The DistRogue

Friday, April 06, 2007

Why I love- and hate- Mandriva

Remember Mandriva? I did a review on it a while back, saying that it was best suited for newbies with well-paid administrators. Well, here's what I overlooked:
-EasyURPMI: I said that URPMI/RPMDrake, Mandriva's package manager, was a pain in the patookie to use, and that it was only good for removing packages because it didn't have any sources. Enter EasyURPMI, an easy was to get RPMDrake up, running, and, most importantly, installing programs. Now that I've tried RPMDrake, which, among other things, has dependency tracking, it rocks!
-Metisse: Okay, I didn't exactly overlook Metisse so much as fail to wait for it, but it's still cool. Mandriva claims that Metisse isn't a 3D desktop, but in some ways, it's more 3D than Beryl or Compiz. It is now officially my favorite 3D desktop, and I haven't even used it.
-XFCE support: Yep, the next version, due out within a week, will have an XFCE version. With Metisse!
-MCC Partitioning: The Mandriva Control Center's built-in partitioning might not seem like much, but it just saved me. After getting the desktop computer back from the techs, I was unable to install Linux because of a partitioning screw-up. I used MCC to format the errant partition, and now, it should work. MCC succeeded where Xubuntu's GParted and Knoppix's QtParted failed.
-New release cycle: Yes, I said the next version will be out in a week. There are some minor bugs that still need to be squashed, according to a developer blog, but if all goes well, the next version of Mandriva, version 2007.1 "Spring Edition", should be out in, say, 5 or so days (just a random educated guess). It was supposed to be out 2 days ago. Mandriva's returning to their roots!
Then again, there were some issues with the CD that were thrown into sharp relief recently:
-AIGLX and NVidia: For some reason, Drak3D doesn't allow AIGLX effects with NVidia graphics cards (or at least mine). Huh... Xgl is good enough for me, anyways.
-My life flashed before my eyes when I tried installing it. Why? I chose the "Use Existing Partitions" option, and it jumped to file copying- without asking me what partitions I wanted to use. Scary stuff. I thought I'd wiped the Windows partition my parents use! But no. Here's why:
  • It didn't format any partitions.
  • Of course, it could have copied the files directly without any formatting...
  • No. Mandriva can't even read NTFS drives, much less write to them. (A flaw I hope to see fixed in the next release...)
  • In any event, I had the infamous, loathed Windows flag on-screen in a minute.
I owe Mandriva a re-scoring. The DistRogue's apology in numbers:
Friendliness: 5/5- Mandriva, like I said before, is practically as user-friendly as Windows, and I'm staying by my words there, at least.
Performance: 4/5- Compiled for a Pentium and uses parallel booting. The NVidia drivers are slow, but the Discovery and PowerPack editions have faster ones.
Features: 4.5/5- Lots of stuff on the One edition. Even more stuff on the multi-CD editions. Seriously, who else has Cedega? Or LinDVD, which I've never even heard of?
Packaging: 3.5/5- EasyURPMI is an unecessary step that they need to eliminate at some point. But RPMDrake is easy to use and flexible.
Overall: 4.25/5- A solid distribution that will get even more solid in a matter of days. Expect Features to get a bump up to 5, and Performance to rise with the addition of XFCE.
From Mandriva 2007.0 One,
The DistRogue.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mandriva is still the best distribution. I think Ubuntu is greatly overrated!

3:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - MDV definitely will read NTFS partitions! I do it every day. Also the partitioning tool in MCC will resize NTFS partitions without losing data - I've done this a couple of times too (backup advised of course).

Norwich UK

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I think Mandriva 2007.1 (Spring) is the best right now in terms of functionality/features Vs easy of use.

A great distro for newbies and a very powerful one for experienced users!

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tried switching to other distros but usually don't go beyond evaluation. Closest I came to choosing another distro ( in addition to Mandriva) was opensuse 10.2 but I will be sticking with Mandriva.

2:23 PM  

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