PCLinuxOS 64-Bit Suffers Delays, but Still Coming

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 28, 2010

A long anticipated 64-bit version of PCLOS was reported to be in development this past November. And as 2010 draws to a close, some wonder what its current status is. Bill Reynolds, not known for long-winded conversations or laying out rigid development schedules, has given a bit of an update.

Progress is being made on the new architecture to be released by the PCLinuxOS team, although the holidays and seasonal vacations have cut into development time this December. The PCLinuxOS development team is very small even when compared to some other smaller distributions, and when one or more goes on vacation, it can have an impact. But when the team leader needs time off progress tends to slow down dramatically. Texstar, as he is known to his friends and forum users, is well known for his unrelenting work ethic. So when he takes a much needed rest no one balks. Such has been the case this month.

Although a vacation was needed, Reynolds didn't take the entire month off. He and his team rolled out updates of some five different versions of PCLOS as well as major desktop package and software updates. PCLOS 2010.12 Holiday CDs were made available December 18. KDE 4.5.4 packages landed in repositories on December 2 and Enlightenment got a bugfix update on December 26.

Waiting for new hardware caused another delay in the 64-bit version development. An AMD 64 Quad-Core was purchased for the development of the new distribution architecture. While packages for one architecture can be developed on another, there can be limitations. So moving to a native platform for development is preferred. Shipping missteps and build time added a bit to the delay. But the new machine is operational now and the build system is nearly ready.

There were some other issues as well. For example, some older packages were not compiling with the newer version of GCC currently in use in PCLOS. They will need patching in order to complete those builds before rebuilding for 64-bit, Reynolds said. All this takes time. In addition, he is also removing the last traces of Mandriva branding out of the remaining legacy packages.

So when asked when one might hope to see some kind of release, either developmental or final, Reynolds said, "I'd say sometime in the next couple of months if not sooner."