Mandriva Linux One 2009.0 (KDE)

I got another review request recently, this time for Mandriva Linux. So I snagged a copy of Mandriva Linux One (a free download) and thought I’d give it a whirl. I picked the KDE version as I wanted to spend more time playing with KDE.

Mandriva Linux comes in a number of different versions:

Mandriva Linux Free 2009
Mandriva Linux One 2009
Mandriva Powerpack
Mandriva Flash

Mandriva Linux Free is the version without any proprietary software or drivers. It’s for those who are truly committed to “free” software at its most…well…free.

Mandriva Linux One is a free download that also contains some proprietary drivers and software. The Mandriva Powerpack is a version that you must pay for and it includes all of the stuff on the free versions as well as additional value-added software. You can get the Powerpack via a one time payment or a subscription.

You can also buy Mandriva in a portable, flash version too.

I downloaded Mandriva Linux One 2009 for this review. I’ve never been an ideologue as far as “free” software goes and the Powerpack is far more than I’d need if I were going to use Mandriva as my main desktop operating system.

I like the idea of the flash version though. If you are a Mandriva user it might be quite handy to have your preferred desktop distribution your pocket with you wherever you go.

Requirements & Installation
In order to install Mandriva Linux One your system will have to meet the following specs:

Any Intel, AMD or VIA processor.

RAM : 256 MB minimum, 1 GB recommended.

Hard disk : 2 GB minimum, 16 GB recommended for a full setup.

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

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

Any Sound Blaster, AC97 or HDA compatible card.

CD drive required.

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

Mandrake Linux One comes as a Live CD so you can try it without installing it. As always I attempted to do an install from the Live CD.

I used Sun’s VirtualBox for my main test install (and also played with it in VMWare and Parallels) and it took just a few minutes for my install to complete. The install is no more difficult than installing Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.

Picture 5

Desktop & Apps
Mandriva Linux One uses KDE 4.2.2 (or Gnome 2.26 if you download the Gnome version). It also comes with Xorg Server 1.6.

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll get in terms of applications:

Internet Apps
Akregator Feed Reader
Ekiga Softphone
Knode News Reader
Kontact PIM
Kopete IM
KTorrent BitTorrent Client

Office (Spreadsheet, Word Processor, Database, Drawing and Presentation)

GIMP Image Editor
Gwenview Image Viewer
KSnapshot Screen Capture

Sound and Video
Amarok Audio Player
Dragon Video Player
Movie Player
TVtime Television Viewer
KsCD CD Player

You can get plenty more by using the Add/Remove Software tool (rpmdrake) to add sources and then download additional software.

One thing that sets Mandriva Linux One apart from some other distributions is its control center. Everything you need to configure your computer is available by clicking the Configure Your Computer icon on your desktop panel. Here’s a list of configuration categories available via Mandriva’s control center:

Software Management
Install/Remove Software, System Update, Configure Media Sources, Package Stats

Online Administration
Remote Control Linux/Unix, Windows

Configure Hardware, Sound Config, Configure 3D Desktop, Set Up X Server, Mouse & Keyboard Config, Printer & Scanner Config

Network & Internet
Set Up Network. Network Center, Share Connection, Configure VPN, Proxy, Network Profiles, Remove Connections

Menu Style, Authentication, Manage Fonts, Date and Time, System Services, Manage Users, Import Windows Settings & Docs, Backups

Network Sharing

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16 thoughts on “Mandriva Linux One 2009.0 (KDE)

  1. My folks are now Linux users and they are running Mandriva 2009.1-KDE4.2.

    4.2 was the version that I found was ready for my retired parents to use and they love it,

    Dad was a WinXP user but was easy to wean off since he was using FF3, Thunderbird, Skype, VLC and OO already and mom started using the computer this April. She knows how to surf, email, chat and Skype and dad says she seems to pick things easier than he did.

    Mandriva-PCLinuxOS have always my distro for friends but having people in their 70s using Linux so easily makes me realize that it is as easy as any other OS.


    Another reason I like Mandriva is I want them to do well because they are a publicly held company and if they succeed, it could be a path for other distros to use. Ubuntu for all its success cannot be reproduced by others so its not really of use to other distros. Imagine if we have dozens of Linux distros which were real business (I dont want to put down SUSE which with Linux was doing the user friendly thing way before others) with sane models and fiduciary responsabilities.

    My folks love this KDE desktop because I can make things BIG.

    Too many designers worry about flow and lines and usability but forget that SEEING is the most importatn part of usability. Kwin effects help and the functionality and options of 3.5 are finally coming back.

    PCLinuxOS2009 is a phenomenal distro but once you go 4.2 its

    hard to go back so until they upgrade, Mandriva is still the best KDE4 distro around (ive used 6 so far)

  2. I am a happy Mandriva user (since Mandrake 10). Now, maybe i'm a little bit biased or something, but I have to say: there's no better OS than an up-to-date Mandriva 2008.1 with KDE 3.5! (Yeah, i'm speaking about the old 2008.1 not the 2009.1…) I won't upgrade / change to anything else a few years to come… Haven't had a single problem or crash and i'm using heavily my desktop PC to C/C++, Java and web development, graphics & design, http server, ftp server, music & video editing, score editing, math & physics simulation, virtualization (with seamless desktop integration), etc.

    Everything is just so robust, integrated, slick & fast!

    So if you don't care about trying the latest & greatest and being on the bleeding edge, if you want a highly productive and relaxing OS experience, I recommand Mandriva 2008.1 Spring! :)

  3. Hmm, I must not have been very alert or paying much attention when I first read the review. 2009.1 is the Spring Edition – 2009.0 is LAST FALL's edition! 2010.0 is already undergoing testing and has Beta code available, at least in The Cooker, which I've been using.

    Boot times are definitely improved, but there is one phase in the booting process where I still see room for further improvement, and that is right after the initial splash screen. Looks like Mandriva is loading up the device infrastructure (possibly) and it seems to go a bit overboard, trying hard to make sure it finds all possible hardware. There may be better ways to do this; PCLinuxOS stumbles at boot on this same issue, but Mandriva is definitely faster booting than PCLinuxOS, at least right now.

    Jim, maybe it would just be worth reviewing again when 2010.0 comes out this Fall. Sorry I did not spot the old review version earlier! Must've read the article too early in the morning or too late at night! 😉 Good stuff anyway… what you did review!

  4. I switched to Mandriva One as my main Linux distro from Kubuntu 3 months back and am loving it. The control center is real plus for this distro – I would also recommend downloading the documentation for the control center. Another plus was that the live cd installed ndiswrapper so that I can use wireless on my laptop with out any configuration at all unlike Ubuntu/Kubuntu where I had to use a wired connection to install ndiswrapper and WPA support.

    My experience is that they implemented KDE 4 well.

  5. You ought to look up the definition of "ideologue." It's an unnecessary insult that sets a bad tone for the rest of the review.

  6. Hmmm…I get notifications when people post but I don't see anything in my email about another post from you. I just see the ones you have here. Are you sure it went through? Please try reposting. As far as I know the commenting is working without a problem.

  7. Thanks for the Nice article.

    One thing I found interesting during installation of Mandriva Linux one, not sure if it does while installing on VirtualBox is it has an option for "removing unwanted packages". Other distro's do not say anything about this during installation, so we dont know if they do silently in the background without asking the user. The welcome screen suggesting an upgrade is little annoying, which I could disable right away. There is an icon on the desktop, which I left alone. Overall it is a very neat distro. This was the first distro that I started getting good opinions on KDE4, Fedora 11 followed.

  8. Shaswat, I put an edit into the review that covered the mistake and also pointed out the boot time fix. So readers won't be confused if they download the recent version rather than the older one. Thanks for catching that. I'm not sure how I ended up with the earlier version, I must have gotten it off of one of the mirrors.

    :dizzy: :blush:

  9. My bad Shashwat, you're right. Darn it. I must have snagged the earlier version by mistake. Aaaah well, too late now to redo the review.

    I'll keep an eye on it and do another review on its next major upgrade.

    Looks like they may have addressed the boot time issue in the upgrade:

    "Faster boot

    2009 Spring improves again boot time, in two ways.

    First, mkinitrd was improved to only wait for the exact devices needed to boot, while it used to wait for some useless device initializations.

    Then, the boot time is improved more thanks to Speedboot. It starts all needed functions for the graphical system (display manager) first and then, continues all other actions needed for a full boot, in the background. "

  10. Thanks for the review . I was the one who requested it..

    I haven't gone through it but judging by the screenshot. WHy you choose a 6month older release ?

    2009.1 Spring is out for quite a long time !

  11. I've been a Mandy user on and off for almost a decade, since MDK 7.0. I've got the latest version, 2009.1 Free, installed and running. I love the look of Mandy. In the days of yore, Mandy looked like it needed a makeover – that the look wasn't as important as Red Hat's or Suse's. However, now they've really nailed it. It's the best looking KDE 4 implementation I've seen anywhere! Other distros need to take note.

    On the flip side, it's terribly buggy. Inkscape won't let me use any values above 245 for choosing colors in the color chooser, or let me use any fonts. I tried to copy all my files I have backed up to me new /home directory, and the notifications came up and went away, but not files were copied. I also tried to delete the old backup files on that drive, since they were from another distro, and even though permissions were correct, it didn't delete anything. It acted like it wanted to, but just sat there and did nothing. It's these kinds of show-stoppers that just keep plaguing Mandy. It's not that Ubuntu or Fedora are all that stable, either. But, please, Mandy…start paying better attention. It's like the packagers are packaging, but no one's testing… You can almost forget about putting in bug submissions, because, in my past experience, Mandy doesn't listen to its user base very well, and with Adam Williamson gone, it's even worse.

    On the plus side, it's got the 2.6.29 kernel, so I had absolutely no trouble installing and running it on my X58 chipset motherboard. It boots fairly fast, though Windows 7 makes it look slow. I absolutely love having a 64 bit version to see all 6GB of my RAM. You just can't beat the Mandriva Control Center. It's the best control panel application of its kind. The feel of launching apps just feels more polished than other distros.

    Wish list: Better debugging and fewer show-stoppers…a meta-package that installs all your codecs and such for you…a 64 bit version of One…and better package management (never ending request by the community that never gets filled).

  12. Good review. As far as my own comments and observations, I have been running "The Cooker" periodically since before the 2009.0 release (more than a year), so I've had a pretty good idea about what is coming and how the current stuff works.

    The Cooker, while not the absolute fastest performer (Debian variations are always up there, Slackware and Arch variations are frequently at the top), it is a good, consistent performer. Claims that the boot times (when natively installed) are true; I've seen boot performance pick up 5-10 seconds in the time I've been testing in The Cooker.

    The Control Center has long been one of the good features, though with my long background going back at least a decade with Mandrake and Mandriva, I frequently use the command line versions of various commands, such as sudo urpmi –auto-update (to update the cache and install the latest package, equivalent to the Debian commands sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade).

    I think that Mandriva has perhaps the best graphics artists of any distribution team, and it shows with great splash screens, wallpapers, and screen saver slide shows.

    Another thing that had me using Mandriva a LOT (in the Mandrake days, before I got enamored with Debian) is that there are a ton of window managers, desktop managers, Web browsers, Email clients, and text editors available in the repositories, so when I need something, it is always there. That is one reason why I still tend to keep Mandriva releases around, plus I still like the system overall.

    I'm going to be a bit more generous than Jim with my rating. I'll give Mandriva a 4/5. Total quality could still be a bit better. You have to be very careful which packages you let Mandriva "trim" with the package manager, or you may delete a lot more than you planned. There have been lots of arguments over this with testers and the development community, and I know a few of the people involved in those arguments.

    The speed of package installation is better than it has been in recent years, but it is still a bit slower than a good Debian package system, and definitely slower than the fast Arch pacman package management system.

    The Cooker is a keeper on my fast test system, and when the Cooker went through this release a quarter ago, it went through quite well, and this release was one of the best KDE implementations available at that time. For what it's worth, I can also tell you that the next release, 2010.0, due this Fall, is one of the leaders in packaging KDE 4.3, which should be out this month. Mandriva 2010.0 will be out around the time Kubuntu 9.10 gets released – and there is a chance it could beat it out the door (have not checked the exact dates yet for either of them, but probably late October, if my vague memory is accurate). It would be well worth another look at Mandriva then. If nothing else, though Ubuntu tends to steal a lot of the thunder, Mandriva is consistently one of the first to offer changes when either KDE or GNOME has a new release, so they represent a good desktop environment tracker!

  13. Agree with your assessment Jim. I can report that with both the Gnome and the KDE versions an Intel 3945 or 5100 wireless chip should work with no problems. (I retain a Gnome preference, but Mandriva does KDE pretty nicely.)

    The control center – which I think also appears in PCLOS – is one of the very nice things about Mandriva.

    Also agree it loads a bit slowly, but the 32 bit version ran fine on my desktop with a 3 Mhz cpu and 2 gigs RAM. Compares quite favorably with the Ubuntu I run every day.

    This seems a better Mandriva than the previous release.

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