Episode 41 Show Notes

Distrohoppers’ Digest Episode 41 Show Notes

MONTHLY FOIBLES  …wherein we discuss what we did this month

Moss: As mentioned last month,my wife and I got new Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) phones. It was interesting getting them set up, as our Pixel 3a XL phones were running CalyxOS and not in the Google ecosystem, so we could not simply move our files. We did, however, manage to get them working with all our apps, photos, etc. saved and transferred. They were quite glitchy the first week or two, although they seem to have settled down a lot since. I am still using my Pixel for viewing and listening, as the sound quality is considerably better.

I also have just gotten a new Samson Q2U microphone and an EBXYA 2×2 sound box. I hope my track is easier for Tony to work with this time, and I hope you can hear the difference. I just heard from Bill today that my track on the latest mintCast was smooth. The microphone came to me courtesy of the patrons of Full Circle Magazine; because of this donation, I was able to go ahead and buy the sound box now rather than later.

Dale: I read through what I had previously written in my third GUI article and decided to re-write about 50% of it. A good part of my time was spent watching videos and reading articles for research. It is easier to research the 1980s since it is more recent than my other two articles.

I’ve wanted to replace my other computer desk in my office. It was part of a larger L desk that didn’t survive the move last June. I was thinking of building something custom and in my search, I found a neat company, they are called Pipe Decor. They use industrial pipes used in water and gas distribution. They offer cleaned/painted pipes and fittings, ones you can clean and paint yourself, and stained table tops of different sizes. There are also many other racks, lamps, tables, etc available. I was quite impressed and surprised with their products. I am considering using one of their prebuilt desks and getting the fittings to combine it with one of their smaller desks to make another L-shaped desk. I will include a link to their website in the show notes.

I spent Super Bowl Sunday with a friend and his wife. I wasn’t planning on watching it. This was intended as a joke I made with him. I asked if he was having a Super Bowl party and inviting me. Now he knows I am not a fan of sports except for various auto racing, though I don’t watch them much anymore. He called me on Saturday afternoon asking what time I wanted to come over Sunday. The team he wanted to win didn’t. I am not sure if the commercials were weird or if it was just me. I haven’t watched broadcast TV in 5 or 6 years. [Moss: The TV commercials were SUPPOSED to be weird. More people watch the Superbowl for the commercials than for the game.]

In my Linux activities, I looked into how to use the DKMS drivers from System76 so I can use Solus Budgie on my Pangolin. I need them to be able to use my keyboard backlight and change the colors. There are also some power management and other drivers. After chatting with a member of the Solus IRC channel, I will compile the modules into the kernel since Solus doesn’t support DKMS. I also read about clr-boot-manager that Solus uses from the ClearLinux project. It manages kernel updates and works much differently than other distros. The link for it will be in the show notes. This was more than I wanted to get into since Solus does things a little differently. Depending on my success, I will ask if they can include these into their default kernel since I will have done the documentation, development, and testing. I am hoping they will, considering they offer the Nvidia Binary driver which requires the modules to be compiled to work with the kernel. I will look at this again when I have more time.

clr-boot-manager from Clear Linux

I had an interesting rabbit hole jumping into the manual pages for Xorg. I will mention the need for this in my review of PCLinuxOS. I will include the link for them in the show notes.

Xorg Documentation

UPDATES (Where we discuss what we have learned about distros we’ve already reviewed)

Moss: Canonical released a 22.04.2 update on all their flavours, including updating the kernel.

Bodhi 7 64-bit is now at alpha5, and they are only chasing one bug right now to the best of my knowledge. I have alpha4 with updates running on my T580, and alpha5 running on my desktop.

The February edition of the Mint Newsletter outlined what changes will be in Mint 21.2 and is worth reading.

Trisquel 11.0 added 64-bit ARM and POWER architectures, in addition to having added 32-bit ARM in version 10, and remains completely “libre”.

Dale: Garuda has a new Raptor Eagle release on the 5th of March 2023. They have a brand new theme for Draganized referred to as Dr460nized and many other major internal and usability changes. A few are the setup assistant re-written in C++/Qt, Garuda-update has been updated, and Dracut has replaced mkinitcpio to generate the initramfs. Garuda Updates

Bluestar Linux is having issues with its 32-bit release once again. Citing unstable issues with archlinux32 causing compilation issues.

openSUSE Tumbleweed updated to Mesa 23.0.0, Flatpak 1.14.3, Plasma 5.27.1, x86_64_v3 update, cryptsetup 2.6.1, and updates to Xfce 4.18. openSUSE update 1,openSUSE update 2,openSUSE update 3. openSUSE Leap 15.5 will be in Beta soon. openSUSE Leap 15.5 Beta.

Redcore Linux Hardened 2301 codename Sirius has been released. A few updates are resync with Gentoo testing tree, Kernel 6.1.12 LTS, Plasma 5.27.1, and LXQT 1.2.0. Redcore Update

XeroLinux fixed the update tool and updated the Kernel to 6.2.6, and Plasma to 5.27.3.

Ben Fitzpatrick, the developer of StormOS, is working on an LFS-based edition of StormOS.

Debian has entered the hard freeze for version 12, codenamed Bookworm. Key packages from Sid that are wanting to be included in the Stable release must pass significant reviews. Packages that are not key to the OS and do not pose any issues for other packages can be moved from Sid to Testing, pending review.

One of the key packages will be the inclusion of Kernel 6.1, which is an LTS (Long Term Support Release). This will be a much-needed upgrade from 5.10, as 6.1 includes updates for recent hardware.

A new version of APT will be part of the Debian 12 release. It will provide better support for non-free software.

In addition to APT, the Debian installer has been updated to better support non-free firmware.

Debian 12 will be the first version to include non-free packages by default. Up until now, separate non-free ISOs were maintained by the Debian community.

The Solus project continues to have some server issues. The main website is up but the backend servers that support the development and public forums along with providing updates to installations are still down. As of this writing on the 22nd of March, I am unable to update my computer. The lead dev, Beatrice, has been recovering from an illness, which has delayed attending to the server issues, including some bad weather. The last update from their Twitter account was dated the 27th of February. They were previously creating a new Help Center and other backend changes. There will also be an introduction to their new Org structure. Once everything has been restored, blog posts will update everyone on what happened and what has changed.

BEAUTIFUL FAILURES – What we tried, and failed, to install or run this month

Moss: For this month, we had wanted to review blendOS as a team. blendOS is a new distro from the mind of Rudra Saraswat, and claimed to be current, modern, and able to use any and all package managers. Each of us had problems with it, and here are mine. I installed blendOS with the Plasma desktop. The installation went well and it worked more than adequately, until I tried to update it. It declared there was a package in need of updating, and then stated it was not in the right form so it could not be updated. I mentioned it to Rudra, he noted it but never got back to me. Over a week later, it still could not be updated, so I’m guessing he’s busy with other things. A system which cannot be updated cannot be reasonably reviewed.

Dale: I tried blendOS with the Xfce desktop and it didn’t go well. It used a custom installer. I couldn’t get it to repartition the SSD to install alongside CachyOS. I kept it installed thinking two Arch-based distros would play well with one another. So I wiped the SSD and installed blendOS as the only OS. It asks the regular questions and then a script does the installation. On my first attempt, it failed toward the end of the installation with a vague OS number 3 error. I don’t remember the actual wording as I thought I wrote it down. My second attempt failed with OS number 2 error, I have no clue what those mean. My third attempt was successful but my successes ended there. I wanted to connect to my WiFi hotspot but I didn’t see the connection manager applet. I did some searching and saw that the connection manager was installed, except only in the terminal. So I used the Ncurses enabled terminal GUI to connect to my hotspot. I then tried to install the Gnome connection manager package which includes the applet with Apt. It complained that no container was found. After looking through the very minimal documentation, none of the examples were working so I tried using Apt search and it created the container, followed by the search results. I was then able to install the package. I returned to the Xfce desktop and had no applet to add. I searched the filesystem and couldn’t find that it was installed. Well, I installed it again with the same result.

I decided that I was going to wipe the SSD again and install the Gnome desktop since it was a suggested option for new users. As with my two prior attempts at installing failed, so did this install. That is when I gave up. In my opinion, this was needlessly too complicated. Rudra claims that it will stop you from distro hopping. I think the desire for distro hopping is not understood. For me, it is about learning how other distros are configured and function. It is the maintainer or maintainer’s vision of what a distro should look and function like. I enjoy seeing different implementations of docks and panels. In some cases, it inspires me to try different configurations on my daily drivers.

blendOS is Rudra’s vision of a distro. I wish him all the luck with his project.

If BlendOS has piqued your interest, there is an excellent review by Jesse Smith on Distrowatch. He had considerably better luck than we did, and disclosed an incredible amount of useful data.

Moss: DISTRO NAME: Endless OS 5.0

INTRO: This distro is fairly focused, being an educational distro with special uses in areas where Internet is spotty or not available for whatever reason. It is Debian-based, and the team at Endless send a lot of work upstream; it has been stated that over 9% of new work on Debian is done by EOS developers. By virtue of it needing to be used offline, the ISO is huge, around 31 Gb. I thought I’d give it a whirl this month. This is a brand new version, claiming full use of Wayland.

MY HARDWARE: For this review, I used my Lenovo ThinkPad T540p, as I likely will be doing for some time to come. This computer has a 4th-generation Intel Core i7-4710MQ, 16 Gb RAM, and a 512 Gb Silicon Power SSD, with both Intel HD Graphics 4600 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M graphics. I installed it using the entire disk, which I noticed also set aside a swap partition at the end of the disk.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: I had no issues installing it. The installer was simple and straightforward. All the usual things happened in the usual way. This is basically Debian with a heavily-modified GNOME, simplified but more for beginning users; maybe not the latest, but newer than most. There is also a method to install directly to a USB flash drive, but you’d best at least buy a 64 Gb stick because it takes 31 Gb just for the system and its files.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: The system is clean and nice, however I found that I could not install FreeOffice or SoftMaker Office, and could not determine why. Along the way, I also discovered there are no apt or dpkg command line tools, and you can’t install gDebi. In terms of Office choices, parts of the system are locked, and while LibreOffice is included, your only other choices are WPS Office or using a browser-based office package.

Flatpak and Flathub are supported, although implementation still needs a bit of work, but it is the only way to get new software on this system.

I have yet to run across issues where it is clearly using Wayland, but then, if it’s working smoothly, I probably shouldn’t even notice.

EASE OF USE: The system runs easily and has a lot of features built in, including several games which can be played offline and even a partial package of Wikipedia. There are massive amounts of educational software here, most of which also can be used offline, which explains the size of the ISO. I can’t even find a support topic in print on installing neofetch in this distro, which is odd, but again, they are not supporting much use of the terminal in this distro.

The desktop is GNOME 41, although it’s highly themed and looks more like an oversized smartphone running OSX. This is an improvement on the Version 4 interface, which looked more like it was done by a crazed Windows 7 user.

Updates are handled by the Red Hat-developed OStree tool. In effect, it works a little like updating your smartphone: the distro periodically issues updated OS images, and your computer downloads the whole thing and applies it in a single step. This happens automatically in the background, and if everything goes fine, it tells you an update is pending, and when you reboot, you get the new OS. If there’s a problem, the computer can roll back to the older version – again, automatically. There are cautionary tales about what happens when an update partially installs and does not complete, but there appear to be adequate safeguards against this happening.


33.4 GB of space used on the SSD

804 MB of memory used was reported by free –hm.

While this distro does take up a good bit of drive space, it does not use much memory due to a number of optimizations, and is known to run well on a Celeron 64-bit processor with only 2 Gb of RAM. This is also of benefit to low-income people.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: There is an online Help Center which looked really good. They also advertise help via email. Otherwise, they only have an IRC channel, which I find is not the most user-friendly of ways to chat with beginners. I have yet to experience a need for the available help except as already noted.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: I did not try to multiboot this installation, however, previous attempts at installing Endless OS showed that it is very difficult to install unless it’s the only distro on the system. There are instructions on how to dual boot with Windows.

STABILITY: Everything is Debian, everything is sandboxed, everything is secure. There should be zero stability issues, and I did not encounter any.


Nothing else has the depth of this distro, as indicated by a 31 Gb installation file, but a few distros are similar at their base.

Debian Plasma



Ease of Installation             new user                  9/10

experienced user    10/10

Hardware Issues 10/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)           8/10

Ease of Use                                                      10/10

Plays Nice With Others                                      5/10

Stability                                                             10/10

Overall Rating                                                   9/10

FINAL COMMENTS: This distro is great if you’re anything close to the intended demographic. If you have children, and if you have problems or expenses in connecting to the Internet, you get almost everything you need and rarely have to look for help. There really is no other distro for this audience, and Endless did a great job, structurally and visually. They do appear to be hewing too strictly to the Only FOSS creed for my taste. But if LibreOffice is all you need for an office package – and probably more than 95% of Linux users fit that demographic – this could be all the distro you need. It’s slick, easy to use, stable, and safe. It really feels like I would need to use this as my sole distro for at least 3 months to really get a complete feel for the system, but not being the target audience I won’t be trying that soon.


INTRO: This distro has a long history so I will shorten it a bit. PCLinuxOS is also referred to as PCLOS. Bill Reynolds aka Texstar was a user of Mandrake Linux, which was based on Redhat 5.1 in 1998. Mandrake used the K Desktop Environment from the KDE project (aka KDE 2). In 2000, he created some RPM packages for use on Mandrake to improve upon it. He maintained the repo of these packages along with his PCLinuxOnline website until October 2003. Bill then decided to make a snapshot of Mandrake Linux 9.2 working with the Live CD Project to fork it. The new distro’s name was taken from his website and called PCLinuxOS. He continued development into 2006. During that time Mandrake merged with Conectiva in 2005. They were a Brazilian-based company that maintained a Linux distro for Brazil and Latin America. The combined company was renamed Mandriva and Mandrake was renamed to Mandriva Linux. This name change was due to a previous lawsuit against MandrakeSoft, the creator of Mandrake Linux. The plaintiff, Hearst Corporation (owners of King Features Syndicate), claimed the name Mandrake infringed upon their newspaper comic strip character Mandrake the Magician. MandrakeSoft took the opportunity to distance itself by using the name of the combined company names.

Late in 2006, Bill took one last snapshot of Mandriva to create a new code base for PCLOS. Going forward it would no longer be a fork of Mandriva. This new independent base for PCLOS was released in May of 2007. In the following years, they added the Gnome Desktop, Xfce, LXDE, Enlightenment, and OpenBox. When KDE released Plasma which was a big design update for the K Desktop Environment, they switched to it. In 2016 they stopped the development of their 32-bit edition so going forward it will be 64-bit only.

PCLOS has been actively maintained since its inception. It currently offers KDE Plasma, KDE Plasma DarkStar, MATE, and Xfce desktops. Community-maintained ISO’s are LXQt and Trinity Desktop Environment (a fork of KDE version 3.5). KDE DarkStar is a minimal install of Plasma.

PCLOS uses a rolling release model. I will be reviewing the KDE Plasma edition. This distro is of particular interest to me. A co-worker in 1998 told me about Mandrake, as I was using Redhat 5. Once I installed Mandrake, I was blown away by what it could do. It was then I thought Linux could be a usable replacement for Windows.

MY HARDWARE: The laptop I used is my Lenovo ThinkPad T460. It has an Intel Dual Core i5-6200U 2.8 GHz CPU, a 14″ display using Intel HD Graphics 520, 16 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB Samsung 860 EVO SSD.

INSTALLATION EASE AND ISSUES: The Grub screen had the PCLinuxOS name in the upper left corner. The background was blue at the bottom and faded to black towards the top of the screen. The image looked similar to a sunrise. The boot options were Live, Live (no boot splash), Live (Video No mode setting), Live (Safe Mode), Live (Copy to RAM), and Install PCLinuxOS.

Upon using the Install PCLinuxOS option. PCLOS uses its own installer. It began with asking about my keyboard language. Clicking next showed the window of, This is the installation Wizard click next to continue.

The disk partitioning was the following screen. It had the options of using the existing partitions, Erase the disk, and custom. Since I was checking out Fedora Rawhide, I wanted to dual boot, so I selected custom. I clicked on the root partition of Fedora and clicked resize. I was shown a bunch of errors in the window that popped up. I was thinking it was possibly the BTRFS that Fedora was using. I closed the window and clicked cancel. I returned to the partitioning screen. I tried again and it allowed me to resize it using half the drive using Ext4. Oddly it created a 7.8 GB root partition with the remaining split of the drive space empty. I clicked on the new root partition and clicked resize, then I was able to use the remaining space. I clicked next and was informed that the partition would be formatted. Following that was the installation process.

The next screen was the bootloader selection and location. The options were Grub2 with a graphical menu or text menu, with the other option EFI, which was the only option. There was an entry box to enter the time out before loading the default choice, it defaulted to 10 seconds. The advanced options which were already checked were Enable ACPI, SMP, APIC, and Local APIC.

The last screen allowed selecting which OS was the default, it automatically selected PCLinuxOS with other options of Recovery Mode for PCLinuxOS. Oddly, Fedora Rawhide wasn’t listed. A checkbox was checked for Probe Foreign OS, which should have seen Fedora Rawhide. The advanced option was the display mode for Grub2 which was 800 by 600. I clicked Finish to install the bootloader. A final screen reported the installation was complete, click Finish to reboot. There was a reminder to remove the USB stick and if you don’t remove it, it will ask you to.

On the first boot, it appeared like I was in the installation again. I was asked what language I wanted and was followed by my timezone selection. An additional question of if I wanted to use local time or UTC and if I wanted to use an NTP server to set my time automatically. The NTP server options were to select which countries’ servers to use. The next screen was the option to set a root password and create my user account. Finally, after all of that, I was booted into the newly installed system.

I wasn’t sure if Fedora Rawhide not being detected was a PCLOS problem or a Fedora Rawhide problem. To rule it out, I wiped the drive and installed Pardus Linux. It is a Debian base so it should be compatible. Sure enough, the resizing of the partition went as expected, after installing PCLOS it saw Pardus as one of the OSs it could boot to by default. So there must be an issue with PCLOS resizing BTRFS formatted partitions. I will try installing Fedora Rawhide again using Ext4 and see if that was the issue.

POST-INSTALLATION HARDWARE FACTS & ISSUES: I noticed that the volume control in the system tray was disabled. I clicked on it to find the audio device wasn’t detected. I closed the window and went searching. I found a configuration menu with a Configure Your Computer application. Once opened it is identified as the Control Center. I saw a Hardware menu and found the sound configuration. The check box for Enable PulseAudio wasn’t checked. I clicked the checkbox to enable it. I looked down at the volume control and it was no longer disabled. I was able to hear the pop noise as I raised and lowered the volume.

The next issue that needed attention was the fact that the LCD was at 1024 by 768 256 colors. My first thought was, Hello! the 1990s are calling, they want their Super VGA graphics back. I went to the Control Center once again under the Hardware menu. I saw Set up the graphical server. It had a list of video drivers and defaulted on the 810 and later Intel chipset from decades past. This list of graphics drivers was a walk down memory lane. I saw vendors I haven’t seen in 20 years or more, like Cirrus-Logic, S3, and Trident. After scrolling through the list, there was a Xorg menu, and inside was a list of more drivers. I clicked on the one labeled Intel followed by instructions to reboot to load the driver. Once rebooted I could tell by the login screen that I was at 1920 by 1080. I did confirm that it was with Plasma’s display settings and since I was in the display configuration I took a look around. One thing that caught my eye was that the compositing was not enabled. I could understand this not being enabled because it is very demanding on graphics cards with low memory and no 3d acceleration. Despite PCLOS using 64-bit, they still have support for older hardware.

Thinkpads use a mouse pointer called TrackPoint, which is a red nub in the center of the keyboard between the g,h, and b keys with three buttons below the space bar. In order to scroll like you would with a scroll wheel on a standard mouse, on the TrackPoint you would hold down the middle button and use the red nub to scroll up and down. I noticed that I couldn’t use the middle mouse button for scrolling, I also wanted to disable the touchpad. I find that palm detection and disabling while typing don’t always work correctly. The Synaptic driver they are using doesn’t have the checkbox to disable the touchpad, so I created a keyboard shortcut ALT T to disable the touchpad. I just need to remember to type ALT T upon every login. I also noticed that the option to enable the middle button scrolling was missing as well. I opened the terminal and looked at the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. It didn’t have the mouse defined among others. I opened another login session with CTRL ALT F1 and logged in as root. There I found out that not entering a password for root during the installation doesn’t enable sudo. This is a big security risk, as anyone can gain root access. Setting the password is simple, type passwd, then enter the password, then enter it again and you are done. This can also be done in GUI. To perform root activities, use the su command instead of sudo. Typing su – will read in the root accounts path setting. The dash tells su to treat this as if the root user signed into the computer at boot. The sudo command can be installed and configured if you desire. Though there is a quote from their welcome message in the forum about why sudo isn’t installed. “We do not believe that the ‘popular’ usage of sudo is inline with good security practice, we do not advocate it, nor support its use within the forum, you may well like using it, that is a personal choice that you have chosen for yourself.” As an old-school Linux user, I agree with that statement. I use sudo because it became a habit when I was using Ubuntu 10.04 through 12.04. Debian eventually started using sudo as well. I use su if I am doing a lot of activities requiring root-level access. I found it annoying needing to type sudo in front of the commands.

In order to generate a new xorg.conf file, Xorg needs to be closed. I couldn’t find it listed as a service so I did the less graceful option of searching for the process id using ps aux. Then I typed kill -9 and the number of the process id for each one. I was a little out of practice using SysVinit, as PCLOS doesn’t use Systemd. So using kill is an easy second option. I backed up the current xorg.conf file by copying it to xorg.conf-old. To generate the new config file I typed Xorg -configure, if you ever try this, make sure you are in the /etc/X11 folder. I edited the file in Joe, my favorite terminal-based text editor, and added the following. It is too long and complicated to read. It will be listed in the show notes.

Section “InputDevice”

Identifier “mouse”

Driver “mouse”

Option “CorePointer”

Option “Device” “/dev/input/event18”

Option “Protocol” “auto”

Option “Emulate3Buttons” “on”

Option “Emulate3Timeout” “50”

Option “EmulateWheel” “on”

Option “EmulateWheelTimeOut” “200”

Option “EmulateWheelButton” “2”

Option “YAxisMapping” “4 5”

Option “XAxisMapping” “6 7”


Section “InputClass”

Identifier “Wheel Emulation”

MatchIsPointer “on”

MatchProduct “TrackPoint”

Option “EmulateWheelButton” “2”

Option “EmulateWheel” “on”


I needed to know the path in the /dev folder to the driver the Trackpoint device was using, to do that I installed the libinput package. It is a library and utility for input devices like your keyboard and mouse. Once installed I typed libinput list-devices and looked for the one labeled Trackpoint. The Arch wiki and the Xorg documentation were very helpful in completing these tasks.

PCLOS is using Plasma version 5.27.2, Frameworks 5.103.0, and Qt 5.15.6 using X11 which is commonly referred to as Xorg. They are using Kernel 5.18.11 and the distro is 64-bit only. They have support for Nvidia Graphics cards but I wasn’t able to test that.

For the menu, they are using the application style menu which is similar to Windows Vista. Next to the application menu are the Dolphin File Manager, KDE System Settings, Control Center, Synaptic Package Manager, and KDE Terminal Konsole. The System Tray has Notifications, a Clipboard, Sound, Removable Devices, Display Configuration, WiFi, and the Clock with a Calendar. No Plasmoids were active, which are called Applets in other Desktop Environments. A Dolphin Icon was in the upper left corner of the desktop. For those of you that like a Wallpaper selection, there is only one. A blue wave/ribbon with a lens flare effect. I opted to use one from Digital Blasphemy. I will include a link to his website. I have been a fan of Ryan Bliss’s work for 25 years. I posted a screenshot to our Telegram channel.

There is quite a selection of default applications and utilities installed, so I am going to mention the ones you don’t see very often. Except for the versions of commonly used applications. Even the list of uncommonly installed default applications will need to be an abbreviated list.

Firefox is version 110.0.1, LibreOffice is version which is the full install of the suite of applications and Telegram is version 4.6.5.

Now on to the less common applications. Handbrake is version 1.6.1, Kdenlive version 22.12.2, Spotify, Krita 5.1.5, Bleachbit 4.4.2-4, and Timeshift 22.06.6. A script to install VirtualBox and the Guest additions were in the Application Menu. It was version 7.0.6-1.

A big surprise was Zoom 5.13.10. I was able to install Signal Messenger 6.8.0 from PCLOS’s repo. These are applications you normally need to use Snap or Flatpak. Speaking of such, neither of those is installed by default. Flatpak is available in their repo but Snap is not. I tried using Flatpak even though I did not need to. It didn’t go well with many errors involving fuse mounts. I never could get anything to install. I looked at their forum and it appears others have the same issue. Some have resolved the problem, only to have it break when Flatpak is updated or a dependency is updated. I read a comment by Bill Reynolds, the maintainer of PCLOS, he said there are issues with OS Tree and some dependencies on Systemd. PCLOS uses SysVinit, which was the init system originally developed for use on Unix System V, which is where the nickname came from. So if you don’t like Systemd, this is a distro for you to consider.

There isn’t an update notification installed by default. So you will have two choices, check for the updates manually or install an update-notifier. If you choose to use an update-notifier, it will automatically start with Plasma. If you are using something else, you will need to manually set it to startup automatically.

To manually check for updates using Synaptic, click refresh, then mark upgrades, followed by apply. In the terminal, they use a packager called Apt-RPM from the Conectiva Linux project. It is based on Apt from the Debian project. It was ported by Alfredo Kojima and improved by Gustavo Niemeyer. The most common commands are the same. To search, you need to use apt-cache search followed by the search term. Updating is the same apt update and apt upgrade. Other features like apt autoremove are not available. This is a bit unusual considering PCLOS uses RPM packages. It does however make it easy to use a GUI package management app like Synaptic. The only two active distros using it as far as I know are PCLOS and Alt Linux.

I think the utilities they include make them stand out from other distros. I previously mentioned the Control Center (referred to as Configure Your Computer in the Application Menu). Here are some other features. They have something similar to the Device Manager in Windows called Browse and Configure Hardware. You can configure the keyboard and mouse (unfortunately it didn’t help with my Trackpoint). There is a printer, scanner and monitor app for a UPS, which is a battery backup for computers. Managing fonts and importing Windows fonts. The usual date, time, user accounts, drive management and open a terminal console as root. One that I thought was interesting was Import Windows Documents and settings. The boot management was helpful. I updated the Pardus installation and it reclaimed control of the Grub boot. I used PCLOS’s Setup Boot System so PCLOS would reclaim control. It is the same utility that was used during installation. Another utility that I found useful was the Set up display manager. I often mention that distros don’t take advantage of the features and themes of the display managers. Well not PCLOS, they customized GDM (Gnome Display Manager) to where it didn’t even look like GDM. I didn’t care for it and used the Setup the display manager utility to switch to SDDM (Simple Desktop Display Manager, which is what Plasma uses by default).

The other features of the Control Center are typically for server use which is configuring a Firewall, FTP, Web, DHCP, DNS, Proxy, NNTP, and OpenSSH servers.

These utilities keep you from having to manually edit config files, where the syntax is particular in some cases. For example, one typo in the Xorg or display manager config file and it will not load dumping you to the terminal. In some cases, you will still need to edit them manually for any options not found in the GUI application.

If you can’t find some settings in the Control Center, they will probably be listed in the KDE System Settings.

EASE OF USE: Once I had everything configured the way I wanted. I got along pretty well with PCLOS. Usually, Plasma annoys me in some way. I used it for many years off and on, switching to Xfce when I had too many annoyances. I must say with Plasma 5.27, they have made noticeable improvements. This is the first Plasma version where I didn’t have any of my previous annoyances. Though I did have to disable the Screen Edge options. I don’t like having my windows resized when I get too close to the top or edges of the screen. The ability to install everything I used via the repo was great. I like Flatpak due to the convenience of having access to packages that are not native to a distro. However, I prefer installing everything from the repo so that everything is updated at one time. So not needing to install Flatpak was a definite plus.

I was able to set Signal Messenger to minimize to the System Tray. Plasma makes this easy by right-clicking on Signal Messenger in the Application menu and selecting Edit Application. I added the –use-tray-icon option to the Arguments field under the Application tab.


11 GB of space used on the SSD using du -h

471 MB of memory used was reported by free –hm.

EASE OF FINDING HELP: They have an active forum, a very nice Knowledge Base, and a Wiki. According to their website, they have an IRC channel on Freenode. Many of the posts in the forum were recent as of the same day or a few days before. Looks like a lot of helpful people are available from what I have seen. I created an account in their web-based forums and wrote a message in their ‘Welcome Center Forum’ which is used to welcome new forum members. I had about a dozen responses.

One feature that makes PCLOS unique is they publish a magazine called The PCLinuxOS Magazine. It was started in September of 2006 and is published monthly. They mention only missing a few months in 2009. Their tagline is “Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community”. It is independently produced by the community members/users of PCLOS. The magazine contains user-submitted stories, how-tos, and other articles about PCLOS. The purpose is to promote PCLinuxOS and related websites.
PCLinuxOS and its developers are in no way responsible for the magazine or website.

PLAYS NICE WITH OTHERS: If you are not using the BTRFS filesystem or Arch and Arch-based distros, you shouldn’t have a problem dual booting. If you don’t see your other distro listed during installation, you will know when you select which distro is the default at boot-up.

STABILITY: I haven’t had any crashes or lockups.






Ease of Installation new user   6/10 

experienced user   9/10

Hardware Issues     7/10

Ease of Finding Help (Community, Web)    10/10

Ease of Use     9/10

Plays Nice With Others     8/10

Stability   10/10

Overall Rating               8/10

FINAL COMMENTS: The installation for a new user is 6 because it is mostly clicking without knowing the too-many specifics. Where it could get a little complicated if you were to dual boot. Then I would say it would be closer to a 3. The hardware would have been a 10 except for the graphics and Trackpoint issues. I think if you have a regular mouse you will be fine. I was concerned with the graphics, however. You can’t get much more compatible than a T series Thinkpad using Intel integrated graphics. The Ease of Use was a 9 largely due to KDE’s improvements to Plasma. For a new user, it could be 7 or 8. It can be a little tedious and overwhelming due to the number of settings Plasma has.

Plays nice with others, as I previously mentioned, in my experience if you stick to Ext4 and Debian/Ubuntu-based distros you should be fine. I have discussed this with Moss since we both have our experiences with it. This is why I suggested that the rating could be as low as 3.

Using PCLOS brought back good memories of using Mandrake and Mandriva. Distros like PCLOS and Pardus show how great the user experience can be when popular applications are available, without the need to install and enable additional features to install them.

Is there anything you would like to add, Moss?

Moss: I have had trouble using PCLOS on a multi-boot system. When it works, it’s a joy, and I have not determined the factors to it working or not.

NEW RELEASES THIS MONTH:from 02/09 to 03/22

Univention 5.0-3

Alpine 3.17.2

Puppy 22.12+3

Parrot 5.2

Freespire 9 “GNOME”

MidnightBSD 2.2.6

Gnoppix 23.2.15

KaOS 2023.02

SmartOS 20230214

Artix 20230215

Tails 5.10

Clonezilla 3.0.3-22

Athena 2023.02.20

ALT 10.1 “Server”

SmartOS 20230223

Ubuntu 22.04.2 All Flavours

Clear 37980

Redcore 2301

TUXEDO 2-20230223

Slackel 7.5 “Live”

Zevenet 5.13.0

Mabox 23.02

EasyOS 5.0

IPFire 2.27-core173

Emmabuntüs DE4-1.03

ArcoLinux 23.03.01

openmamba 20230301

Gnoppix 23.3

Armbian 23.02.2

NuTyX 23.02.1

Arch 2023.03.01

TrueNAS 13.0-U4 “CORE”.

Archman 20230304

Robolinux 12.10

Garuda 230305

Rescuezilla 2.4.2

LibreELEC 11.0.0

openmamba 20230306

SparkyLinux 2023.03

SmartOS 20230309

Artix 20230306

siduction 22.1.1

GParted 1.5.0-2

helloSystem 0.8.1

EndeavourOS 03-2023

Zevenet 5.13.1

Kali 2023.1

Regata 22.1.3

Qubes 4.1.2

siduction 22.1.2

Snal 1.26

Manjaro 22.0.5

XeroLinux 2023.03


SystemRescue 10.00

CachyOS 230319

KDE neon 20230320

Tails 5.11

Trisquel 11.0

Bluestar 6.2.7

Archman 20230321


Moss: I haven’t seen anything in the email or the Telegram group lately. While we have some good interactions in Telegram, I didn’t see anything which counted as feedback. We’d love to talk about other people talking about us, so send us your comments. Besides our personal emails, which we will be giving out shortly, you can write to us at [email protected].


Moss: For chatting with us further, you may choose to join our Telegram group or our Discord channel.

Josh can be found at @joshontech on most social networks or email him at [email protected], He can also be heard on the CrowbarKernelPanic podcast.

Dale: I’m @Dale_CDL on Telegram and Discord. My email is [email protected]

Moss: And you can hear me every week on Full Circle Weekly News and mintCast. My email is [email protected], and I’m on Mastodon as @[email protected], plus you can find me, Dale, and Dylan, at Its MOSS dot com.

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