Because Pardus 2007 left a lasting impression on me, I have been eagerly waiting for its next release. So when the stable version of Pardus 2008 came out just recently, I never hesitated to try and test this promising distro from Turkey once again.
From Pardus project's website:
So what are the improvements and new features of Pardus 2008? Read on to find out..."In compliance with the main goals of the Pardus project, Pardus 2008 has lots of new features for ease of installation and use, both at the infrastructure and interface levels. In addition, Pardus 2008 provides enhanced hardware support, stable and reliable Linux infrastructure and numerous applications on a single CD. You will go through a brand new experience of freedom, using Pardus 2008"
Test Machine Specs:
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA with 8GB allocated to VM disk
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM with 256 MB allocated to VM memory
Unlike the previous version, Pardus 2008 is only available in installation "Kurulan" edition and doesn't have the Live CD "Calisan" option. In my case, it's no big deal as when I'm testing a distro, I always want to go directly to installation to really know how well it handles my hardware. However, the Live CD can be handy at times as it can both function as a rescue CD, and as a way to try a distro without even touching the hard drive.
Once Padus 2008 was loaded, I was greeted with their logo and a brand new fresh orange background as seen on screenshot. Then, a boot menu appeared with the default language set to Turkish, so I had to press F2 and changed it to English. --I really find it great that Pardus supports plenty of languages. Next was the installation process that is handled by YALI (Pardus custom-made installer). It started with accepting the GNU/GPL license; followed by checking the CD's integrity, keyboard layout set-up, time zone set-up, creating user accounts, partitioning, bootloader set-up, the summary of installation, and lastly, installing the system.
Surprisingly, Pardus 2008 installation took about 40 minutes to complete compared to 20 minutes in the previous version.
Look and Feel:
Pardus puts on a new look in this 2008 version as seen on its sleek installer and login menu. Just like before, Kaptan Desktop Wizard appeared at first login and helped me configure my mouse, panel, wallpaper, network connection, etc. For "panel", I was given an option to use Classic, Modern, Next Generation, and Transparent, and whether to use the enhanced Kickoff style menu or not; -- "Classic" for those who wants a lighter and faster desktop, and "Transparent" for those who wants a more stylish desktop. I personally like the classic look, but as before, I used transparent to see how my hardware can handle the added eye-candy. For wallpaper, there are plenty of good-looking backgrounds to choose from, however, it's interesting to note that there are no leopard-themed wallpapers this time around. By the way, Pardus 2008 is still using the updated KDE 3.5 as its default desktop environment.
Pardus 2008 has plenty of changes and improvements on its custom applications such as:
-faster package management system (PiSi)
-YALI includes a new and improved partitioning interface
-Kaptan Desktop has been completely rewritten
-new graphical display manager
It has also updated most of its important software applications:
-Updated KDE 3.5.9 Desktop Environment;
-Updated Linux kernel (126.96.36.199);
-Important infrastructure improvements including gcc 4.3.1, glibc 2.8, Python 2.5, Java 6;
-The most recent, fastest and most capable internet browser Mozilla Firefox 3.0;
…and plenty more;
Pardus 2008 had no trouble detecting and configuring my virtual machine hardware. Everything was functioning well like the audio, display, and Ethernet. Changing the screen resolution is really much easier now thanks to the new graphical manager. It is also possible to painlessly tweak some of the hardware preferences using the very reliable Pardus Configuration Center (TASMA).
Pardus 2008 is not perfect and has some minor issues that need to be fixed. However, its overall stability is intact and it really made some significant improvements over its previous version. Also, its speed has improved (not including the installation), it has a more polished look, and it is even easier to use than before due to enhancements in several of its home-cooked system tools and applications.
In my opinion, Pardus is definitely the best government funded Linux distribution at the moment. I hope our very own Philippine-made Bayanihan Linux in the very near future will at least equal what Pardus has achieved.
To those who are still looking for a user-friendly, efficient, and stable Linux distro, why not give Pardus 2008 a try. --The download page can be found HERE.