Blue Hot PCLinuxOS 2009 Walkthrough and First Impressions

Finally, after almost two years in the making, the latest version of PCLinuxOS has been unleashed. Although released without much fanfare, I was excited enough to download PCLinuxOS 2009 immediately after it is available.

I was able to test drive PCLOS 2009, took some screenshots for you all to see, and wrote my first impressions about this latest version which you will about to read later on. But before anything else, allow me to introduce PCLinuxOS to some of our new-to-Linux readers:

PCLinuxOS or PCLOS was based on Madrake Linux (now Mandriva) and started out as a set of RPM packages. It was created by Bill Reynolds (popularly known as Texstar) to provide an outlet for his crazy desire to package source code without having to deal with egos, arrogance and politics (as he said). PCLOS later evolved into a complete desktop operating system with its own unique set of features. It quickly became popular and even came out on top of distro ranking at Distrowatch in 2007.

So, what’s up with PCLinuxOS 2009? Here’s a walkthrough (with screenshots), and at the end, my initial impressions. But first, my 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 512 MB allocated to VM memory


A pleasant but not-so-awesome grub splash screen greeted me right away after I loaded the PCLOS 2009 ISO. I was given a choice to go directly for the LiveCD install, or to try other options. There was no option to install PCLOS right away without loading the desktop “ala Ubuntu”. I didn’t waste any time and booted for the LiveCD installation.

A simple boot splash image will appear next…

Before logging in for the first time, you will need to select your keyboard layout.

Then, you have to choose whether to login as root or guest. -- I selected “root” since I’m installing PCLOS 2009 immediately. In case you didn’t see it, the password for root is: root :-)

A brand new splash image…

After logging in, clicking on the ‘Install PCLinuxOS’ icon will kick-off the installation process. But before going on, you will be given an option to remove existing driver to avoid future problems.

The extremely easy-to-use Draklive Installer wizard will take care of the setup. You will only need to select where you would like to install PCLOS 2009, and then boom!

Installation begins…

Installation will conclude by allowing you to modify several boot settings. However, you can always leave things as they are and go on.

Reboot to finish off the installation.

Before you can begin using the newly-installed PCLOS 2009, you have to set your administrator password and your non-root account.

Login screen...

First Impressions:

Contrary to what I’ve expected, PCLinuxOS 2009 still uses KDE 3.5 instead of KDE 4 as its desktop environment. The PCLOS team announced that they did not use KDE 4 because they discovered that it is not as stable as KDE 3.5. They will however offer KDE 4 from the repository as alternative once they are confident with it. I’m not really a big fan of KDE 4, so I guess it’s a good decision not to utilize it.

Having used the previous version of PCLOS, the latest edition has a more polished overall theme than before. The default wallpaper blends well with all the desktop elements such as the window decoration and the panel. However, the window decoration called “Crystal” looks similar to that of Windows Vista. Anyway, you can always replace it with other available themes if you don’t like it.

PCLinuxOS 2009 is a complete desktop distro with the latest and greatest free and open-source software applications such as 3.0, Firefox 3.0.7, Thunderbird, KTorrent, Frostwire, Amarok, Flash, Java JRE, Compiz Fusion 3D and a whole lot more. It now uses Linux kernel version, so expect to experience a much improved hardware support.

Applications, applications, applications!

Synaptic Package Manager will smoothly take care of upgrading, installing, and removing of software packages.

Is PCLOS 2009 stable enough? Even though I’ve tested this latest edition for a very short period of time, I can say that this is a solid release. I’ve used tons of Linux distro before, and I’ve developed a sense of knowing which one is crappy, and which one is not. Just like the previous version, PCLOS 2009 has good hardware support. My hardware devices worked out-of-the-box including Ethernet connection that didn’t need any manual configuration in order to function. Also, I’ve noticed a faster start-up/boot speed that I think is a big plus.

The ever-reliable Control Center makes complicated things a lot less complicated.

The only issue that I’ve encountered so far while using PCLOS 2009 is when the system froze while I opened the Font Installer. I had to do a hard reset, but after that I’ve never encountered the same problem again.


Based on the brief but thorough period of using PCLinuxOS 2009, I can honestly say that it’s another outstanding release for the PCLOS team. It is an all-around user-friendly no-nonsense desktop distro that I can highly recommend to ordinary users as well as power users because it “just works”. I think it truly deserves to be considered as one of the best Linux distro at the moment.

To those of you who want to try out PCLinuxOS 2009, it can be downloaded HERE. Also, a GNOME version of PCLOS 2009 can be downloaded HERE.

To our readers who have already used this latest version of PCLOS, please don’t hesitate to also share with us your experiences by writing us a comment.

EDIT: Someone suggested to change the title to "Blue Hot…" instead of "Red Hot…" to make it more appropriate. Thanks :-)

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  1. KDE 4 still not a default? No, thank you. I'll stick with Kubuntu and OpenSUSE.

  2. Good for you. We like our desktop to be stable and not crash all the time.

  3. Lol @ above poster.

  4. I am playing around with Mandriva One 2009.1 RC1 with KDE 4.2.1... Got to say that it is getting close to be OK.

    The only application that crashed so far was Amarok.

  5. Were you able to install the KDE editor, Kate? At the moment that's a problem I'm having. I saw it on the forums and just curious about your experience.

  6. @Brian.
    I didn't try. I was just playing around with LiveCD.

    I tried Gnome Mandriva One 2009.1 (RC1) LiveCD as well as Gnome edition of pclinuxos 2009.

    I like Mandriva a bit better so far. But if I were to install, not sure yet...

  7. This is a good release... but not the best work I have seen from the Ripper Gang. This release has some "loose threads" that take away from the polish that we had from the 2007 release when it came out. Mostly, but not quite.

    The Ripper Gang made a mistake, IMHO, when they decided to break the "rolling release" and hold out for a Big Update. I have some systems that will not update - the "Big Update" simply silently fails after downloading, but before installing anything.

    PCLinuxOS 2009 is still by far the best Linux distro out there (again IMHO) but I am coming to the point that I think "all operating systems suck". There just isn't one that does it all, or does it all well.

  8. Just click on the kate icon and it opened right up in KDE 4.2.1

  9. Good for you. We like our desktop to be stable and not crash all the time.

    You use Slackware then, I suppose?

    openSUSE 11.1 is installed on my netbook, I use it every day (with KDE4) and it has not crashed once yet. I agree with the above poster regarding not being the best work as far as polish goes for the Ripper Gang. PCLOS 2007 looked a lot nicer. Going to give PCLOS 2009 a shot to see how it holds up on various systems of mine. I've always had good luck with PCLOS for the most part but I think PCLOS is also losing ground and could be more popular with more current and frequent releases. The rolling release cycle has a lot of positive aspects!

    Nice review, wish it was more in-depth but it's hard to give that kind of review when the distro is less than 2 days old. I'm also glad PCLOS has a Gnome version out as Gnome is my preferred WM/DE.

  10. i have always liked pc linux os, but because of the delay in the new release...well, i abandoned it in favor of linux mint. also played around with kubuntu 8.10. yeah, well, to make a useless comment even more useless, i do not think i am interested in returning to pc linux, but it looks very good and i hope that texstar and the ripper gang continue to have good success.

  11. A very, very nice distribution. But they need to catch up with the times. Stability is great now in KDE 4.2.1 and that excuse just not work anymore. I know that they have a lot of internal trouble but not to put out a modern distro is really sad for this talented group of people. Well maybe next time, if there is a next time.

  12. KDE 4 is garbage, I am trying to figure out how to uninstall it and go back to 3. I am very glad they left it out. Keep Kubuntu and OpenSuse. Mepis and PCLOS made the better choice to leave that Alpha KDE 4 package to simmer for a long while more.

  13. PCLinuxOS seems good but there are a few problems that annoy me quite a bit.

    The installer didnt work smoothly. It said it couldnt mount my /home partition on my first try.

    The KDE menu was Kickoff, and I changed it to the original one. Then on the next time I logged in, it changed to Kickoff again. I set it back to original one more time, and nothing wrong has happened since then.

    With the default repository, I reloaded, and couldnt install Kate, since its 3.5.10-8, and requires kdebase of the same version, while kdebase had already been 3.5.10-9. I tried another repository and solved the problem

  14. It is a good system but someone has shaken a pretty big ugly stick at the logo.

  15. As a Windows tech in my community who makes a living off of M$oft's problems, I became disgruntled with the monopoly and personally investigated this thing called "Linux" 2 years ago.

    Started with a dual boot, W98 and Kubuntu on a spare machine. Headaches upon headaches later, it finally worked, but needed continual tweaking and still does to this day. The upgrades never fail to cause me problems that can only be solved with hours and hours of investigation on the forums and then command line fixes.

    THIS distro was an entirely different experience. Everything worked! So now I evangelize it, I talk it up, I promote it to windoze users. ("You know there's this thing called Linux that will run circles around Vista, and even has cool 3D desktop effects. You don't *have* to be a captive... etc") It just works out of the box with minimal need to learn command line trix (like with Kubuntu). It does what I need it to do. It's just about as capable as XP SP3 without all the overhead of antivirus, antispyware, firewalls.

    Ha! and Msoft has informed me as an Office 2000 user who paid $230 for it some time ago, that I can no longer have CLIP ART ??

    Anyway, I trouble shoot XP and Vista for home and small office users, and when I can, I give someone a dual boot with (you got it) PCLOS ! I'm not even interested in trying another distro. Kubuntu keeps me busy enough chasing down problems.

  16. "You know there's this thing called Linux that will run circles around Vista, and even has cool 3D desktop effects"

    And the 3D effects reduce fatigue, forcing the user to take a break while rebooting X frequently due to hangups and graphical glitches. Sweeeeeet!

  17. Who do we believe about KDE? There were those who said that KDE 4.0 was ready for release. Then again, enthusiastic fans said 4.1 was cool. I tend to believe the development teams at Mepis, Pardus, and PCLOS (which correlates with my own admittedly limited experience).

    In fact, it has been instructive to watch developers make decisions with regard to KDE versions. It's not likely that I will forget the mistakes made by certain "major" distros.

  18. Agreed @ 4.2.1 comment. What makes it look worse for PCLOS is that even Patrick Volkerding, the creator of Slackware, is going to implement KDE4 into the next Slackware, so I really can't see any valid comments of KDE4 and instability when the most stubborn developer in Linux will be using it in his next release. That in itself should speak volumes to those who bash KDE4 thinking it's still in "alpha" quality.

  19. Indeed KDE 4.2.1 is already "lightyears" ahead of kde 3.5 and gnome. Saying that it's not stable enough or doesn't have all the "features" is just plain stupid FUD.

    After KDE 4.2 others feels like old crap. Xfce is always pleasure to use though...

    Better luck in 2011 pclos team...

  20. The problem with KDE is that it wants to "Takeover" the desktop with all its own apps (sorta like windoze). KDE4 will be even worse. I use linux because i don't want my computer taken over by a desktop app. I like the fact they have periodic releases.. everytime i do an upgrade in an ubuntu distro there's ALWAYS issues. the problem is eventually you will upgrade YOUR system with stuff that is past the existing hardware you have.....
    I use linux mint and pclos.. both work well. everytime i do an update (mint) theres usually some problem i have to go fix. The nice thing about any of the linux distro's is you have the choice...unlike windoze

  21. Hi, Windows tech back again:

    "And the 3D effects reduce fatigue, forcing the user to take a break while rebooting X frequently due to hangups and graphical glitches. Sweeeeeet!"

    What?? I put PCLinuxOS 2007 on my young daughter's laptop in 2007 with 3D Compiz, and she has had virtually no problems, such as the ones you describe, since then.

    She's was 9 years old and is now ll and uses PCLinuxOS for school-- interchanging OpenOffice documents for the required M$Office ones. She and my 7 year old BANG on that machine. They love the linux games and she has NEVER had a virus (how many 6th graders' parents can say that??) while the web drive-by viruses are giving Windows-dependent parents fits. I know. They call me!

    BTW my daughter's used laptop came loaded with XP Pro which I wiped in favor of this distro. Liked it so much I didn't give the wipe a second thought. No dual boot on that machine.

    By the way, I've never posted on one of these Linux-general forums until the post yesterday, and now today.

    So, for those who say the PCLOS "community" has "stacked" the distrowatch deck in their favor (going back to when it went #1 in 2007), I think that's baloney. I haven't stacked the deck (first posts) and I love this distro!

    Hats off to Tex and the ripper gang who gave people like me, not computer neophytes (I sold professionally to banks for NCR back when), but new to Linux, a great entree to a new world in computing. They have made the transition e a s y for us, unlike Ubuntu, as I said before.

    Now I evangelize PCLinuxOS to Windows users as I fix their broken, infected machines, and Vista users as they lament how difficult it is to run.

    Getting Windows community and small business techs on board is a home run or at least a "triple", in my opinion, be it not so humble. Tex and his "underfunded" group did that.

  22. Wow it uses Kernel thats so outdated. So people will experience much improved hardware support than... what??

    Even Slackware has better hardware support!! This distro is very much behind on hardware support.

  23. Инсталировал на флеш - работает хорошо но нет сохранения изменений.
    То-есть каждый раз устанавливаю все снова, работает очень быстро.

    Installed on the flash - works well but does not save the changes.
    Ie every set all over again, working very quickly.

  24. "Wow it uses Kernel thats so outdated. So people will experience much improved hardware support than... what??"

    10th November 2008. It' not that old.

    They add tested kernels into the repository.

    Some kernels break stuff. You do know that don't you.

  25. Are you trying to say that other major Linux vendors are not using tested kernels??

    How "tested" does the PCLinux OS kernel need to be?

    Maybe they should use the 2.4.22 kernel. It is very well "tested" but would support alot less hardware. I see no sense in your logic...

  26. I use PCLOS and Ubuntu at home and I like PCLOS because it does everything that I want it to.

    The one qualm I have with the PCLOS team is the lack of clarity of their position with regards to KDE4. In all of the general release announcements they stat that they aren't using it because it's missing some of the features they're using from 3.5. However, it takes much digging to find out that this isn't as much the case as that KDE4 hasn't yet reached the desired level of stability, and lately they've just been spending a lot of time on this release that KDE4 has been left on the backburner for a long time (as evidenced by the fact that the most recent version in the kde4 repos is 4.0).

    I'm ok with the fact that they haven't done much with kde4. I'm just a little irritated by the fact that they never officially said that they weren't going to do anything with it until after this release. This is a KDE 3.5 release because the devs want a rock-solid environment for a rock-solid distro and KDE 4 isn't rock-solid, yet (though 4.2.1 comes very close and 4.3 will be all that much closer).

  27. I used to use Mint Live but since there is CentOS on the PC's @ the University, I wanted to try something Redhat/Mandriva based, with all the proprietary stuff (flash, divx...) and being installable on USB devices since I have no HDD in my laptop because it broke 2 drives (acer=crap) and CD is sloooowww...
    So I tried PCLinOS 2007, it looked nice, wasn't too RAM-hungry and more fitting to my needs than Knoppix 5.11. I installed it on a Sony 4gig USB stick. Worked quite well, but don't you DARE and try a kernel upgrade.
    Now I switched to 2009. I prefer the 2007 design though, with the black "Cordura" splashscreens.
    I had some issues with my ATIx700, had to boot with VESA, then activate flgrx driver without "double screen option". 2009 is more stable I think. x700 works out of the box, but live boot is slower.

    But my crappy Broadcom bcm4318 still doesn't work. didn't work with Ubuntu, didn't work with PCLOS 2k7 and doesn't work with 2009 so far. but I didn't try very hard, knowing my laptop model doesn't like linux-wifi. And when there is wifi around, there is no ethernet nearby, which I need to get infos, and when I have ethernet, i don't have wifi, so I didn't bother trying to set it up. The special hotkeys needed to switch on the wifi aren't working anyway etc etc. I'm not sure, but I think I DL'd the 2009.0 and not 2009.1, maybe the .1 would fix the wifi problem.

    Well, everything except wifi seems to work fine, I have 512 RAM but no swap. PCLinOS needs 250-300meg when idle, and nearly 512 with 8 firefox tabs.

    Compiz/beryl is switched off, some other kde-eyecandies are on. No optimizations were made to reduce memory usage (max 1 preloaded konqui thread, some transparency and anims...). It's pretty much default.

    the option to remove the useless video drivers during the install is new and very nice. saves 100 meg on the stick.
    But the installer freezes at the end of the install. luckily the GRUB settings were made anyway, so it works from usb.
    Of course the speed of an usb install depends on your device. I use a Sony µVault, it isn't very fast, but not too slow either. A little behind the corsair flash voyager (the regular one, not the GT). especially writing is slow: install takes 1 hour. Synaptic upgrades take forever too.
    As with any storage device, writing lots of small files is very slow. write speed with small files is 0.9Mb/s, with big files it's up to 10Mb/s and reading 5-15Mb/s.
    Boot takes 90-100 seconds. not very fast, but Mint 5 from CDrw needs 6 minutes!!!

    I used REISERfs, as it seems to be less harmful for flash memory than ext3.
    PCLOS 2k7 was installed on ext2, 2k9 on REISERfs, and it seems a little snappier. Maybe it's the new kernel, maybe it's the FS, I don't know.

    I made 3 partitions, root (2.7gig), home (550meg) and a fat32 with the remaining 500. I'm pretty new to linux, I thought home was used for settings only, so at first I made it 250 meg big. but some apps use Home (like wine), so when it was full, the apps simply crashed (especially firefox).

    today I quickly tried to run a game, GTA Vice City, which is portable like the 2 other "old" 3D gta's. It loaded from my usb HDD, but when I tried to enter the Audio-ingame menu it crashed. I will try again. as I said, I'm a linux newbie and I miss my winXP which is still a very nice OS.

    but PCLinOS 2009 is a very good distrib, if you like KDE. I know I do like most of it, but not all the KDE apps. I prefer Totem to Kaffeine, and Pidgin to Kopete, but I like Konqueror very much, it's also a nice backup webbrowser which needs less memory than FF. Also the vista-basic-like crystal theme is very nice.

    Gnome is Ok, but for some reason xfce is weird. I just don't get along with it. and the memory you save is only 20meg so I prefer to use gnome, or KDE. I think KDE needs a lot more memory than gnome, Mint 5 KDE live needed 450 meg when idle, but looks really awesome. gnome needs 300-320 with the Human theme.

    For some reason, I have 2 Xwindow processes running all the time. Is that normal? they use 60meg each. weird. maybe my install is f'ed up somehow (since the installer freezed...).

    Anyway, that was a big-ass comment ;-)
    that's why I'm gonna leave you alone now.

  28. I've been using linux for years and years and left Mepis as my favorite distro when they went Ubuntu. I've tried them recently upon learning they were back to Debian because I was getting itchy for PCLinuxOS 2009.

    I'm happy to explore PCLinuxOS 2009. 2007 was my best longest used distro yet. It did everything with very little effort. I've tried KDE Mint, Fedora 10 and Sabayon recently also and am still back with PCLOS.

    My only probelm with PCLOS right now are the graphics. I think 2007 looked better- cooler- nicer.

    What bothers me about KDE4+ is the design of it all. I don't mind learning new tweaks- that's the fun part of driving a new system. I don't like the new menu. I feel there are more clicks than before- though I haven't counted- it feels so. The arrangement to me feels off. Not intuitive. In fact I am thrilled to still have KDE 3.5.10.

    I'm not saying I'll never go 4+ but if you ask me, it's not KDE at all. They should have split it and named it KCF or KFC or something :)

    Bottom line though is I love Linux! Linux rules!

  29. Having tried many other distros I gave PCLOS 2007 a shot. Loved the "just plain works" aspect of it but it was a tad bulky. Enter MiniMe 2008, even better hardware support and seriously zippy. Kept up with the upgrades and now comes PCLOS 2009. Was so happy with the recent updates to MiniMe that I had to try 2009 and I am glad I did. Despite being full of features it is quick and gave me no trouble recognizing the hardware in my HP DV6000 laptop.

    Don't care about KDE 4.whatever, the computer just plain works. All I care about is spending time using the machine rather than screwing with it and PCLOS has never let me down.

    Another great job by Tex and the gang.

  30. Currently I am running PCLOS .93, daily, with no problems. KDE 3.5.
    Installed 2009.1 and it is everything I expected this release to be. Do I need KDE 4 to surf the net, email, anything else? I'm not much for "eye-candy", I just want my box to work. If Tex and RG feel KDE 4 is not suitable for be it. It is available for those who want it. Keep in mind PCLOS is aimed to be easy to install and use for new Linux users...some who do not even know what KDE is/means/stands for, let alone the differences between 3.5 and 4 versions.
    Nice review, thank you for your time and effort.

  31. Linux newbie here

    Tried Ubuntu and was OK but didn't work with my Speedtouch modem no matter what I tried. Was about to resort back to Micro$haft then decided to try PCLos and it works fantastic, straight out the box. Does what it says on the tin.

    Memory usage is a lot higher than XP though. Used to be 250Mb with Xp idle but PCLos sits at 350Mb idle and a few applications later my 500mb is maxxed out.

    I though the point of Linux is its mean and lean. buts its fatter than XP.
    What are other installs sitting at?

  32. It works like a charm, simply perfect! Lot of drivers, applications,fast boot,fast in generally, stable.

    Odlican OS, radi stabilno, ima puno drajvera, programa, brzo startuje i zavrsava... Jednostavno bolje od Win milion puta i jos vam uz to ne treba AV.

  33. I am a recent convert to PCLinux 2009 Gnome. I have Used Suse for about 10 years, and loved it, yes even back in the 'bad old days' of glitchy installs and hardware problems et al.
    I have to say PCLinux is the most stable version of linux I have ever used. I had to manually set NOTHING up hardware wise, it was all done correctly during the install, even my obscure wlan card was right the first time. I must admit I cheated somewhat by installing it on a Phenom 11 940 with 8g of ddr, a 4870X2 ati card, 2 X 1TB seagate hard disks as raid 1. Expecting huge config difficulties I was amazed (No, STUNNED!) that it installed perfectly!
    I am an IT Pro. I build and sell my own oem systems. I will be thoroughly recommending this OS to all of my clients seeking a windows alternative, and their are quite a few these days seeking something else. For the past 2 years I have recommended and installed Ubuntu (Still a great distro) on their systems, but not liked it myself enough to change from my beloved Suse. That all changed suddenly when I saw PCLinux 2009 on a clients system and had a play. Dam well done.

  34. Must be a 790gx sys or similiar, PClox works great, detects raid seemlessly. Well done!

  35. AnonymousJune 22, 2009

    I've installed Pclinuxos 2009...!

    Firefox doesn't work, also Synaptic, all other app it's ok

  36. AnonymousJuly 21, 2009

    Pclinuxos 2009.3 is supposed to coming.
    I try to make a remaster and it never boots.

  37. Using PCLinuxOS 2009.2 gnome for last one month.I am an old linux user who has tried almost every big dstro in last five years both gnome and kde editions. I'll say that PCLOS 2009.2 gnome stands out amonst them and I am very much satisfied with it. It simply worked out of the box (literally) and this is the first time after installation of any distro I had to spend less than 10 minutes (only had to install Openoffice) to get my system perfect for use. All multmedia codecs worked out of box,distribution contains smart selection of applications,just the ones most people would prefer to have....and hey prozilla works like charm as a download accelerator and manager..loving it.
    Definitely this distribution is great for any new or old user. If the PCLOS team is able to keep a regular development pace with atleast a yearly major distribution rolling out, it stands every change to spread its satisfied user base.

  38. Same thing everybody says... it just works. In my line of work, I have to use and teach Windows - XP, then Vista, and in future, Windows 7. The last two are good O/Ses, but I retain - always - an installation of PCLOS (2009.2 now). There will always be differences among users - those who love KDE 4, those who dislike it (count me here), and those who are indifferent to it. I tried very much to like KDE 4 (I have tried 4.3), and some distros that use it, to no avail. To each his/her own; if it floats your boat, use it. I am trying to persuade my Windows-lover children to give PCLOS a try; but they cannot be bothered. Their loss. The PCLOS team members made a great distro, and should be proud of themselves.

  39. from what i have seen from this distrobution i like it, but for whatever reason it won't connect to any of the repositories so i can't update. i have tried forums and no one helps although they try. does someone know where i can get accurate information? for the record i have had to block certain ports on my router but i don't know if that is the cause.

  40. Been using it for five years now. Exclusively. Loving it.

    In those five years, I have had only two times when the system crashed, and that turned out to be faulty RAM. PCLinuxOS is the most stable, most useful, most usable Linux distro there is.