by March 7, 2006 0 comments

What is different about this year’s PCQlinux? 
The most visible difference is definitely the Lite and XtraLite desktops.
But there is definitely more in this release than just Lite and Xtralite. When
we first started seriously looking at the new release, we tried to identify what
are the issues that are at the top of our readers’ minds. All the feedback we
got pointed to four key directions.

Infrastructure and datacenter issues were at the top of the
list, but quite a large number amongst you wanted more on the workstation
desktop. And then there was this strong feedback we were getting about the Linux
that was shipping with the sub-10k PCs that was hardly useable. As our own tests
showed, for example, took ages to even start up on these machines. So, we
took up these four areas to work with, with this year’s release of PCQLinux.

Lite and Xtra Lite Desktops
in it for developers?
on the Go…
on PCQLinux 2006
Windows Applications on Linux
Apps in PCQLinux 2006
Update Management
Partition Backups
the Fedora Directory Server
Cluster for critical apps
Computing with PCQLinux
Manage and Publish Web content
Patch Management
Installation of PCQLinux 2006
Local Wiki
your Firewalls
Detection Tools
a forum like that for PCQuest Forums

Lite and XtraLite are a result of the last of the four
inputs listed. The other options grew out of the other feedback we got.

How good is PCQLinux 2006? Obviously, there are many
shortcomings. Some key applications had to be removed at the last minute because
of un-resolvable installation or dependency issues, even as we struggled to get
the CDs out to manufacture. In fact, we had to stop production midway and create
fresh CDs, because of a show stopper bug that was identified after we sent the
CDs to production.

Where can you use PCQLinux? Our effort is not to compete
with commercial distributions or other operating systems. PCQLinux is not
something we recommend for production use, nor can we guarantee support for it.

The philosophy of PCQLinux
We are not out to produce a production-class, system. That is for the
commercial distributions out there; we are a magazine, primarily. Our aim is to
produce a distro that exposes our readers to the potentials of the platform, and
more importantly, let you experiment with some of the stuff that they would
otherwise only hear about.

So, while we may provide proven software like Apache and
Postgres, we do not expect our distribution to be used in a ‘production’
environment. That said, we do test our distribution exhaustively, to ensure that
it works on almost all common platforms.

We would like to provide as many different types of
software as possible, so that you can experience them. That is why we try to
limit the number of choices within a genre (eg. Media players) to a maximum of
two (mostly one, Mplayer in the current example of media players), unless there
are exceptional cases (like say, browsers).

Given the spirit of experimentation, we try to add stuff
that is commonly not done, that is commonly not available elsewhere, out of the
box. A good example of this is the clustering and grid solutions we add
currently, and the earlier Oscar, which PCQLinux was perhaps the only Linux
distribution to have ever carried.

Our primary focus is the desktop. So, we try to provide the
maximum options there. The second focus is the workgroup server. On the desktop,
we try to provide equal focus to the developer and to productivity usage. This
year, seeing the market penetration of low priced PCs, we have tried to make
Linux works well on such platforms. KDE or Gnome? Frankly we are not taking
sides. Currently we carry both.

What is PCQLinux based on? Earlier, we used to be based on
Fedora Core. But this time around, all we can claim is that this is an RPM based
distro. Software has been added from and Updates have happened from repositories
all over.

On the articles front, there have been complaints that we
have dummied down the configuration part by using webmin and that we should have
continued with the command line based method instead.

We believe that webmin makes it easy to do the
configurations and the management. Our objective is to make the
“experimentation” that I spoke of earlier, easier, not esotheric and
of limited use. Ideally I would like the entire installation and configuration
to be done from a GUI.

PCQLinux 2006 is dedicated to all of you who have helped us
put it together, with inputs, encouragement, suggestions and reminders; to you
who will use this distribution to understand and even challenge the
possibilities that technology offers; and finally to you, who will participate
in discussions about this and will support each other at the PCQuest forums.


Ours is
a small private sector organization in the business of power generation
and have our power plants operating in the North Eastern and Eastern
states. The company has set up three thermal power plants running on low
grade fuel and two combined cycle thermal power plants running on natural
gas. These plants have been designed, engineered, constructed, operated
and maintained on a BOOM basis (Build Own Operate & Maintain). The
primary business is generation and sale of power to the state electricity
boards and also directly to Govt. owned companies. While the power plants
operate in remote areas, the performance of the plants are monitored
centrally from the head office located at Gurgaon, Haryana.

monitoring involves data collection from the plants on a daily basis and 
analysis of the data followed by suggestion of corrective measures.
Data collection involves gathering all vital parameters such as bearing
temperature, vibration levels, speed (RPM) of major rotating machinery and
critical process parameters such as pressure, temperature, flow of steam
and water through all stationary equipment in the power cycle. The data is
logged on to the MIS website by data entry personnel.

at the HO download the data and perform a technical analysis. Every number
is looked at with a magnifying glass and if there is a deviation in any
parameter from the design norm, queries are sent back, and after receipt
of satisfying answers, the analysis is concluded. This is usually done
through technical discussions among a team of engineers from various
disciplines at the head office. The performance analysis of the power
plant is then posted back on the MIS website along with necessary
suggestions/modification measures so that the operating personnel at
remote sites and the top management can take note of it and implement the
same. The technical database and the models used in the analysis also form
the basis to the finance department for calculation / projection of

Head office houses the Engineering MIS and Finance MIS servers apart from
user desktops for the engineers and account officers and other support

We have
deployed PCQ Linux 2005 in about 15 user work stations in our office. 
We had previously installed PCQ Linux 2004 on the MIS Engineering
server. This was later changed to Knoppix as PCQL 2004 started giving
problems when squid was configured. Although the issues with squid on PCQL
2004 were resolved subsequently through the PCQuest forums, I was too lazy
to switch over the server from Knoppix to PCQL 2005. I am planning to do
move this server to PCQL 2006 after March 2006.

@ PCQuest Forums

full article is installed on your desktop when you install PCQLinux 2006

Anindya Roy,

Kumar, Sanjay Majumder, Shekhar Govindarajan, Vijay Chauhan and Vinod Unny

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