There is a new version of this tutorial available for PCLinuxOS 2010.

The Perfect Desktop - PCLinuxOS 2009.1

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This tutorial shows how you can set up a PCLinuxOS 2009.1 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the PCLinuxOS 2009.1 desktop to have the following software installed:


  • The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot - full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa - application for organizing and editing digital photos


  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 10
  • FileZilla - multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird - email and news client
  • Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule - P2P file sharing application
  • KTorrent - Bittorrent client
  • Azureus - Java Bittorrent client
  • Kopete - multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client


  • OpenOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash - double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus - open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok - audio player
  • Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer - media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • gtkPod - software similar to Apple's iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS - audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip - full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino - free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor - CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player - media player (video/audio)
  • Real Player
  • Totem - media player (video/audio)
  • Xine - media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero - CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B - CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia-Codecs


  • KompoZer - WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish - text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Quanta Plus - web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor


  • VMware Server - lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don't have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

PCLinuxOS 2009.1 installs KDE (K Desktop Environment) by default.

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera).

I will use the username falko in this tutorial, and I will download all necessary files to falko's desktop which is equivalent to the directory /home/falko/Desktop. If you use another username (which you most probably do ;-)), please replace falko with your own username. So when I use a command like

cd /home/falko/Desktop

you must replace falko.


2 Installing The Base System

Download the PCLinuxOS 2009.1 CD iso image from, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. At the boot prompt, select LiveCD:

The system boots and starts a desktop that is run entirely in the RAM of your system (the PCLinuxOS installation CD is also a Live-CD) without changing anything on your hard disk. This has the advantage that you can test how PCLinuxOS works on your hardware before you finally install it.

Select your keyboard layout:

Next the login screen of our LiveCD desktop comes up. There are two logins:

  • User root with the password root
  • User guest with the password guest

We log in as guest:

This is how the LiveCD desktop looks. Click on Install PCLinuxOS to start the installation to the hard disk:

To start the installation, we must type in the root password (which is root):

You might see this screen if the installer has detected graphic card drivers which are not needed on your system (like ATI or Nvidia drivers). Click on REMOVE DRIVER NOW! if you want to remove them or on Cancel if you want to keep them (it doesn't hurt to keep them, therefore I chose Cancel here):

The installation wizard starts. Click on Next:

The PCLinuxOS default partitioning scheme is ok for our purposes, so you can select Use free space.

The hard drive is partitioned, and the installation begins. This can take a few minutes, so please be patient:

Afterwards we have to configure the bootloader. The default settings are ok, so we can click on Next:

The default boot menu entries are ok as well, so we click on Finish:

Click on Finish to complete the installation:

To use our new installation, we must reboot and remove the PCLinuxOS CD from our CD drive. Log out of the current desktop session by clicking on the PC icon in the lower left corner, then select Log out from the upcoming menu:

Click on End Current Session:

We are now taken back to the login screen. Click on System Menu and select Shutdown from the upcoming menu:

Then click on Restart Computer:

The system shuts down. Remove the PCLinuxOS CD and press <ENTER>:

Afterwards, select Boot PCLinuxOS from the bootloader menu (or wait a few seconds):

After the first boot, we have to specify the root password and create a normal user account. Click on Next...

... and log in with the regular user account you've just created::

This is how your new desktop looks:

Now the base system is ready to be used.

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2 Comment(s)

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By: Stuart

This tutorial actually works perfectly and gave me the necessaries to set up two standalone pc's on linux. Well done!

By: Anonymous

I asked them if i could help with making it work with the I7 .they said no -they comment how good it is I show them the amiga side then they dont want to listen to facts. Amiga is Itanium based intel or rather amiga chipsets one in the same now. Its not the perfect os Amiga is . better then ubuntu -as for me im sticking with fedora and sending my clients over to fedora 11 then 12 . Summary narrow minded has beens -hope they fail. DOnt support a pos of a community.