Sunday, July 19, 2009

Distro Hoppin`: Pardus Linux 2009

Conclusions should end an article, not begin one, but I have to say this from the start: Pardus 2009 is one of the most impressively well-done Linux distributions that I've put my hands on for a loooong time. Coming from Turkey, Pardus Linux 2009 was released on the 18th of July and to be honest, my knowledge about this particular operating system was limited to recognizing its logo and knowing the fact that it has Turkish origins. That's pretty much it.



I absolutely love loading unexplored, lesser-known distros, but, most of the times I am quite disappointed and return to the big names, mostly because they come with all the features and functionality I need straight out of the box (or just very easy to add). Needless to say, I wasn't quite so optimistic about Pardus, especially given the fact that it came with the K desktop environment (KDE). Certainly, it is at its latest 4.2.4 version but my previous experiences left a bitter taste.

Obviously, I can't ditch an operating system without first trying it. Reboot time! Pardus doesn't benefit from a Live environment, so be prepared to modify your partitions before getting a glimpse of it. The main color that will accompany you during the installation process and many parts of the OS is a beautiful, smooth dark red, surely inspired from Turkey's flag.

The first thing you will want to do is change the language to English when the CD bootloader appears, as the default Turkish one will automatically be activated in 10 seconds. (I've just been informed by a reader that there is also an international ISO available which defaults to the English language) If you're from Turkey, disregard that. :) The next steps are super easy to go through: keyboard layout, timezone selection, user creation and administrator password input. Partitioning can be done either manually or you can let Pardus handle all the work, either by using the whole HDD or resizing existing partitions to make some room. Ext4 is used as the default filesystem and Ext3, Reiserfs and Xfs are also available. The last step is a quick overview of all your preferences, and, if everything looks OK, click Begin Install and make yourself a quick espresso while Pardus does its job.



With the system installed permanently on the HDD, I was congratulated for a process that a six-year old could easily do. :) Anyway, I thanked the developers for their kind words and procedeed to the mandatory reboot.

KDE is a bit slow to load the first time, but it's not that bad. Even before I could start snooping around, Kaptan Desktop popped up. What's that, you ask? It's a really awesome tool that allows you to configure a lot of aspects of the system in a single run: themes, menu style, wallpaper, desktop search and more.


No matter where you are in the system, you will know that you run Pardus and not some generic distro. The folder and file icons are customized, the menu button is customized, even the ethernet connection icon is different, displaying two blinking lights, green and red, whenever there's network activity.

Let's move on and check out Pardus' software selection. I was delighted by the fact that the default web browser is Mozilla Firefox... 3.5.1!! YAY! Up to date software for the win! And not only that, but it also comes with the latest Flash plugin from Adobe and a really nice, minimalistic theme.


OpenOffice 3.1.0.6 and GIMP 2.6.6 have personalized splash screens that add to the consistent feel of Pardus. Google Gadgets, though already present in the Internet category, couldn't start because of the js-script-runtime module that failed to load. As Pidgin is the only IM client that I can live with in the Linux world, I was pretty disappointed to see only Kopete present. But it was a great time to see how I can install extra programs from the repositories. Pardus handles PiSi (meow!) packages which can be found through the "Package Manager" graphical frontend. There aren't a truckload of programs, quite a small number actually, but, for 99% of the tasks you will need to do, they are more than enough.


By now, I was able to assess the performance of my machine, and honestly, Pardus has to be the fastest KDE 4 distro. Granted, it's still kind of slow with a lot of applications active (I have a pretty old computer...) but I can wholeheartedly say that I'm actually enjoying KDE.



Upon entering the Display control panel, I was recommended to install the 173 series Nvidia drivers for my GeForce FX5500. A trip to the package manager and a logout later and I was ready for some eye-candy. Yep, the desktop effects were automatically enabled; I especially like the beautiful transparency applied to the bottom panel and the blueish drop-shadow of windows. And happily, it desn't even grind my computer to a halt, as it performs reasonably well.


Pardus picked up my USB-connected digital camera immediately after plugging it in and the HP printer was automatically configured so I was ready to view and print my images in no time. Another big plus for Pardus.


Multimedia files, including MP3s, WMVs or MOVs can be accessed from the moment you install the OS, so you won't have to worry about searching and installing suitable codecs. You also have many players to choose from, such as: SMPlayer, GNOME MPlayer, Dragon Player, Amarok or JuK.


Final thoughts

The fact that Pardus made me actually enjoy using KDE 4 is by itself an indication of the overall quality of this operating system. It's easy to install, easy to configure, 100% up-to-date and more importantly, very stable. I've used many distributions that shipped with ages-old software "for improved stability" that performed much worse than Pardus. Hopefully, the future will bring a bigger software repository and maybe support for other desktop environments.

Turkey, you've got yourself one of the finest OSes out there!

Oh, for more information and downloads, visit the Pardus Linux official website.

38 comments:

  1. I agree that pardus is (for me anyway) the only kde4 distro yet, that really cuts it. I'm a hardcore gnome user, and i test kde4 distros every now and again, but pardus is the first to make me feel kde4 is fun to work with.

    For me, the only cons with pardus is;
    *icon theme: it's so 1999. Customize a "tango" iconset instead.
    *pisi doesn't remove dependencies upon package removal. Again, so 1999 ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, and thanks for your comment!

    I really find the icons pleasing... If not for their beauty, at least for the fact that you can't find them in every other distro on the market. :) Anyway, that's purely a matter of personal preference. :)

    As for the PiSi problem, thanks for pointing that out!

    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,
    You can add google gagdets as plasmoids, by right clicking desktop and "add plasmoids" then click to Install Plasmoids, Download new Google Tools, then download which widget you want.
    Then you may select and add google widgets as plasmoids,from your plasdmoid list ;)

    And also you can select the oxygen icon theme from system settings Appreance-> Icons, it is already installed ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. As a KDE fan, its always nice to see when a distro gets KDE right -- Kubuntu never does, but Debian is pretty good with KDE. Is Pardus a .deb or .rpm based distro, or something else?

    what's with this site reloading itself every 2 seconds?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi kobzeci, thanks for the advice!

    lefty.crupps, Pardus uses its own package format: PiSi. Go here for more info on it: http://en.pardus-wiki.org/Pisi_Package

    Oh, and I haven't noticed the reloading... Weird indeed. Thanks for the heads-up. I will look into it and hopefully fix it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good review, the 2009 version looks stunning. I had one problem with the version before this one...the network icon wouldn't instantaneously reflect the status of the internet connection. Sometimes it took ages, sometimes you had to manually select reconnet to get online. Has that been fixed?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you, Saad Javed!

    Well, now that you've told me, I have tried removing the Ethernet cable and see what happens. Indeed, it took around 10 seconds for the icon to change, but when I plugged the cable back in, it almost instantaneously displayed the green checkmark and I was back online. So it appears to be working just fine. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. The following is a post from a reader who couldn't get past the Captcha verification:

    Dear friend,

    I had problems posting a comment as anonymous with Captcha (in Firefox). Thank you very much for your review. The old repos were very large:

    http://paketler.pardus.org.tr/pardus-2008.2/

    http://paketler.pardus.org.tr/contrib-2008/

    http://paketler.pardus-linux.org/users-2008/

    http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/index.php?topic=2288.0

    There is a lot of things that must be rewritten. Maybe in a few weeks...
    _________________________________________
    @lefty.crupps

    See here:

    http://maketecheasier.com/getting-started-with-pardus-linux/2009/07/19

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can only get the captcha by pressing tab button in firefox(after preview).The area between this box and google ads is fixed i think that causes the problem for ff.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Package repositories of Pardus 2009 has not been completed yet, but we are working hard to shape up the packages ready for 2009 toolchain. Stay tuned for the updates :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for letting us know, Onur! I will certainly stay tuned. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. thanks for your review, pardus is great!

    ReplyDelete
  13. And thank you for your comment. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. bye the way, there is a project named pardus-gnome-project (http://code.google.com/p/pardus-gnome-project/) to use gnome instead of kde. i'm using gnome on pardus 2009, and i like the performance and stability of it. actually i'm a gnome fan. it's easy to use and easy to install too. you can find tutorials on project site about how to install gnome on pardus but tutorials are Turkish only.


    installation of gnome on pardus 2009:
    first wee should add two repos with these commands:
    sudo pisi ar contrib-2009 http://packages.pardus.org.tr/contrib-2009/pisi-index.xml.bz2 -y
    sudo pisi ar gnome http://pardus-gnome.prj.be/pisi-index.xml.bz2 -y
    and then you need to update with:
    sudo pisi up -y
    to install gnome packages you should use:
    sudo pisi it -c gnomeproject -y
    installation completed. to be able to use it, you need to do some configuration:
    first, open '/etc/conf.d/xdm' in an text editor with admin privilages (i prefer to use mc as admin). you should change '#DISPLAY_MANAGER="xdm"' to 'DISPLAY_MANAGER="gdm"', and save of course :)
    and then, open '/etc/env.d/45kde4paths' file like we did before(as admin) and change 'XDG_DATA_DIRS=/usr/kde/4/share:/usr/share' line to '#XDG_DATA_DIRS=/usr/kde/4/share:/usr/share'.
    finally you are ready to go, just restart you system and gdm will start. with this, you can select which graphical environment to use.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow. Thanks a lot for this. :) Very useful! I will certainly try it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Pardus 2008.2 was also good ;)

    ReplyDelete
  17. If you download the international iso, then English is the default language.

    I did find the downloads rather slow, but I guess that's to be expected from Turkey to the top of a mountain in N.M.

    The selection of packages looks pretty good to me (full Texlive, recent emacs ..., and xfce [my #2 choice of desktop after KDE which I've been using since version 0.12]).

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good article. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Pardus 2008.2 was also good ;)"
    Good to know. This is the first Pardus version I use; certainly not the last. :)

    "If you download the international iso, then English is the default language."
    Oh, ok. Thanks! I've updated the article. :)

    "Good article. Thanks :)"
    It was my pleasure. :) Thank you for the feedback.

    Blogger badly needs a reply button for comments... :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Can one install rpm or deb packages in Pardus? I have a Brother MFC490CW printer which isn't supported out of the box by Linux distros so I need to install after market drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  22. gman,

    Visit the forum, sign in and enjoy our great community. Post your question in the section 'Configuring Pardus'. Regards!

    http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/index.php

    ReplyDelete
  23. Did anyone has plasma color issues with Pardus 200?

    On my system Plasma keep changing colors sometimes. I dont have the problem in Arch.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Not at all. Visit the forum and, please, be more specific
    ;)

    http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/index.php

    Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  25. The "dark red" color theme in Pardus 2009 has nothing to do with the Turkish flag. This color is actually called "lal" in Turkish, the color of (red) wine. Thanks for the good review.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh, ok. Thanks for pointing that out.

    ReplyDelete
  27. that is an awesome review. i will use it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm an Iranian Azeri and I didn't know there is such distro until today. I googled a Turkish distro and found this and after reading reviews I decided to use it. I have used many other more distros and I think Pardus will be my OS after so many Linux distros trying.
    I am proud of my Brothers in Turkey to make such a great job. thanks for your effort.

    ReplyDelete
  29. great distro,
    using it now after ditching the latest Slackware 13,
    Fedora,..even Texstar with PC/OS is useless, overload, ugly

    ReplyDelete
  30. ah kardeşim ah türkiyede vae ama kimse kıymetini bilmiyor

    ReplyDelete
  31. Pardus 2009.1 coming soon. In about two weeks. I looking forward to test it.
    Some of the bugs and problem will be solved then.

    ReplyDelete
  32. pardus is number one distro!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Pardus 2009 is the best distro out there... It's so underrated. People should realize that ubuntu isn't the best distro and should give Pardus a try. :D

    ReplyDelete
  34. Pardus really does the job! has so many games in the repos, and actually was an amazing kde enviroment in an old pc... not like mint kde which almost kills my other (much more powerful) pc.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I installed Pardus in English! It rocks!Listened my music! Watched my DVDs just after install!No codecs problems. OpenOffice OK! Everything looks fine! I thing you should give it a try and see!

    ReplyDelete
  36. The new version is ready:

    Pardus 2009.1

    http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/index.php?topic=3109.msg15671#msg15671

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Danny,
    I have been thinking about writing an article about Pardus and now i just have read yours. Thanks for that.

    Since 1998 i always make Linux as a second OS on my computer, started with slackware and so on. Now, with Pardus i do not have the other operating system on my computer. Recently i have tested almost every single big and medium linux Distros. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Gentoo, Mandriva, Opensuse and the list goes on and on. As a Turk i thought about giving Pardus a try and you are right, in my opinion if you are a desktop user it's the best distro ever. and with 2009.1 there is LIVECD option.

    Thanks again for the article.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I can not log in to internet using firefox nor using konquer, although I am able to ping to various sites without packet loss. Can some one help me ?

    ReplyDelete