PCLinuxOS Phoenix Test Run

Still looking for a more complete workstation for my laptop (although if I get openoffice working on puppy I may just stick with it). I think GNOME and KDE might still be a little sluggish with only 512MB RAM (though I've ordered another 512MBs so then it should be fine). Fluxbuntu and Crunchbang were very fast desktops featuring the Fluxbox and Openbox window managers, but I could not get either to work out-of-the-box with my wireless card (BroadcomBCM94306MP).

I have tried PCLinuxOS in the past and found it quite user-friendly so I thought I would give it a go with one of it's derivatives: Phoenix (PCLOS Xfce).

Pros: Live CD works well and allowed me to test critical aspects such as wireless detection, available packages, etc. Wireless card was easily configured with a BCM ndiswrapper.

Cons: Still a bit too slow, a little faster after the installation. Very barebones on applications. Grub graphical menu only highlights the top entry by default, so on reboot I thought I would need to reinstall Grub to access my Puppy and Windows partitions...they were just hidden.

How is it PCLOS2009.1 can fit on a single CD and include many more office productivity packages, KDE, more multimedia packages, etc. Why can't this be more full-featured and use a faster window manager? I spent some time trying to get openoffice 3 to work and almost got there. I get the startup window when calling soffice from the command line, but none of the individual applications are launching, maybe they need to be installed individually.


  1. Hi there, Just found this blog entry through google. It seems that this is a new era with pclinuxos where there's only a minimal set of applications as this was the case with the main edition and the lxde edition. I didnt try open office yet so I cant say anything about that. Grub usually doesnt detect other liinux installations by default so you have to add them manually.

  2. Grub found all other OS installs okay, however the default configuration was white text on a white background so you couldn't see the options...it didn't end up being a deal-breaker for me. In the end I just had a different expectation than what was delivered. I thought I would get PCLOS2009 sans a few extra packages but with a fast WM that would cruise on my low-power laptop....but compared to Puppy4.21 running JWM and Crunchbang running openbox (I think..) it crawled.

  3. Thats because xfce is a little more bloated than it used to be, at least on my laptop running at 1ghz with 256mb ram.... Fluxbox, icewm, and openbox are wonderful on my laptop (with the exception for some cpu and ram intensive applications).