2011-01-21

Review: Pardus 2011

Installation DVD Boot Menu
Wow, what timing! Just yesterday I took another look at Pardus 2009.2 "Geronticus Eremita", and today Pardus 2011 is out! Incidentally, I previewed a beta release of Pardus 2011 to disappointing results. However, a few months before that, I did declare Pardus 2009.2 the winner of a 5-way comparison test, so I figure it's only fair to give Pardus another shot now that the newest official release is out in the wild.
For those who don't know, Pardus is a distribution developed primarily by scientific and military organizations in Turkey for their use, but is also reasonably popular among the general Linux-using populace in Turkey and abroad. It's not derived from any other distribution, and it uses KDE as the desktop base aiming to be newbie-friendly.
Unfortunately, given Pardus's failure to load on a MultiSystem-created multiboot live USB yesterday, I didn't do that today. Instead, I tested the installation procedure and installed system in VirtualBox on a Linux Mint 10 "Julia" GNOME live USB. I allocated 1 GB of RAM to the guest OS as always.
With all that, follow the jump to see what the newest iteration of this Anatolian leopard is like.

Installer Partitioner

After creating the virtual machine (which, incidentally, took a little time because at first VirtualBox didn't have the necessary user privileges to access the installation DVD located on my installed Linux Mint system's home folder) and starting it up, I got to the boot menu, but the machine kept aborting. I tried tweaking a couple different boot options at a time, but to no avail. Finally, I tried to only boot with failsafe graphics, and that worked well. After the boot menu came a well-designed Plymouth boot splash, followed by the initial installation screen.
Installer Slideshow
The installer is very well-done — it's up there along with Ubuntu's Ubiquity and Chakra's Tribe installers. Everything is broken into multiple steps so that new users will never feel overwhelmed by the information and choices. The disk partitioner is fairly standard, with the choices of using the entire disk, using free space, resizing other partitions, or using a custom layout. I chose the custom layout, as usual. It's not as friendly as in Ubiquity, but it's certainly not like the CLI "fdisk" program. After that came the options of installing GRUB (the screen of which, incidentally, featured a KDE logo that looks suspiciously like the Microsoft Windows logo) and a couple other things. Following that came a confirmation screen, after which came a nice slideshow showcasing the various features of Pardus (along with a progress bar detailing what's being installed and configured). The slideshow is well-done, though it's apparent that the developers aren't native English speakers, because present in the slideshow are a few spelling, grammar, and syntax issues. That's not a big deal though; overall, it's very well done. The installation itself took about 15 minutes, which isn't the fastest I've seen but it's still relatively quick. After that I rebooted.
Post-installation Setup
When booting from the virtual hard disk, I again loaded with failsafe graphics. After the boot splash came a few more configuration things, including adding default user and setting the root password. I like the fact that Pardus does in fact separate the user and root passwords and doesn't allow the default user password to be used for root actions. After that came the desktop.
At first, I was a little disappointed to see that Pardus hasn't especially customized the look of the KDE desktop, but then I saw Kaptan automatically run. I changed the menu to the Lancelot menu instead of the default Kickoff, the icons to Milky (the Pardus 2009.2 and prior default icon theme) instead of Oxygen, and the desktop view to folder view, and went on my way. I also then changed the KDE icon for the main menu to the old Pardus icon, because typically distributions that primarily use KDE put their own icon for the main menu, as Pardus did before version 2011. Though I picked the Milky icon theme, some of the icons (especially the "trash" icon) look kind of weird/ugly. Oh well, it's easy to change again.
Main Screen + Kaptan
Mozilla Firefox is present at version 4 (beta 9). This was my first look at Mozilla Firefox 4, and I have to say that it feels a lot snappier and cleaner than version 3.6. I'm looking forward to using it! (In the picture Mozilla Firefox has the compact menu button. Please note that by default it uses a traditional menu bar; I have just customized it a little.) Most codecs appear to be installed out-of-the-box, as YouTube worked fine (as did a few other sites). When Mozilla Firefox 4 comes out officially, I'll try to have a review up soon after.
LibreOffice is also included, and that was my first look at that as well. Just as I expected, it's essentially indistinguishable from OpenOffice.org (from which it derives, anyway).
Main Screen + Lancelot Menu + Customizations
Some other nice applications are included too, including digiKam, Clementine, showFoto, and some KDE games. That's always nice.
The package manager is Pardus's own PiSi (which apparently means "kitten" in Turkish and has an icon to reflect that). It seems to work OK, except that all the packages from Pardus's default repository are already installed, and there aren't any other repositories available, so there's nothing else that can be installed. I read on some Pardus mailing lists that the "contrib" repository (where applications like Cheese Webcam Booth and Skype, both of which I need) will be discontinued in favor of having all applications present in the main repository. I hope this means that applications like Skype and Cheese Webcam Booth are uploaded to the repository soon! Plus, the installation slideshow promised things like alternative browsers (e.g. Chromium, Opera) which aren't present, so these will need to be uploaded quickly so the developers can keep their promises.
Pardus 2011 uses KDE 4.5, and not once did KDE crash in any way. In fact, KDE felt smooth and quick the entire time. That's good news.
Mozilla Firefox 4 + LibreOffice
Well, that's all I have to say about Pardus 2011. It's stable, smooth, reasonably quick, and extraordinarily newbie-friendly. Plus, it has goodies that most people would need on a daily basis. That said, there are a lot of applications that will need to be uploaded to the repository soon. Otherwise, I can only recommend this to people who will only be surfing the web and creating documents (and nothing else).

12 comments:

  1. The live version works with MultiSystem. I am typing this message live now. But, PiSi is nowhere to be found and I cannot find the password to run it as root from terminal. So, at this point, I cannot see the potential list of packages I can install. It seems I am stuck testing Pardus 2011 with only the software included on the live image.

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  2. "pardus" seems to be the password for the default user "pars". Regardless, running pisi from command line displays only errors for me using the live iso.

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  3. @Anonymous 1: Are you using Pardus 2011 with MultiSystem? If so, I'm glad to know that it works fine with it, and I may try it again later on with MultiSystem on my computer. And yes, I had the same issue of only being able to see already-installed software.
    @Anonymous 2: Thanks for the tip. Also, how is the CLI PiSi compared to the GUI package manager?
    Thanks for the comments!

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  4. Pardus 2011 is a new developed line/serie(thats why its not called Pardus 2009.3) so all the applications who was in Pardus 2009.2 is not in the repo/pisi yet.
    They will come with the major first update package. I hope it will be soon. So be patient and wait some time.

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  5. Well I just tryed Pardus 2011 and I find Cheese webcam booth in the Pisi so I can easy install it if I want it.
    But I agree with the previous comment. It would be better if some did a review of Pardus 2011 after a month from the release date when all applications will be a avaible.
    I also saw this comment in Pardus World Forum about the packages:

    "One can not just compare package count from distro to distro.
    Take kdesdk for example, in Ubuntu, kdesdk is a meta package, depending on many others, while in Pardus, kdesdk contains all of the programs in one package. If that is good or bad is a matter of taste I guess."

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  6. @Anonymous 1 & 2: Thanks for the tip. I'll certainly try Pardus 2011 again in a couple weeks (if I have the time) when more applications are out.

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  7. I've used almost every Linux (KDE) Distro that's out there, icluding the latest (and worst) Linux Mint 10 KDE. Never have I used a KDE distro that was so thoroughly put together. I'm telling you and it's no exaggeration when I say Pardus 2011 is the best KDE distro available to the public to date. I challenge any Linux user to try Pardus and see if you don't feel the same way after using it for a few days. But I'm willing to bet you'll fall in love with it during the install process. I've tried Mint, OpenSuse, Fedora, Mandriva, Sabayon, Chakra, PCLinuxOS, Zorin, (Not KDE, but similar) Kubuntu and I must say, none of them has impressed me to the level that Pardus did. If you want to have a fully loaded OS that will let you have a full blown media center, with video and audio editing, I'd recommend this Pimp of an OS. If you are using Windows 7 or Vista and you want to try out a Linux Operating system that will work and do everything you can do on Windows right out of the box. (and much more) I suggest using Pardus 2011. This OS walks you through the instal process and there is no way you could screw it up unless you are a drooling vegetable. If you've been using Mint and you think Mint is the best Linux OS for new users, I have news for you guys.... Pardus does Wayyyy more out of the box than Mint will ever do. Why this OS is not well known to the rest of the Linux community is beyond me and frankly, it's a damn shame. I can't stress enough how great Pardus 2011 is, I will never use any other Distro and I think if some of you give it a try, you'll agree...

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  8. @Anonymous: The problem is currently that although Pardus is a rock-solid and very friendly out-of-the-box distribution, it doesn't have nearly the same amount of software available as Linux Mint. While most new users will be well-served by what Pardus offers, I think there will be a handful of cases where Linux Mint/Ubuntu/Debian will have a required (by the user) package available that Pardus does not. Otherwise, yes, Pardus is an amazing distribution. Thanks for the comment!

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  9. please how i connect to internet via ADSL (PPPoE) in pardus 2011

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  10. أحمد شريف@: I'm not actually sure, because I didn't have to do this. You might want to check out the global Pardus forum for help. Thanks for the comment!

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  11. أحمد شريف@: No problem! I hope you find the solution soon!

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