After years of pimping out PCLinuxOS to my nerdy friends I am now officially bringing out a new girl. Her name is openSUSE, and although I’ve talked about her in the past, she is now here to stay.
I was a big fan of PCLOS. They had a great community and a rapid development cycle – two vital features of a Linux distribution. Now the community has turned into a dark circle of high level Linux users who attack users with questions and are too quick to tell you to Google for answers. E-Mails to the developers now go unanswered, and they took FAR too long to release the beta of the new edition, PCLinuxOS 2007 Test Release 1 (over four months, without a word as to the cause of the delay or the release date). Not only that, but for several months they disabled updates via Synaptic (the automatic updating program used in PCLinuxOS .93), which essentially forced you to manually update each package or simply wait. As if all of that weren’t enough, you also were not allowed to ask when the distro would be updated or released, as that would result in a forum or IRC ban. The official line from the developers – “When it’s ready”. When you disable updates in the existing version of the distro, it’s simply not acceptable to tell people to sit back and wait for the new distro.
The final straw was when I actually saw PCLOS 2007 Test Release 1. I call shenanigans! Who spent months developing this? Almost nothing had changed visually, except for a theme change that took an average looking distro and turned it into one of the most bland interfaces I’ve seen in 10 years. Add to that the fact that you cannot upgrade from PCLOS .93 to PCLOS 2007 (they force you to perform a clean install), and I didn’t see any reason to continue on with the operating system.
openSUSE 10.2 is a dream compared to the current state of PCLinuxOS. With a thriving and helpful community, fresh look and ongoing updates, openSUSE has everything going for it that PCLOS used to. I’ve found openSUSE to be more stable and faster than PCLOS as well, with a larger base of support and more online documentation. Within an hour I was able to setup XGL and Beryl for the fancy 3D desktop environment I’d been waiting for on PCLOS but never got. It blows Windows Vista away. Can you rotate four desktops in a 3D cube with transparency effects and custom shell graphics in Vista? I think not!
To all PCLinuxOS users – switch now and save yourself some heartache. The road that the developers are taking is a hard one for the users, and will only result in doom for the distro and its community. openSUSE works for me – try it yourself!