Of course when I say leopard, with regards to anything computer, you think Mac OS X. Not this time. This time we're talking about a different flavor of Linux - Pardus.Pardus is developed in Turkey and named after the Anatolian leopard. It's goal is to be a complete distribution that new users can use with little introduction to Linux. It takes advantage of KDE 4 and offers a very user-centric experience.
Pardus has a few features that most will have never heard of or seen before. In this article I will introduce you to some of these features as I introduce you to Pardus Linux.
The installation of Pardus is really quite simple. Pop in the install CD, answer a few simple questions, and your off and running. It's not until you have logged in for the first time that you will find anything really unique (other than the color scheme and very well done graphics).
After first boot you are asked to customize your desktop. But it's not just the usual customizations. You walk through a wizard that has you do the following:
Figure 1 illustrates this wizard with the theme section. There are not a ton of themes to choose from (you can add more later), but at least you get a say in what your initial desktop will look like. You can also choose how many desktops and either if it functions like KDE 3 or KDE 4.
The next step is to choose if your menu is a KDE 4 Kick-off menu, a simple menu (KDE 3-like), or an advanced Lancelot menu.
The wallpaper selection, in the next section, offers a number of lovely desktop wallpapers to choose from (or you can select from a file).
Next you are asked if you want to use file indexing with Strigi.
The next section wants you to set up a network connection. What this does is open the standard network connection tool within the first-run wizard (see Figure 2). After you have created your profile, make sure you also add nameservers to the network. Do this by clicking the Nameserver Settings, adding a nameserver (unless you are using DHCP), and click the Add button. After you have created your connection, make sure you click the check box associated with your newly created connection to bring it up. Once you've done that, click the Next button to move on.
The final interactive section allows you to select options for updates (if you want the update icon in the system tray and how often you want to check for updates) and if you want to add extra repositories for your package management. NOTE: The More section allows you to further customize your system System Settings (such as Display, Firewall, Keyboard, etc).
Once you get into the desktop you will have a fairly normal KDE 4 experience. The only item out of the ordinary that you will find is the Pardus Package manager. The package manager is called PiSi and really doesn't look all that different from any other package manager (see Figure 3). You can either search for the package you want to install or you can narrow the selection down by categories. PiSi does take advantage of Delta Packages, so it won't be necessary to download the full package of an updated file (only the differences in the update), saving a lot of bandwidth.
I was told that Pardus is very close to Windows 7 in look and feel. I was told wrong. Pardus offers a fairly straight-forward KDE 4 experience with a few tweaks of its own. It's not going to fool the user into thinking they are using either OS X or Windows 7, but it will offer a very solid, user-friendly desktop experience that all Linux fans should try at least once. My only gripe? Why not stick with that interesting burgundy theme they had going during the installation?
Update: Pardus appears to be no longer available. We have removed the link from the article as a consequence.
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