Is PCLinuxOS on the Ropes?
PCLinuxOS has suffered from its share of issues over the years. With difficulties ranging from personnel shake-ups to hosting problems, it seems developing and managing a Linux distribution can be challenging work. Perhaps sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth.
PCLinuxOS is a popular distribution, at one time wildly so and rivaled Ubuntu for the top spot on Distrowatch.com's Page Hit Ranking. It has fiercely loyal users that stand ready to defend it all across the Linux landscape. And even though it has suffered major issues over the years, it still remains popular and firmly entrenched in the top 10 of Distrowatch PHR.
A labor of love is how lead developer Bill "Texstar" Reynolds once described his work on PCLinuxOS. Commonly heard phrases included "for fun" and "for my users." But a recent exclamation by Reynolds could lead one to speculate PCLOS may be on the ropes. In response to repository hosting issues of the last two weeks, Reynolds said this morning, "This distro is becoming a major pain in the ass."
This latest problem that arose week before last started when the primary PCLOS repository host, ibiblio.org, decided to move. Until the move was completed, there would be no new updates. Notices were posted, but users were impatient and many didn't see the notice, so emails flooded the developers' inboxes. Uploads finally became possible, but rsyncing to other mirrors wasn't working. After a few emails back and forth, the ibiblio.org issue was resolved and mirrors began catching up with the updates. Everything was looking good when out of nowhere came the email saying that the host for the PASS repository is restructuring and Reynolds should find a new home for it. PASS is the advanced update repository for those that donate to the project. They get updates a few days to a week before regular mirror users.
This was when Reynolds made his astonishing remark. He's been quiet since. Whether this was a temporary mood or something that's been simmering awhile is unclear. But it's never good news when a lead developer and the very face of a distribution says something like that in public. The last time Reynolds took a leave of absence, development ground practically to a halt and infighting caused the resignation of several key developers. It's always said an open source Linux distribution can live beyond their founder, but sometimes they don't. Whether PCLOS can live on if Reynolds retires is unknown, but many users would not welcome the news.