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Monday, February 4, 2008

Just Installed PCLinuxOS for my folks

This past weekend, I used one of our old desktop computers to install a copy of PCLinuxOS 2007. I took this updated system over to my parents house for them to try out as an alternative to their aging Windows XP system (I was about ready to re-load the OS on this one.)

To get it ready to use, I ported over a copy of their existing Bookmarks from Internet Explorer and then imported them into Firefox (so that they could have the links they were used to getting to.)

I must say, overall the system now boots really quickly. And even more impressive is how responsive it is now when surfing various internet pages over lower speed DSL.

I choose this distribution of linux, because I liked what I experienced when I used it. Everything I was accustomed to doing on the internet worked right out of the box (such as streaming youtube videos and other forms of audio files.) It uses the KDE desktop and the folks at PCLinuxOS have have made the desktop and menu's look a lot like a general windows system (which I think will be easier for them to get used to.)

I'm expecting this setup to be so much more secure that what they are accustomed to experiencing on Windows XP (my folks were constantly being subject to spy and malware installations.)

First off, the OS is linux (linux is not subject to as many exploits.) Secondly they are not logging in with a root equivalent account (so it's difficult for anything malicious to enter the system now.) Thirdly Internet Explorer is no longer being used. Firefox is now the main browser (a much more secure browser, I even added Ad-blocker plus to keep down the amount of advertising that was being streamed to them.)

The old computer I loaded this on only has 256mb of ram, and a 40mb hard disk. However, PCLinuxOS 2007 (a Mandriva* based install) runs really well with this (I did experience a bug with the OS's auto temp setting which made the OS think the system was overheating causing it to shut the system down when it really wasn't getting hot). To make it a simpler transition, I also placed desktop icons of Open Office Writer (word processor) and Calc (spreadsheet).

So far, its a tremendous improvement over the current performance of their Windows XP home edition and they seem to be pleased with it. I'm going to let them run on it for a while to see if they like it. If so, I'll convert the rest of their files, hook up the scanner and the printer.

Here's a link to the PCLinuxOS website. Also, here's a great link for getting the best out of any PCLinuxOS install.

What's your experience with PCLinuxOS or other Linux Distributions? It appears to be a great OS to bring life back into old systems.

(* Note: 2/5/08, I originally mis-represented PCLinxOS as being Debian based, however it is actually based on Mandrake/Mandriva, see for more info.)