Shiny New Mandriva Linux 2009 Walkthrough and First Impressions

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.


  1. Great Review, I tried Mandriva 2009 and the only issue I had was it didn't play nice with my wireless card. I had to use atheros drivers to get it to work, Other than that pretty nice.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Nice review and great screenshots. Mandriva 2009 is adorable. Hope it gets the hype it needs after a long time. Mandriva has merged with a once wonderful distro Lycoris and I can see its repercussions in this release.

  4. I have a dinosaur Compaq Deskpro (P3) that was doing quite well with Mandriva Spring 2008. Yesterday, after the automatic upgrade, it failed to properly recognize the keyboard at login and kept inserting too many characters or none at all. Perhaps it would have run better with a full installation CD instead of a web-based upgrade. It now enjoys Ubuntu 8.04.

  5. I wouldn't worry about that. That's just a hiccup with the system that's not too hard to take care of. I've had it in ubuntu before plenty of times. Just type slowly, login, and see what you can do about it. In ubuntu i did dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg, but since is mandriva, you can't use that command. You'll have to come up with something else to do.

  6. I found it frustrating that when choosing which country you are in, several countries are missing from the list. Like Finland.. guess Linus T wont be happy.

    Also, you apparently can only have one keyboard layout activated at a time.

    Otherwise I liked it (had to remove it due to the keyboard layout thing)

  7. If you set up several laguages during install, you'll be able to set up several keyboard layouts for a use at the same session.


  8. impressive release from mandriva =D
    hmmm... hmmm... i'm thinking of trying it out.. let's see

    nice review, btw

    *penguins rock!*

  9. So what packages does it come with standard? Same as Ubuntu Hardy Heron?
    Thanks for the review.

  10. Its very polished except for one big mistake

    Black text on blue window decorations! ! ! grrrr

  11. Mandriva looks cool!


  12. OMG dude you are right that is WAY cool!

  13. Unable to update medium; it will be automatically disabled.

    ...retrieving failed: aria2 failed: exited with 1
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Contrib Backports (Official2009.0-12)"
    ...retrieving failed: aria2 failed: exited with 1
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Contrib Backports"
    retrieval of [] failed (md5sum mismatch)
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Main Backports2"
    ...retrieving failed: aria2 failed: exited with 1
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Contrib Backports2"
    ...retrieving failed: aria2 failed: exited with 1
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Main Updates3"
    retrieval of [] failed (md5sum mismatch)
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Main Backports debug3"
    retrieval of [] failed (md5sum mismatch)
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Contrib Updates3"
    ...retrieving failed: aria2 failed: exited with 1
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Main Updates4"
    retrieval of [] failed (md5sum mismatch)
    problem reading synthesis file of medium "Main Backports4"

    what is the pint of releasing a new version when it doesn't work?

    the MAndriva wiki says all update sources are installed by default and no needto touch them,..but in the install/remove software program you can choose other repos?
    I found that the program CHEESE fails to work,.

  14. Various issues:

    for the anonymous whose keyboard stopped working after upgrade, that seems to be an issue people have either due to lack of hard disk space or busy mirrors. In both cases, the upgrade only completes partially. Usually, switching to a console (ctrl-alt-f1), logging in as root, and running 'urpmi --auto-update -v' (and if necessary doing it again and again until all update packages install successfully) clears it up.

    anonymous with the keyboard issue, unfortunately One can only show locations for which it has localizations available. We know it should really show all locations but it's actually technically quite a difficult thing to fix. If you choose the right One edition for your language your location will likely be included, or you can use Free or Powerpack, which include all translations and have all locations available.

    tomm: we know about that one but it was reported too late to fix, unfortunately :(

    anonymous with the update issue, that's just a busy mirror. Nothing wrong with the software. Wait a while, or switch mirrors and try again.

    All *update* repositories are enabled by default (when they are contactable) but non-update repositories - /testing and /backports - are added but not enabled. This makes it easy for you to enable them if you want to use them.

    Adam Williamson

  15. I tried Mandriva 2009 KDE4 for a few days, but ultimately, the KDE4 desktop doesn't play nice with the need to use multiple CD installs via wine. Specifically, the "wine eject" command will work the first time you need to load the next installation CD, but the KDE4 desktop will not mount the next CD until you close the wine application. That defeats the purpose of multi-CD installs.

    I had the same problem with openSUSE 10.1 KDE4, but not with Pardus 2008.1 with KDE3 or Linux Mint with Gnome 2.22.

    Unless this is corrected by either the wine team or the KDE team, it will be a stumbling block for KDE4 adoption.

  16. the really bad news about distros like ubuntu or mandriva (or mac os x, for that matter) is the lack of compatibility with the platforms they have been built upon. they are nothing like debian/redhat/bsd anymore. those are all byways and sideways, and who knows where they can lead. well, i know where - nowhere. you will waste your time trying to learn software management in mandriva, only to find out those things really don't apply on ANY other distro. that's a waste of time, IMHO. i'd rather use fedora, mepis or suse, so that later on, if you wanna go into sys admin, you will have learned things that apply in redhat/debian/suse as well. other than that, i guess they're pretty ok :D

  17. I installed Mandriva 2009 KDE4 on two of my PCs. One is an AMD FX-60 (2.6GHz dual core) with 2GB RAM and a nVidea 7800 GT video card. From the GRUB menu I had to hit F3 twice and select "Text" in order to get it to boot without freezing up. Once I did that, the GUI came up fine. The install was easy and configuring the OS and Compiz was simple. This is a very polished release. Very impressive.

    I also installed it on a 400Mhz Celeron with 512KB RAM. I had been running Madriva 2008 with Xfce on it. As you might expect, the 2009 version with KDE4 runs very slow, but otherwise I had no problems. I suspect that performance will improve once I replace KDE4 with Xfce.

  18. I think Im in love!
    Finally a long weekend, so i figure id try a new KDE for fun on an old Acer laptop (yeah, im a geek) we have lying around and thought I would try the last Kubuntu beta but Mandriva 2009 just made me change my mind right now. Im dling as i type. Of course, PCLinuxOS is the distro I used to install for family and friends but its getting a little long in the tooth so I wanted to see what is out there. Ill give Mandriva a shot this week and hopefully Kubuntu next.
    I have more and more people ask me to install that Lyenux thing
    because they are sick of the whole virus/malware song and dance as well as those who need a rescue disk to save data on a crashed Windows computer. So I need something that can make the switch as painless as possible. Some purists may be offended, but it works.

  19. Good article. Thanks for the information.

  20. Great article, I actually did a upgrade instead of reinstall. Some of my desktop item and config got messed up.

    I did notice that the new Athereo drivers have problems connecting to some routers. Still investigating...

  21. Still no K3b in KDE 4.1 included ...

  22. For the keyboard issue where it types too many characters -- I ran into that yesterday on several modern distributions, including Mandriva. The other symptom was fast-running animations like the bouncing icons during program launch, etc.

    My eventual solution was (for a 32 bit kernel) to put "clock=tsc" into the kernel parameters (in /boot/grub/menu.lst). I also had other issues regarding network dropouts that were fixed by noapic and acpi=off.

  23. How about?
    1) Raid0 (GA-P35C-DS3R).
    2) Vista Mandriva dual boot.
    3) Does Blender 3d 2.47 work well
    4) What's the latest Yafray & python
    version for Mandriva 2009 64bit.

  24. Been using Mandrake/Mandriva since 8.0 and have never been disappointed with any of their releases...Keep up the good work, Mandriva Team.......

  25. I think it's important that reviews be done on a REAL system not a virtual one. Reason being hardware detection is a big part of the success of a distribution. The fact that it can run under a virtual machine is nice but not what most people will be doing with it (for the moment). I tried the live KDE cd and it could not start X with an NVIDIA fx6600 video card. It didn't drop me to a shell with any info or help...just sat there with a blinking cursor! This is not good enough for a major distro in 2009. To fix it I had to run drakxconf or something that I googled for. After I told it to setup X again it worked ok. After that I have to say it did run well, and compiz ran smoothly from the livecd....something I can't get to happen with my opensuse 11 installation, so good effort. The control centre is fantastic...but in the end I didn't install it as I have a very custom pro-audio RAID opensuse 11 install I wasn't keen to get rid of!
    I think they HAVE to do more testing on a variety of hardware to sort this all out

  26. I installed M2K9 a couple days ago on my new SonyVAIO VGN-FW140E/H laptop. M2K9 with KDE 4.1.2 is AWESOME on my laptop. I've been using Linux since 1998 and M2K9 is the best Linux distro I've ever used.

    Did I mention that it was fast?

  27. solv: that's not a hardware detection issue, it's a bug in One - somehow, on some systems, it doesn't actually run the graphical server configuration routine at all:

    We thought this only affected a few systems, based on the evidence during testing, but it seems to be happening to quite a lot now the release is out, unfortunately. But there's nothing actually wrong with the hardware detection system. It detects NVIDIA cards perfectly well. (If you run 'lspcidrake -v', you will see your card is in the 'GeForce 6100 or later' detection group).

  28. I installed this on my Q6600 with 3GB RAM. All is smooth except my wireless.

    Love this new release.

  29. On my Asus A9Rp laptop with Radeon Xpress200M Mandriva ONE KDE4 is not able to boot into LiveCD at all. It just freezes when trying to start X :(

  30. I have been using Mandriva since 8.0 as well. My server is still running 2006 release (uptime was >500 days until just recently). My firewall is running 9.1 and is solid as a rock. As to ubgrading them, I've been too lazy. Besides, if it isn't broke, why fix it?

    My desktop and laptop systems are both on 2008.1 Spring, and anxiously waiting to upgrade (torrent download is a bit slow at the moment due to several teens playing WOW).

    I use Mandriva for almost everything, although I occasionally will install other distros in a VirtualBox VM for development and testing. I also have a few boxes sitting around that are used for specific development platforms, namely ALSA work. Mandriva has been the most stable for all my work.

    For those comparing Mandriva with Redhat and Ubuntu, remember that they are both vastly different, and afaik, none of them follow the LSB guidelines for directory structure or administrative guidelines. Mandriva just is easier to administer than some of the others.

  31. Same problem on my Asus A8Js, Madriva 2009 hangs-up in text mode during boot.
    KDE4 is also too slow to boot on Asus eee 700 (the lightweight LXDE Window Manager should run by default?!)
    Not very impressive...
    (Linux Mint/XFCE is!)

  32. gruemaster: Mandriva is LSB-compliant (almost entirely out of the box, installing the 'lsb' package adds a few small things for strict 100% compliance).

    jerom: LXDE is never used by default, but the Free and Powerpack editions will select GNOME by default rather than KDE 4 when they detect a netbook. To use LXDE you just need to install the task-lxde package. For the text issue, as I mentioned, there's an easy workaround in the Errata.

  33. The only issue that I have had with Mandriva 2009 all through its development in both the GNOME and KDE4 versions of Free and One is that the GUI updates don't work and I have to resort to the command line to get updates. While this is not a serious issue (although it is annoying) I am used to doing this with Ubuntu. But any ideas how to fix this issue? (Sorry, I couldn't report it as I am not a member of Mandriva) and to tell you the truth the reason I am not a member is that until toying with the community XFCE edition of 2008 I had dismissed Mandriva as a "has been".

    I have to say that I was impressed with the XFCE community edition (a recommendation by Beranger) and so I decided to try 2009. Whilst I am not a KDE fan, I do find that it is a very impressive implementation of KDE 4. If Intrepid Ibex fails for some reason (been using it 100% since 5.10 and upgrade every 6 months and it is yet to fail even with my hardware changes) then this is a distro that I will definitely think of using.

  34. Mandriva is an awesome and highly underrated distro. My only major complaint is that unlike Ubuntu, Fedora & openSUSE there is no 64-bit Live CD. The only way to get 64-bit is via a traditional DVD install or via a net install.

    Live CDs are just so much quicker to install from and Mandriva's 32-bit Live CDs include flash and java by default.

  35. I have been a die hard Mandrake/Mandriva user since 7.0 (Air)! That was my first distro ever and after much research and trying "MANY" other distro's I am still a Man{drake,driva} user. Tried the 2009 LiveCD at work on my 2008 spring box and within minutes did the live install! Now my Dell D800 laptop at home is also 2009. I can't wait for the "spring" release to see some of the (very minor) bugs get worked out.

    Thanks Mandriva for a decade of quality!

  36. I'm an avid Gnome fan, although it hasn't alway beens that way. The first distro I ever tried was also mandriva or as it was know then Mandrake 7.0, which as my first insight into linux I loved and have always had a softspot for Mandriva. I will not bother with this one or any of the other distros based around the KDE desktop (I have tried OpenSuse 11, with KDE 4), because of the simple reason I don't have a screen the size of a football pitch which is what's needed for KDE because the layout and widgets take up way too much space. If you want to try it out of curiosity, great it doe's look nice and it's good to see how the KDE project is moving along but once past the stage of 'that's pretty' you need to turn off compiz because it messes with loads of stuff (or visa versa) either way, you don't get to open too much before your screen is full, not much fun for multi tasking. Just my 5 cents worth.

  37. Newbie question: Where can I go to find details about managing the grub bootloader. I have Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mandriva Linux on various partitions/drives. I can reload OSs from scratch, but I would like to learn where to find a detailed 'GRUB how to.'


  38. hello,I am new to linux and i have installed mandriva linux out of curiosity, I installed it on A hp compaq presario 108tu with built in HDA intel sound card.
    Everything is working fine except for no sound at all. Please help.. Is someone can help me on how to enable sound... I would definitely praise and we could drop some bottles of RED horse... The problem with other distributions..
    not a single beep from the speaker.

    Any help is much appreciated .
    email me