Frequently Asked Questions

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This page contains answers to some general questions which are often asked by those thinking of trying PCLinuxOS. More details on specific problems can be found by searching this Wiki or the forum.

General

What distro is PCLinuxOS based on?

PCLinuxOS is an independent distribution. It is not based on Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat or any other distribution. It was once closely related to Mandrake Linux but since 2007 it has been independent using code/patches from Fedora, Mageia, Arch Linux to name just a few.

Is PCLinuxOS a big company like Red Hat or Canonical?

No. PCLinuxOS is largely a one-man-band. Bill Reynolds (a.k.a Texstar) is the creator of PCLinuxOS and does the vast majority of the packaging, maintenance and administration of the distribution. There are a handful of volunteer packagers and maintainers plus some additional administrators who contribute freely in their spare time to keep PCLinuxOS rolling smoothly.

What is the release cycle of PCLinuxOS?

There isn't one really. PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution which means you install once and then just perform a regular update process to keep your system updated with the latest packages. New ISOs are released every 2 or 3 months so that new users don't have to download a large number of updated packages to get up to date.

Is PCLinuxOS available for 32bit or ARM platform?

No. PCLinuxOS is only available for 64bit x86_64 platforms.

What sort of user is PCLinuxOS aimed at?

PCLinuxOS is aimed at the average desktop computer user who uses their system for daily tasks such as Email, Web Browsing, Multimedia viewing etc. It is not aimed at server, power development or other specialist areas. The repository does contain many packages for these specialist types of user but it is not a priority for the small development team.

Where can I get help/support?

By far the best place is the PCLinuxOS Forum. The development team are all present in the forum and there are a number of very knowledgeable users who are experienced with PCLinuxOS who can help. Bear in mind that these people are spread around the world in different time zones so you may not get an answer immediately but all questions are usually responded to within 24 hours. Before asking for help do read the forum rules and do search the forum first to see if your problem has already been answered.

Is there a bug tracking system for reporting bugs?

No. Almost all of the software is packaged from upstream sources/developers who have their own systems for reporting and tracking bugs. PCLinuxOS only has a small number of volunteer packagers/maintainers which makes it impractical to manage a separate bug tracking system for the thousands of packages we have to maintain.

Does PCLinuxOS use systemd ?

No. PClinuxOS uses SysV init and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Why can't I use sudo command?

PCLinuxOS is not supplied with sudo installed by default. When configured correctly, sudo can provide convenient access to "administrator only" commands but to configure it correctly and securely requires knowing in advance which administrator functions will be required. We cannot possibly know how all our users are going to use their systems. Some distros get around this by leaving sudo in a default state where all administrator functions are allowed without the requirement to enter the root password. We consider this an unacceptable security risk. Instead of using sudo <command> users can type su -c <command> and enter the root password to achieve the same result. Read more about this here

LiveCD and LiveUSB

I have my live media inserted but when I power on nothing different happens

If this is the case then there are further steps you will need to take in order boot the installation media but unfortunately different PC manufacturers implement different methods for doing this. Nearly always this involves pressing a key during the Power On Self Test (POST) phase of the power on. This is usually occurring when there is a manufacturer "splash screen" or other text on the screen when you first power on. Sometimes you will see a message on the screen which says something like:

Press del to enter BIOS setup or press F12 for a boot menu

A boot menu is the best option as it will allow you to simply select the device you want to boot from a menu. If this option isn't offered then you will need to go into the BIOS setup where there will be option to change the order in which the system looks for devices to boot. You'll need to change the settings here so that the device you're using for your boot media is tried before the main hard drive.

When I try to boot the live media I get an error about "Security Failure"

This can happen on newer systems with UEFI firmware. You will need to go into the firmware settings and turn-off Secure Boot.

I get a boot menu but when I try to boot nothing happens or I just get a blank screen

First make sure that you checked the md5sum of the ISO image you downloaded.

Next try the other options on the boot menu in order (no splash, safe mode etc.) to see if you can get the boot to progress or display an error message which you can search for in the forum.

Selecting LiveCD from the boot menu gives me a splash screen with a progress bar but it goes no further

Press the escape key to dismiss the splash screen and see if the boot has failed with an error message you can search for in the forum.

I get the splash screen with a progress bar but then I get a black screen with a "login:" prompt and flashing cursor

This will happen if your graphics chip is not recognized or the driver for it has failed to load properly. Type "guest" and press enter at the prompt and then when you a "$" prompt with a flashing cursor try typing "startx" and press enter to see if the graphics system will initialize. Make a note of any errors and search the forum for a solution.

I've tried all the above but still can't get the live media to boot

If your system is more than about 5 years old it maybe because the current Linux kernels no longer support that hardware. If this is the case there is not much you can do. It may be possible to boot with an older ISO but if you install from that ISO it may then be difficult to update. For example it is not possible to update KDE4 to Plasma 5 using the normal update process.

Conversely if your system is brand new there may be hardware which isn't fully supported by the Linux kernel on the distribution media. Make sure you are using the latest ISO available and if there are still problems then ask on the forum and we will try to help.

Software

What package management system does PCLinuxOS use?

PCLinuxOS is an RPM based distribution. Unusually for an RPM distribution it uses apt and synaptic as the command line and GUI interface respectively for package management. This is thanks to a specially adapted backend for apt called apt4rpm.

Are there additional repositories (like PPAs) available?

No. PCLinuxOS has one central repository which is mirrored on various servers around the world. With over 15,000 packages, most common applications required by desktop users are already available in the main repository. The only exception to this is the Trinity Desktop which has it's own repository. This is because the Trinity maintainers have a proven record of maintaining stability with the main PCLinuxOS repository.

Why is application X not available in the repository?

Possible reasons:

  • The project is dead or there has been no development for a long time.
  • It is considered too unstable for PCLinuxOS.
  • It is too complex to build or requires software libraries/sub-systems that we don't have in PCLinuxOS (e.g systemd, Mono etc.).
  • We already have enough applications of that type in the repository which do a good enough job.
  • It is a specialist application unlikely to be of use to the majority of our users.
  • Nobody has asked for it.

Can I ask for application X to be added to the repository?

If you think that the application is likely to be of general use to the community then there is a process for requesting new or updated packages. Please follow the rules for making such requests otherwise it will be removed and ignored.

Why is package X not the latest version?

Maintaining a rolling release distro creates complex dependency management problems. Sometimes updating one particular package can require system libraries to be updated which in turn can require many other packages to be updated to maintain compatibility. With only a small development team this process can take while and require extensive testing before a new version can be sent to the repo. This is why we have a saying in PCLinuxOS: It will be ready when it's ready.

If an update causes a problem can I roll back to previous version?

Generally not, because we don't keep old versions of packages in the repo. It is recommended you keep regular backups of your system using something like Timeshift and use that to roll back your system if required.

Can I install software from outside the software repository?

Installing packages from outside sources is discouraged and not supported because it can lead to problems with the rolling release updates. If you can find an RPM package for the software then it might install successfully if it has no dependencies or its dependencies can be satisfied by packages in the repo. Even then you may find that future Synaptic updates will want to remove it or will fail with packages being held back.

Where possible it would be best to try to use AppImages or Flatpak images (flatpak is available in the repo) or compile the software yourself to run from your home directory so it doesn't interfere with system updates.