The latest and as they say one of the most ground-breaking versions of Mandriva Linux has been released as scheduled. Mandriva Linux 2009 is jam-packed with exciting new features and innovations that will try to cater everyone’s desktop needs. I had fun with Mandriva 2008, so I was really looking forward to this latest release.

Yesterday, I downloaded the KDE Live CD edition (mandriva-one-2009-KDE4-int-cdrom-i586.iso). When the download was done a few hours later, I was excited-enough to immediately test-drive it via VMWare Server that was installed on my Xubuntu desktop. So what makes Mandriva 2009 so special? What’s not to like about it? Here’s a little walkthrough, plus later on my initial impressions:

But first, my test machine specs:
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA with 8GB allocated to VM disk
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM with 512 MB allocated to VM memory

Once I have loaded the Live CD, a pleasant-looking artwork with transparency effect kicked-off my Mandriva 2009 experience.

Next, a familiar Grub menu will appear that will let you boot Mandriva 2009 straight away, or invoke other options.

This will be followed by language selection, license agreement, and date, clock, time zone, and keyboard settings.

After this, you will be immediately taken to the sleek KDE 4 (specifically, 4.1.2) desktop. You will have an option to take a Mandriva 2009 feature tour, or just go for the ‘Live Install’.

Since I’m all business, I went for the live installation. A wizard will guide you for the whole installation process which was shall I say extremely straightforward. It is much simpler than the previous version’s installer, and I was really amazed at how easy it is to install Linux nowadays, even easier than installing Windows or Mac OS X.


After a flawless installation and first reboot, you will have to go through a post-install configuration such as location and network set-up. For the network configuration, in my case the default option was always the best option, so I went on without any problem. Lastly, you will need to fill-up the root (administrator) and user password.


Now, it’s time to play with my spanking Mandriva 2009 desktop.

Aside from utilizing a KDE 4 desktop, this latest version has a darker theme compared to the traditional Mandriva blue. I must say the artworks are strikingly cool. The default desktop theme is called Aya, but you can get plenty of great KDE 4 plasma themes if you don’t fancy the default one.

Loading KDE 4 desktop...

KDE 4 Menu...

Since I’m already familiar with KDE 4 after having used openSUSE 11, I had no trouble exploring Mandriva 2009. I tested some system tools and applications like the refurbished Control Center (drakconf) which was better than the previous version in terms of usability. I also used the package manager, tried changing the themes via ‘Desktop Settings’, and used several key desktop applications like Firefox 3.0.3, 3.0, Gimp 2.4.7, and Amarok 1.90. By the way, Mandriva 2009 is loaded with up-to-date software packages, so there are plenty of goodies for everyone. You can also read the release notes for more details.

Brand new Control Center...

Installing package...

Firefox 3...

Attack of the Plasmoids...

Shutting down...

So what are my initial impressions of Mandriva Linux 2009?

The good:

* It is very easy to install which makes it ideal for new-to-Linux users.
* It has sleek and professional-looking artworks and themes.
* It has a really quick boot-up speed
* It has a user-friendly and versatile Control Center
* Solid KDE 4 integration

The bad:
* I bumped into a few hiccups like when I changed the ‘Menu Style’ I experienced a minor crash, so I had to restart X.
* Though I think 512MB of RAM is enough, you will have to increase it if you want a snappier KDE 4 desktop.

Those are my observations so far since I’ve only used Mandriva 2009 for a few hours. I’ll just post an update here soon after I get to know it better. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that Mandriva Linux 2009 has been optimized to support a wide variety of netbooks. Anybody out there who have installed Mandriva 2009 on a netbook?

To those who want to try out the latest edition of this highly-popular Linux distribution, you can visit the Mandriva Linux download page HERE.

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