Laptops

Mandriva Spring 2008: The new "definitive" Linux?

Has Jack Wallen finally found the pinnacle of Linux distributions?The one distribution that will usurp Ubuntu as his OS of choice? You'll have to read his take on Mandriva Spring 2008 and see just how enamored he has become of this distribution once called Mandrake Linux.

I'll just lay this out right from the beginning: Mandriva Spring 2008 Live CD is better than most other distributions fully installed. I am currently writing this blog on a laptop (that is generally flaky about Linux distributions) running the Live version of Mandriva Spring 2008. And even without installing the distribution, I am very impressed. Let's see just how this is faring.

Display: Works perfectly.

Wireless: Works perfectly.

Sound: Works perfectly.

Hibernation: Works for the most part but because of the Live nature the laptop doesn't want to fully hibernate.

Performance: Outstanding (blows away the currently installed gOS).

Installation: Quirky but simple.

So now, let's break it down into its constituent pieces.

Installing Mandriva Spring 2008

It's not so much the installation that was quirky but loading the Live CD that caught me off guard. Generally a Live CD is booted and places you directly on the desktop. The Mandriva Spring 2008 version of the Live CD first had you select your local and your keyboard and then you actually had to accept an EULA. I have never come across this in a Linux distribution. So I accepted the EULA and then had to select my local and keyboard yet again. Once that was done the live CD booted to the login where you select Guest as the user and no password.

Once logged in everything worked perfectly. I had to open up the network connection tool and select my wireless network. But once I clicked connect I was up and running (and writing this blog.) I really like what Mandriva has done with KDE 3.5. The look and feel is one of the nicest default KDE themes I have seen.

Now the installation on one of my desktop machines was flawless. During the installation you are asked if you want 3D desktop effects enabled and what you want to handle them (either Compiz or Matisse - I chose Compiz.)

Display

The desktop installation didn't surprise me. The graphics chip is fairly standard. The laptop, however, did surprise me because the chip is a Via chrome chip which can be rather difficult to get working at anything above 800x600. Mandriva automatically configured the laptop to run at a beautiful 1440x900 at a 60 Hz refresh rate. This is probably the first time I have installed a distribution on this laptop and not had to monkey with the display properties to get it to work properly. The only downfall with the laptop is the 3D effects would not work. Of course this doesn't bother me because the laptop is used almost entirely for writing purposes so 3D effects are not a big issue. And since the 3D effects worked out of the box on the desktop, I can't hold that against Mandriva.

Wireless

Another issue that has plagued my laptop is wireless. The easiest distribution up to this point has been gOS. But even with gOS I had to install WICD to get wireless to work with encrypted wireless. Not so with Mandriva. Mandriva worked with WPA2 out of the box. Another big score for Mandriva.

Sound

Not that sound is really an issue these day, but I figured I would say that, even with the Live CD, there was no configuration needed to get sound working. Out of the box the Everex laptop had beautiful sound.

Hibernation

This has been an Achilles heel for Linux for a long time now. And I can't say for sure that hibernation is working on this particular laptop 100% because of the nature of the Live CD, when I try to hibernate the laptop comes right back. The good news is that when it comes back up (almost instantly) everything is still working fine - no need to reconnect to the wireless network. So that, combined with all reports saying Mandriva's hibernate works out of the box, leads me to think this might be the first distribution that has come close to actually solving the biggest issue with Linux on laptops. I will know for sure when I am ready to blow away my current installation and install Mandriva (I have to make sure I can get Enlightenment installed first ;-) ).

Performance

This is where I am truly amazed. Even running as a Live CD Mandriva is out performing the fully installed gOS on the laptop. This is certainly the best running Live CD I have ever experienced. And if that is any indication of how the system will run installed, I think we have a winner for sure. The desktop installation isn't too shabby either. The hardware is, suffice it to say, ancient and the full installation runs like a champ (even with Compiz running).

Final thoughts

Here's where I step up on the soap box I have carried around for over a decade and say that Microsoft, upon experiencing Mandriva 2008, should be getting close to shaking in their boots. With the Spring 2008 iteration of Mandriva the Linux community is witnessing probably the closest to a Windows killer the community has yet to see. This is, without a doubt, the finest release of any Linux distribution I have ever experienced in my 10+ years of using Linux.

Mandriva Spring 2008 is amazing simple to install and use. It's incredibly robust and stable. It is, I would have to say, the future of Linux.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

76 comments
charly80
charly80

I had used ubuntu but Mandriva Spring 2008 is better to detect hardware as the articule says, and i can say is faster than canonical product. I'm waiting the new 2009 with KDE 4.1 version that will be released in october

kwr2k
kwr2k

I still cannot get dual monitor display to work with a laptop and external monitor. This has been functional in both openSUSE and Kubuntu for a long time. No solution on mandriva forums either.

CodeSeeker
CodeSeeker

I am a longtime user of Mandriva (I tried many other distros) and I agree. I installed recently Ubuntu and Mandriva on a friend-of-mine PC : Mandriva just works but I needed to load Ubuntu with acpi=off, which is not an easy trick for someone who were a beginner under Linux.

seanferd
seanferd

Is it there to provide a feeling of familiarity to those who transition from an MS OS? ;) Seriously, since I won't be able to check it out in the immediate future, what are the major points behind the EULA? Just curious, really.

rolfpedersen
rolfpedersen

ftp://carroll.cac.psu.edu/pub/linux/distributions/mandrivalinux/official/2008.1/i586/LICENSE.txt

seanferd
seanferd

I appreciate the link. edit: Well, that EULA is clear, concise, and it is understandable to me as to why Mandriva has one. It is informative rather than dictatorial.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Going version by version to bridge over to the latest updates was in the back of my mind while pondering the jump from '07 to '08.1 or 09. It would have been more for curiosity to see what happened before doing a proper clean install. On the up side, I did a clean install from 2008.0 to 2008.1 that took about an hour. During install, I formatted all partitions excluding my VM and /home stored data. The new system installed and pulled all my old config from ~/ perfectly. The only thing that made the process an hour was adding in the applications I wanted after minimal install, replacing the missing themes my config files where asking KDE to load and leaving the package updates to install. I'm very tempted to just go all in for 2009 now while it's still in beta (not sure if ISO are available even, just been tracking the news on distrowatch and osnews).

pgit
pgit

People who tried going from 2007.x to 2008.1 had disastrous results. (myself included) The whole nature of the OS took quite a turn at 2008.0. But going from the very last release to the next, one step at a time works wonders. I just had a laptop with a dying DVD reader. The only disks I could get it to boot were Knoppix 5.1 and Mandriva 2007.1 Free for whatever reason. I tried the "big jump" and lost the system. Started over and "--auto-update"-ed to 07.1, 08.0, then 08.1. The resulting install is the most stable this machine has ever hosted. (it'd been running 2008.0 just fine before... don't ask how I broke it) If you have to jump that far you are better off with a clean install, just for the time/bandwidth. This was an extraordinary circumstance, just couldn't get any other disks to boot.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Years of MS software taught me that the "upgrade" usually isn't. With Mandriva, rebuilding from clean install is mostly voluntary and part of my automatic process to leave off the cruft and include current preferences and new additions. Cheers though. I'm glad to hear it pretty much works like a rolling distro. I had wondered if I could just dump in newer repositories and let the normal update take care of it. I've been including the backports in my latest desktop specifically to see if I could simply jump between versions with the repositories provided the older was latest and the newer was not too far ahead already. Hm.. now can I jump 2007.1 through to 2008.1 or 2009.0 with backports and repositories? That's more curiosity as I wouldn't do that too a production machine before testing against VM enough to be confident. Yup, seems it's time to try a repository update when I can't hold off 2009.0 any longer. I'll probably rebuild from clean install again after just to clean up the program selections. I'm ok with that after seeing an upgrade go smoothly for the most important reason of all; because I could. :)

Jaqui
Jaqui

when you subscribe to the development list :) at the time of the legal / financial issues I was subscribed to the cooker email list.

pgit
pgit

Mandriva upgrades between major releases fairly well. Unfortunately the 2008.1 disk shiped with a bug in the upgrade routine. But doing it on line is just as easy. As soon as the new release comes out, simply change your repositories to the new release. Remove all your current repositories, mcc--->software manager--->configure sources for install/update. Remove all. Then use this: http://club.mandriva.com/xwiki/bin/view/Downloads/MirrorFinder2 Pick a mirror in France, the ones with "free" or "coffee" in the name are best. You'll repeat the "show mirrors" process for each of the components; for both main and contrib you want release and update, at minimum. Backports is optional, I always add it but be careful. After clicking through to the specific mirror page, there's a command to copy and past in a terminal (run as root) This part takes a while, make sure you get all the mirrors on board. Then once setup, in a root terminal run: urpmi --auto-update That's it. After a ton of loading/configuring behind the scenes, you'll have 2009.0 (or whatever new release) on board for next time you boot. People find minor glitches from time to time, the most disconcerting is broken video, but there's always a fix. Hit the Mandriva forums and someone is bound to help you through anything.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I find Mandriva more apealing than Mandrake but it may be due to using it now longer than "Mandrake". Either way, both names are recognized and the OS seems to improve with each release again. Now to start the clock and see how long I can hold off upgrading my system to 2009.0 or investigate the upgrade process. Anyone know how Mandriva is for updating between versions? It would be fantastic as a rolling distro that "urpmi --upgrade-system" or some similar command could push between versions.

pgit
pgit

I never heard any of that stuff. I've used Mandrake/Mandriva since 7.0. There was a time when the community forums were for paid users only. It was worth a try, but give 'em credit for abandoning it when the signs said to. But the name of the company is still MandrakeSoft, I believe. And "Mandriva" was the result of the merger of Mandrake with Connectiva. They wanted to reflect the merger, rather than 'takeover' nature of the relationship so a new name was inevitable. But boy did they get flamed in their own forums over that name! I was one of the few who felt 'what's in a name?' They could call it "Turdux" for all I care, if this OS is the result!

Jaqui
Jaqui

a clown. literally, Mandrake the Clown sued them for infinging his trademark stage name. He wanted them to change their name.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If rumour is correct, the guy who named the distro Mandrake left the company after which, the company was not legally able to continue the name and chose Mandriva instead. I also remember hearnig that the real downturn in the community came when, as Mandrake, they blocked all non-paying users from the forums. The distro was still available but the community was effectively cut into "haves" who'd paid and "have nots". Re-opening forums and community resources to everyone seems to be helping smooth over that previous error in decision making. I don't follow the company too closely beyond upcoming release dates though so I have only hear-say to offer.

Jaqui
Jaqui

at one time Mandrake Linux was close to filing for bankruptcy protection in the French courts. [ They are a French company ] a year later they had the finances to buy connectiva, and changed their operational name to Mandriva, for Mandriva 2005 LE release. Old nomeclature would have been Mandrake 10.2 for that release. In a very real way, Mandriva's ability to turn it around so quickly and strongly is the best example of how good a business model open source can be.

pgit
pgit

Mandriva is a for-profit, they even have stock out there in the wild. But their "business model" has always seemed to be straight-up "open source" to me. No disagreement with anything management has done. They're a competent, open minded bunch. May their books always be in the black...

penguinibros
penguinibros

Playing around with the 2009 Beta version indicates to me that Mandriva is about to get even better than it already is. While my personal favorite is my remastered PCLinuxOS box. I love Mandriva.

lostinspace
lostinspace

Re the review: I was wondering when someone would notice. When I decided to finally make the switch to Linux after a "live CD and VMware" period of a year or two, the first installation I did on a hard drive was another distro (no need to mention names here), which was very capable in many respects, but seemed to me better suited for someone with an IT department. Also, between the live CD and the actual HD installation there were some serious gaps in what worked and what didn't, and I could never quite figure out why. I kept trying live CDs on top of that first install, and when I tried Mandriva One 2007.0, I found it to be miles above anything else, so that wiped out the other distro on the drive, and now I'm on 2008.0 Powerpack, which is also on my ancient Thinkpad T22. Aside from Mandriva itself, Adam Williamson's response above points to another reason I have kept using it. Mandriva people respond to reviews, show up in discussion forums, certainly answer questions on their own site, and tend to give honest and thorough answers to questions about what works, what doesn't, how to solve problems, etc., and where they stand in making things better. No alibis, no RTFM, just straight answers. The kind of thinking that is also apparent in this well-thought-out distro.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

It appears that if Mandriva is installed it must be the main distro. I installed it and tried it out and it worked well. I then installed another distro and immediately could not load Mandriva. I could load all the other chainloaded distros but not Mandriva. I looked on the forum and apparently Mandriva uses a different sized boot record than the other distros do. It uses 256 bytes while the other distors use 128 bytes. When you try to chainload it you are therefore not able to read the boot record. I have not gone back yet to re-install Mandriva to verify this but the forum respondents appear to agree that this is the situation. I will do so myself and see if this happens. Eventually I want to settle on one or maybe two distros to keep. I have eliminated a lot of them so far and am weeding more now. If in fact Mandriva does not play well with others in this situation I would have to think about that some more. Is the 256 byte boot record the future of Linux and the rest are going to toe that mark or is Mandriva just out of step on this issue. Other than that it was a great distro to use, fairly stable and rather quick.

AdamWill
AdamWill

It's not about boot records, it's about ext3 filesystem inode sizes. ext3 partitions created with mke2fs from e2fsprogs (the standard utility) used to use 128 byte inode sizes by default. As of e2fsprogs 1.40.5, the default is 256 bytes. This is not specific to Mandriva, it's an upstream change (the same issue affects Fedora 9, as they also chose to go with the new upstream default). The reason for the change is that ext4 will require a minimum 256 byte inode size. ext3 partitions with 256 byte inodes will be convertible to ext4 partitions quickly and without data loss, just as you can convert between ext2 and ext3 on-the-fly without losing any data, but this won't be possible with ext3 partitions with smaller inode sizes. So the thinking is to help people with the transition to ext4, when that day arrives - you'll probably be quite glad your ext3 partition has a 256 byte inode size when you want to switch to ext4. :) Current (I think, didn't check if they updated yet) versions of grub do not support ext3 partitions with 256 byte inodes. This is more a bug in grub than anything else - it's a perfectly acceptable thing to have in an ext3 partition, so it should support them. But many tools that interact with ext3 partitions never considered the possibility that the inode size might be something other than the old default, 128 bytes. So if you try to use an unpatched grub - and the grub in most distros is unpatched - to boot a distro that's living on ext3 partitions with 256 byte inodes, it won't work. There are in fact several possible workarounds: 1. You can fix the grub on whatever distro you want to be the master. 2. You can install Mandriva onto 128 byte inode ext3 partitions, if you don't care about forward compatibility to ext4. Just create the partitions manually before you install Mandriva, using an old mke2fs or explicitly setting the inode size to 128 (there's a parameter to do that). Then use the 'custom partitioning' option in the MDV installer and tell it to use those partitions without reformatting them. 3. You can actually chainload. If you chainload properly, this bug doesn't happen. Chainloading is when the grub from another distro does not boot Mandriva directly - it just loads Mandriva's own copy of grub (which would be located on the root partition of the Mandriva install rather than in the MBR) and lets it take care of booting Mandriva. If you do this, correctly, it will work. There's a thread about it in the forums from yesterday, I think. 4. You can just not use ext3 partitions. Use ReiserFS or XFS or something for the Mandriva install. That'd do an end run around the entire issue.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I keep reading how easy it is to setup the 150 but I'm missing something in it. I've a mythbuntu image here I'm dumping to a disk for a liveCD boot. I figure, test the hardware with a preconfigured working build for confirmation then go back to mucking with my system. I've the board with the two tuners on it. I believe it apears as two pvr-150. The step I'm stumped on is the mythTV setup now. Other than not testing a raw mpg dump from the hauppauge, everythign seems to be ok. Myth packages install without issue but when it tries to build the database in MySQL I get an error about tables not being present. If I blow away the mythTV database, it rebuilds everything then fails again at the same few tables. All I can figure is that the mythTV setup scripts are borked somehow. Anyhow, that's the reason I'm at the step of burning a mythbuntu disk and testing it properly. I mostly use the television now but it would be convenient to have the option of watching something else when So You Think You Can [any verb] is on. I also keep remembering the cost of the board and not being able to use it after paying for it has it's own frustrations. I think you may be one of the many that have pointed me towards Howto documentation in the past even.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

works like a champ with mythtv. Even the remote, though I find it a bit slow, Im to lazy to try and "fix" it, as everything else works just fine. If your having trouble setting up myth, I can recommend knoppmyth and mythbuntu both. Easy, quick set up, works beautifully. I prefer knoppmyth over mythbuntu. i had to look on the myth tv site to see what card type to list it as in the source set up though. The first time I triedto set up Myth it took me almost a week (gentoo 2005 on a 650 athlon...). had the same problem with the mysql tables, but it was because the package scripts were trying to refrence the wrong table... eventually they fixed it and I was able to get it up and running with my new ATI TVWonder pro. Knoppmyth will also let you boot as a live cd to use any computer on the network as a myth front end as well. Pretty nice overall.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That was what I used with my ATI all in wonder. It worked wonderfully once configured. The text config file was easy to work with. The cli "remote control" program did all my channel changing and such for me pefectly. With ATI AIW, you do have to get the community module. I can't remember it's name now (over three years ago that I used it). Basically, you copy the modules to your proper X module folder, restart X and the tuner chip is supported. I upgraded to an ATI AIW Radeon and haven't seen TV outside of Windows since. Maybe AMD's new policy of providing driver interface specs will correct that issue. If ATI has the better gpu/tuner during my next upgrade, I'm not adverse to considering them again. For now, I gotta get hauppauge working. Damn thing doesn't even bring in TV under Windows with it's own software; not happy about that outcome right now.

seanferd
seanferd

I've never messed around with anything involved here, but I just happened to run across the name XawTV in a Mepis user guide. Watch TV with XawTV If your computer has a simple TV card, for example a Hauppauge WinTV-Go, you can watch TV with K > Multimedia > More Applications > XawTV By default XawTV is configured for US Cable frequencies. If you have an antenna, or if you are not in the US, you will need to change the settings. NOTE: XawTV is NOT compatible with ATI All In Wonder TV cards.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I have to test against a MythTV liveCD to confirm that the hardware works before I go back to tweaking my own install. At the moment, MythTV is installed but won't go through the setup procedure. It rebuilds most of the "upgraded database" under MySQL but won't finish off the tables for some reason and won't progress past that failing step. I've not been able to find a proper list of tables to create the base blank table leaving MythTV's setup process to finish them off yet even. Bah.. There are a few things I'd like to see causing more developers an itch to scratch. TV is one of them. Hauppauge is the one brand that every site lists as king of TV for *nix based OS. A TVTime for it would be a very welcome offering. MythTV is reported to work great with it but something lighter on the system for just viewing the TV feed would be nice. TV was more critical when my computer had to be both. Now, it's more of a convenience and outstanding puzzle to solve. I've a perfectly good couch in the other room for TV watching.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

and what I have concluded is this... Haupage pvr cards for Mythtv/recording. Plain old ATI TVWonder cards for playback in TVTime under any Distro at all. My ancient, depreciated TVWonder card still plays back cable broadcast under TVTime like a champ. Now, if only someone would write software as simple as TVTime for Haupage cards.

seanferd
seanferd

I admire that very much, honesty. Actually, it tends to avoid more unnecessary problems or questions in the future. A positive "survival trait" in my thinking.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I had an ATI AIW working 95% with awtv and the community developed tuner chip module. That was the last time I saw TV under a Linux distro and that was years ago. After that, I tried an AIW Radeon and could never get the tuner chip working. With the last system build, I chose a hauppauge because every site I go to says it's compatible. After many "how to configure your hauppauge" docs, I still can't simply open one of the KDE tv viewers and get an image. Bah.. it's one of the areas that could be improved. I gotta give it another go now that I've taken a break from the puzzle.

pgit
pgit

Adam is one sharp young fellow. And busy. (he does a lot of the packaging apparently) Yet you see him answering newbie questions or hammering out a bug in the Mandriva forums just about every day. I know he's got dedication, I hope the pay is commensurate with the talent. ;-)

seanferd
seanferd

On the basis of only two posts here on TR, I'm going to have to say that you are really good at answering questions. Awesome.

s-c-i.net.tech
s-c-i.net.tech

I have been using Mandriva since it was just a relabeled Red Hat distro circa 1995. I have dozens of ATI allinwonder cards on all x86 cpu's even on the brain dead 286 and some pinnacle cards as well. TV is the only thing I have never been able to do with any linux distro. So I run windows in a virtualbox on mandriva to watch TV. I have tried over a hundred distro's. But nothing beats mandriva for quick easy install on almost any machine and the GUI admin tools are so good that I am still a complete idiot on the linux command line as I almost never need to use it.

rolfpedersen
rolfpedersen

I've been using Mandriva since it was Mandrake 7.1 in early 2000. Mandriva's commitment to the Open Source Software philosophy is one of its most important qualities. The distribution has always enabled me (with a little study) to do what I need to do with the computer and it keeps getting better.

AdamWill
AdamWill

Thanks a lot for the great review, and we're really glad you're enjoying 2008 Spring so much. In the interests of strict accuracy, though, a few comments :) "The only downfall with the laptop is the 3D effects would not work. Of course this doesn???t bother me because the laptop is used almost entirely for writing purposes so 3D effects are not a big issue. And since the 3D effects worked out of the box on the desktop, I can???t hold that against Mandriva." This is, in fact, a (small) bug. The openchrome driver we use to handle Unichrome / Chrome 9 graphics chips has enough 3D capabilities to fool the 3D desktop configuration tool into thinking it can support the 3D desktop (so the config tool lets you enable it), but not enough to *actually* support it (so it doesn't work). We should really blacklist it in the tool. I've come across this issue a couple of times, I'll try and get it fixed. In the interest of fairness, I feel compelled to note that Fedora would likely also be able to support your card well: one of the lead developers of the openchrome driver is also the maintainer of the Fedora package for it, so the driver is obviously kept in good condition and up to date there. I suppose their hardware detection might not be good enough to pick the driver for you automatically, but there's no reason to assume that. On hibernation: Honestly, don't draw too many conclusions on hibernation from a single machine. Hibernation on Linux is a big crap-shoot and is more dependent on kernel development than on anything any single distribution does. Yes, distributions can affect hibernation success rates by looking out for kernel patches for specific known troublesome machines, implementing correct blacklisting for certain services for certain machines in the suspend tools and so on, and we certainly do this to the best of our ability, and we're confident Mandriva is one of the best distros in terms of working hibernate / suspend on as many machines as possible. However, it's never really going to be the case that one distro will "solve" hibernation; it will just continue to gradually get better over time on *all* distros, with minor variations between them (one machine will hibernate on Distro X and not Distro Y, and vice versa with another machine). I just don't want to get people's hopes too far up that if they install Mandriva no machine will ever have to worry about hibernation again, unfortunately this still isn't the case. And yes, you can install Enlightenment: both e16 (main package 'enlightenment') and e17 (install 'task-e17'). :) Thanks again for the great review, and hope you continue to have success with Mandriva - do come join us on the official forums (http://forum.mandriva.com ) if you have any questions or problems, or just want to chat! Adam Williamson Mandriva

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's great when we can hear directly from someone involved with a product's development. Welcome to TR; I hope you can stick around.

AdamWill
AdamWill

Thanks, Palmetto - I don't tend to read sites like TR directly, I follow higher-level news sites to find stories on them that are of interest. But there's tons of ways to get in touch with me - email (awilliamson AT mandriva DOT com), through the official MDV forums, or on IRC (I'm AdamW on Freenode and sometimes other major networks) are the main ones. I'm always happy to talk Mandriva with anyone who wants to drop me a mail. :)

Jaqui
Jaqui

Adam, as much as I like using LFS now, I still keep a curreent version of Mandriva's community edition on disk. The hardware supported and configured out of the box with Mandriva makes it my test for hardware compatability distro. I have yet to find any hardware other than logitech webcameras that fail with Mandriva. [ both 32 and 64 bit versions ] and the Logitech webcams are an issue with every distro I have looked at. The one flaw I have found is a lack of documentation on where video codecs are installed by default in Mandriva. [ both 32 and 64 bit ] adding not included codecs for viewing proprietary video formats [ wmv specifically ] becomes a huge battle for finding the one location where ALL player engines will find them.

pgit
pgit

I have been a Mandrake/Mandriva user since MDK 7.0, 8 or so years? They've been making great strides in ease of configuration, including all manner of servers. Do check out the Mandriva control center. And after you install, add your repositories (use the French servers with "coffee" or "free" in the name) and add the drakwizard and drakwizard-base packages and restart mcc.

j-mart
j-mart

Out of curiosity I purchased a boxed Mandriva 9.2 Powerpack, It was the best value I have ever had from a software purchase and for my own computing requirements placed me firmly in the Linux camp. When you consider this software is of about same vintage as winXP and in my veiw much better. The drax tools make configuring your system easy. My first experience of using 2008 is pointing me towards purchasing powerpack version as I think It would be well worth the small cost going by my experiences with earlier version

jmdennis
jmdennis

I have not gotten a paid version yet but always come back to Mandriva. I try other versions and keep coming back. It is a great distribution and beats any thing else. I have not tried every thing else but like what I see.

Jaqui
Jaqui

My first Linux Distro was Mandrake 6.1 ( Helios ), the boxed set available on local retailer shelves. I've looked at almost every Mandrake / Mandriva release since then, and have noticed one thing that stops me from buying the power pack version, besides my distaste for heavily bloated guis like kde, the only real difference is the inclusion of Flash Player, Adobe Reader and Opera. all easily installed from the Vendor's installer / rpm packages. I've even looked at a trial version of their corporate Server version The minor differences between the "proprietary" software added and the free version aren't eough for me to buy the power pack versions. The Server version just has a control panel similiar to MS Server, and has restrictions on allowable software that make it not worth it to me. Pay for exactly the same server software as the community edition? same firewall? same ... ? and not be able to install desktop apps for using it as an application server? You are right, Mandrake / Mandriva have consistently improved their custom code since the end of their "bleeding edge" stage circa Mandrake 9.1

Jaqui
Jaqui

yup. if it isn't in the main repo it will be in plf ahh, just checked on a laptop with Mandriva 2007 spring installed, E16 in the main repo. :D and E 0.16.999 [ E17 ] Mandriva suffers from the erlier period as Mandrake, when they were a bleeding edge distro. They have to break the perception that they are buggy from those days still. [ I actually have a desktop running an old Mandrake [ 8.2 ] install, since it's the newest version that will run Kylix. Kylix was compiled for the 2.2 kernel, the default 2.4 kernel of Mandrake 8.2 is the newest it will run on. ]

j-mart
j-mart

Is definatley a step up from Mandriva 2007. One of the advantages of linix is there is no "Definative Linux". I run Mandrake 9,2 on a firewall machine, Debian on a server, Studio64 on a machine I am using fo a small home recording studio I am building up, I just installed Mandriva 2008 on a general purpose machine and I have a special version of Ubuntu on a laptop set up with EMC2 an NC machine controler that I can use to run simulated NC machining. With a bit of reserch you can find a distro that has been set up to do a specific task.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

The other night, and have had only a short "poke at it" time. Overall impressions: Install: Straightforward and simple. No complaints. Hardware detection: Excellent, only one item on the PCI bus not identified (Dell Precision 470). But, everything works just fine in spite of this. Desktop: Looks good, well laid out, no big deviations from base KDE. Had a few hang ups on the update process, but that seemed to resolve its self after it updated the updater =) So far it all looks good. I will need to play with it a while to give it a fair chance, since its not Debian or Ubuntu (my 2 defaults). Tyranny of the familiar and all that.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If you do manage to post an update after you have a chance to give Mandriva a good run, I'd be interested to hear your findings. One of the few things keeping me from blindly jumping to Debian is my own familiarity with the Mandriva packages. I can install the minimum needed to reboot then urpmi in the rest of my regular needs based on the minimum packages. My last go at Debian, KDE seemed to be bound all under one meta-package rather than being able to isntall kde-konqueror-ver##.deb and have the minimum X and KDE installed to support dependencies. I'm sure this is simply due to me not knowing what minimal packages to use as triggers for the related dependencies and such.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

and I came back specifically to hit a few +thumbs for you pgit. (maybe I'm just blind or they only exist in the questions forums only)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've had a couple of other items take precedence. I'll return to this project next week.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Having that confirmed helps a lot. I think I'll check the backports and see if I can drop a fixed version on the box until the upcoming window for version upgrade arrives. It was one of the things making me seriously consider Debian for that box but it's a low traffic server and one requirnment is getting the local admin comfy with Linux based OS; the draktools are a big part of that right now. Sorry to ask directly but I'm also getting some inconsistancy with another box providing storage and Samba access. If it's confied by hand in the .conf or by the draketool, the shares accept the user authentication and Windows client machines map the share without knowing any difference. If I config through webmin, it seems to break the config file. This is most notable when trying to put multiple users against a single share. The config and draketool use space delimited user name lists which works with Samba while the webmin config tool uses comma delimited user lists which then causes Samba to asky why can't find user "usera,userb". There seems to be some inconsistancy between other options with the two also. I have to test against a 2008.1 still incase it's something in an older webmin that was fixed. (I've a few 2007.1's in small office use but your tips on updating are going to turn those into rolling distro boxes after each get's it's next latest version update.)

pgit
pgit

Yes the drops were a bug (but didn't effect everyone) and it indeed has been fixed, 2008.0 and 2008.1 work as expected.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I do have to ask though, how did you set the system default to use uuid? The Mandriva defaults I've got go with the standard device directory.

pgit
pgit

Here's a chunk of my fstab, some characters replaced with "x" for safety: $ cat /etc/fstab # Entry for /dev/sda5 : UUID=0011f758-0c36-4fe8-ab7e-84xxxxxx31cc / ext3 defaults 1 1 # Entry for /dev/sda9 : UUID=71477280-9df1-11dc-bddd-dbxxxxxxf942 /home ext3 defaults 1 2 # Entry for /dev/sda1 : UUID=07xx-xx16 /media/hd vfat defaults 0 0 So despite leaving this USB device plugged in it mounts in different locations from boot to boot? Mandriva doesn't do that to me.. =)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've been in there with what I can offer so far but you may be able to take the next step I'm trying to dream up. His USB reader seems to be getting a /dev/disk/by-id entry that is consistant. "kingston- numbsers*letters*otherstuff". Not sure if that is only the reader or if the identifier is carrying over to each newly inserted SD/MMC. If it is consistant, my thinking is you slap a few initial lines in the script that check for that entry then use it or as much is consistantly reapearing then base the mount on that. Automation seems to be key as it's for a factory floor. I'm spoiled by only dealing with USB attached media outside of my own personalized machine. I can remember the months of no success trying to get a USB attached PalmOS device working. It resets it's connection at the start of the sync process so the very act of syncronizing bumps it to a new /dev/sd? position.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm so comfortable with Mandriva that it's nothing to install bare minimum and urpmi in exactly what I want. I've even got some nice scripts that do all the urpmi package chains for me then most of the config editing; handy for rebuilding most of a system in minimal time without a drive image to simply dump back to the platters. I can definately admit that familiarity with Mandriva is a reason for not going all-in on Debian. Maybe I'll cave and just dump the monalithic complete KDE. There are other benefits to Debian too so I may even simply keep Mandriva for my machines with X and move all server builds to Debian. Actually, an issue I'm having with a Mandriva server is ProFTP randomly desiding to unload itself. I can't find the cause yet either. it's simply become habit with that machine to check it in the morning before I'm off to work; no port 21 open, do a service proftpd restart. That's about the only glitch but it's also 2007.1 so that may have been fixed in later versions as the USB mounting under KDE seems to have been. I don't know that I'd call Mandriva "like ubuntu" but that's more in the background config. In terms of usablility and GUI presentation to the user; that's probably a compliment these days.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

KDE your self.... Me, I just install the whole monolithic package... If the machine is lower speed/ram, I use xfce or fluxbox. Mandriva.... well, so far I have used it for general web tasks and multimedia. Wasn't to much work to set it all up. Seems pretty solid and in all honesty, once its all set up, pretty much the same as a buntu box with kde... Can't say as I prefer it over Debian, but once again, I can guarantee that's because I am more familiar with Debian. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend Mandriva now though.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

hehe.. true, I can understand it from Mandriva though. Everybody has to eat. Free provides only the libre software unless you add in PLF repositories (local legality permitting). I understand that Poweruser includes all the stuff requiring licensing fees. Once I get my other mailing lists organized I'll have to give Mandriva's a go (had to cancel them and start over with a better aproach to email filtering; email aliases on my own server :) ). Hm.. now I'll have to see about getting that patched apt-get by rpm. I bet I can just add it on into my current install but ten minutes with a VM should confirm.

Jaqui
Jaqui

uuid: # Entry for /dev/sda1 : [b]UUID=d8d89c68-01f1-46ce-a286-ac98634a4061 [/b]/ xfs relatime 1 1 the usb thumb drive would have a dynamic device id, but the uuid would be static. the problem is, it's not always installed so it won't be in the fstab file in /etc I just plugged one it, it shows as /dev/sdc1 [ since I have sda and sdb in the sata drives installed sdc is the first available device. ] I thiiink you will find it is listed in sys when it's plugged in, as kingston usb drive or something, that would be the consistent means to find the drive, the mount point, instead of by device.

Jaqui
Jaqui

to use rpms. and you can "upgrade" to Mandriva from PCLinux. The only real difference in the two, besides apt-get and synaptic is that PCLinux doesn't follow Mandriva's almost militant open source only. [ Mandriva is better than Debian about proprietary drivers, but only in the boxed sets, PCLinux adds drivers for most common hardware, even if they are proprietary. ]

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

At least I don't see any /dev/sd entries in fstab. Multiple /dev/hda* entries (I assume each is a partition on the HD), one /dev/hdc mounted at /media/cdrom0, and an /dev/fs0 mounted at /media/floppy0. I can provide that information but I admit to not knowing what 'uuid' is. I'll Google it over lunch.

pgit
pgit

Does Debian implement uuid in fstab? Look into it, the id of the device can't change...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

To be honest, I don't fully understand the process I'm trying to recreate. We have to send flash media to another site for them to load some files onto. They do this by booting from a Knoppix CD and manually entering about 12 commands. I'm trying to build a Devian box that will boot from the HD and then have the users enter a single command that will run a script. The current sticking point is the appropriate slot in the USB flash media reader doesn't seem to get a consistent (name? mapping? connection?) Once it showed up as /dev/sdb; later it shows up as /dev/sda. If it isn't going to have a consistent name, how can I mount it?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'll have to have a look and see if it really is worth stepping down the fork a distro further. (I like to stay high up on the forks if I can) I think I saw a passing hint that Apt may actually be usable with Mandriva directly though that is not confirmed yet. Does PCLinuxOS mirror the dependencies and packages of Mandriva but in .deb instead? The dependencies is one of the few reasons I don't just move to debian.

pgit
pgit

What's the single purpose, if you don't mind my asking?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I finally have to build a Linux system for production. I've already posted one Question and will be sticking up another next week. Basically we have a process running at another site on a laptop booted from Knoppix. I'm replicating it at our end on a box that will boot Debian off the h/d. Fortunately it is a stand alone system that will serve a single purpose. Progress is slow but steady.

Jaqui
Jaqui

is possible, just use PCLinuxOS. mandriva linux, with synaptic and apt-get for package management instead of urpmi. :D

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I love Debs and apt-get on my Maemo. Every time I'm working with it I wonder why I'm not using debian on the desktop. Especially since I could crosscompile the .deb and install them on the Maemo if no one else has already. The upgrade between major versions with apt-get upgradeos (or whatever that is) is very nice too. Some upgrades, I'd love to just urpmi --auto-update-os and have Mandriva take care of it. I love the build from scratch process too but the option would be nice. That's another thing I have to check Mandriva's documents for with 2009 coming out of beta soon. boo.. so Debian will force all of KDE if I want only part of it. I thought Deb was supposed to be the geeks choice. Currently, I use the konqueror package to trigger the minimum KDE needed to start with X. I have other packages used to trigger minimum requirnments for other tasks also like picking a plugin package to trigger the rest of the requirnments for eGroupware. Apt-Get is so slick too though. Between urpmi and apt-get it's so hard to pick favorites.

Jaqui
Jaqui

debian made all of kde a dependency for any of kde. install kde-libs and it adds every optional component for kde as a required dependecy, yet kde-libs is he base libs needed for kde only.

jck
jck

So...i've done Kubuntu for over a year...great beginner Linux...easy to install and config... Now...I would like some advice on what you all, the Linux folks, think would be my next best step... I currently use Kubuntu, openSUSE, and Fedora Core on various installs...(plus Musix on my music writing PC). What do you all think I should try next...besides Mandriva suggestion here? thanks

fstephens
fstephens

I looked at distros in my blog post: http://linuxlatitude.blogspot.com/2008/03/which-linux.html I too have been using Kubuntu for about a a year, though I see no reason to change. I came from Gentoo, considered the hardest distro to install/configure, not counting Linux From Scratch which is not a distro but a how-to. I learned allot but it seems Gentoo has fallen on hard times. I'm tempted to try Slackware, the only one of the "major" distro's I have never used (except for derivatives like Slax, Vector and Zenwalk). I also hear good things about Arch. If I were to change from Kubuntu though, I would probably go to Debian, due to the excellent package m management, huge software repository, large user base and tons of online help resources.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Mandriva would be my first choice as a suggestion. I've found no compelling reason to switch distributions for general use with beginner through to advanced needs. Debian would be a good next step also. It has good documentation, a huge repository library and large community. The upgrade between major versions seems to be very smooth. (I like to rebuild from scratch every major version or so for personal interest ut a rolling distribution is a nice alternative.) If I moved away from Mandriva right now, it would probably be Debian or FreeBSD I switched too. It also depends on what you want to do with the system. Do you want a general full distribution you can customize or more of a specialized distribution like Ubuntu but for another specific need?

pgit
pgit

Live cd, you can break things to your heart's content and it's all good again next time you power up.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

For hardcore learning distros, consider Linux From Scratch (LSB) and you'll be forced to learn all the wonders of a modern OS under the hood. You'll also have a very customized OS specific to your needs at the end. I like full distros like Debian and Mandriva for the same reasons I prefer NT Server over NT Workstation; why start with limited selection. I'd like to see more of NT optional but I want those options available. Debian's good documentation and reading the FreeBSD manual are good places to start for education. Much of one *nix knowledge is transferable to other *nix. I'd recommend getting a VM or secondary machine you can leave on the side while you learn. Every reinstall has taught me something new. My preference is to put in the minimum from Mandriva Free custom install that is required (kernel, config utils, konqueror+requirnments, drakeconf, rpmdrake). Once I'm past the first boot which will include installing the X server and some other things. I add in what I want by urpmi or rpmdrake. I do need to check out Mandriva's updated user manual though as I generall just bash away at it myself these days or hit google rather than a specific distro help site. For learning, I'm still thinking Mandriva, Debian, FreeBSD in that order or LSB if you want to get crazy about it.

jck
jck

more flavor, different aspects. *ubuntu are pretty cool. but, there are lots of things done in the background that i'd like to learn. i don't think i need a full distro. i'm never gonna configure a server farm or anything...at least i don't think i am. lol i just wanna learn more. even thinking of getting out of MS programming and going into *nix programming instead to make a difference.

pgit
pgit

A lot of that would depend on what your intended use is. But beyond the ones you list there's a steep precipice where ease of installation/configuration falls off. If you've got enough of feel for Linux, the adherents to Gentoo and Slackware seem to be a satisfied lot. But these are nowhere near as easy to install, to put it mildly. Just for the sheer fun of it I recommend Slax. It's primarily a live CD, but the fans go against the developers wishes and install it to hard drive. (I did) The developer is the very fellow who wrote the code that made the live CD concept possible. Slax is based on Slackware, but it's radically different. It's "modular," to add any software it has to be packaged as a Slax module, and you just double click it and in seconds you're up and running. The latest is Slax 6.0.7, but I still use the stable 5.1.8.1. There's hundreds of modules for it. Slax 6 doesn't have as many yet. But the important stuff is there. Best thing is you can run it live, mess around, break it, and walk away no damage done. The beauty of live CD.

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