Ramblings of a Professional Computer Geek

December 5, 2008

The Status of PCLinuxOS 2008/2009

Filed under: Linux,Open Source,PCLinuxOS — Padma @ 10:32 am
Tags: , , , ,

Disclaimer: I am not intimately familiar with Tex or the dev team, but I do follow what goes on.  Sometimes information pops up in disparate locations, and I am just trying to integrate it into a whole.

First, we know that PCLOS-2008 never happened. Despite the promises late last year and early this year, the only release with ‘2008’ in the name was the Mini-Me release.  What happened? were the devs asleep?  Is PCLOS dying?

Of course not.  The truth of the matter is, the 2008 release was coming along nicely, but there were a few sticky problems.  The 2.6.24 kernel worked okay, but 2.6.26 was out, and the team really wanted to use that, as it fixed a number of problems.  But it wouldn’t work properly, if at all, with certain hardware configurations.  And then, of course Hurricane Ike plowed through Houston, the home of Texstar.

This, of course, brought on more questions, and worries, as well as the inevitable delay.  What will happen to PCLOS if Tex can no longer work on it, or, God forbid, no longer wants to work on it?  Will PCLOS die?  Is it already too late?

Again, of course not.  Tex has mechanisms in place to ensure PCLOS will continue, even if he is not at the helm.  As a matter of fact, he is on a temporary hiatus, due to some very personal matters, which I am not privy to.  Yet the dev team has been going about their business, putting together the next release.

Gettinther, one of the devs, worked with the kernel maintainers to resolve the 2.6.26 issue.  The rest of the team has also been busy plugging away, building, testing, and debugging.  There have been four test releases so far, for public testing.  Each has been of a quality that many distros would have released them as final products.  But they still weren’t up to PCLOS standards.  They were about to release TR5 a couple weeks ago, but ran into some ‘show stoppers’ that they needed to resolve.  Last I heard, they have those well in hand, and we should see something soon.

Edit:  Just before I published this, I found that TR5 has just been released.  It includes:

  • kernel 2.6.26.8 (with some 2.6.27 fixes backported)
  • KDE 3.5.10
  • Open Office 2.4.1
  • Firefox 3.0.4
  • Thunderbird 2.0.0.17
  • Frostwire
  • Ktorrent
  • Amarok
  • Flash
  • Java JRE
  • Compiz-Fusion 3D
  • much, much more

KDE4 will be available in the repos as an alternate desktop once it has been stabilized.

Remember, this is a beta-test release, and will not be upgradeable to PCLOS-2009 final.  Install it on a test partition, and scour it for bugs, so that the final release can be the best yet.

And, of course, if you have PCLOS-2007 (or mini-me-2008) installed, as soon as the release is finalized, all we have to do is run a full system update from Synaptic, and upgrade our kernel, and we will have the full 2009 release installed.  I love a rolling release distro.

Update:  The Ripper Gang has announced the “Big Update” !

Update2: The Big Update is here!  If you already have PCLinuxOS 2007, or MiniMe 2008, grab the updates from your nearest server, and have fun!  (See the announcement above for special considerations.)

The ISO for PCLOS 2009 will be ready as soon as the Ripper Gang irons out any issues found inthe update.

Final Update: PCLinux2009 is out! See this post.

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14 Comments »

  1. Thank you so much. I’ve been using PCLinuxOS since August 2006. It hasn’t been a hardship for me to wait for the PCLinuxOS 2009. Once and a while I do get tempted to look at a live CD but I thrive on stability and PCLinuxOS has that in spades. There are other worthy distros to be sure but there is no reason to leave what I’m comfortable with.

    Comment by Richard Chapman — December 5, 2008 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  2. Is OpenOffice 3 considered too unstable at the moment to be included?

    Comment by Matt — December 6, 2008 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  3. PCLinuxOS has been my main distro since version .81 (that was a long time ago). It’s been a great ride, with very few hiccups along the way. The last year, though, has been a bit of a long wait, and I again started to explore other distributions to see where the cutting edge was, and discover how others were faring in the quest for Linux perfection. It’s not a bad thing to explore, particularly since it reaffirmed my opinion that PCLinuxOS was without equal in our present distro universe. I downloaded TR5 yesterday and booted into the liveCD on all my computers, one after the other (five of varying ages and configurations from a 4-year-old Shuttle to a 2-week old HP laptop) and it booted without problem on all of them. Even a recalcitrant Belkin wifi card which had tripped up several other prominent distros, was recognized. I was again impressed, and will certainly return to PCLinuxOS once 2009 is finally released. Congrats to Tex and the ever-hard-working ripper gang for the excellence of this beta. I do hope that Tex is able to resolve whatever difficulties he is facing, and is soon able to return to hacking and polishing. In the meantime, I am just one among many waiting for the next full PCLinuxOS release, as 2007 is long in the tooth, and the Tiny/Mini 2008 offerings require considerable effort to configure.
    –Simfox

    Comment by simfox — December 6, 2008 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  4. Matt: I’m under the impression that OOo 3.0 wasn’t ready when the repo freeze went into effect. But I’m not worried. I’m sure that once 2009 goes final, and the devs have a chance to look around, again, 3.0 will make it to the repos.

    One of the things I love about PCLinuxOS, is that it is a rolling release. Even this 2009 release isn’t really necessary, from a release point of view. It is just a roll-up of all the updates since 2007, including the new kernel.

    Another thing I love is that it is not ‘bleeding edge’. It uses what is recent, sound, and stable.

    Comment by Padma — December 6, 2008 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

  5. […] The Status of PCLinuxOS 2008/2009 […]

    Pingback by Boycott Novell » Links 07/12/2008: GNU/Linux Takes Over University, British ISPs Shoot Down Wikipedia — December 7, 2008 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  6. I am sorry to hear of texstar’s house and such and I hope that he returns safe and well. I have been using PCLOS for just about a year now and I absolutely love it. Yes it would be nice to have all the cool new stuff that is out, but I can wait. The stability and ease of use are far to much to give up just to have it. 😉

    Comment by sharkscott — December 19, 2008 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

  7. I have used PCLOS for a long time. I am damn sure it’s the most stable deskop around. But pathetically it’s the most unpredictable distro and very late to catch up… For example, the promised 2007.1 and 2008 versions never happened really. Most importantly while the everybody in the community cries it’s just “install & update” thing, they never brought up an updated iso. Had they just brought up an updated iso, it would have saved may. With that said, nobody is too sure when pclinuxos 2009 will come up. And when it will come up it will be too old. I know there are problems – Tex is unwell, Texans are working hard and there are some show-stoppers.

    Good heavens! This Warren is all set to present Mepis 8. I am sure it will fill the gap created by the much delayed (and yet not released) PCLinuxOS.

    Comment by samaritan — January 7, 2009 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  8. Mepis is good. I certainly won’t knock it. And I agree that some find it tough waiting for the next iso of PCLOS.

    But “too old”? I’m not sure I can buy that. A stable system won’t necessarily have all the latest and greatest toys from the toybox. It will have the most recent things that work well. At the same time, when the repositories went into freeze last fall, almost everything was either current, or within one ‘dot’ release of the latest. Except for the kernel, which was still 2.6.22. In the PCLOS forums, Sal has explained quite a bit about the difficulties they’ve had with the kernel, and why they’re sticking with 2.6.26 for the new iso, instead of using 2.6.27, or the just-released 2.6.28.

    And there is a project already in the wings, just waiting for PCLOS 2009 to be finalized, that will be producing updated iso images quarterly, to ease the ‘drudgery’ of installing a huge volume of updates if you install 2009 on a different system in say, a year from now.

    And we wish the best of luck to Warren and Mepis 8. I am sure there are many who prefer Mepis to PCLOS. Or Ubuntu. Or Fedora. Or Arch. Or ….

    Like Tex says, as long as it’s Linux. 🙂

    Comment by Padma — January 7, 2009 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

  9. hmm… let’s bet pclinuxos 2009 final will not see the light before june or july. That’s what it seems from their progress (test 2 is not final and there will many such test releases), and it goes without saying that it will be stable. I said it very old because the kernel 2.6.26 will be definitely be somewhat outdated compared to the latest release of that time.

    BTW, my best wishes to all the community members, devs and Tex.

    Comment by samaritan — January 8, 2009 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  10. I agree with Samaritan when he says PCLOS is the most unpredectable distro. This morning I was browsing their repo, it is full of stale (but stable) packages and an old kernel. What’s worse nobody is there to tell about the approx. release date. They could throw a date and then skip it, what’s wrong in that? Besides, as they say “it’s a rolling distro and you can just update to get the latest and best” is also not right, I did a complete update of minime only to borke my system.

    And please don’t tell me what to do and how to go about, I am an RHEL Engineer for more than 5 years.

    Comment by nikhil — January 11, 2009 @ 5:56 am | Reply

  11. Well, I won’t dispute your statement. All I can say is I’ve never had an update bork my install of PCLOS.

    And, you’re right, the repos are getting a little “stale”. The freeze has gone on longer than anyone ever planned, or expected.

    As for throwing out a date, and *missing* it, that would be as bad for PCLOS as this unusual extended delay. At least Sal is taking a few minutes out here and there, to tell us what is up. They’re having a struggle getting the 2.6.26 kernel solid enough to satisfy them. While it’s good enough now that many (most) distros would be happy to ship in that condition, it’s not good enough for a distro whose claim to fame is ‘it just works’. It still fails on too many systems for the Ripper Gang to be happy with it.

    Comment by Padma — January 13, 2009 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  12. thanks padma for giving me this info. no doubt about it that pclos is a great distro, but this delay (may be due to absence of tex for so long) is killing many. i am sure pclos 2009 will be a great distro when it will be ready. last night i just popped in its tr5 and found it really nice (better than final releases of *buntus and *edoras). i am sticking to this test release till the final release though my box at office will be running centos 5.2.

    Comment by nikhil — January 14, 2009 @ 4:26 am | Reply

  13. I am just an ordinary joe who has been using various Linux distros since 2004. When I found PCLinuxOS summer of 2007 I have stuck with it. When I purchased a subnotebook (Ideapad S10) for Christmas, it hurt to have to us XP again. I do not recall, but I believe PCLinuxOS 2007 lacked drivers for so new a rig, so I am running 2009 Beta 2. It runs flawlessly, including the wifi. I am even more a happy camper than ever!

    Comment by injunjoe — January 24, 2009 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

  14. I use PCLOS 4 years now. First .93 next 2007 and now Minime2008.
    The ‘Big udate’ was not ‘great’. Here all you can think of went wrong and I was very happy with a ‘remaster’ (homemade livecd) to restore my system.
    Forums are not very friendly.
    Repository contains a lot of (old) software and much you’ll never use.
    But the software is right and stable here for everyday jobs.
    I think Mepis at some time could be a candidate for me too.
    I hope PCLOS2009 will be great. I don’t like the red and blue logo. It yells at you. I wish Houston luck!

    Comment by Gerard R. — February 1, 2009 @ 4:23 pm | Reply


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