2013-03-29

Review: Pardus 2013 KDE

My spring break is coming to an end (I only have 1.5 more days), so I figured it might be nice to do another review while I still can. Today I'm reviewing Pardus 2013.

Main Screen + KDE Kickoff Menu
Pardus is a distribution developed at least in part by the Turkish military. It used to not be based on any other distribution and used its unique PISI package management system, which featured delta upgrades (meaning that only the differences between package versions would be applied for upgrades, greatly reducing their size). Since then, though, the organization largely responsible for the development of Pardus went through some troubles. One result was the forking of Pardus into PISI Linux to further develop the original alpha release of Pardus 2013. The other result was the rebasing of Pardus on Debian, abandoning PISI in that regard. Now Pardus 2013 is a distribution based on Debian 7 "Wheezy" that uses either KDE 4.8 or GNOME 3 (whatever version is packaged in the latest version of Debian, though I'm not sure what that is).

I reviewed Pardus on a live USB made with MultiSystem. Follow the jump to see what it's like.

After getting past the boot menu, I was greeted by a pleasant boot splash featuring the Pardus name above a spinning progress meter on a dark gray background. After that came the desktop. The desktop isn't too different from past releases, except for the facts that the rounded Pardus-style folder icons are now blue and the window control buttons are unusually large, so I won't dwell on that.

Mozilla Firefox + LibreOffice Writer
Pardus 2013 only comes in Turkish at the moment, and I do not know Turkish, so I had to try to set everything to English at first. The first thing I did was find the keyboard switching applet in the panel, click on a button that looked like a configuration dialog link, and switch the layout to US English. After that, I clicked on something in the KDE Kickoff menu that looked like the KDE System Settings dialog, and clicked around in items there until I found something that looked like the language and locale. Unfortunately, even the names of the languages are in Turkish, so I had to fish until I found something that look like "Ingle...". I changed it to that, applied settings, logged out, and logged back in to find that the desktop was in American English at that point, which was great!

Mozilla Firefox is the default browser. Proprietary multimedia codecs seem to be included, as YouTube and Hulu worked fine; also, my laptop's volume keyboard shortcuts worked fine too. Speaking of which, when I was doing this testing, I noticed that my wireless connection was particularly flaky, as sometimes, sites would take a little longer to load, and at other times, sites would refuse to load at all.
LibreOffice is the default productivity suite. It also comes with KDE integration, which is good. The other applications seem to be fairly standard for a KDE distribution.
Pardus used about 400 MB of RAM at idle, which seems fairly typical of a KDE distribution. Also, desktop effects worked well, which is good.

Dolphin + GwenView + Desktop Cube
There are two package managers available. The first is the Software Center, which is a de-branded version of the Ubuntu Software Center. The second is the Debian-standard Synaptic Package Manager; I used the latter almost exclusively. The only issues with these were that they were not themed properly and they were still in Turkish; both of these issues are probably because both applications are run as root rather than the normal user, where the language and theme customizations may be present. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to install any packages, because it could never connect to the repositories properly. This was probably at least in part because of my flaky wireless connection, but even when websites were loading OK, the repositories didn't work, so there may have been issues on that end as well. The only one of the usual packages I was able to try was Google Talk, because I had to download that from the website, and that worked fine.

That is where my time with Pardus 2013 ended. Given that I wasn't able to install my usual suite of programs, I can't be too conclusive about what I think about Pardus. However, given that my wireless connection was generally problematic, given that Google Talk worked fine, given that my time with Pardus was generally positive, and given that Pardus is based on Debian which generally works well, I'm willing to somewhat give Pardus the benefit of the doubt and say that if the connections had worked well, I would have probably had a good enough experience to be able to recommend this to newbies.
You can get it here (but remember, although the web page may be in English, the distribution is not).

24 comments:

  1. I tested Pardus 2013 as well. In my case, I could test the repositories using Synaptic and could download the localization file for my language. I did notice that even so, some programs were still in Turkish (VLC, Synaptic).

    I have the Release Candidate installed on my laptop and it is greatly stable.

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  2. @Prashanth,
    Thank you for your time with Pardus and your review. Good luck going back to school!
    @Mega,
    I just came from your blog and recommended you to read this review. I guess you are too fast :-)

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  3. @Megatotoro: For your information, I was hoping to make this a comparison test with PISI Linux, but that doesn't have an officially stable release candidate out yet, so I'll wait on that. Thanks for the comment!

    @Mechatotoro: Thanks for the support!

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  4. What a joke. They've rebranded the work of others. To add insult to injury, they use the name of a once world class distro built by better people.

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    Replies
    1. @Anonymous: I'm not sure if you're referring to Pardus or PISI Linux, but in either case, how is that considering "rebranding", and how is not "built by better people" now?

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    2. I think "Anonymous" is trying to say that the original Pardus was a world class distro. I completely agree.

      The current "Pardus" is Debian with some customisations, *nothing* close to the original Pardus.

      Personal View:
      * The original pardus was really top class. The full packaging sytem, the look and feel, the init system, all nothing short of excellent. The only issue was the reduced number of packages available(compared to other popular distros)
      * Debian is very different, a traditional system. Why would I used Pardus based on Debian, Use Debian itself!

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    3. @Dee: I guess that is true; Pardus certainly had way more custom tools and stuff like that than I would ever need, so I guess it was easier for me to overlook that. Thanks for the clarification!

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  5. Well, re-branding Debian, I should think.

    And the name of a once world-class distro would of course be the original (now extinct) Pardus.

    Current 'Pardus' got rid of/lost all of the original development team a long time ago. It also does not use the original custom components which made Pardus unique.

    The Pardus icon/logo is now used completely out of context. Due to the specific and recognisable 'message' associated with the Pardus logo, I feel that the continued use of the logo is inappropriate and confusing.

    Regarding the comment about 'better' people: I reckon Anonymous meant the talent that was responsible for the original Pardus (independent distro with unique and innovative features), versus what was actually required to produce this rebranded version of Debian.

    Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. @Antony: To be fair, SolusOS and PISI Linux use the PISI package management system, and PISI Linux will probably continue development of the formerly unique Pardus tools, so Pardus wouldn't be unique anymore in that regard. I can see a little more why this is a little bit of a letdown for longtime Pardus users, but all in all, it is a pretty good Debian-based distribution now. Thanks for the clarification!

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  6. Prashanth,

    I don't see that Pisi Linux or SolusOS are relevant to the specific frustration raised (if I assume correctly), by Anonymous. The frustration (I reckon), is focused on the out-of-context association of the Pardus name/icon.

    If a decision was made to shift to Debian, then that is one thing but what if the review here was looking at say, Slackware or Gentoo, and what if they had decided that it would mean less work if they were to switch and become a Debian-based distro - but continue to use their original name/logo? Wouldn't that be a bit weird?

    What if tomorrow, Guiness decided to fill cans/glasses with lemonade but keep the same advertising, name/logo?

    Maybe not perfect examples, but the point is that the Pardus name and Logo had an established and recognisable meaning which simply is not transferable: The context is all wrong.

    Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. @Antony: I guess that is true, although in fairness, it wouldn't be the first time that happened (e.g. Mandriva versus Mageia). Thanks for the comment!

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  7. I will support the opinion of others. Pardus-in-the-past was a distribution on its own, with all the benefits and fallbacks of separate packaging system. But it had very special outlook, very special approach etc.
    Moving to Debian moves Pardus from the "unique" status to "one-of-a-million" range.

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    Replies
    1. That is not exactly true. Sure, there are a lot of Debian-based distros. But most aren't based on good ol' Debian but on Ubuntu. Only very few of the remaining are rolling. Even fewer have ATI/Nvidia support OOTB. "But there is LMDE" you might say. Yes, but it uses Cinnamon and Mate, not Gnome and KDE like Pardus. So, yes, the new Pardus might not be as exciting as the old one. But it has it's niche and ist well made.

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    2. @Anonymous: The flip side of that is that if you look on DistroWatch for KDE and GNOME distributions based on Debian, you will actually find a good handful (though not as many as are based on Ubuntu). Thanks for the comment!

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  8. Kde 4.8 its too old pardus , kde 4.10 is at least required which has performance boost.

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  9. @DarkDuck: It is true that Pardus has lost its uniqueness, but that doesn't mean that it is a bad distribution now.

    @Indian Open source: I agree that KDE 4.10 is by far the best version yet and blows KDE 4.8 out of the water, but KDE 4.8 as packaged by Pardus is actually still pretty good.

    Thanks for the comments!

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  10. The other applications seem to be fairly standard for a KDE distribution.But I wasn't able to install any packages, because it could never connect to the repositories properly.

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  11. Pardus 2013 beats PiSi Linux in every way with stability at least exactly, behind Pardus; there're all of Turkey, behind PiSi, there're a few people unfortunately because it's not needed system, is it good to explore again something that already explored by Debian? PiSi is so poor beside huge Debian, that's why Pardus chose it :) And I didn't die yet without PiSi aww~

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  12. @LionelWise: Well, that sounds like my experience too.

    @Anonymous: You're right that right now, PISI can't beat the huge repositories of Debian, but PISI Linux does have the unique tools from the previous incarnation of Pardus that the current incarnation lacks. Plus, don't underestimate the power of the community; look at what happened with Mandriva and Mageia.

    Thanks for the comments!

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  13. In Turkey, real linux fans support Pisi Linux.

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    Replies
    1. @Anonymous: If it helps you, I intend to review PISI Linux when it achieves an officially stable release. Thanks for the comment!

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    2. PİSİ LİNUX RC1 is announced by the community!

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    3. @Anonymous: That's exciting to hear! I certainly look forward to reviewing it once it is officially released. Thanks for the comment!

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