This was originally supposed to be a response to comments to the posts below (thanks guys!), but I needed to make it a post of its own.
I will say one thing: It’s a good thing this distro “just works” because trouble shooting on the PCLinuxOS site can be a bit iffy. It’s a relatively small community, and if it were assailed by too many problems, finding answers might be difficult. I was trying to install the printer and was getting a bit frustrated until I “discovered” the PCLOS command center right there on the tool bar. Much of my ignorance comes from having so much Windows experience that my mind couldn’t so easily get around the idea that it could be just that easy to set it up and configure! But it was just that easy to find and install my Epson CX7800 al-in-one. I haven’t tried the scanner yet.
However, the online help forums and documentation are not nearly as smooth, easy or fleshed out as the OS itself. In fact, the support documentation can be descfribed as sparse, at best. For instance, I’ve been hunting around trying to find what PCLOS’s minimum system requirements are because I have an old PIII 550 MHz with 128 Mb RAM that needs a new look and a new home. How old and how small can I go with this?
It truly is the closest thing I’ve seen to being a Windows Killer as far as Linux distros go. Would I wipe Vista out for it? Considering the Vista retails at over $200, it would be tough to do just from a monetary standpoint. I’d sooner buy a second hard drive and devote that to PCLinux and let Vista sit around, just in case I wanted to sell the machine. However, if I was buying a machine without an OS (at a discount) then it would be a no-brainer that this would be the operating system me and my family could live with.
Would I wipe out XP? Considering MS has said they are no longer going to be selling XP in the near future it’s a tough call. I’d be more tempted to get a smaller extra hard drive for PCLinuxOS. If I had a copy of XP or vista just sitting around that was new and authentic, I would be more keen to wipe the OS off.
If I were going to give a Win98 machine away (which is what the PIII was) to someone who needed one this is what I would prefer to have on it at the present time. However, I have not tested the modem support of this OS. For people in the market for these older machines, that could be a critical component just as it was for me last year. The second issue involves finding an affordable ISP that can easily work with this distro.
I expect the PCLOS community to grow along with its popularity, at least until the next best distro comes along. I did get Minime 2008 to work on my USB drive, and that is fine if you have broadband and all you need is a connection to the internet. However, for a family desktop machine, the full-featured PCLinux 2007 version works very nicely.