Life with PCLinuxOS (so far)

Hi again!

So it’s been a couple months with PCLinuxOS, and all the problems I previously had have been ironed out, for the most part.  I figured that I’d give you my thoughts on using PCLOS now that I have been able to gather my thoughts without worrying about display drivers and whatnot.

To briefly recap, my main OS was Windows 7 before PCLOS.  So if I make any comparisons, it’ll be towards Windows 7.

There are a couple difference in the way I use PCLinuxOS versus the way I use Windows.  One primary difference is my internet browser.  On Windows, I always use Chrome and on PCLOS, my primary browser has been Firefox.  This partially due to the fact that every time I attempt to set Chrome as primary, it resets every time I log off.  tPenguinTLG also recommends I stay on FF, so why not.  Another major difference is the Synaptic Package Manager.  It’s a repository of programs and utilities that can be installed as they are officially supported by PCLOS.  Because of Synaptic, I have to get used to not downloading programs of the internet like one would on Windows since there isn’t a dedicated program to list them all for you.  It’s a nice way to keep track of what you can and can’t have, but it’s also a let down when you can’t find something you want to install.  That being said you can install some programs off the internet.  I managed to get Android Studio working, and a utility for my Xperia devices as well.

With that being said, I’m now going to go over some brief pros and cons about PCLOS.

The Pros

Virtual Desktops

Oh my goodness.  Virtual desktops are such a wonderful addition to Linux, and a great way to multitask different programs.  I can have one desktop with all my assignment related programs, all my messaging programs on another, and all the internet windows in another.  This brings a new way for me to organize all my programs without having to constantly switch between a barrage of windows.  Switching between each desktop is very quick and easy as well, with either a click or a scrollI thought having two monitors was all I needed on Windows, but having two monitors with virtual desktops is just amazing.  Now, while Windows is bringing virtual desktops to Windows 10 which is great, and hopefully it’ll be as seamless and easy to use as it has been here on PCLOS.

Performance

Overall general performance has been snappier than on my Windows partition.  Programs load up quicker, boot times are faster and I’ve seldom experienced any hangs.  I think this is due to the lack of bloat that I have on my Linux partition, but I can’t complain.  Speed is speed, and who doesn’t want more of it?

The Linux Terminal

This is kind of a given, but because I’m taking a Linux-centric course, having a readily available Linux terminal is essential to success in the course.  I don’t need to download PuTTY to create an SSH connection to my school’s Linux servers (which aren’t the most reliable).  I can test all my programs locally, and having the terminal around has made me more accustomed to using it.

The Cons

(Graphics) Performance

Wait… did I not just praise the performance earlier?  I did, and I stand by what I said.  But if I wanted to do a bit of Minecraft, I’d have to switch back to Windows.  And this is due to not having the optimal display setup.  While I’m using a (default?) Radeon driver, I haven’t been able to get the Catalyst Control Centre working without crashing my X server.  So I’ve stuck to what I have, which isn’t optimal for gaming.

Compatibility hitches

I’ve had a couple snags with some utilities not working as they should be.  One of them is Catalyst, as I mentioned.  Another one is Flash.  Ya ya, Flash should be dead long live HTML5, but there are internet utilities such as video players that run of Flash, and despite updating it via Synaptic, Firefox doesn’t seem to be able to think my Flash player is updated and fails to load some Flash content.  Thankfully all Flash content works on Chrome, so I switch to that when I want to catch up on some TV shows.  It would be nice if it did work though.

I can’t share my printer

I just can’t.  No matter how much I’ve tried playing around with CUPS and other things, I have to switch back to Windows in order to share my printer with my mom to let her print something.  That being said, we have a really old (at least 10 years old?) printer, and there have been a couple talks of possibly getting a new one.  Hopefully something with wireless capabilities…

That’s all for now.  Overall, I’ve been enjoying my experience with PCLOS, and I can see myself using this as my primary OS for the next long while (unless I want to play guitar then I have to switch to Windows because my guitar cable doesn’t work on Linux and Rakarrack is just an eyesore to look at).  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to figure out how to write a mini-shell.

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One thought on “Life with PCLinuxOS (so far)

  1. Flash is annoying and it takes up too many resources. Unfortunately, none of the free/open source alternatives are much good, so we have to put up with it. I’ve been having trouble with Firefox (well, Pale Moon, but essentially Firefox) blocking Flash and I have the latest version (at the time of this comment, 11.2.202.442) which shouldn’t be blocked. It’s come to the point where I have to disable the blocklist (in about:config, set extensions.blocklist.enabled to false). It’s not ideal, but it’s fine because I know exactly what’s on my system.

    Package management is great. Even Microsoft thinks so. If there’s something you want that’s not the repositories and you want to manage it using the package manager, you may be able to find a third-party repository or PPA that has the program and add it to Synaptic.
    Having said that, it isn’t bad to get things from their original source when it’s not in the repositories (for example, you’d install separately if you wanted to install a custom build of a program), it’s just not ideal.

    Virtual desktops are also great. Linux has had them forever, Mac has had them since at least Leopard, and Microsoft is finally including them in Windows 10. In the meantime, I use VirtuaWin on Windows because they’re just too useful.
    However, tagged workspaces are even better, but I’ll go over that in another post.

    As for printer sharing, you might want to check your firewall settings to make sure it isn’t being blocked, although I don’t think a firewall is set up by default.

    For your graphics performance, I suggest trying to find some other way to tweak your settings without the Catalyst Control Centre, because the Catalyst Control Centre is only guaranteed to work with the Catalyst driver. If you’re booting with the vesa driver, I really don’t expect the Catalyst Control Centre to work because vesa is the fallback generic driver.

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