Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free)

One of the distributions I almost always get calls for reviews of is Mandriva. Well I’m happy to say that Mandriva Linux 2010 was recently released and I decided to put it at the top of my review list. Mandriva comes in the following editions:

Mandriva Powerpack 2010
Mandriva One 2010
Mandriva Free 2010

For this review I picked the Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free) version. This version contains 100% free software and weighs in at a chunky 4.3GB when you download it. Now please understand that I am not a “free software fanatic” type at all. I have no problem using distros that have some proprietary software blended into them but I like to use one that doesn’t have that stuff every once in a while.

And Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free) was a good chance to do just that.

What’s New In This Release
This version of Mandriva has some new goodies and here’s a sample of what you’ll find when you install it:

Faster start up
Three themes
Gnome 2.28.1
KDE 4.3.2
Moblin (netbook desktop environment)
Firefox 3.5
Better parental controls
Moovida (new interface for Elisa)
Smaller install size
Ext4 default file system
RPMDrake search & interface improvements 7.4

I’m happy to see the updates to Gnome and KDE. The beefed up parental controls are also welcome. I don’t have kids but I’m sure there are some folks out there that do that might use Mandriva Linux. I’m also glad to see that Ext4 is the default file system in this release.

There’s quite a bit more in terms of new features so be sure to view the full list via the link above.

The desktop contains icons to join the Mandriva community or upgrade to the Powerpack edition.
The desktop contains icons to join the Mandriva community or upgrade to the Powerpack edition.

Requirements & Installation
Here’s a list of system requirements:

Processor: Any Intel, AMD et VIA processor.

RAM: 512 MB minimum, 1 GB recommended.

Hard disk: 2 GB minimum, 6 GB recommended for a full setup.
Video card

nVidia, ATI, Intel, SiS, Matrox, VIA.

3D desktop support requires a 3D instructions set compatible card.
Sound card

Any Sound Blaster, AC97 or HDA compatible card.

DVD drive required (but for One: CD drive required).

ATA, IDE, SCSI, SAS: most controllers are supported in non-RAID mode, and some are supported in RAID mode.

The Mandriva installer is very attractive and quite easy to deal with for the most part. It’s about on par with Ubuntu.

One thing that I particularly liked about Mandriva was that it gave me the option to choose additional desktops including LXDE, Gnome, KDE and some of the other desktops. Do I need to have all of these? Well no, of course not. But I’m a bit of a desktop environment whore so if I can have them all, I’ll surely take them.

I was also pleased to note that I could pick and choose individual packages within the overall categories I’d picked to install. Not enough distributions allow this these days. Perhaps it’s just my memory but I seem to remember being able to choose individual packages as a more widespread thing years ago. These days it seems like that option is available in fewer and fewer distros.

The install took about 25 minutes or so. I lost track of it for a few minutes though as I was making breakfast while it was happening. So it may have run a bit longer or shorter. And as I noted above, I opted to install a lot more desktops than most people probably would. So your install may run shorter than mine.

Note that if you like games be sure to choose the option to make your machine a gaming station as you’ll get quite a few games included with your install.

At the end of my install I was offered the option to update my packages. I ran the update and had no problems with it.

Install 1

Install 2

Install 3



Desktop & Apps
My system defaulted to a KDE 4.3 desktop. The first thing I noted when booting into my desktop was the Mandriva Galaxy popup menu. This menu provides more information about the various versions of Mandriva and also provides links to support options for Mandriva as well as a link that lets you contribute financially to help Mandriva’s development.

The Mandriva desktop isn’t too cluttered but you will notice that there are icons included encouraging you to join the Mandriva Community and also another one to Upgrade to Powerpack. Also included are a Welcome icon, home and a trash can.

Clicking the star icon on the Task Manager lets you access all of your applications. There are also icons for devices, configuring your desktop, configuring your system, one for Firefox and also smaller icons to access multiple desktops.

Navigating the Mandriva app launcher menus is easy since everything is broken down into the usual categories as I’ve listed below.

Be sure to check out the Mandriva Control Center. The control center lets you manage your software, hardware, network, security, etc. Click the Configure Your Computer icon on the taskmanager bar and the control center will open after you type in your root password. I really like the Mandriva Control Center, it’s probably one of the best desktop control panels I’ve seen. Everything is right there, at your fingertips, so you can easily control your Mandriva Linux system.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in terms of software:

Crack Attack
Frozen Bubble
SuperTux 2

digiKam Photo Management
Gwenview Image Editor
Inkscape Vector Graphics Editor
F-Spot Photo Manager

Akregator Feed Reader
Ekiga Softphone
FileZilla FTP
Kopete IM
Quassel IRC
KNode News Reader

Amarok Audio Player
Dragon Video Player
Movie Player
Kino Video Editor

KPlato Project Management
Okular Document Viewer
Planner Project Management

I have no complaints about the selection of software that comes with Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free). Everything I needed to do my usual stuff was included (with the exception of Flash and some DVD related software, more on that below).

Adding & Removing Software
Adding and removing software is easy. Simply click the star icon in the Task Manager and then choose Install & Remove Software. The Mandriva software management tool reminds me of the Ubuntu Software Center visually. Both are attractive and very easy to navigate.

If the default software included with Mandriva wasn’t enough for you then don’t worry. You’ll find lots more apps that you can download and install onto your Mandriva system. The Software Management tool is broken down into the usual categories so it’s pretty easy to find the software you want.

Software Management
The software management tool has an easy to use interface and provides lots of additional software.

Sound and Multimedia
One of the prices you pay for using this version (Free) is that you don’t get proprietary drivers or software. So flash-based Youtube videos and DVD stuff wouldn’t play. Not a big deal though as I knew what I was getting into when I downloaded it.

But bear it in mind when you pick which version of Mandriva Linux you want to download as other versions have Flash and additional software in them. If you don’t mind adding that stuff yourself then it probably won’t be a big deal but why bother when you can download Mandriva One or purchase Mandriva Powerpack instead?


Problems & Headaches
One thing I didn’t like was that Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free) did not come with a Live CD version (though there is one available for Mandriva One). When I booted up the CD I got the option to boot from hard disk or to install Mandriva Linux. Now there’s nothing really wrong with that per se but a Live CD option that lets people get a taste of Mandriva Linux might be a good idea for future releases.

Beyond that I didn’t really encounter anything to complain about it. As I’ve noted before, I sort of hate it when that happens. It’s much more fun to run into tons of problems as it gives me a lot to talk about in this section. Oh well.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a Live CD version so you'll have to do a full install to check it out.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a Live CD version so you’ll have to do a full install to check it out.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum (registration takes less than a minute and you can login with your Facebook account if you want); everybody is welcome. You are welcome to post a message in the Linux Help section and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, but also many other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the Mandriva support page, the Mandriva mailing lists and the Mandriva forum.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free) is a great choice for intermediate and advanced users who prefer free software and are in the market for a desktop version of Linux. Beginners should probably go with Mandriva One or Mandriva Powerpack instead since they come with proprietary drivers and software that might make a beginner’s overall experience a bit more enjoyable and easy.

Regardless of which version you pick, the Mandriva Linux developers have done a very good job with this release. It’s well worth a download if you’re in the market for a good desktop distro. If you aren’t sure which version to pick then check out the “Which Version of Mandriva Linux Is Right For You” page. That will help you figure out exactly what you need.

Mandriva Galaxy is a popup menu that appears on your desktop with more information about Mandriva Linux.
Mandriva Galaxy is a popup menu that appears on your desktop with more information about Mandriva Linux.

Summary Table:

Product: Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free)
Web Site:
Price: Free
Pros: Easy install, generous selection of software including various desktop environments. Great configuration control panel.
Cons: No Live CD version. This version (Free) also doesn’t come with Flash and certain other useful proprietary software and drivers and that may be a problem for some people.
Suitable For: Beginners might want to go with Mandriva One or the Powerpack edition which include some proprietary drivers and software that could make for an easier and more comfortable experience. Mandriva One also offers users the ability to try it without installing it. Intermediate and advanced users who prefer free software only should consider Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free).
Summary: Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free) is a great desktop distro for certain Linux users who prefer a distro with only “free” software. Other folks should probably opt for Mandriva One or the Powerpack release which come bundled with Flash and other software.
Rating: 4/5


38 thoughts on “Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free)

  1. S. No Basis Windows Ubuntu Mandriva

    1 Speed Slow Fast Medium

    2 Desktop Environment Simple Pleasing Great

    3 Software Applications Limitless Good Just in need

    4 Installation & removal Easy Moderate Moderate

    5 Cost High Free Free

    6 Control Environment Easy Moderate Moderate

    7 Help Menus Easy Moderate Moderate

    8 On-line Help Moderate Good Moderate

    9 Protection from Virus, etc., Nil Fair Good

    10 Installation File Size 3 GB 700MB 3.6 GB

    11 Gaming Utility Limitless Good Almost Nil

    12 Web-Browsing Limitless Good Good

    13 Office Utility Good Moderate Moderate

    14 User Acceptability High Moderate Moderate

    15 Indian Language Support Almost Nil Very High Almost Nil

    16 Over-all ease of use Good Good Good

    17 Mobility CD/DVD CD/DVD + USB CD/DVD

    18 Hardware Support High High Moderate

    19 Stability Moderate Moderate Great

    20 Livesupport Nil Great Nil

    Marks in % 58 76 60

    I vote for Mandriva despite it scores less than Ubuntu as I consider stability as the most important factor



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  7. I believe he's just wondering why there is no Live version of the Free release. It would be preferable for those who wish to stick to completely free software, and wish to test drive this distro, without forcing them to download the One version. Its semantics really. I think we all understand what he meant.

    I'm giving Mandriva 2010 a shot right now! Mandrake was one of the first tastes of Linux I had in the late 90s, and I'd love to come back and see if I can make it home!

  8. Excellent response Ross, apparently you feel insulted by Jim's comment about open source software freaks but you cannot avoid insulting religious people and demonizing money. I was not surprised of reading that you come from a family of scientists: they consider themselves superior to everybody else and they think they have the right to lecture everyone because of the presumed "objectivity" of the scientific method. Unfortunately, as I discovered myself during my college years as a Physics student, they are too often hypocrites: paraphrasing Orwell, they believe that "All men are equal, but some man [scientists] are more equal than the others". Before asking for respect for your beliefs, you should show respect for the beliefs of other people.

  9. Oops Jim

    You upset some of the nutters. To the 3 people who got upset with “free software fanatic”. This is fair comment and your responses are exactly what to expect from the nutter club.

    I googled each of the 3 and couldn’t find anything from them, no reviews ect. And no, you won’t find anything from me cause I don’t review & generally don’t comment. Your comments are so typical of the fanatics.

    Ross, “I’m involved in several GPLed project and I’m real smart, unlike the rest of you idiots”, I googled your name. Unless you are a Canadian snowboarder can’t find anything you’ve done – hmmm

    As for Jack, this is a Mandriva review, who cares if you DON’T use Ubuntu. Oh, I get it. I hate ubuntu because they are successful! Easier to tear them apart then help out!

    And benfranks. Come on man! all the comments re fanatic. There are 3: all from the nutter club. Yep, you are a nutter.

    BTW use totally free, don’t use totally free. Your choice. You criticise Jim for saying fanatics but then you insult his intelligence. Hmmm! Methinks I’m doing the samething.

  10. Sigh. After reading it seems you still don't get it, or are baiting for clicks. Words like 'fanatic', 'religious', and 'zealot' are insulting in this context, and you can't wiggle out of it by claiming they apply to 'those over people over there,' or that readers who object to a clear insult are wrong. It's apparent that you have a negative attitude towards people who value Free Software and who don't want closed, proprietary software on their systems. I wish you would take all the reader comments seriously and think very hard about what you're really saying.

  11. I did not bother to respond to this article until the author chose to draw further attention to himself.

    The statement "Now please understand that I am not a "free software fanatic" type at all." insinuate that users that choose not to use propietary software ARE fanatics.

    That is not the case. But for you to have Mandriva or any other distribution – with or without propietary bits – is highly dependent on users and developers that are firm and loyal to "Open and Free".

    Those guys and girls are the ones safeguarding Linux and Opensource. They makes shure that you and I in fact has something free to run the propietary bits on top of.

    People do differ in opinion. I'm not so worried about those fiercly against propietary blobs, and I'm not worried at all about those advocating propietary bits.

    My concern is directed towards the pragmatics. Even more so the ignorant and those who don't really care at all, because these groups will accept virtually anything blindly.

    One issue that strikes me whenever I see sarcastic or mocking comments about "free and open" it is usually someone in the monosphere or a Novell supporter.

    Hardly ever do I see it from someone that are obvious in their relation to any other distro than Opensuse Gnome or Novell. They are the same folks that are bashing Ubuntu whenever they can.

    Your use of "free software fanatic" was not nice at all.

    (For the sake of good order: I do use propietary elements but prefer opensource throughout, and I do not use Ubuntu.)

  12. Hi Bill! I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and I also hope that you take on the challenge of tackling a Mandriva system even without an apt-get style of package manager. The urpmi package manager used in Mandriva is quite mature and surprisingly rich in features and capabilities. Get used to it and you may find that you can do pretty much the same kinds of things you do with apt-get.

    I find Mandriva to be a bit less stable than my favorite Debian systems, but certainly stable enough to handle simple Web browsing and basic desktop functions. It does those well enough that I can get away with using their absolutely sharp, bleeding edge Cooker variation. I like the Cooker enough that I have not used the installed versions for a couple of years, instead, every month or so tracking the newest releases with the Cooker – very cool. I ran KDE 4.3.0 when it first came out first in Mandriva, perhaps a week before I ran it in Debian – of course we are well past that version now; I am using Debian KDE 4.3.2 in both sidux and Debian Squeeze – running Squeeze tonight.

  13. Well, I was intrigued enough to load Mandriva One-Gnome on my HD so that I could make a more direct comparison with Ubuntu 9.10. Quick Take: It compares very favorably and anyone interested in auditioning one of these should also look at the other.

    Mandriva's ability to load flash and the correct video driver, together with a wireless driver right from the CD is impressive. A person gets a much better idea of what the installed system might be like.

    Installer runs very well and it is easy for a new person to follow. Every reviewer comments on the lack of a "back button" and that is odd, but not a show-stopper.

    I posted a question on the Mandriva forum and I received a very helpful set of responses in less than 12 hours.

    On the HD it is responsive and the GUI front-end for repositories works well.

    There are a few odd loose ends that the team might have caught before the release, but they did not. Fortunately these are minor and they do not interfere with the user's experience at all.

    Biggest challenge for me? No apt-get! And no smxi script!

    Would I recommend this to a Linux-shopper? Yes I would. Mandriva One is well done. I'll be looking at the KDE version shortly.

  14. @ Noone:

    "THERE IS a live CD version"

    Yes, there is, the ONE … one:

    But where are (say) gcc, gfortran, sage, on THE live CD????

    (I know they are on the free version)….

    Where are LXDE or Icewm on the KDE ONE or Gnome One version (and the choice betw. them?????)

    FYI the ONE liveCD can be transformed into a live USB with mandriva-seed (useful for "net""books" without {C|DV}D reader….)

  15. Is it possible to add extra non-free repositories to Mandriva Free? If yes, can someone mercifully list those for me? I have given up on my Mandriva partition for just this reason … otherwise I really do want to like and use Mandriva on a daily basis.

    Typically things like Flash etc are not to be found.

  16. Being averse to any distro larger than "CD size" due to my low speed DSL connection, I decided to download the One KDE version(32 bit). Ran it in both Virtual Box and VMWare Player. After very sluggish boot ups, it ran fairly well in both environments. Decided to burn a CD and see how the laptop would handle it.

    Still had a very lengthy bootup, close to 2 minutes. Once the desktop came up, it ran basically the same as the virtual version. Unfortunately for me, it is yet another Linux distro that recognizes my Atheros wireless card, yet will not connect. Ubuntu is still the only distro I have found that works right out of the box since version 9.04.

    As time permits, I will try the Gnome version of One to see if it is any better.

  17. Juan Luis Baptiste wrote:

    @ Jim Lynch:

    Jim, it isn’t that there’s a live CD of Mandriva One, Mandriva One is THE live CD version of Mandriva Linux. There isn’t a installer only version of One like Free, it is just live. That paragraph of your review is still confusing and misleading.

    It's not confusing or misleading and not really worth talking about anymore. Nice review Jim.

  18. Bill Julian wrote:

    One question to people who know KDE better than I do. My impression is that k3b is a darned good CD/DVD burner, but I am not seeing it on more recent 4.x.y series menus. I assume there is some problem bringing it over from the KDE 3 series? Can anybody explain what the problem might be?

    Is still there, it took a while to be ported to KDE 4 but Mandriva contracted it's main developer so the job could be finished sooner :) it isn't installed by default on One version because of space constraints issues, but you can install it from MCC.

  19. Having a live CD of One version encourages you to purchase. Mandriva is a public company and hence accountable to its shareholders and that influences the way distros are presented.

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  21. Good overall review, but I can see that nuances and minor nits have tripped up a few people and this reply thread has already gone off on two or three tangents. Oh well, maybe that is one way to get people reading and responding.

    For veterans in the crowd, it does not make one bit of difference which version to start with. If you want to begin Live, use Mandriva One. You can easily add other repositories. If you want to start Free, go with Mandriva Free. If you later change your mind, you can easily add "Non-free" repositories. Choose Powerpack to support the development efforts and get everything you need without having to download (unless you want to upgrade and update.

    As for me, I usually start with a Beta release, then enable the latest Cooker repositories. Works great for me; I can test until it breaks, report issues, but most of the time get cutting edge software that actually works. I was using 2010.0 since just after 2009.1 was released and it has been a very good test release. It was possibly the first system on which I ran KDE 4.3 and it worked right immediately.

  22. Nice job, Jim. Seems to me you delineate the difference between One and Free well enough for people to decide which download they want.

    One question to people who know KDE better than I do. My impression is that k3b is a darned good CD/DVD burner, but I am not seeing it on more recent 4.x.y series menus. I assume there is some problem bringing it over from the KDE 3 series? Can anybody explain what the problem might be?

  23. @ Jim Lynch:

    Jim, it isn't that there's a live CD of Mandriva One, Mandriva One is THE live CD version of Mandriva Linux. There isn't a installer only version of One like Free, it is just live. That paragraph of your review is still confusing and misleading.

  24. I guess the thing about the live CD is that people just aren't used to old fashioned "kitchen sink" distros any more. Mandriva Free can't have a liveCD because it won't fit on a single CD. It won't fit on a CD because it comes with everything. There's a reason liveCD distros are always KDE or Gnome, but not both at the same time. Mandriva seems to have made the choice to continue to have its core distro (Free and Powerpack) come fully loaded, with multiple choices for desktops, apps and so on, rather than going the more sparse route as in Ubuntu and other liveCD based distros where you get one desktop environment and one or two apps for any given task and if you don't like them, you need to find something else you might want in the installer.

    Some people like the sparse approach and find multiple apps for everything confusing; many people are desktop purists and really don't want KDE (if they're Gnome users) or Gnome (if they're KDE users) cluttering up their hard drive. But I like having various apps, and I like the ability to use KDE apps on my Gnome desktop or vice versa. I think there's an audience for the "everything included" type of distro, and I'm part of it. But you can't have that *and* have it fit on a liveCD both at the same time. That's why they invented MandrivaOne.

    It might be nice to have a verson of MandrivaOne that was Free software only, but that would really be a MandrivaOne variant that was Free, not a Mandriva Free variant that was small.

  25. Mandriva installer handles raid setup everything required to build an array is built in and very easy to use unlike other many distros where the end user has to pull in mdadm the array manager and know how to use it. Many at home users now use some sort of raid and having it as part of the installer is great. I do not know why other distros do not support raid!

  26. Jim, but THERE IS a live CD version, I still don't understand your point, really. A live CD of Free would be a live DVD, and the ONLY advantage it would have over One liive CD would be more available software, but as I said it would have the downside of no proprietary drivers and flash support, a less pleasant experience for an inexperienced user.

    It is possible that you clarify a little your point in the review about this ? it's clear that a lot of people misunderstood what you where trying to say and leaves the impression that Mandriva doesn't have a live CD version, which clearly it isn't true and you are ware of that.


  27. Ross, my apologies if I spoke too liberally about "free software fanatics." I don't think I was referring to folks like yourself though but rather some of the more shrill, true believer types. Anyway, I'll be more careful when I touch on that subject in the future as my intention was not to insult anyone. My apologies to anybody that took it the wrong way.

    Juan, good points about the Live CD. I guess I'm just used to having a Live CD version available these days and it strikes me as odd when a distro or version of a distro doesn't offer one.

    Good point about getting software too. Thanks for pointing that out.

  28. Hi Jim,

    But what's the point of having a live CD version of Free when you have One version? the whole idea of having a live CD version as you say is, to give the user a taste of Mandriva (or any distro) without having to install. What do you think a live CD version of Mandriva Free could contribute additional to what One shows ?

    IMO, the live CD experience for a new user must be the best of the best, that's why One includes Flash and proprietary drivers for graphic and wireless cards. This way, the user can have the best experience while using Mandriva. With a Free live CD as it doesn't include proprietary drivers nor flash, you would have a version that shows Mandriva in like an incomplete state, not being able to visit a lot of popular sites or even being able to connect to the Internet at all because the Free version doesn't include your wireless card driver.

    Also a clarification, that Free doesn't doesn't include proprietary drivers and flash, by default, doesn't mean that you will have to do all the work to get those working manually. They're available on Mandriva repositories to be installed in a Free installation. In the case of video or wireless cards drivers, when you go to Mandriva Control Center, for example when you configure your video card, it will download and install the appropriate driver (ATI or Nvidia) without user interaction, the same happens with wireless drivers (of course you will need to use your wired connection to do this). With flash, just open up Mandriva Control Center, go to Software installation and search for "flash-player-plugin" and it will be installed from Mandriva repositories. No need to manually download and install anything :)

  29. You would never start off with 'Im not a religious fanatic like a jew or muslim but I….'

    Seriously, is it POSSIBLE to stop shitting on people whose beliefs you might not share?

    Not just you but every freaking tech nerd starts off with a version of "Im not a racist, some of my best friends are black but…."

    I use free software and I participate in three projects (including my own) which are GPLed. I am not a fanatic and none of the dozens of people I collaborate with are. Yet we are to believe they are everywhere.

    It is NOT a religion and being treated like some retard by mental midgets trying to say the 'in' thing is getting a tad annoying.

    I have 3 college degrees, Ive based my whole life's work on science, on facts and hard work, I think that people who believe in the great bogeyman in the sky are mnetally weak so I dont like some dolts insinuating that my mental capacities are diminished because OF THE LICENSE I USE.

    I want my work to be accessible to ALL who want to use it… as long as they play nice and share with others. THAT is the only condition I ask they respect. You dont have to pray to some idol, you dont need a special diet or getting a bodypart lopped off to join. You can use my code however you like but if you distribute it THEN you have to share the source code.

    It is a logical decision which suits my upbringing as both my parents are research scientists who have collaborated with colleagues aroudn the world for over 3 decades.

    Learn the proper use of language and stop insulting people whose motives in life arent money or religion but principles.

    That passive aggresive BS is annoying from the free software haters and even more so from those that try to laud it like you did.

    Good article for a great distro but the facile insult at the start ruined it all.

  30. Morning folks,

    Yes, when I mentioned the Live CD thing I was referring to the "Free" edition not Mandriva One. I know that Mandriva One has a Live CD. Sorry if I did not communicate this better in the review. I did mentionin the Suitable For part of the table that Mandriva One could be tried without installing it.

    No worries though as the overall experience with Mandriva Linux 2010 (Free) was quite good. The Live CD thing is a relatively minor thing.

  31. It's as stupid to say that there is no LiveCD version when you're trying the Free edition, as saying there is no KDE in Ubuntu because you're trying the main edition.

  32. What do you mean, no LiveCD? That's exactly what Mandriva One edition is. It's an installable LiveCD…

    BTW, I installed the 64 bit version, and I ran into just a couple of hiccups, one of which is a submitted bug that's awaiting a fix. Not biggie, though… It's easily the best Linux released in 2009, though. Very sharp…

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