With respects to installed and available applications, the main issue I observed is that the repository on a new installation of Pardus 2011.2 points to the repository of Pardus 2011.1. This screenshot is a view of the Repositories tab of the Package Manager’s Settings windows.
An attempt to point it to the current release’s repository revealed that there is no difference in software versions between Pardus 2011.2 repository and Pardus 2011.1 repository. That is, if you just installed Pardus 2011.2, version for version, you will be running the same application that another user with an up to date installation of Pardus 2011.1.
This seems to be a recurring theme with Pardus where a stable version is released before its repository is populated. And I am writing this exactly nine (9) days after Pardus 2011.2 was released. Perhaps I am taking these point releases to be major releases. However, even they are not, I do no think that a new release should be pointing to a previous release’s repository.
Package Management: While the command line utility for managing applications in the system is just as easy to use as Debian’s Advanced Packaging Tool, APT, Pardus has a very cool graphical package manager. Dubbed Package Manager, it has a very slick mode of operation.
Rather than show screenshots, here is a video of the Package Manager in action. The video shows all the possible package management tasks you could perform on the Package Manager. Another friendly warning; this a silent video.
Graphical Administrative Applications: Aside from a few custom-developed applications for Pardus, most of the graphical management applications are the same available on any KDE distribution, and they are accessible from System Settings. A custom application that I really like is the service manager, which makes it easy to see which services are running and which are not. You can also start and stop services from the interface. Watch the video below to see the service manager in action.
Another application worth noting, more for features it lacks than those it has, is the User Manager. Unlike other full-featured user and group management applications, it lacks account disabling and password-aging features. It does, however, allow for granting very granular permissions for performing many tasks.
Physical and Network Security: With no support for disk encryption and boot loader password protection in YALI, Pardus’ installation program, this beautiful distribution has a very weak physical security posture, and the fact that the screensaver and its screen-locking feature are disabled by default, does not do it any favors. For a distribution developed by an institute of electronics and cryptology, I think Pardus should have a better out-of-the-box physical security than this.
IPTables, the firewall management application, is not running by default, and the graphical firewall application is, of course, not configured. The screenshot below is that of the Firewall Manager, in the activated state. Shown inset is the window for enabling/disabling egress or ingress access to services. A major weakness of the Firewall Manager, is that it does not allow access by specific hosts to be configured, which is very important when attempting to allow access to local services from external networks.
Though the firewall is not running out of the box, Pardus is pretty secure over the network, as there is just one open port (port 631, the printing port) and it is listening only on the local network.
Final Thoughts: Pardus is a very, very good distribution, but I have always questioned why a distribution should be released when the repository has not been populated with updated applications. And I believe any sensible person would question that, except the developers have a special reason for doing that, that the rest of are not privy to.
Resources: You may read the Release Notes and download an installation ISO image for your computer from here and here, and Live DVD images from here and here. Support questions may be posted here (in Turkish) and on Questions & Answers. All published reviews and tutorials about Pardus on this website, are available at http://linuxbsdos.com/category/pardus.
The login screen. Not as visually appealing as that of Mandriva 2011, but better than most other distributions login screens.
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