So you might ask, just what is PCLinuxOS? Simply put, PCLinuxOS is a free, easy to use Linux-based Operating System for x86 desktops or laptops – which makes it ideal for running on older PCs, as well as, any newer x86-based devices. It is distributed as a LiveCD and is available in 85 languages. Additionally, it is safe and secure. You never have to worry about viruses, adware, malware or trojans infecting your computer with PCLinuxOS.
I’m running PCLinuxOS on my little 9″ Dell Mini 910 Inspiron laptop – complete with wireless networking, finally! All I have to do is turn it on, sign in, and it automatically connects via my Broadcom 1345 WLAN Mini Card, with its Broadcom 4312 Network Driver, to the internet.
What a rigmarole this has been, such a long and drawn out process to find by trial and error an operating system that recognizes the wireless network card in my little PC. This is indeed a joy. And not only am I able to surf the web, but all – yes all the software – on my Dell Mini is FREE. PCLinuxOS comes with plenty of bundled goodies, including: LibreOffice, Internet tools, Photo, Music & Video software, and Firefox, but I prefer Chromium, so I added it, and synched my highly customized toolbar and extensive list of bookmarks, very nice.
Just to take a trip down memory lane, I’ve been tinkering with my little 9″ Dell Mini 910 laptop for several weeks, trying to get it up and running with a wireless network connection. However, it has not been an easy process. My little Dell Mini is old in computer terms, having come off the assembly line back in 2008 when I bought it as a discount throw in along with my nice full-featured 15″ Dell laptop.
My Dell Mini came preloaded with Ubuntu Linux 8.04, but never really worked well as a wireless device – it could connect briefly, for a few seconds at a time only, but then go cold. When Ubuntu 12.10 came out, I tried upgrading to it, but connecting to the internet was a total no-go, absolutely no connection. So, I decided to nose around the Ubuntu help forums, as well as, doing searches via google. I found out that lots of people were having the same sort of wireless issues with Ubuntu 12.10 as me with my network card – the infamous Broadcom 1345 WLAN Mini Card. Needless to say, I valiantly wasted way too much time fruitlessly trying to get Ubuntu to be friends with my network card.
Next, I embarked on trying out the new-wave Cr OS Linux, built around the Chromium browser (what used to be Chrome OS Linux). It did not work, and in my opinion just is not ready for prime time yet. I also tried OpenSuse while I was at it since, Cr OS is based on OpenSuse, but, again, no luck getting it to recognize my network card.
Then, feeling forlorn, I gave up on Linux and decided to try loading Windows onto the Mini. Boy, was that a can of worms. I toiled for a couple of days trying to get a version of free DOS installed onto the hard drive so that Windows 98SE setup could fire up. However, once again my efforts were thwarted and I was left with a blank hard drive – a useless oversized paperweight. Being limited to a USB drive and having no CD/DVD drive for input sure complicated things.
After glancing at some mention of Linux when I was looking up DOS tools on the Internet, I decided to search for possible Linux operating systems again. I hoped to find something that was not based on Ubuntu that might be compatible with my Dell Mini. I tried the following Linux OS’s to no avail: CDlinux, Centos, LiveCD, Zorin, and Gentoo – none of these versions of Linux recognized my network card. It was both frustrating and discouraging.
However, as the saying goes, “never say die,” so I decided to peruse a listing of Linux.com OS distributions, and came across PCLinuxOS. Well, I gave it a whirl and was quite pleasantly surprised – it just worked and I was on the internet! I could hardly believe it! After all my sweat and toil, it seemed so easy…