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).