There is little doubt that Ubuntu is the most popular desktop Linux distribution. However, lately people have started noticing PCLinuxOS. Did I say noticing, actually it is much more than that. Since a long time PCLOS is at the top of Distrowatch Page hit rankings, PCLOS is featured in LXF magazine in an *8 page article*, the number of derivatives ( called remasters) of PCLOS is growing.
Its rather funny that once Ubuntu was considered just a derivative of the mighty Debian, now Ubuntu has hogged all the limelight and left Debian far behind in terms of popularity. Debian is considered one of the most stable Linux distribution and most suitable for Servers. However, Hardware vendors ( Like Dell) are considering offering Ubuntu preinstalled even as a server; I am not aware of any vendor selling Debian pre-installed.
Debian acted as base for many newbie friendly distributions like Mepis, Linspire, Knoppix etc.
Now Ubuntu is acting as a base for many other including Mint, Freespire, gOS etc. Here a point to note is that all the Debian derivatives, except for Mepis, are not in news too often; whereas the Ubuntu derivatives like gOS and Mint are on almost every Linux site.
With PCLinuxOS, it seems history is repeating itself.
PCLOS is a Mandriva derivative, well !!! that was long time back. Now PCLOS is poised to take Mandriva head on in terms of popularity.
Mandriva which was considered the easiest distribution for a newbie has lost its status to the newer ones like Ubuntu and now PCLinuxOS.
People have started using PCLOS as base distribution instead of Mandriva, though the numbers are limited.
Looks like PCLOS is going on the same path as Ubuntu. However, PCLOS is still very distant and has a long journey to cover before it reaches anywhere near Ubuntu, with respect to popularity and support from hardware vendors.
For a normal home user its a matter of choice, if he likes debain based -- Ubuntu/Ubuntu derivatives is the way to go. If the user is OK with an rpm based distribution then PCLOS acts as a serious contender.
Finally, a distribution is also judged by the distributions it is compared with. Nowadays we see many comparisons of PCLOS with Ubuntu.
Check out two interesting ones Here and Here. These are enough evidence that the Ubuntu community is taking notice of growing popularity of PCLOS and even reacting to it.