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PCLinuxOS 2013 KDE Desktop Review

This quarterly release from PCLinuxOS delivers the latest from KDE, LXDE, and MATE. Or you can try the famous PCLinuxOS Full Monty ISO which includes most/or all of the desktops listed above. I am slightly behind on my KDE updates so I will be reviewing PCLinuxOS 2013.12 KDE. For those that are wondering, this distribution is available in 32 or 64 bit architecture.

PCLinuxOS 2013 Desktop Screenshot

Installing PCLinuxOS 2013.12 KDE

This version comes as a DVD ISO download, at approximately 1607 MB. The installer is user-friendly and fine for beginners wishing to try PCLinuxOS.

Installation Details

The installer is Drak3 or something similar if I remember correctly. PCLinuxOS offers a two stage installation, letting users setup their accounts after the primary installation is complete. I did unfortunately have some problems with the installer freezing in VBox, which can certainly be forgiven.

PCLinuxOS 2013 Desktop Screenshot

PCLinuxOS 2013.12 KDE Desktop 4.11

This time I chose the KDE version of PCLinuxOS 2013, which uses KDE 4.11.3. KDE is pressing forward at a blinding pace, but I wanted to be sure that no exciting changes go unnoticed. KDE 4.11 was released in November 2013, and they are already passed the 4.12 marker. Work has begun on the upcoming Plasma Workspaces 2, and KDE Framework 5. This means that the 4.x development cycle will be coming to a close, but you can rest assured that support will continue for at least two years. Many distributions have already implemented the 4.11 release. Now lets dive right in and show off the goods.

Plasma Widget Improvements

Most importantly are the changes to the Plasma taskbar widget. With the port to QTQuick, this widget received massive underlying code changes. These changes tackled several long-standing bugs. On the surface, you will notice a smoother interface, a streamlined approach to item positioning within the taskbar. The 4.11 release brought lots of small application changes and fixes, but I will get straight to the fun stuff.

Easily Configure Notifications

Popup notifications within the KDE Plasma desktop will now offer a convenient settings button. Each notification can have unique custom setting. These notification options include sounds, custom messages, custom log files, and more.

Dolphin Gets Optimized Performance

The Dolphin file manager provides a large performance boost for users in this release. Dolphin will now only load previews for visible items, not entire directories. This means that large directories will load faster and abuse fewer system resources. This change is especially important when viewing archive contents, or remote files.

Tip: Users can now middle click on archives to immediately display their contents inside a new Dolphin tab. This trick also works for directories, and symlinks.

What About KDE 4.12?

Users may want to update to the newer KDE 4.12 to take advantage of the latest features. If you want to see what you are missing, here it is.

KDE 4.12 Performance Updates Revealed

PCLinuxOS 2013.12 KDE Software Lineup

This distribution comes absolutely loaded with software for your every need. There is at least one or more utility available for every possible activity you could imagine. You might want to stick with the MiniMe version if you prefer to pick your own software. To install new software you can use the Synaptic Package Manager, or APT from the command line.

PCLinuxOS 2013 Desktop Screenshot

Tools for Your Every Need

If you would like some examples, here is some of the software you will find on PCLinuxOS 2013 KDE. For office software, we have LibreOffice 4.1 and KWrite. For your video needs there is VLC and Dragon player. To communicate with others you can try Choqok, XChat, Kopete, or Skype. There is also an assortment of file scanners, batch file rename tools, and archiving tools. For every utility there is an alternative, so rest assured that they have what you need to get things done.

User-Friendly System Settings

PCLinuxOS even makes if very easy to get at all of your system settings. The KDE System settings utility is available containing different modules, each with related options. If you still cannot find the settings you need, you can also try the PCLinuxOS Control Center. This tool contains some helpful hardware options, or server setup tools you might want to take advantage of.

PCLinuxOS 2013 Desktop Screenshot

System Administration Tools

This release includes a huge variety of system administration tools. This collection includes disk scanners, system monitors, and log viewers. Setup wizards for servers and hardware are also included.

PCLinuxOS 2013.12 Review Summary

PCLinuxOS 2013.12 KDE really lets users hit the ground running. There is very little missing as far as the desktop is concerned. Though on the downside, this release is slightly bloated. This PCLinuxOS variant is a great choice for users who want lots of desktop toys, and tools to play with. PCLinuxOS 2013 KDE is probably a wonderful choice for desktop power users.

Amazing Artwork

I was shocked to see a selection of nearly 50 very high quality wallpapers. These wallpapers consist of some amazing graphic design artwork, and an assortment of attractive photography.

Other PCLinuxOS Flavors

As I said before, you might want to try the Full-Monty release, KDE release, LXDE,or the MATE desktop release. With PCLinuxOS there is something for everyone!

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