The Perfect Desktop - PCLinuxOS 2007

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This tutorial shows how you can set up a PCLinuxOS 2007 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 found that PCLinuxOS is really easy to install and use, and it's a real alternative. Up to now I was thinking that Ubuntu is the best Linux desktop distribution, but I'm not so sure anymore now that I've used PCLinuxOS. I'm really impressed.

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 2007 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 9
  • gFTP - 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
  • 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
  • Audacity - free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer - media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player - audio player, similar to Apple's iTunes, with support for iPods
  • 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
  • GnomeBaker - CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B - CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia-Codecs


  • Nvu- 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 2007 installs KDE (K Desktop Environment) by default.

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 2007 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:

Then select your timezone:

If you like you can enable automatic time synchronization (NTP):

Next configure your network connection. My system is in a local network, so I select Ethernet:

Select the network device you want to configure (if you have just one network device, there's not much to select ;-)):

We don't need a static IP address on a desktop computer, so it's ok to select Automatic IP (BOOTP/DHCP):

Enable Get DNS servers from DHCP and Assign host name from DHCP address:

Select Start the connection at boot. Don't select Allow users to manage the connection unless you want normal desktop users to have full control over the network settings:

Start the network connection now:

We're finished now with the network settings:

Next the login screen to 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:

The desktop is being initialized:

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

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5 Comment(s)

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I think it's a great idea to try and get people to move from Windows to linux (any distro), but all the howtos (including this one) get a bit over-exuberant on the apps being installed.  I notice you have included Thunderbird and Evolution.  Surely it would have been better to just have one mail client ?  The same applies to CD/DVD burning packages.  And how many media players can you use at once.  I think this is indicative of the struggle to move people from Windows.  Pick a player and make sure it can use all the appropriate codecs to allow the user to play anything they like.

Sure a choice of mail clients is nice, but if a user sets them both up and uses them both to retrieve mail, they will end up with (approx) half their mail in each. 

Maybe I'll put my typing where my mouth is and produce a howto to replicate the out-of-the-box Windows experience.

By: admin

This is just for demonstration purposes. Of course, you can install all the software, but you can also pick only the software that you need. The tutorial just shows how to install all software, but it's up to you which software you install.


Thank you for the how to Falko,

One question, when you list programs of what you think should be on PCLinuxOS 2007 like Firefox, OpenOffice etc, that whole list, do you mean I should have those saved first in my Windows Programs folder or get them after I install Linux?

I am an infant with Linux so please keep that in mind.

Thank you,

Thomas Lowe

By: Anonymous

I'm sure you have worked it out by now but...

To install programs in PCLinuxOS (like other Linux distros) you select them from a repository list, unlike Windows where you need to find them yourself and hope it works. The repository (package manager) contains the latest versions of compatable software.

Hope that has helped and please correct me if that sounded wrong.

By: Philippe

Am trying to install the program on my laptop and keep getting the same error message:

ERROR: Unable to mount loop filesystem,

Commant were:

Losetup /dev/loop0 initrd/cdrom/livecd.sqfs

mount -r -t squashfs /dev/loop0, initrd/loopfs

Dropping you to a limited shell

Loading /initrd/binash

Then the pc is frozen. Out of curiosity I tried to check what would happen on my other laptop (the first is on Windows XP and the 2nd one on Windows Vista) and I get the same error message.

Can you help?