Mandriva 2008

mandy

Click to go to the download page for Mandriva.

Now I run Mandriva as my main OS.
I was running 2007.1 (the last of the 2007 release).
Now Mandriva has reverted back to a 6 monthly release cycle.
So 2008 was in testing, the results were looking promising.
Release candidate 1 was getting good reviews with some (ok,lots of) bug reports as is normal.
Release candidate 2 arrived. Again lots of good noise and no major bug reports.
The news was that RC2 would probably be the last before the release, and so it proved.
I admit it, I jumped!
However, I've been proved wrong before.
So I backed up 2007 FIRST!
You'll never know how glad I am about that.
The installation of 2008RC2 was a clean install, meaning I wiped 2007.1 completely.
I should have guessed when the install took over two hours.
You know that sick feeling you get in the gut when things seem to be going tits up and there's nothing you can do to stop it?
The machine rebooted and I was beginning to believe that I had been worrying over nothing.
2008 looked good, make no mistake.
I started cleaning the desktop up to my liking and copying backdrops etc.
Hmm, something wrong with the computer itself?
The processor fan was making an awful racket, constantly speeding up and down.
I quickly started reading about the updates in 2008 compared with 2007.
New kernel, new version of KDE, tickless processing.
Tickless processing?
Hmm, that could help explain it.
By this time, I was noticing that files were transferring between drives at under 1mb/s.
I normally find these transfer at over 30mb/s.
Webpages crashed, videos stuttered, music stuttered, everything took 100% of processor time.
Never mind, into update and find the cures for everything.
It crashed, I couldn't update via the interface.
By this time, I was close to losing it.
Compiz is the default on 2008.
Gives really good effects on your screen, but not when windows refused to resize, froze, wouldn't close.
The window decorations kept crashing, bug reports flying onscreen.
Argh!
Where was my 2007.1 DVD?
Yup, I had the iso on a partition.
RC2 took 50 minutes to burn a copy.
I suppose I should be happy it burned it.
A re-install (took 20minutes), then retrieve the backup.
In all, a couple of hours to get rid of the hell of a beta release.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.
The new final release has come out and I've downloaded and burnt it to disk.
Better safe than sorry, I also downloaded Mandriva One 2008.
This is the live CD and the main grab shown above.
Booting it shows how live CDs should work.
Flawlessly!
Again, as in RC2, it loaded the Nvidia driver and Compiz as the window manager.
Compiz is wonderful and has some absolutely gob smacking effects

compiz

Just some of the options shown above.
One of the more used is the "wobbly windows" effect.
I tried to catch it in the act, as it were.

wobble

You can always show all windows open, simply by going to the top right of the screen

open

Clicking on any window will bring it to the fore.
You can see I was playing music , if you look hard enough.
No stuttering on playback.

Tried the video player.

video

Yup, played ok.
You can see the difference in the icons in the system tray for network connection.
The lock screen and shutdown buttons are now defaulted in the system tray as well.
I should point out you always could put them there, but they are there as default now.
More observant types will also have noticed it is a BBC video playing.
You might find the reason for that in another part of the magazine.

Ok, next trial, how well does You Tube work?
The default browser is set as Firefox this time around instead of Konqueror.

tube

Works wonderfully. Check out Mr Tremonti strutting his stuff.

Open Office is included as usual. New distro, updated version.

office

Bluetooth is also installed by default now, might be time to get one of those little bluetooth dongles?

Amorok works its little socks off for me.

player

Time to try out K3B, I need to ensure that works.

k3b

Burnt a CD in 2:26.
Glad that worked.
Just more proof that they've squashed those pesky little bugs that make your life miserable.

Final check before I took the plunge.  Have a check that the update works.

update

Phew!
So, back to backing up.
A backup to another drive. I didn't expect to need it this time, however, I also copied my home partition to one of the slaves.
When you do this, remember to include all the hidden directories.
That's where all the settings are.
You can  unarchive your backup to get specific files, but I've found this is quicker for me and I have the space.
After all that, the install went well, although some bugs remain.
For some reason, the installer will only recognise one drive for the disk. It will boot on the NEC but will then launch the installer and ask for the disk.
Booting from the other drive doesn't bring this problem.
I've had this in a couple of previous editions. It's not a show stopper, but is a pain if you forget.
The install only took around 20 minutes this time. Then it was down to importing  my mail. Kmail now has a wizard to  import Kmail which works.
The free version doesn't have the Nvidia drivers on it, but they're easy to get via PLF and DKMS to install in the kernel.

The menu structure is different now and so far, doesn't save my changes.
I don't like the layout but you can now change it.
Here's the kickoff menu style.

menu

menu2

Window decorations still crash occasionally, but are easily restored by opening a console and using the following command.
You could be smart and make it a background task by adding the ampersand.


console

All in all, 2008 is another step forward.
If anything, the machine boots slightly faster.
File transfer is good and NTFS support is enabled by default . The filesystem is now relatime to minimise loading and speed writes.
The control center has had a makeover as well.

control

center2

Of course, it retains an easy way to add sources for updates.

sources

For Mandriva users, this appears to be the next step forward.
For anyone wanting to try Linux, I'd recommend downloading or getting hold of Mandriva One.
If you want adventure, they've also included the KDE 4 preview.
It is a beta so don't expect a totally stable interpretation.







RIYAN Productions