Distro Review: Mandriva One 2010

Man2010_31Today I’d like to take a look at a newly released distribution, Mandriva 2010. In the past I’ve found it to be a well accomplished and easy to use desktop distro, even if the last release wasn’t quite as stellar as I’d hoped. How would this version stack up? Let’s find out.

I also talked about Mandriva 2010 on episode 121 of the Linux Outlaws podcast if you want too hear more.

Vital Stats:
Distro base – Red Hat (Forked many moons ago though it has to be said)
Packaging – .rpm (Managed by URPMI)
Linux Kernel – 2.6.31.5-desktop586-1mnb
Default Desktop – KDE 4.3 or Gnome 2.28

Introduction:

Boot Menu

Boot Menu

I still remember the first time I saw Mandriva, or Mandrake as it was then known. It was way back in 2002 when a university friend introduced me to this alternative operating system known as Linux. I really knew nothing about it at the time, but obviously that’s changed over the years. Real old school Linux users who were bootstrapping Slackware back in 93 will laugh at that, I’m still wet behind the ears in comparison. But this was the moment my world changed, at least in software terms. I defend Mandriva when people make jokes about it being yesterdays distro, perhaps because it was my first exposure to Linux as a whole, but also because I think it has a lot to offer. It’s true that after the heights of 2000 Mandriva fell off the pace a little, and then Ubuntu burst onto the scene in a brown blur, but it shouldn’t be written off by any means. I returned to it with Mandriva 2008 and would still rank that as one of the best desktop distro releases of recent years. 2009 wasn’t quite as good, I had some problems getting things working on my hardware, but 2010 offers renewed promise. With these thoughts floating around my excuse for a brain, I downloaded both the Gnome and KDE versions of Mandriva One 2010 on release day.

Gnome Installation:

License Prompt

License Prompt

I installed the Gnome edition first, not for any particular reason, just because it was first to hand. So I’ll give you a quick run down of that before getting into more detail about the KDE variant. Upon booting the live CD I was prompted to accept the license. That’s a bit odd for a Linux install but reading through the Mandriva license it seems to mainly consist of the GNU GPL, which of course I am happy to accept. I couldn’t see any particularly nasty EULA stuff in there, but then I’m not a lawyer. I was also prompted to choose a keyboard language and whether to enable 3D effects via Compiz or Metisse. I like the way Mandriva assumes that if you’ve got a freedom hating Nvidia card, you’re likely to want to use the binary driver, and it just works. I could spin the Compiz cube even on the live CD. Ubuntu prompts you to enable restricted drivers rather than just installing them, and while I can see the philosophical argument for trying to educate users, it’s nice when your card just works. They have a whole other release which on consists of 100% libre software anyway, Mandriva Free. I won’t be looking at that in this article. The install was very quick at about 12mins and all seemed to go smoothly. I won’t go into precise detail about that as I spent more time examining the KDE edition, we’ll get to that in a minute. I did find I was immediately at home with the Gnome edition though. Software is easy to install with the built in tool and the repositories are refreshingly deep. For example, I was able to just grab the latest gPodder (2.0) without any hassle. I did miss a few tools like Tasque for keeping track of my TODO lists, but most of what I needed was there. I had to install Nano, the command line text editor, and also set up Sudo to allow me to do jobs quicker as root. I suppose that’s a reflection of the way I’ve gotten used to working personally. It was a 2 minute job, so I wasn’t too worried. Fedora and other distros also work in this way. They don’t give you sudo for running commands as root because they say it’s less secure. Some professional security people I know would say the opposite, but that argument is beyond the scope of this article. I won’t bore you with it now.

Upgrade?

Upgrade?

I did run into a couple of teething problems I should report. Firstly the update manager kept prompting me to “upgrade” to Mandriva 2009, which seemed a bit odd since I was on 2010. I wouldn’t claim to be a maths expert but I’m pretty sure 2010 comes after 2009. I was still able to install normal package updates and fixes without a problem, so I just ignored it.  This was fixed by a package update after a couple of days, I can only assume someone made a mistake with version numbering in the release. I also found my machine started to get slow and bogged down after some updates. I couldn’t browse my home folder with Nautilus, it just gave me a blank window and it became something of a problem. Much to my relief this was completely fixed after a reboot, and I can only assume an update changed some underlying system component as the machine was running. It probably should have prompted me to reboot and complete the update though. These problems were pretty isolated and overall I enjoyed the Gnome edition immensely. Browsing a Windows network share in Nautilus just worked. The package manager was lightening fast for both searches and installs. I can only assume this is something to do with the way it caches package data locally on your machine. Most package managers do this, but they don’t always perform so quickly. I was impressed. Next I moved onto the KDE edition, so lets look at that in a bit more detail.

KDE Installation:

DrakeX Tool

DrakeX Tool

Installing the KDE edition of Mandriva 2010 proved to be a lot harder for me than Gnome. I don’t say that as a convicted Gnome fan, before all the KDE supporters jump on me. I ran into a couple of strange bugs in the installer I haven’t seen on any distro before. These were nothing to do with KDE itself I don’t think, they just cropped up during that install. Let me describe what happened. First of all the live CD took over 5 minutes to boot for some reason, this pattern would later repeat itself. I went through the license and settings screens as I had with Gnome, but this time there was no prompt to choose 3D desktop effects. I was puzzled by this at first, then it occurred to me that KDE4 contains its own compositing effects, and you probably wouldn’t use something like Compiz on top of that. I later confirmed that the Nvidia driver was indeed loaded and KDE4 effects were working. It’s nice to see the developers have thought about the differences between the two desktops. I was able to connect to wireless easily in the KDE4 live session. It worked very much like Network Manager in Gnome, I just clicked the icon and entered my key. One area of 2010 I’m not so happy with is the changes to DrakeX, the partitioning tool. In the release notes they say they’ve simplified it for new users. I found it more confusing, but perhaps that’s just me. I also discovered while using the installer that it has no “back” button. If you make a mistake on one step and want to go back, you have to cancel the whole thing and start again. It’s not a massive job as the whole installer only has about 6 screens to it but still, I think the addition of a back button would be helpful. Most other installers have them these days and it shouldn’t be hard to implement technically.

Unused Packages

Unused Packages

On both installs I was asked if I wanted to remove packages for hardware I didn’t have from the install profile, this would make it slimmer. It’s a good idea and seems to work well enough. I suppose if you add new hardware later you’d need to install the additional packages again, but it makes sense not to clutter up the system with unused drivers. This stage of the install was really quick and smooth. It only took about 10 minutes, but I would soon discover this wasn’t the end of the process. You have to log out and shut down the machine manually after installation. There’s no “would you like to reboot now?” prompt at the end. That would be another bit of polish they could add. Upon rebooting the system things got a little hairy. I was prompted about repository updates during boot time and it seemed to be downloading packages. I was asked to create a new user account and choose a root password. The machine then hung for about 20 minutes. The hard disk like was blinking like crazy and it was clearly doing something, but it totally locked up during this time. I was left with a blank screen and no idea what was going on. I decided to just let it carry on in hope. Eventually, after a long wait, I was taken to the registration and  survey wizard, which if I’m honest I usually just skip. I appreciate they want to get people to buy Mandriva upgrades but I’m not that interested. I actually used to have a Mandriva Club account and didn’t see much benefit to it. That may have changed since 2004 or whenever it was I paid. When skipping the survey the machine locked again for another 10 minutes or so, before booting into the new KDE4 desktop. Even when I did get to the desktop the machine clearly wasn’t happy at all, it took minutes to open the KDE menu and the processor was working overtime. I tried to do a few little tasks but got frustrated by the delay and decided to reboot again. Miraculously everything was fine after that. I don’t know what caused all these system hangs or bugs during the KDE install, but it took an hour to complete because of them. A lot longer than the Gnome version. Perhaps my installer disc was damaged but I ran an md5 checksum and it passed with flying colours. I should be clear to point out, the system is running great on KDE4 now, fast as anything and I’m very happy. I’m typing this from my KDE desktop now! It was just the initial install that caused me pain. Hopefully the developers have fixed that and this was just a faulty release I had. Time will tell.

COMPLETE INSTALLATION SLIDESHOW

Using the system:

Amarok

Amarok

I found installing software on the KDE edition as easy as with Gnome, it’s all the same tools. I installed Gwibber 1.2 from the repo as I had before, but although it installed ok it just wouldn’t open, crashing out with no useful errors. This might be because it’s a Gnome application but I’d expect Choqok to be available instead, it wasn’t in the repos. I have to conclude that the repositories aren’t quite as deep as the Ubuntu and some other distros, though they are still very respectable. EDIT: Thanks to @marqueue on Twitter for pointing out that there is a working RPM on the Choqok website. Would still be nice if it was in the repo though I think. Installing Pidgin, Easytag, VLC, Audacity, gPodder and more was easy. I installed both Nano and Sudo, setting them up as before. Once again I was prompted to upgrade to Mandriva 2009 a few times, but this went away after some packages updates. I’ve been using the KDE edition a couple of days now and everything is worked well, I can do pretty much every  task I normally would. I’m confined to the web browser for my microblogging which is a shame, but I can manage. In some ways it actually helps me get off Identi.ca and Twitter and be more productive. I like the Dolphin file manager and the KDE plugger a lot, I’m not sure if that’s the official name for it so I apologise if it’s wrong. It notifies you when you plug in external devices and offers a range of actions. Gnome does something similar but it’s not quite as slick in my opinion. Overall, I think KDE4 is really getting into it’s stride now with 4.2 and 4.3. I still don’t understand the wisdom of releasing a testing version as 4.0, saying it’s supposed to be low key, but then having a massive release party at the Googleplex. The KDE developers say this was always a testing version to iron out bugs and 4.1 was the first proper release, but personally I think that backfired. It gave KDE4 a bad name as buggy and unstable in the early days. It isn’t now, far from it as I said, but whether they can shake off a bad first impression I guess we’ll find out. If you’re interested in KDE I would say 4.3 is well worth a try, and this Mandriva implementation is as good as any I’ve seen to date. I still felt more comfortable on Gnome, but that’s my own preference.

Going Mobile With Mandriva:

Moblin On Mandriva

Moblin On Mandriva

One of the unique things about this Mandriva release is it’s the first major distro to come out with its own customized Moblin desktop. In case you don’t know Moblin is a project to produce a dedicated mobile Linux OS for netbooks and other devices. It has a simplified user interface and was originally started by Intel, then later handed over to the custody of the Linux Foundation. They expect all the major distributions to take Moblin and build on it for their own netbook editions. In Mandriva 2010 you can install the Moblin desktop packages easily from the software management tool. You then just select that session type at login. I’m not sure if they have a dedicated Moblin/netbook download yet but that would be very handy if the intention is to get Mandriva installed on more of those devices. There’s a demo video available if you’d like to see how this implementation of Moblin works.

Conclusions:
Ease Of Installation & Use: 3/5 (Would have been 4 but for the KDE install problems)
Speed & Stability: 4/5
Community Support & Documentation: 3/5
Features: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Installing Software

Installing Software

I’ve enjoyed using Mandriva 2010 and one thing I wanted to see was how the different desktop editions compared. In the past I’ve always thought of Mandriva as a mostly KDE centric distro, rightly or wrongly, that’s been my impression. I can definitely say there’s no favouritism here, both versions are well thought out. There are little differences but you won’t be missing anything no matter which you choose. I did run into some rough edges in the initial release, the false upgrade prompt to an older version was a bit confusing. This was fixed a couple of days after release though and I hope the installer images on the mirrors have been fixed accordingly. I don’t know what to make of my troubled KDE install, I hope that was just an isolated incident. Maybe it was my hardware, and it has run well since rebooting after that initial painful install. All in all this is a good release and I particularly enjoyed the Gnome edition. I was very comfortable on that and could happily use it as my full time desktop. I found the package manager really fast and efficient. There are also nice little features like the automatic backup prompt when you plug in a USB drive. It allows you to take a snapshot of the system and even set up scheduling for that if you want. Handy if you ever have an accident and need to restore things. The Mandriva Control Center works well and gives you a simple way to configure things. I did find installing a network printer from a remote Windows machine wasn’t straightforward. I couldn’t browse for it as I have done on Ubuntu and Mint, amongst other distros.

Gnome Desktop

Gnome Desktop

So what’s the bottom line then? Well, if you want a solid, easy to use desktop distro you should give Mandriva a look. I don’t feel this release is quite up to the heights of 2008, but it’s probably better than 2009. The minor bugs have been ironed out now and I think it’s a good starting point for Linux beginners. It may not have the kudos or large community of some other distros these days, but you count Mandriva out at your own risk. If you’re looking for something a little different to Ubuntu or Fedora but still easy enough install, try Mandriva. You might be surprised at what a great little distro it is.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD MANDRIVA 2010 HERE

If you do decide to install it, let me know how you get on in the comments.

Up Next:
The big distro releases keep coming thick and fast at the moment, they all seem to be doing it at once. Perhaps Mark Shuttleworth’s calls for synchronised releases haven’t fallen on deaf ears, or perhaps it’s just coincidence, we’ll see. At the time of writing OpenSUSE 11.2 has  been released today. In the past I’ve found SUSE to be a business focused distro, great in an office, but not so much for the home user. Is this justified? I’m going to install it in the next couple of days and find out. So why not join me and we’ll discover it together, don’t forget your toothbrush…

About Dan

Hi I'm Dan, I'm the nutter who creates the content here and oversees things. You can read more about me on the biog page if you like. Thanks :)
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41 Responses to Distro Review: Mandriva One 2010

  1. Julian Aloofi says:

    Nice review, and good to see that Mandriva still can compete as a distribution. It is not too unpopular after all. Your experiences also backs up my impression that most distros tend to integrate GNOME much better than KDE and generally try to get a more consistent experience with GNOME. openSUSE is the only real exception from this, so I can’t wait for your review :)
    I tried it today, and the KDE edition is one of the best, if not the best Linux desktops I have ever seen.

  2. Dan says:

    @Julian – Excellent, I look forward to trying it next week then. I think the KDE version of Mandriva is just as good as the Gnome version from the developers standpoint though. I hope I didn’t give the impression it wasn’t. Just personally I prefer Gnome, that’s what I said. I think my KDE install problems were just by chance, it wasn’t a KDE related problem at all. Thanks for the feedback :)

  3. Thanks for the review Dan. Man/drake/driva has a place in my heart as well. It was one of the first distos I attempted to use a dekstop OS. I’m happy that they are still pumping out the releases, and haven’t fallen by the wayside.

    Something I didn’t see in your review, what package manager are they using on the backend now days?

    • Dan says:

      @Brian – The package manager is URPMI and they’ve used it for quite a while now I think. I didn’t really talk about it you’re right, but I did list URPMI in the stats section at the top. It’s easy to miss I know. It works well and I’ve used it on the command line a fair bit too. Reminds me of Pacman, if only because the commands you use are similar.

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  5. KenP says:

    Mandriva is an excellent distribution that does KDE right. My only wish is that they get rid of the abomination called Ia-Ora theme … or at least allow the user to uninstall it!
    Right now, if I try to uninstall it, it threatens to take away the whole of my KDE4 desktop as well!! Why?

    • Dan says:

      @KenP – Hmm, that doesn’t sound good. Must be some package dependency mix up I guess. I’ve never tried removing it so haven’t run into this problem. Hope you get it sorted!

  6. I was always interested in how Mandriva comes along – I only really got started with Mandrake 10, which was excellent.

  7. ITA84 says:

    That issue you had with Nautilus not showing your home folder was probably caused by the corruption of the gvfs partition (folder ~/.gvfs). Reinstalling gvfs solves the problem, but as you said this was probably fixed in an update.

  8. gnomic says:

    Possibly some of the delay in getting KDE4 fired up might be the indexing/search features called Strigi and Nepomuk. I have noticed delays at times with various KDE4 desktops and it seemed as though this might be a factor. openSUSE 11.2 has them disabled by default, and boots quite quickly.

    • Dan says:

      @gnomic – Maybe that was the cause. I don’t know. The fact that the hard disk was obviously working overtime suggests you might be right. Maybe it was indexing. It was fine after that initial boot, I guess the index wouldn’t change as much after that. Could be an explanation.

  9. acidtoi says:

    Nice review Dan. I just want to point I personally didn’t find it much comfortable for me – I’m a bit Debianized (Ubunted for fact).

    But when I tried 2010 I had the impression it would be an *excellent* distro to beginners, just like Linux Mint is.

    I still prefer Linux Mint (thus Debian) for n00bs but Mandriva 2010 (GNOME) is a very very good choice for everyone wanting to make his/her first steps in Linux.

    BTW, sorry for the Tarzan-like english.

    • Dan says:

      @acidtoi – Hey no problem, no need to apologise. I don’t speak or write any other languages anywhere near as well as you just did, so you won’t hear me criticising :) I usually recommend Mint or Mandriva for beginners too. I’d say Mint is my favourite for newcomers but it’s good to have Mandriva as something different if they want it. We have a great selection of Linux distros to choose from, it’s one of the things that makes it so much fun.

  10. Dan says:

    @mjjzf – I think it was 7 point something or 8 I first used, but I was late to the game as well. I remember Mandrake 10, good release. It really should have been what Ubuntu became, it was perfectly placed, but I guess they didn’t have a South African billionare backer. All part of history now.

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  13. Mike says:

    @Dan, nice review. Mandriva seems to be a solid distro but suffers from a lack of marketing/identity. I look forward to your thoughts on openSUSE 11.2, it doesn’t really strike me as a office distro, but it is a very polished distro. People tend to either love or hate YaST, but what doesn’t get enough attention in my opinion is Zypper. Zypper is a true gem, and is in the same class, if not better, than APT.

    I would like to see you write a review on Slackware 13. I know you had a rough go with it last time but I think a fresh new try would be interesting. I don’t think you tried slackpkg or sbopkg last time, which seem to be necessary for a better overall experience. Anyway keep up the good work.

    • Dan says:

      @Mike – Thanks, I’ll try to get to Slackware 13 when I can. You’re right I had some trouble with it last time but I’ve learnt a lot since. It would be interesting to see how it goes this time.

  14. Martin says:

    Hey Dan, I really enjoyed the review, last time you reviewed Mandriva on the show I actually gave it a try, but for some reason Debian and Arch have a special place in my heart :-) I was thinking, as I really enjoy reading your reviews, perhaps you wouldn’t mind give gnome shell (aka gnome 3) a review, if at any time you get back to either Ubuntu or Mint 8 when it comes out, it’s just a sudo apt-get install gnome-shell then issue gnome-shell –replace. I would enjoy reading such an article, I personally think gnome 3 is shaping up nicely, thanks Martin.

    • Dan says:

      @Martin – I will be getting onto Mint 8 when it’s out so I’ll try to make a note to test Gnome Shell at the same time. Fab actually reviewed it on our Linux Outlaws recording tonight. That show won’t be out for a few days though. I haven’t tried it myself yet. I do love Gnome though, it’s no secret :P

  15. Logan says:

    Mandriva is great for any level of user. I have been using and promoting Mandriva since version 6. Still have the version 6 boxed set on the shelf. I use it as my main desktop, for servers, on temperature monitoring units, ect. ect. I’ve been able to scale it into any project I’ve had. And the tools Mandriva provides for administration are excellent. Mandriva has had their ups and downs, but it’s always been a great distro with the user in mind. And another thing I like is that it gives you the choice of your desktop, if your a KDE, Gnome, LXDE, ect. and all their added tools, functionality, and polish work the same in all of them. Great job Mandriva. And a great article, its nice to see some Mandriva out there.

  16. Gunter says:

    Damn, for what I can see from the screenshot, they make the beautiful new KDE look like version 3.x.

    • Dan says:

      @Gunter – Looks are always a matter of personal preference but I like the KDE4 setup in Mandriva. I think it looks pretty good. Each to their own :)

  17. hatsya says:

    Mandriva was my very first linux distro install. Although I mostly use Debian these days, I’ve always been impressed by Mandriva. I regularly install various distros for friends and family usually as a dual-booting system. I always keep a Mandriva live CD handy just for the purpose of reviewing existing hard disk partitions and creating new ones with DrakeX. I prefer to do this before beginning a new install and have found that DrakeX is usually faster and easier to use. I’ll be anxious to see the changes you describe to this tool. Thanks for the review.

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  20. antton says:

    Mandriva 2010 One KDE is great. The only disappoitment is still the fonts, especially in Firefox. They look better in Ubuntu than in Mandriva. Even though i installed msttcorefonts and handle that libfreetype6

    echo /.+freetype6.+plf/ >> /etc/urpmi/skip.list

    rpm -e –nodeps libfreetype6

    urpmi –excludemedia ‘PLF Free’ libfreetype6

    It helped quite a lot but as i wrote the fonts in Ubuntu still look better.

    • Dan says:

      @antton – I didn’t notice any problems with fonts on Mandriva myself, but then I wouldn’t claim to be any kind of designer or artist. Maybe I just didn’t notice, everything looked ok to me. I’m surprised msttcorefonts didn’t fix it, but I’m sure you’re right. You’re also likely using Gnome in Ubuntu I’m guessing, perhaps there’s some difference in the way Gnome and KDE render fonts I’m not sure. It’s a shame it didn’t work out for you.

  21. Gökhan says:

    could it be that Mandriva KDE acutally consists of Openbox running on top of KDE? When I looked at the screenshots window borders looked exactly like Openbox, exactly. Could be the reason for it being a bit speedier on KDE than OpenSuse.

    • Dan says:

      Gokhan – That’s an interesting theory but I don’t know how to test and confirm this. I don’t see any real evidence of Openbox in there, it feels very much like KDE4. You get the plasma widgets on the desktop and so on. Who knows, you might be onto something though.

  22. Gökhan says:

    Hey Dan, after installing Mandriva Free KDE on my main machine I can´t confirm this either. At least it´s not shown in task manager and it really seems to be their theme. I must say that
    a) this is the best KDE distro I tried because KDE is very fast (yepp…feels light) and the developers customized it very well. For example FF doesn´t feel “out of place”. All in all this isn´t just a generic KDE 4 desktop (like Kubuntu).
    b) Mandriva is much more userfriendly than I expected!
    c) I had no KDE installation problems (but I installed from the Onex64 DVD)

    Before I´ve installed an LXDE version [http://www.mandrivauser.de/wordpress/?p=454&cpage=1] on my old Laptop (1,6 GHz Centrino, 512 MB Ram, 32 MB Video Memory) and that´s why I thought it´s the same (LXDE = Openbox + PCManFM + …). Looks really similar.
    Btw, the LXDE version is also very good. Lately I´ve been keen on testing LXDE desktops (most unoffical versions), Fedora12, PCLos, OpenSuse 11.1, #! (though more minimalist Openbox) and I found Mandriva to be the best compromise between speed (see specs above) and usability for me.

  23. Dan says:

    @Gokhan – I like the Mandriva KDE4 implementation a lot and I’ve talked about it often, so I won’t bore people with all that again. I think it’s a much overlooked distro though and it has a lot to offer. Glad you’re enjoying it.

  24. michael says:

    Dan,

    I used Mandriva 2009 a little bit last year, but got a bit frustrated with the Intel graphics problems (now resolved with recent Linux kernel versions) that kept me from switching full-time from Windows, which I finally did a couple of months ago.

    I’d tried installing the 64-bit edition of Mandriva 2010 when it came out (actually, I’d tried the Betas and at least one Release Candidate) to no avail. It locked up on me with a black screen, leaving me to hard reboot into a networkless LXDE desktop (I’d selected Gnome, IIRC.)

    On a whim, I downloaded the 32-bit iso and flashed a USB stick, just to see if there was any better luck to be had.

    This is a NICE distro. I wish they had a 64-bit version in a < 700MB download like, oh, every other major distro that offers 64-bit seems to do, but this is lightning-fast on my machine, seems much snappier than other distros. Might be a keeper.

  25. Dan says:

    @michael – I haven’t used the 64 bit version to be honest. I don’t tend to bother with them at the moment. I only have 2gb of RAM in my laptop and when I’ve tried 64bit distros I didn’t see improvements in the kind of tasks I do. In future I might try it again to access more RAM perhaps. I’m glad the 32bit works well for you. 64bit works well for many others as well of course, just not my thing right now.

  26. Ton says:

    i’m a Grumpy Old Men but i like too test all new distro’s; it’s a hobby.
    My english is very poor so i have to keep it short;
    but mandriva 2010 is so amazing i have no words for it,
    run like a dream on old and new hardware (eeepc 4gb!)
    developers and programmers my complements and 1000 thanks!

  27. michael from belfast says:

    Hi Dan,

    I have to agree that Mandriva 2010 is a wonderful distro. My 14 year old daughter has been using the KDE version for a while now thanks to my having spotted your excellent review. She has found it to be simple to use, atractive to look at (essential) and 100 per cent reliable. My Arch installation had become a bit of a mess after a couple of recent major updates and I thought it was time to try something different. I decided to give Mandriva a go and opted for the Gnome version, as always (I use mostly Gnome based programs). I have to say that it is perhaps the most solid Linux distro I’ve tried, and I have tried a lot over the last few years. I’m frankly amazed that more people aren’t using it. If the developers maintain this level of quality I can only see Mandriva rise to greater and greater heights of popularity.

    The only problem both of us have had with this distro was the old chestnut of the freezing fullscreen flash video, with one additional issue that I hadn’t come across before being that mouse clicks were not detected on some videos (apparently completely at random). I have installed the latest Firefox (3.6.3) on both KDE and Gnome machines and the problem is now resolved for both of us. Everything is just perfect.

    Thanks again for your great reviews Dan, I always enjoy reading them.

    Best regards,
    Mike.

    • Dan says:

      @Mike – Good news, glad you got the video issue sorted. Sadly I think this may be a problem with the Linux version of Flash, it’s still very much an afterthought from Adobe it seems to me. They don’t have many people working on it. There used to be just one guy doing the Linux port on his own but I hope that’s increased now. Mandriva is a great distro and I’ve never understood why people deride it so much. It’s had it’s ups and downs certainly but it’s in a good position now I think. Thanks for reading.

  28. Thomas says:

    I also like GNOME the best but prefur Ubuntu. Ubuntu has a deeper repo and everything just runs. Tried Fedora and OpenSUSE but, could not get mp3 or MySQL to work. I’ve been using Ubuntu 10.04 since it came out. I don’t the fact they got rid of SUN Java for OpenJDK, not even in the repo’s bad decidtion in may opinion. There is also a bug with compiz that needs to be fixed, I just do use it. I tried using Mint 9 when it came out since it still uses SUN Java JDK but, I don’t like that you can’t do an upgrade you must do a fresh install. After doing a fresh install of Mint 9 I found that firefox crash alot. So for now Ubuntu is probably the best Linux distro but there is alot of room for improvement. I have also tried SUN Solaris but it is just too difficlut to install software and resize a ZFS partion. May even give Mac OS X a try. I am sure I will stay away from Windows 7 since I don’t wish to run virus software. Ubuntu is probably the best OS right now but I still don’t like the look and feel and am very diapionted they have taken SUN Java out of the repos. I like to be able keep both the OS and all the software current by just running update manager not even Mac dose that. Maybe Mandriva can fill these holes it is a great OS mostly needs a deeper repo for me to switch over though.

    • Dan says:

      @Thomas – Mandriva is certainly worth a try, though the future of the company behind it is in question at the moment. They are looking for buyers apparently. I hope things work out well for them.

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