Review: Mandriva One 2007 rc2 "Sunna" KDE
G’Day. As it’s my first review I’m just going to blurt it all out.
Mandriva One is the Live Linux cd for Mandriva. And just for fun we’re testing the release candidate 2 “Sunna” as this should be pretty close to the real thing.
As I’m a KDE user, we are using the KDE3 disc which does include proprietory drivers & software.
Right now you have a choice of 1 DVD(dual arch, ie. i586 & x86_64), 2 x 3 CDs(one for each arch) & 14 One CDs.
- kernel 2.6.17
- kde 3.5.4
- Mozilla Firefox 1.5
- OpenOffice.org 2.0.3
- 3D desktop with compiz (XGL & AIGLX)
- new la-ora theme
For this review, I’ll be using both the “live” and the install from live features.
- Athlon 1.2gHz Thunderbird
- 512mb SDram
- ATI Radeon 9550 (AGP)
- AC/97 inbuilt sound
- D-Link DWL-G520 802.11b/g (SuperG) Wireless
Now, for a bit of background. I’ve been a user of Mandriva (Mandrake) back since 9.2, however I’ve as yet not been able to make the permanent switch from WinXP to linux on the desktop. On my servers however is a different story as they have only ever run Mandriva(Mandrake) Linux.
2007 looks very promising on the specs – especially with the much hyped XGL/AIGLX + Compiz 3D desktop and a new network configuration tool. This may just be what I require to do the big move.
First impressions were a bit up & down. The new theme (although bright) for the One discs looks great, even before getting into KDE, however the configuration windows at startup, although very easy to use, were very difficult to read on my 19″ LCD. Something was not right.
As I continued into KDE (again enjoying the new look!) the font readability was shocking, and left me thinking… is this the font anti-aliasing issue from beta2,3&rc1? A quick check on display setting shows a resolution of 1024×768. Hmm.. let’s see. Changing the setting is very easy through the Mandriva Control Center. I set the resolution to 1280×1024, exit session, start session, and …. voila! Excellent! Woohoo! For the first time as a linux desktop user I could say it looks stunning. The new la-ora theme is the best I’ve ever seen.
Test 1: 3D Desktop (XGL/AIGLX + Compiz)
Now normally with desktop linux, everyone (including me), jumps into checking the hardware detection, but as everything was seemingly running stable (more on that later) I thought I’d check out what the hype was all about, whilst hoping that my meager system could handle it.
During startup you are given the option of “No 3d desktop” or “XGL” (in this case). Actually when it is unable to run on your hardware it says “3D desktop not avaliable” and “AIGLX” for non-ati/nvidia video cards or something similar.
- Mouse to top-right corner – Expose-like view all windows on viewport (current desktop) and select required window
- alt+tab – Switch between windows on current viewport
- ctrl+alt+tab – Switch between windows on ALL viewports
- ctrl+alt+down arrow, then left & right arrows – Slideshow of Viewports
- ctrl+alt+left/right arrow – Switch to viewport on left/right
- ctrl+alt+drag mouse – Move around all viewports ie. 3D cube view
- shift+F9 – press once to start & again to stop – ripple (like rain on a lake)
- shift+F10 – press once to start & again to stop – slow motion [update]
I reckon that I probably spent 20min+ just playing around, watching windows wobble, rain falling on my desktop, easily switching between windows. -sigh- . Can this get any easier to use? I’m at a loss to think so. My old system runs this quite well under XGL, which was a suprise. No way I could use Vista on this box for anything like this, heck these effects beat anything I’ve seen before on any OS (yes even Mac OS X).
Click on the above thumbnails/links for full 1280×1024 view.
Results: Amazing Success
Test 2: Hardware detection & configuration
Looking through the list of configured hardware there was only 2 exceptions of incorrectly configured hardware.
- Initial resolution not configured correctly (however driver detected correctly) – simple fix by changing resolution
- Wireless card unable to be used. It was detected correctly, however I was not able to configure it to be used. I will follow this up later with the install.
All and all very well done for configuration and overall usability.
This is one of the best features about the Mandriva One CDs in that you can also do an install of Mandriva Linux straight from the live desktop. A bonus of this process is that all the setting that you changed during live running (ie. screen resolution) are saved as part of the install, as a result less configuring is required post-install.
The installation process is pretty much a no-brainer on Mandriva, and the One discs are no exception.
Once installed & restarted there are some configuration wizards to go through. And tada..! Network Configuration. This is a big update in the Mandriva Linux system and is now even easier to use. Choosing “Wireless” and entering my encryption key, all is done and connected. Wow! This is the easiest wireless configuration I’ve ever done for
linux any OS. My atheros based card is run using the new madwifi drivers, which will (in future) allow me to use the SuperG capabilities of my card.
Once complete, all is running stable and fine.
Results: Amazing Success, take 2!
This has to be the best live cd that I’ve used, let alone the best linux desktop. The new features like 3D desktop are stunning and hopefully will increase productivity (once I’ve gotten over the excitement of it all) and the new look la-ora theme will keep me happy for a long time yet. Keeping in mind that this is the rc2 and not the final, I’d wager that the 2007 Mandriva Linux releases will be the best ever and from here I will most likely increase my use of Linux as my primary desktop.
Side note: Normally I’ve used a dual-monitor setup under WinXP for my development, however with the 3D desktop, I may no longer require the second monitor, due to the ease of use. We’ll only know over time.
Just for a thought, I tested the same disc on my Toshiba Satellite 2410 and there was no problem with incorrect resolutions, however a
32mb 16mb nVidia card just doesn’t hack it, so no 3D desktop, but still immense fun to play and use.
For those who ask, the laptop specs are:
- Pentium 4-m 1.7ghz
- 768mb DDR Ram
- nVidia Geforce4 420 Go 16mb
- D-Link DWL-G680b/g (SuperG) Wireless
There are many .iso’s avaliable as I mentioned above, but if you’re interested in the exact .iso I used (english, french langs) then go to: ftp://anorien.csc.warwick.ac.uk/Mandriva/devel/iso/2007.0/One/mandriva-one-2007-sunna-kde3.iso
Else check out the cooker mirrors on http://qa.mandriva.com/twiki/bin/view/Main/CookerMirrors
Categorised as: Linux