After almost two years without any updates, Pardus has finally got itself a new version. Regularly appearing in our top ten distro lists, Pardus has gained an international following outside of the Turkish offices it was originally designed for. Lauded for its clean design and great selection of software, we’ve been curious to see how a new Pardus would look after two years of major changes in the Linux and FOSS landscape.
There are two versions of Pardus available, GNOME and KDE. Both are currently only in Turkish at the time of writing, however with a bit of applied thinking you can switch things to English or any other language you desire. It is a Linux distribution after all. The installer is mostly in English anyway, and after selecting the hard drive you wish to use, and/or setting up your partitions, it goes straight into basic user set-up and then file installation. This takes a fairly standard 15-20 minutes, and then restarts you back into the distro.
After logging in, it dumps you into GNOME 3.4 Fallback/Classic mode. This is the point that you need to switch to another language if you don’t want to use it in Turkish, however it’s a little jarring. Pardus 2013 is really just Debian with GNOME 3.4 and Pardus branding – it has none of the stuff that made Pardus a great distro to begin with. Even the decent selection of default apps that it comes with doesn’t set it apart from other, more popular distros.
It’s also not so useful if you’re wanting to use it in another language – although LibreOffice will open in English once you switch the system to it, Firefox will need to be completely reinstalled to get it working. While of course this kind of problem won’t exist in the eventual English version, it means it’s more tricky to get straight into the newer version.
As we said the software selection by default is fine, surprisingly though it has full access to the Ubuntu Software Centre. This is the first time we’ve seen its use outside of not only an official Ubuntu distro, but also on a standard Debian-based distro. It has access to the same recommendations, features and paid-for software, and links in to the rest of your software sources. Synaptic is included as well, in case you prefer a purer package manager.
There’s not a whole lot to recommend in Pardus 2013. Posts on the official forums suggest that this is the future of the project, and it won’t be returning to the way it was before due to key departures from the dev team. This is a crying shame, as all it’s become then is branding, branding on a distro used by countless others, with an out-of-date desktop environment. At least it’s nice for Turkish users to have a distro that’s distributed in their language natively, but for the moment that also makes it much more difficult for the rest of the community to use.
A once great distro is reduced down to bland repackaging of Debian that while keeping its appeal to people in Turkey, loses whatever draw that the rest of the community had to use it. It’s best to either stick with an older Pardus, or start looking for a new distro with more up-to-date software