February 20th, 2009, 11:47 PM
Mandriva Linux 2009 - Review
I haven't done a review in some time now, but I figured with this new release, and the fact that I did talk about the 2008 version, I might as well give it a shot.
First, I'll start from the beginning with installation:
The Mandriva Installer has always been easy to use. Even back in Mandrake 7.1 days (Which I still have on CDs I bought) the install was pretty much painless.
Of course that was a long time ago, and things have changed a lot now.
The installer literally is just as easy as installing something like say...Microsoft Office comes to mind. You have a few CDs, you go through very pretty menus asking you easy to answer questions, yet you can also do custom if you want, and it installs it for you.
I found the install to be not only simple, but well thought out.
I also like how my Nvidia card in my laptop I was installing on was not only found, but the Nvidia drivers themselves were installed and loaded, so I had 3D and good graphical qualities right out of the box with no configuration.
On another Laptop with an ATI card; Same thing, drivers loaded and ready out of the box. NO configuration needed.
So what about after installation? What do I think?
Well, I think Mandriva have really done something nice with this release. Everyone seems to be running Ubuntu these days, and no one really seems to use Mandriva much here. And other than a few people I've talked into it, not much on SUSE either. I do see Slackware fans as well, which I also use, but that's another review
Mandriva seems to really have a good product here. The default one CD install gave me a nice shiny KDE desktop, full 3D and Compiz for jaw dropping "My desktop is prettier than yours" effects.
You can also change everything too. For example, I can make movie like special effects on the desktop. Selecting the setting "Hollywood aint got nothin on me" gives you FULL FX.
When you minimize the desktop, it seems to burst into flames and disappear into the task bar. Making it re-appear is like a Pink Floyd Video.
Opening a new window, is like....Well, intoxicated comes to mind
I have no high end brand new hardware, but it was really nice to see how well it ran on this.
The Mandrake Control Center is a lot like YAST2 and seems to have taken a few plays from there this time around. One thing I noticed right away that seemed new was the "Windows Import" module.
I ran it to see what it did, and it basically loads up something that will search your Windows partition for Internet Explorer favorites, import them to Mandriva, and then, go to the next screen of importing Documents, and other things. I don't have any Office docs currently on that laptop, but it seemed to grab your docs and import them for use with Open Office. A nice touch for the easily scared Windows user wanting to try something new without being fully injected into Linux.
I found it to work pretty well, and seem easy to use. The whole thing is a GUI based operation. No typing commands, no memorizing things, just point, click, and go, and your Windows installation seems to work flawlessly with Linux as well.
I thought it was a nice touch and wondered why it hasn't been done before.
I'll also post a screen shot in a little while of my current desktop. I haven't really edited much, but I wanted to see how it handled themes and other things now.
In KDE, a simple right click, and selecting the desktop configuration opened a pretty window with menus and other easy to use features that made me wonder why Mandriva isn't taking up more market shares in the desktop area.
If you don't like the decent wall papers it came with, you select add new ones, and another window loads kde-look.org and you pick what you want, and select install next to one you think is nicer.
Instantly you have a new wall paper image.
Themes? Installing them by hand? Not anymore...Apparently all you need to do now is basically do the same thing. Right under the wallpapers I noticed another area for themes. I decided to give it a try, and saw a few I like, and clicked install. I found a "Mak" theme, which resembled Mac OS X like things, and thought it was pretty, so I installed it.
After doing so, no reboot, no logging out, just instant transparent menu bar at the bottom with a black and silver like almost GLASS looking theme that was REALLY nice looking. And with the "My cool desktop" wall paper I grabbed from the previous menu, it really popped.
I was impressed.
ut what about installing software? Click on the menu, go to install software, and select what you want.
I grabbed Doom, Quake 2, and Quake 3 among other things, like extra internet stuff like browsers, Instant Messaging and Email Clients, and some others like media software since I do make music.
LMMS, the Linux Multi Media Studio I use exclusively for making ALL my albums, was there for download, ready to go, and make beats and music.
Other web browsers, ready to go in seconds.
In other words; I'm impressed.
I tried screwing around to see if extra hardware like....For example, a laptop that has a touch pad.... What if I add TWO USB mice to it?
Conclusion? It loads them all up and they all work.
So my touch pad works, the USB mouse I have plugged in works, and the USB Wireless mouse, all works.
February 21st, 2009, 03:16 AM
Mandrake was always a polished distro. Cut my teeth on v6.0 (just pitched those
CD's). Of course, it's AKA Mandriva now. Knew some network admins that used
Thanks for the heads up. Too many OS's, not enough time.
“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” — Will Rogers
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