A Taste Of Mandriva Linux

Posted by jun auza On 12/19/2007
A Taste Of Mandriva Linux: Mandriva Linux is a “populaire” Linux distribution with a French origin. It was created by Mandriva (formerly Mandrakesoft) in 1998. Mandriva’s previous name is Mandrakelinux, and its first release was based on Red Hat Linux (version 5.1) and KDE (version 1.0). It has since diverged from Red Hat and has included a number of original tools mostly to ease system configuration. Mandriva’s popularity can’t be denied as it places consistently high on Distrowatch ranking with a current standing at #8.

I have tried and tested almost all major Linux distros except for Mandriva. Fortunately, I had a not-so-busy weekend so I finally had my hands ready for Mandriva Linux 2008. I installed it on my backup computer with hardware specifications listed below:

Board: Intel D101GGCL
Processor: 3 GHz Intel Pentium 4 with HT Technology
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB HDD
Memory: 1GB 400 MHz DDR RAM
Graphics Card: ATI PowerColor Radeon X300

I loaded the One installation CD which I got from HERE. If you want a more complete version with language support and all, get the DVD Powerpack version. There’s also a FREE edition to those who have a strict ideology of using only free/open-source software. Anyway, once the CD was loaded, I was immediately impressed with Mandriva’s professional looking artwork. The installer itself is even more impressive. It is very straightforward and quick. I think Linux newbies can successfully install Mandriva without any trouble because almost all they have to do is just point and click. The installation was finished without a hitch, and I was very happy that everything worked with no time wasted. Grub was properly configured and important hardware like Ethernet, audio, video, and USB were functioning well.

Look and Feel:
Though I’m not a big KDE fan, I find Mandriva’s default theme very likable and I pretty much like its sleek appearance. By the way, there’s also a Gnome version but I wanted to see and experience Mandriva on its favored KDE flavour. Mandriva certainly knows how to please those who want some cutting-edge desktop effects because Compiz Fusion and its very own Mettise is installed by default. I easily and successfully enabled Compiz Fusion and it worked with very minor hiccups. Like when the screen saver appeared, my system just froze so I had to hard reboot. I find it just a slight glitch because I usually don’t enable my screensaver. I also played with the 2D effects of Mettise a bit, and it was obviously less resource hungry compared to Compiz Fusion, which makes it ideal for those who have an ultra low-end graphics card.

Package Management:
Mandriva One is packed with highly functional software, plus Java and Flash are already installed by default. Out-of-the-box KDE programs and handy desktop applications like Mozilla Firefox, OpenOffice.org 2.2.1, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Mplayer 1.0rc1 are also included. Programming and networking tools are also present, like Python 2.5.1, Perl 5.8.8, and Samba 3.0.25b. Downloading, installing, removing, and updating packages is no sweat, thanks to Mandriva’s graphical all-in-one Control Center. I think the Control Center is one of the biggest assets of Mandriva and other Mandriva-based distro like PCLinuxOS.

Another slight problem that I noticed on Mandriva 2008 is its buggy NTFS-3G tool. Writing to my NTFS hard disk failed, but thanks to the Mandriva team for the instructions on enabling write support that can be found HERE. For the typical desktop users I know this won’t be that much of a problem as using Mandriva for daily computing tasks is perfectly safe and secure. I have watched DVD’s, surf the web, program with Python, and wrote this blog post on a Mandriva 2008 OS. In addition, I find the KDE desktop very responsive and the boot/start-up time relatively fast.

All things considered, I can say that Mandriva 2008 is a very capable desktop operating system ideal for beginners as well as Linux power users. Those minor glitches that I have encountered were overshadowed by its rich features and outstanding performance. But, I do hope that those problems will be fixed on their next release. I intend to keep my Mandriva 2008 partition on my back up computer because I’m beginning to love it. I will be tweaking it and further use it for productive purposes.

Mandriva Linux is truly an elite distribution and this 2008 version further strengthened its excellent status. To those who haven’t tried Mandriva, I encourage you to have a taste.

Bonne journée! :)

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