[ Saturday, 2 December 2006, riklaunim ]
Pardus is a Turkish distribution that comes with KDE as the default desktop. It is however not just another pack of known open source apps. Pardus comes with its own, original GUI system installer, a package management system — PISI and system settings applet — TASMA, as well as a few additional goodies. This review is based on my experience with Pardus Linux 2007 Beta 2, which can be downloaded from the official project’s FTP.
The graphical installer speaks English, Turkish, Spanish, German or Dutch. It asks us about the keyboard layout, programs we would like to install and allows us to create custom partitions. At least 3.5GB of free disk space is required for the system files and the SWAP partition. Overall, the Pardus installation is pretty standard and should not be a surprise to those who have installed a few operating systems. After copying the package file to the hard drive, we are invited to create system users and install the GRUB boot manager.
A few words about the desktop
The design of Pardus is very pilished. Starting with the GRUB manager, through the boot process to the KDM session manager and to the KDE desktop the system has a very consistent look and feel. The Pardus artwork team paid attention to such details as their own icon set, skins for fbsplash and KDM.
By default, Pardus comes with a full-featured KDE desktop with a few non-KDE apps like the GIMP or Firefox browser. The browser is equipped with all the common (and sometimes non-free) plugins like Java, Flash beta 9.0, MPlayer (for multimedia content) and others. The distribution installs all the common codecs by default as well (including proprietary and patented ones like
WMV), so playing any kind of multimedia is not a problem with this distribution, out-of-the-box.
And what makes Pardus special?
Pardus has its own set of tools for system management. PISI is a graphical package management utility which allows for package installation and upgrade. The repositories contain very current versions of all popular open-source applications, KDE translations and localized GLIBC. There is no GNOME in the repos, except for just few selected GTK+ apps (like the GIMP). TASMA is basically a modified KDE Control Center (kcontrol). It has special tabs for each of the system configuration modules like networking, firewall, etc. It is simpler than the default KDE tool, making it more suitable for the newcomers. Kubuntu creators could learn a few things from the way TASMA is designed.
Compared with the previous stable version, Pardus 2007, the tools are much more polished and mature. Package building has been enhanced as well. It is now supported by by two powerful servers. The boot-up process has been modified with a few python-powered scripts built-in.
Pardus can’t be fully localized. There is local language support for the KDE localization and GLIBC locales only. The system tools like PISI and TASMA are available in two languages only (English and Turkish).
Stability, security and performance
It is hard to say much about the security of Pardus 2007 since it has not been officially released, yet. During the three days since the beta was released, there haven’t been any security patches. I haven’t observed any problems with the functioning of the system either. I could not find any info about the planned update scheme for Pardus 2007, whether the updates are going to be continuous like in Arch or Gentoo, or the waterfall mode with new releases each year or half year like Ubuntu or Fedora Core.
The performance of Pardus seems very good. The applications were launched without much latency and the OS seems to respect the computer’s resources, not eating them up too fast. The booting time (from GRUB to KDM) took me 36 seconds in the default installation, compared to 43 in Gentoo.
Pardus is an interesting distribution. It is well designed, consistent and comes with bleeding-edge applications, which makes it a good desktop distribution. It’s probably not a great choice for the free-software radicals (since it comes with non-free apps by default) nor for the US residents (inclusion of patented stuff like the MP3 codecs). One major problem is the lack of good documentation (even in English) and lousy localization (seems to be Turkish/English-centric with other languages support as an add-on).
More about Pardus
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