Pardus 2011 review

PardusPardus is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution with roots in the National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), Turkey. This article is a review of Pardus 2011, the latest stable release, which was made available for download on January 20, 2011.

Installation: Pardus 2011 is the first stable release (of Pardus) to feature the newly redesigned YALI, the Pardus installation program. The new YALI brings LVM and RAID support to Pardus, and LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, is the default disk partitioning scheme. (More on LVM here. See also the benefits of LVM and how to configure LVM on Pardus 2011.) By default, the installer creates partitions and logical volumes similar to those on a default installation of Fedora – a /boot partition of 500 MB, and logical volumes for /, swap and /home. Ext3 and ext4 are the only journaling file systems supported, with ext4 as the default, even on the /boot partition. Disk encryption, full or per partition-level, is not supported.

Installation of Pardus is a 2-stage process. Disk partitioning and package installation takes place in the first stage, while specifying root’s password and creating a user account takes place in the second stage. For root and user account passwords, the installer enforces a minimum of four characters, and will not allow the use of usernames, including “root,” for passwords. In one installation I did in a virtual environment, I was able to get past the root password settings step by specifying only a 1-character password. However, that installation failed with an error message pointing to the root password as the cause. Normally, the installer will not allow you to proceed to the next step if you specify a password that is less than four characters, so that fact that I was able to set 1-character password for root points to a bug at this step. I must point out that I have not been able to reproduce this bug.

One of the best features of YALI is the restart feature, which makes it possible to restart YALI without restarting the computer. For those times when the installer crashes, you will find this to be a very useful feature. During the second stage of one installation I was attempting, YALI did crash. The Restart YALI feature made it possible to restart just the second stage, not even the whole installation, without rebooting the computer. Click on the image for a clearer view.

Talking about YALI and crashing, the version which shipped with the first beta release of Pardus 2011, where YALI made its debut, is more stable than the one that this review is based on. This “stable” version of YALI feels more like a beta version. Here’s a list issues I observed on YALI:

  • Installing in a virtual environment on one of my test machines, a computer with an NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE graphics, the installer will crash just after the installer’s splash screen appears.
  • On another computer, an older HP computer with an NVIDIA GeForce4 MX card, the right section of YALI was off the viewport. This, coupled with the fact that YALI is not fully keyboard accessible, made installation on this particular computer (real hardware, not in a virtual machine) impossible.
  • As noted above, YALI is not fully keyboard accessible. You can use the Tab key to enter an interactive element, and use the arrow keys to shift focus between the controls of interactive elements. However, those interactive elements do not respond to the Enter key.

Desktop: Pardus is a KDE-based distribution, and Pardus 2011 ships with KDE 4.5.5, using the Kick-off menu by default. The Lancelot and the Simple (Classic) Menu are the other menu-style options on Kaptan (more on Kaptan ahead). For those who are not familiar with it, Lancelot is a better menu style than the Kick-off menu (see a screenshot on the last page of this review). It is very similar to Linux Mint‘s mintMenu. On real hardware, Pardus 2011 works just fine, however, in a virtual environment (using Oracle VM VirtualBox), the desktop will go blank and become unresponsive after about five minutes of inactivity, requiring a reboot.

Default Pardus 2011 desktop with the kick-off menu

With KDE, you can switch to the Netbook workspace if you prefer working with an interface designed for use on small screens.

The first application launched on a new installation of Pardus is Kaptan, a simple application that you can use to customize the desktop. Conceptually, it is similar to mintWelcome on Linux Mint. If you run Kaptan (recommended), One setting you can modify is shown in the image below.

With the option in the previous image enabled, now you can select automatic updates checking. By default, I think this should have been enabled. The developers have to assume that most users will want the system to check for updates and be notified when updates are available for installation. But since it is not, it is recommended that you enable this option. Installing updates, especially security-related updates, is a key component of the security posture of an operating system.

At the last step of Kaptan, you can launch the Control Center, where all the graphical administrative tools are. The status of one of those graphical tools, the Firewall Manager, should have been included as an option in Kaptan. That is one application new users need to know that they can use to protect their computer.

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  1. I’ve used almost every Linux (KDE) Distro that’s out there, icluding the latest (and worst) Linux Mint 10 KDE. Never have I used a KDE distro that was so thoroughly put together. I’m telling you and it’s no exaggeration when I say Pardus 2011 is the best KDE distro available to the public to date. I challenge any Linux user to try Pardus and see if you don’t feel the same way after using it for a few days. But I’m willing to bet you’ll fall in love with it during the install process. I’ve tried Mint, OpenSuse, Fedora, Mandriva, Sabayon, Chakra, PCLinuxOS, Zorin, (Not KDE, but similar) Kubuntu and I must say, none of them has impressed me to the level that Pardus did. If you want to have a fully loaded OS that will let you have a full blown media center, with video and audio editing, I’d recommend this Pimp of an OS. If you are using Windows 7 or Vista and you want to try out a Linux Operating system that will work and do everything you can do on Windows right out of the box. (and much more) I suggest using Pardus 2011. This OS walks you through the instal process and there is no way you could screw it up unless you are a drooling vegetable. If you’ve been using Mint and you think Mint is the best Linux OS for new users, I have news for you guys…. Pardus does Wayyyy more out of the box than Mint will ever do. Why this OS is not well known to the rest of the Linux community is beyond me and frankly, it’s a damn shame. I can’t stress enough how great Pardus 2011 is, I will never use any other Distro and I think if some of you give it a try, you’ll agree…

  2. Tonight (23 february) they release the second larger package updates:

    So I suppose the issue with a small repo are solved.
    Now it got most of the software/programs as any other Linux distribution.

  3. Programs in the repo for 2011 are still not full, I can not find Licq (ICQ) who was avaible in Pardus 2009.2 when I tested it for example.Koffice missing to.And some other are mentioned here:

    Maybe some of them have coming with the latest update packages for some days ago.

    I have translated this with Google:

  4. Why use Pardus Corp, when you can use their Flagship OS “Pardus 2011” which has many more bells and whistles?

    I am very happy with Pardus 2011, they have taken a diehard Linux Mint fan and completely converted me. Pardus is by far the best KDE disto I have ever used and that’s no exaggeration, Pardus is really (That Good!)

    It’s amazing how good a Linux Distro can be when the parties creating it have the funds and the means to back up their work.

    The Turks really have something special here and I thank them for creating an almost perfect KDE distro….the only thing that makes Pardus fall short of “perfect” is the lack of software in their repositories… I would love to have Xvidcap to record parts of my desktop, I hope they add it soon.

    9.9 out of 10!

  5. Pardus 2011 have released (10 february) the first update packages. So now they will coming more regulary and the software repo will be bigger.
    And that the sign I need to moving over from Pardus 2009.2 to the new 2011.

    • It would make a lot more sense if they held back on a new release until the repo is fully updated.

      • I agree that it would have been much better if they would have hold it back some time. Repo for the coming 2011.1 and 2011.2 will be filled up from start.
        The problem will be with the new line Pardus 2012 again. So I hope Pardus will solve this issue then.

        • It's quite good

          It makes it tough when there are limited people doing this, especially when compiling everything from scratch again with new kernels. To hold back till a repo is fully updated (don’t forget about bugs) could make it obsolete when it’s released. To be honest I have found that the mirror repo of pardus and the small user repo are bigger then the last release’s repos.

          • Though I’ve not verified it, but a previous commenter said that the repo has been fully populated. That happened in about 1 month after the distro was released. You will have a hard time convincing anybody that a distro will be obsolete in about that time. Surely, they could have waited a month before releasing it.

  6. Pardus Corporate (business version) will be released at 16 february, so the developers are probably busy with that now.
    When they released Pardus 2009 the updates taking long time to. Around 2 months but then many updates and appplications came at one time. A sort of “servicepack 1″
    So maybe its same with this 2011 version to:

  7. Look, there are an awful lot of Distro’s out there that offer stability, so this is not a selling point. Stability should be at the very core of any Distro that is serious about attracting any type of user base. What sets Pardus apart is the custom apps, which are fairly good for a relatively new project. Its a good Distro as full fledged Distro’s go, but the fact that it is a Government sponsored Turkish enterprise brings some concerns to the forefront.

    1. What is the primary focus of Pardus, given its Government roots? What is the Government of Turkey paying the Pardus Developers to produce and for what purpose?
    2. Is there/will there be parts of Pardus that will be locked down or not available for public use?
    3. Is Pardus a fork of another project? What are its roots?

    As with Ubuntu/Canonical or Fedora/Red Hat, privately sponsored projects tend to hum to their own tune, which is to be expected. The difference here is that the above mentioned projects are very forthcoming about their aims and objectives and do describe just what they will or will not do on any given subject. Pardus is still a mystery for most people, and Linux Developers are a suspicious breed by nature.

  8. “Normally, the installer will not allow you to proceed to the next step if you specify a password that is less than four characters,…”(version 2011)
    This problem was in the version 2009 also.
    “Pardus 2011 just works”

    I wanted to test it but I think I would lose only time.

    • It's quite good

      I certainly doubt it would waste your time. This is a fantastic distro and certainly one of the easiest to use, right up there with Mint and a bit easier then Ubuntu because of the preinstalled codecs and some proprietary stuff. The only problem I found was when I originally tried the Live DVD, just because it doesn’t give a full experience of YALI and PISI, two exceptional pieces of software.

  9. Hi, Me using Pardus 2011. Everything so good just have a little problem.

    Memory leak. Dont know this is KDE 4.5.5 problem or Pardus problem. The apps already exit/closed but still available in system monitor.

    Installer fail to detect another Linux distro.

    • vic huebner

      Pardus 2009.2 was the only distro smart enough to detect other distros. Now no one does this. However, Pardus 2011 has an easy solution. First print out the grub.cfg from the /boot/grub/ directory of your other distro. Then go into system settings:hardware:boot manager and copy all the information from your printout. The disk should be similar to “/dev/sdb5”. The kernel should be “/boot/vmlinuz—generic”. Ramdisk should be “/boot/initrd.img–“. Boot options should be “root=UUID=a27–splash”

  10. Thanks for the informative, well written review. In the past, my experience has been the same as yours here… Pardus “just works”, but the repository and forum were less than some other “just works” distros. Hopefully, Pardus developers will find a way to enlarge their community.

  11. koray löker

    Hi, thanks for the review as well as comments… We really appreciate the input. That’s really not my place to talk about the issues on security, however I should mention that, the Pardus 2007 was the first linux distro offering AppArmor. So developers (especially security team) should and I believe will discuss these points…

    On the issue of repository, I agree to every commentator 🙂

    Pardus has two ongoing branches as 20** and Corporate (where 2 is the actual release).

    Pardus 2011 as its predecessors, aims to offer a stable OS for desktop users where any end user may find stable, usable, feature-rich solutions for their all kinds of daily needs.

    So, for instance if a media player has been decided to be integrated, the next goal is an education software not yet another media player, cause it’s better in some ways…

    There are alternative offerings though as every contributor is free to add a software as far as it qualifies the repo policy.

    And to sum with, 2011 repo will inherit the updated versions of most packages from 2009.2 coming days… The biggest problem is the contributor community of Pardus is quite small relatively to other projects. We’d be happy to have any input on that issue as well… We’re ready to try and solve any problems about “contributing to Pardus”

    • If the “2011 repo will inherit the updated versions of most packages from 2009.2 coming days,” which will make it just about a week since Pardus 2011 was released, then one suggestion would be to wait until the repo is updated before making it available for download.

      • koray löker

        I think this decision could be possible by a package triage… That can be a difference of opinions of course, but I believe the repo contains the essential packages at the moment. The rest and potential new packages are alternatives, niche packages etc.

        I mean, I’m not suggesting those are less important or not important at all, but not a release blocker I think. But again, it should be noted anyway… Thanks…

        • It's quite good

          Things take time. Anyone who has used BSD or Gentoo will know this, but thats just compiling (an upgrade can be a day or two alone, just installing Gentoo with a usable interface takes about a half a day, Gnome or Kde take the better part of a full day, then all the other applications you want. Generally takes about a week to get your system set up the way you like it, or more depending how picky you are). Now think about developing/building it from scratch, then testing and optimizing. It’s not a quick process. Thats why so many distros build off other distros like debian, arch, ubuntu(built off debian), and Gentoo. Then lots of the harder work is done for them. Pardus is created from the ground up.

      • It was same when they released version 2009. All applications from 2008.2 was not avaible from start.
        The rest came with the first update packages after some time.
        So I can agree that maybe it would be better to delayed the release a few weeks so all applications could be included from day one.
        But for a “normal” user most programs are included in 2011 alredy now. Even pre-installed games which they not had before.

  12. laissezfaire

    AFAIU, Pardus has a policy of offering the best or better programs among a group of alternatives. This probably helps stability but it is also useful for not confusing new Linux users with unnecessarily many alternatives, some of which are not mature yet.

    So, yes, if you want to install uninstall stuff and experiment with all that is currently available, maybe Pardus is not for you. If you are an OSS junkie, you have already learned or need to learn to rely on the configure-make-make install ritual, instead of waiting for the newest version of a program appear in the repos.

    Anyway, if you want to have something solid and something that offers the best alternatives for doing almost everything, then, chances are that you will fall in love with this extraordinary distro.

  13. Pingback: Links 26/1/2011: Mageia Comes Soon, Fedora Hack Explained | Techrights

  14. I have noticed version 2011 have not so much programs/applications in the repo as Pardus 2009.2 yet.
    But they will probably come soon when they release the first update packages.
    Beside that I think its among the best KDE distributions.

    • I agree…Maybe there are lesser applications for Pardus but the OS itself is rock solid

      • I totally disagree pardus does not play A CD does not support my ipod out of the box does not have a player like exaile that can play these things the whole KDE multimedia setup is a joke
        amorok kscd gwenview have all been totally distroyed with KDE4.
        I can do a base net install of Arch add KDE4 add all I need for a basic setup including exaile fotoxx gtkpod firefox all codecs and flash in 90mins, less than it takes to download and install Pardus and guess what its just as stable even running with transparrent windows.
        If you want real stability Salix KDE is the way to go and you can use Slackbuilds for the rest.

        • Most things in Pardus 2011 works for me. But I think it be more stabile later. I often have lot of troubles with new released Ubuntu versions, after about 3 months they are better with the package updates.
          Pardus 2009.2 are very stabile and still recives package/software updates for about one year before they stop with that.

        • It's quite good

          I respect your opinion. I have used Arch in the past as well, great distro, however it can be a pain to maintain. Pardus can play a CD, no it doesn’t have exaile (so compile it if you need it that bad or put in a request for it). Indeed I had issues with support for my iPod with Clementine (the default for 2011, you might like it if you like exaile) but it worked fine with Amarok (yeah, not everyone likes the new version of it, thats why there is choice). Sounds to me like you have more issues with KDE 4 then with Pardus it’s self, you could try Pardus Corporate 2 RC (final should be released very soon) it uses KDE 3.5.10.

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