Updated: November 7, 2012
I hate it when I must make super-short articles because of the necessity of reality. I am almost tempted not to publish them, but then, that means not telling my readers the full extent of what happened, which is worse than a short rant about my lack of success with said software.
Anyhow, I decided to take PUIAS for a spin. This distribution is based on RedHat Enterprise Linux, much like CentOS, and it shares pretty much the same goals. What you get is a robust system with a million years of solid support, plus some extra repositories for fun and perks. All in all, the kind of thing I normally like. Which is why I downloaded the DVD size image, burned it and commenced to start testing.
P.S. Since this is a short review without any screenshots, since all of it happened in the installation step before any meaningful GUI was reached, I took the liberty of using generic nature images instead.
It went as follows. The system booted fine, no problem there, language setup, no problem, root password, hostname, all that, worked well. Next, we reach the partitioning configuration.
Before we delve any further, I must give you a very short intro what hardware I was using for this test - my T61 laptop, with a dual-core 64-bit processor and a pair of 40GB SSD for storage, which already host a total of four operating systems, all Linux. The first three installations - Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Mint are there permanently. The fourth one is used for testing, with a new one installed approx. every week. This host was privy to booting all manner of distributions, including the likes of CentOS and Stella.
PUIAS did show me the two disks properly. What I wanted to do was reuse the same partitions allocated to the fourth installation. This mean formatting the root partition, labeled sdb2 and reusing the home partition, labeled sdb6, which contains the home for Linux Mint, as well as leftovers from a dozen other installs, which I sometimes use to demonstrate account migration and such like.
I selected sdb2 first and marked its mount point as root (/). Then, I wanted to format it, but the only options available were LVM, Software RAID and Swap. There was no option to keep using the partition as is and just making a new file system. The same thing with home, but then I did not want to format that one.
When I clicked Next in the installer wizard, the partition window went blank, and the installer froze. Both the Next and Back buttons remained unresponsive. I shuffled over to one of the virtual console to see if there were any error messages, and yes there were. There was an ugly Python traceback, which mentioned sdb and sdb6 and all the rest of them not being found, although clearly, the installer saw them just before.
Just to make sure, I manually mounted the /dev/sdb6 partition. But then, I could not umount it, the command complained about the bad ELF descriptor. Likewise, the df command was not present. All in all, it was beginning to smell like fubar.
Alas, it was not meant to be. I was hoping for another solid RedHat clone, and this distro ought to be that, but probably in a more conservative setup, with mechanical disks or something of that sort. I must add that CentOS did not have any such issues, plus it comes with its own live CD/DVD versions, so you can test before committing.
All in all, I do not really know what to say about PUIAS. Except the fact that it refused to install on SSD, there's nothing else that I can add. I have no idea what it looks like, how it behaves, whether the extra repositories offer all the goodies normal people need and all that. Therefore, this review ends without a verdict. That would be all, gents. Almost pointless, I know, but then, I had to share.