2011-03-05

Revisited: Pardus 2011

Last time, when I reviewed Pardus 2011, I was really impressed by its ease of use and its selection of default applications. One minor issue that I had was that repositories weren't enabled by default, so I couldn't install any new software. The other issue with the review itself was that because I had trouble with Pardus 2009.2 "Geronticus Eremita" on a live USB, I was hesitant to try Pardus 2011 on a live USB as well, so I chose to review it in VirtualBox. This meant that I had no idea how Pardus would play with my computer's hardware.
Well, now I have a bit more time and I'm willing to give it a try. I made a multiboot system with AUSTRUMI (which I reviewed yesterday) using MultiSystem and went on my way. Please note that as I do not have a spare computer and am not willing to allocate space on my hard drive for distributions other than my main ones (Linux Mint 9 "Isadora" GNOME and Microsoft Windows 7), I have tested the live DVD, not the installation DVD. Also do note that as I have already reviewed Pardus 2011 with a plethora of images there, I will not be including any new ones in this post; if you want to see pictures of Pardus 2011, please refer back to the original review. Follow the jump to read the rest.


As this was made with MultiSystem, after changing the BIOS to boot from my USB stick, I was greeted by the MultiSystem boot menu; I went passed that and then was greeted by a scrolling wall of text. I remember seeing a nice boot splash in the installation DVD, so I was a little disappointed to not see that here; I don't know if there actually is one on the live DVD, but if there is, I didn't see it. Thankfully, the boot process was fast and I was quickly greeted by the Pardus KDE splash screen and then the desktop.

I went over the desktop last time, so I won't do it again. I was greeted by Kaptan again, and I went through the usual steps. One pleasant surprise was the step of choosing a picture for my desktop user profile; not only did Pardus let me choose my own picture or choose from one of the predefined pictures, but it also allowed me to take a picture of myself with my laptop's integrated webcam. I didn't actually choose any picture, but I did click on the drop-down menu item for my webcam, and...success! I was able to see myself on the screen, although the picture was flipped horizontally, which isn't a huge deal. This means that Pardus successfully recognizes my laptop's webcam out-of-the-box.

I then tried desktop effects. These worked well too, and although KWin effects generally feel slightly more sluggish than comparable Compiz effects, these didn't feel any different compared to effects on other KDE distributions that I have tested using a live USB on my computer.

In the comments of the AUSTRUMI review, I was asked whether wireless networking worked. I didn't actually try it in AUSTRUMI, but I figured that because I was asked, I should at least try it in Pardus. And...success! My wireless card (an Intel model, I believe) was correctly recognized and I was able to connect to all of the wireless networks in my dormitory room that I normally see.

I then tried installing Skype, because I know that the Pardus repositories have it. And...I wasn't actually able to find the package manager. It looks like the GUI front-end to PISI, the Pardus package manager, is not present in the live session, which is really weird. Thankfully, I remembered that PISI also has a CLI front-end as well, so I fired up a terminal, typed "su" (and it took me a bit of forum searching to find the correct root password in the live session), and then typed "pisi it skype". Nothing happened. I typed "pisi er" to enable the repositories. Nothing happened here either. Then I typed "pisi lr" to list the available repositories, and I saw absolutely nothing. That's when I found out that, worse than how Arch and Debian disable all repositories post-installation, Pardus doesn't have any unless they are manually added. (Note: apparently they can also be added in the GUI package manager, but that's irrelevant here.) I then did a bit more searching in the forums to find the correct Pardus 2011 repositories lines and then typed "pisi ar [repository line]". That seemed to work OK. I then typed "pisi it skype" again, and it successfully downloaded all 161 requisite packages; then, it aborted upon trying to unpack and install the first package. That's when I gave up, and that's when my time with Pardus ended. It looks like the developers have designed the package manager to be nearly unusable during the live session.

So what's the deal? Pardus did great in recognizing my laptop webcam, graphics card capabilities in terms of desktop effects, and wireless card, but for some strange reason packages cannot be installed or managed otherwise during the live session, unless I'm missing something big here. That's really a shame, because I don't want to have to install Pardus on my computer just to figure out whether or not I can install and successfully use Skype. And why am I emphasizing Skype so much? It's really the only application I need to install (aside from maybe a couple games if I feel like it) that's not included by default in Pardus. So this is my request to the Pardus developers: please make the package manager usable in the live session! It helps to know what works and what doesn't before installation.

8 comments:

  1. tried it skype does work.. but i reverted back to linux mint..not much packages ti play around with in pardus 2011

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  2. @tharanitharan: Well, it's one thing that the Pardus developers are working hard to improve. Frankly, it does have all the packages I need, but I can understand if it doesn't have some specific specialized packages. Also, it's good to know that Skype works. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Skype and Wine are installable and work well in the 32-bit version, but not in the 64-bit due to some compatibility issues. The developers are aware of it and promise an update soon. I would guess that you're using the 64-bit release, so hopefully that explains your difficulty.

    Also, they just expanded their main repository so the number of software packages listed as stable has increased quite a lot (I don't know the exact numbers).

    I believe that the development team just increased by 25% and while most of that increased productivity is intended to maintain the support and stability of Pardus as the most utilized OS within the Turkish government, I am sure that the desktop end-user will see a benefit from this development as well. We can hope, at least.

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  4. @Anonymous: I didn't use the 64-bit version; even though my computer has a 64-bit processor, aside from my installed versions of Linux Mint 9 LTS "Isadora" and Microsoft Windows 7, I stick with 32-bit versions of distributions when I try them out because I have seen these tend to work better on the whole. Also, what do you mean by "just"? Did it happen a few days ago? I'd love to know because I want to make sure that I didn't prematurely revisit Pardus. Finally, it's great to see so much more development effort going into Pardus. Thanks for the comment!

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  5. I tried to install Pardus 2011 but in the partitions selection i selected the 2nd hard disk (sdb) in two partitions (root and home) i rechecked the partitions and pushed yes, then..i saw i a log (SDA formated) wwhhatt!!! what a hell..i lost 500gb's of data and Pardus is not installed grub deleted..

    This is a bullshit i knwe it's free and bla bla bla, but the partition installer sucks.

    Take care with this new distro looks the Ubuntu 4.01 (so..shitty)

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  6. @Anonymous: Huh. That's not good. From what I've read and experienced myself, though, the Pardus installer has been pretty good. Also, what do you mean by "looks the Ubuntu 4.01" (and what is "Ubuntu 4.01" anyway)? Anyway, thanks for the comment!

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  7. indeed, the live / install distros separation is just about to turn me away from Pardus. Mandriva 2008 rulled but got worse ever since. basically unusable these days. Unless 2011.0 will bring its glamour back, I shall be in terrible nneed of a usable linux DESKTOP. Do you perhaps know of any ? Thanks

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  8. @kellogs: This is going to be a fairly long reply, so I hope you don't mind too much. My highest recommendation goes to Linux Mint, as I have been using it essentially worry-free for almost 2 years now on different computers, it is based on Ubuntu meaning there is a plethora of software available for it, and I have been able to successfully get other people I know to use Linux Mint long-term. There are some other user-friendly distributions that I would also recommend. If you're looking for something Ubuntu based, I would also recommend Elementary OS, Pinguy OS, or AriOS, all of which I have tried and liked a lot. For things based on Fedora, I would recommend Fuduntu, as I have tried that before; I have not tried Kororaa, as that is still technically a late-stage beta, but I've heard that's pretty awesome too, and it comes in both KDE and GNOME flavors, which is a plus. I know that the live/install DVD separation on Pardus is annoying, but if you are willing to put up with that relatively minor inconvenience, Pardus is an excellent choice for KDE. openSUSE is another great choice, although it's more geared for professional/enterprise applications, but I've found it to be easy enough to work with. #! (CrunchBang Linux) is a great Debian-based choice, and although it uses Openbox or Xfce, it makes both quite user-friendly, though probably not as much as Xubuntu or Lubuntu. Speaking of which, Xubuntu and Lubuntu are great semi-official Ubuntu-derived choices if Ubuntu itself is starting to turn you off these days. MEPIS is another pretty good choice that's also based on Debian and uses KDE, though I would wait for version 11 which is supposed to be released quite soon. Finally, if you're willing to try something that isn't quite Linux, I would highly recommend PC-BSD; it has a darn-near-foolproof program installer, its KDE implementation is great, it's going to get other DEs as well with version 9, and it's rock-solid as it's based on FreeBSD. I hope that helps, and thanks for the comment!

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