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  • Relevant to All editions of PCLinuxOS.

YOU ARE HERE :: Main Page > Table of contents > Introduction > What is PCLinuxOS?

This page is a basic introduction to PCLinuxOS for a newcomer.

What is PCLinuxOS

  • For new users: PCLinuxOS (abbreviated pclos) is a Linux distribution packaged with you, the new Linux user, in mind. It is a Linux distribution that can be operated very easily just like Windows. (But unlike Windows, you never have to worry about malware, defraqgging, or license fees!) It includes all the essential software for everyday people. And who better to help you along your way than someone who is fresh from the journey themselves?
  • For advanced users: Some of our users have been around Linux for a long time, but found PCLinuxOS so complete and friendly, that they began using it as their primary operating system. For power users, PCLinuxOS is extremely easy to customize.
  • PCLinuxOS is provided as a single installable "Live" ISO image. This lets you try it without making any changes to your computer. If you like it, you can install it to your hard drive. What you were trying out will become what you boot into.


PCLinuxOS comes with many applications pre-installed. More are available in the PCLinuxOS official repository. They can be installed using the easy-to-use Synaptic Package Manager. Applications are added and updated quite regularly.


The PCLinuxOS Hardware Database has been integrated into the Knowledge Base wiki. Here you will be able to list and comment about working or non-working hardware. This area also serves as a place to check if your existing hardware may work. This area is solely dependent on user submissions, so if your hardware is not listed do not fret, it just may not be submitted yet. If you try PCLinuxOS and your hardware does work, please do a submission at the PCLinuxOS Hardware Database.

The Philosophy of PCLinuxOS

  • It is done when it is done.
  • Use the best software available, does not matter if it is Qt, GTK etc.
  • Be focused on the desktop.

PCLinuxOS is a rolling distro

Many people ask the questions:

  • Why are packages so late arriving in the repo?
  • Why can't I install outside packages?
  • Why must I always fully update?

PCLinuxOS is a 'meta' distro, or 'rolling release'. That is, it is built in such a way that the user installs and then fully updates periodically over an indefinite period of time (for as long as four years), rather than performing a fresh installation when a new release arrives, as is the case with some Linux distro's.

This means that a certain discipline is required of the user. He or she must adhere to a routine of fully updating from time to time and never installing outside packages in order to preserve the stability, thus reliability, of the system. If a PCLinuxOS user waits too long to update their system, a fresh install of a more up-to-date ISO image may be necessary to ensure that a large amount of updates won't cause breakages, which is a very real possibility. Generally, it is recommended that users update their system at least once every week or at least two weeks.

Packages often appear much later in PCLinuxOS than in other distros for two main reasons.

  • First, the development and packaging teams consist of only a few people.
  • Second, all packages are rigorously tested by both the teams and a group of testers before they are permitted to grace the software repository.

The strict adherence to the principles of stability has gained for PCLinuxOS a reputation for quality and usability that the developers and users are proud of, knowing that the OS is reliable for an indefinite period. Some distros allow buggy or broken updates to find their way into the repository and cause havoc for the end user. This simply does not happen with PCLinuxOS.

More answers to frequently asks questions can be found on our FAQ page.


Translation of the article — About PCLinuxOS into Armenian language, Gajk Melikyan for StudyBay

Translation of this page into Estonian language, by Sonja Kulmala