GIMP looks like it was made by Kindergartners. On crack. Or that stupid KMail application. Boy that app sucks. It made me mad at ANYTHING that starts with K.

That's a minor annoyance. I hate all the cutesy "K" names. It makes me feel like I bought all my apps at Kmart.

Finally, there was the problem that caused me to somehow wipeout a bunch of my apps and lose data. I still don't know how I did that. All I know is that it took you coming over and figuring out that something was wrong with where my Rubik's cube was looking and fixing it.

For anyone reading who might think this sounds like a lot, this is literally every hiccup I've had in almost a year of using this product. I could list this many problems in a week of using PCs with Windows.

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