PCLinuxOS (“pee cee lihn-icks oh ess”) is frequently mentioned when people ask about leaving Windows XP for a non-Windows system.
This is because it looks and acts like what a Windows user might expect. No wacky interfaces. Looks like this on bootup:
“Start” menu in the lower left that expands into what you would expect:
Obligatory CNN.com screenshot:
The above screenshots were taken from the download that has the LXDE front-end. I actually prefer the MATE front-end (download listed next to the LXDE one) as it is a bit more modern but a bit heavier.
My usual review of linux distros would focus on things important to me. But this series is not about me; it’s about people who are thinking about migrating from XP. So here is a proposed set of criteria, graded from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).
Score for PCLinuxOS
Suitability for folks migrating from XP:
Install: 7.5. This distro has a couple of rough edges in the installation. A bit of technical wording that might throw the first-timer.
Grandma test: 9. LXDE front-end is very friendly and easy to use. Start menu, desktop icons, system tray, apps show on taskbar. Normal window buttons for minimize, maximize, close.
Default applications: 8.5. Firefox w/flash plugin. LibreOffice 4.2.
Speed: 9. Snappy! About as quick as a casual user is going to see. There are faster/lighter distros but they are not for first-timers.
Updates: 8.5. This distro is somewhat unusual in that:
- it is independent (not based on any other distro); and
- it is “rolling release” rather than version release. Version release would be like Win95, then “upgrading” to 98, then XP, then Vista, then 8. Rolling releases are continual streams of updates with theoretically never having to upgrade the whole OS.
Theoretically this could mean that software updates come in faster and on their own schedule rather than waiting for some arbitrary timeline.
Popularity: 9.1. Currently 9th out of 100 on distrowatch. Quite popular with a lot of help available.
TOTAL: 51.6 points = 86%