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.