MiniMe, a Bite of PCLinuxOS 2008

Posted by jun auza On 1/29/2008
MiniMe as the name implies, is a stripped-down version of PCLinuxOS. It serves as a foretaste of what has yet to come since the development of PCLinuxOS 2008 is still underway. Nonetheless, MiniMe is pretty much functional and can be installed and used as a complete desktop operating system.

I downloaded MiniMe right after it was released because I always find time to try a new version of PCLinuxOS. It was only a 297MB download and you can get it directly from HERE . I tested it using VMWare Server as guest OS on my Xubuntu main workstation. So it was Linux on Linux. I only utilized 256MB of VM RAM, and pre-formatted my VM disk to IDE allocating the default disk size of 8GB. So here’s what I found out about PCLOS 2008 “MiniMe” edition:

Installation:
MineMe is as usual a Live CD, and the installation is handled by a much simplified Draklive-installer. This time, you don’t have to configure the network connection and timezone during the system installation. However, you can set it up later using the ‘Control Center’. I would say that it is by far the easiest Linux distro installation that I have ever experienced. And I can also say that it is one of the fastest, taking only about 10 minutes to complete. The whole installation was flawless and without hardware compatibility issues whatsoever. I then successfully and painlessly set up my Ethernet connection with the help of a graphical network configuration tool.




Look and Feel:
While I love MiniMe’s plain and dark theme or artwork, seen on the grub menu and boot splash image, I hate the default wallpaper because it reminds me of that crappy OS called Vista. Have you heard of it? I don’t know if this was just a silly joke by PCLOS developers aimed at misleading stupid Vista fanboys so that they will unknowingly use a Vista-disguised Linux desktop. Or maybe I'm the one who is stupid because I say all these things :) Anyway, MiniMe uses the complete K Desktop Environment (KDE version 3.5) by default just like PCLOS. I find it very responsive as applications were quick to open or start-up. The default theme is very sleek which is noticeable on the desktop panel and icons. The font is not perfect, although you can easily tweak it later on. The overall look is great, but please don’t show that wallpaper to me again.




Software/Package Management:
Due to its minute size, MiniMe by default lacks desktop productivity applications like office suite and image editing software among others. However, there’s no need to worry as Synaptic Package Manager will easily and reliably assist you in downloading and installing additional packages straight from the vast repositories. Like I did when I successfully added Firefox and used it as the default web browser. One of the greatest if not the greatest feature of a PCLinuxOS distro is its very user-friendly Control Center. It just gives you the ability to easily configure most of your essential software and hardware settings without ever touching the command line. Additional features include an option to create a ‘Remastered CD’ and Live USB key.




Stability:
I have not encountered any major problem while using MiniMe. The only thing I noticed is the rather slow boot time speed compared to other lightweight distributions like Fluxbuntu for example. But since MiniMe is just a preview of PCLinuxOS and is still under development, I want to keep my expectations a little low.


Conclusion:
MiniMe is definitely worth a try. The installation is outstanding, its performance is great, and its ease-of-use is unbelievable. No wonder the popularity of PCLOS keeps on strengthening and its users and community members are steadily growing.

MiniMe is just an appetizer, but I’m already half-full. I can’t wait for the complete version of PCLinuxOS 2008 to come out.

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