Browsers and Browser plugins Konqueror, the native KDE file and Web browser, and Firefox (version 3.5.7) are the two browsers installed. Firefox will do Flash, speak Java, and handle just about any other multimedia content you throw at it. As a Web browser, Konqueror is just about the slowest. However, if you ever need to go fish-ing, or need to spoof a browser’s identity, you’ll find Konqueror to be an invaluable application to have.
Security tools and Network Manager Aside from the firewall, which is not even enabled out of the box, there are no other network security tools that I can see installed on Pardus. Where a distro like Mandriva has MSEC regularly monitoring a Mandriva installation for security breaches, there is no equivalent application on Pardus. There are no VPN applications installed. However, kvpnc, openVPN, pptpclient, and vpnc are in the repository. OpenSSH server is installed but not enabled. Read how to enable OpenSSH server on Pardus 2009.1.
Network Manager, the graphical network manager tool, allows for setting up network profiles for Wired (Ethernet), wireless, and modems.
Media and Hardware Detection This is where KDE has taken a step backwards – in my opinion. When I insert an audio CD into my computer’s optical drive, most likely, I want to listen to music, and I expect my PC to launch the appropriate application. On Pardus 2009.1, you get this dialog window, after clicking on the device’s name in the Device Notifier. But all I want to do is listen to music. Ok, from the list of applications proffered, I can choose KsCD or Amarok. You’d think that Amarok would be the best application to listen to an audio CD, but you’d be wrong. Amarok has become too complicated to use. Trying to listen to an audio CD using Amarok involves many more steps than is necessary.
If you just want to listen to an audio CD, try KsCD. It does one thing and does it very well, and it has a simple and uncluttered interface. It looks more like an application that a Pardus developer would create.
KsCD’s simple and intuitive interface.
How does Pardus respond when you insert a video DVD? Before you get the dialog window below, you have to click on the name of the DVD in the Device Notifier. Why doesn’t this dialog window pop up without an action from the user? One of the options available is “Download Photos with digiKam.” Seriously, is it really possible to download photos from a video DVD with digiKam?
Ok, so some people would want to do something other than listen to an audio CD or watch a video DVD. Agreed. In that case the dialog window, with all the available options, is essential, but not “Download Photos with digiKam” when the media is a video DVD. I expect the system to be smarter than this. Even though this is a KDE issue, some of these default configuration ought to be modified by the distro developers. There is more to be written about this subject, but let’s save the rest for a different post.
If you must know, libdvdcss is installed by default, so Pardus will play your encrypted (commercial) DVDs.
What needs to improve?
- Every distro’s installer should have an option to encrypt the disk, and I’ll recommend that every distro developer should take a look at Fedora’s implementation of disk encryption. From the end user perspective, it is the simplest and easiest.
- The firewall should be enabled straight out of the box. There is no downside to this.
- By default, Pardus does not auto-configure your computer’s network interface card. For the benefit of newbies, I think it’d be better to have the NIC configured automatically. Every other distro I’ve reviewed does that.
- The default KDE menu in Classic mode, is painful to look at. It needs to be better organized. Take a look at the screenshot below. See all the entires in the Utilities category. It’s quite a mess. Some of those items do not belong there. They could have been placed in an Accessories category. But that’s not the main issue. The descriptions of the applications in parentheses makes it difficult to read. To clean it up a bit, you’ll have to edit the menu and delete the text in the “Description” fields.
This next screenshot is of the same menu, but with the descriptions deleted. It does not tell you what each entry does, but it’s easier on the eyes.
Now, take a look at the menu of Mandriva using the GNOME desktop. See the difference? Is it possible to have tool tips on the KDE menu in any mode?
Hopefully I will not be writing about these issue when I review Pardus 2009.2. Or should that be 2010?
Resources Home page. Download 32-bit iso images. Pardus 2009.1 iso image “is a Hybrid Image that can be burned on CD’s or DVD’s or that can be transferred to a media such as a USB memory device or an SD memory card.” Note that Pardus does not currently have support for 64-bit systems. According to Onur Küçük, the lead Pardus developer, “Work is ongoing on the 64-bit version and a developer preview ISO will be made public soon. Probably the end user version will be made public towards middle of 2010.”