Pardus 2007.2 — new cat in town

[ Wednesday, 18 July 2007, riklaunim ]


I’ve already written two Pardus reviews — 2007 Beta 2 and 2007.1. So it’s time for a review of 2007.2 Caracal release. In this article I will focus on the key changes and my personal thoughts concerning this interesting distribution.

Author: Piotr ‘Riklaunim’ Maliński

Pardus, according to Wikipedia was started and is developed by the Turkish National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), which is part of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). This distribution contains several unique applications and components like PiSi the package manager. It’s not “yet another distro”, it’s something much more.

New cat arrives

Pardus is developed by releasing one “new” release every year (2007.0) which contains the newest software and a lot of new features. After this release there are few minor releases (2007.1, 2007.2 and 2007.3) which contain only fixes and upgrades of stable packages. In Pardus 2007.2 we will find KDE 3.5.7 but the kernel hasn’t been upgraded to the newest available, only patched with fixes. You may check the packages list at Distrowatch. Install version and LiveCD can be downloaded from Pardus server. Pardus uses a graphical instaler called YALI, which is easy to use and has all the commonly required features.

Pardus
Pic 1. Pardus after first boot

The Claws

Before I cover Pardus specific projects I’ll write a few lines about Pardus itself. This is a distro developed in Turkey, rather than in a country like USA (and USA isn’t it’s main target), so thanks to that (more or less) we will find some non-free software in Pardus (kernel modules, firmware, X.org drivers, multimedia codecs). It may not be the best way from an OpenSource point of view, but for a regular user it’s the best way to give a good impression of Linux.

As for Pardus projects many are very interesting. Mudur replaces the “old” Init system, and by using an efficient algorithm it starts services and loads needed libraries in parallel (which is very fast). When Pardus boots you will clearly hear your hard drive working very hard :) PiSi (“Packages Installed Successfully, as Intended”) is the Pardus package manager for the CLI, which also has an easy to use QT GUI (“Package Manager”).

Sieć w Pardusie
Pic 2. Network and firewall configuration

Usługi
Pic 3. Services can be easily configured in TASMa

Dyski
Pic 4. Pardus disk manager

Meow

I’ve installed Pardus 2007.2 without any problems. The install will take some time to finish. Note also that Pardus uses sudo so when you create “normal” user accounts at least one of them should have admin rights. After install, Pardus quickly booted to KDE, and when I logged in Kaptan allowed me to set KDE wallpaper and Kmenu (default or Kickoff from OpenSuSE) as well as network connections. After this PiSi GUI popped up checking for updates. You can check a list of all packages at Pardus server. Tested applications worked without any problems or slowdowns. I installed Polish locales and i18n packages and the operation was flawless. You may see Polish in action on screen shots.

Translations

From the 2007.2 release Pardus is available in 9 languages, and more will come, which may look unusual for a Turkish-oriented distro. I’m making Polish translations for the next release, and not counting translations for Pardus applications also packages descriptions can be translated – that’s nearly 3000 strings. Although only 9 languages are officially supported there are glibc locales and KDE i18n packages for other languages in the repository.

Comparisons

Pardus’ advantages are look&feel, TASMA configuration centre and non-free packages such as multimedia codecs. Disadvantages are smaller documentation base and smaller community compared to other distributions. Pardus is similar to PCLinuxOS – both use KDE with their own look&feel and use GUI configuration tools (DrakeConf in PCLinuxOS). TASMA isn’t as big as DrakConf, but for me Pardus looks better :) It’s hard to decide which is better, where and why. Just compare them yourself.

My wishlist

The only thing on my wish list is a TASMA application for setting and managing languages – to install all i18n packages for selected languages, remove unneeded etc. Other users will probably want other GUIs for TASMA.

Last word

Pardus is one of those distributions that has something unique and intriguing. Caracal is nice, easy, and it works :)

Proof-read by chaddy

About the Author

Piotr Maliński

Programmer, journalist. Creator of the CMS, Linux and PHP libraries. Arch Linux/Gentoo user. Creator of a GNU/Linux distribution based on Gentoo: Plusiaczek Live CD.

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