that Sam guy

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.

Mandriva 2007 rc2 “Sunna”

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.

Key Packages:

  • 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.
Test System:

  • 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.

Live

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.

Compiz Shortcuts:

  • 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).

Expose like feature Viewport Slideshow

Wobbly Windows 3D Cube View

Transparent Menu Ripple - Rain on Desktop effect

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.

  1. Initial resolution not configured correctly (however driver detected correctly) – simple fix by changing resolution
  2. 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.

Live Install

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!

Conclusions

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.

Update

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.

Update 2

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

Update 3

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


18 Comments

  1. GNEMAN says:

    Thanks for the review. I tried Beta 3 and even then I thought this would be an amazing release. I just had problems with the package management, but I hope they’re fixed by now.

    Good to see Mandriva in such a good shape again after some problems with the last releases.

  2. cyprix says:

    GNEMAN: The package management tools have been fixed in rc2.

  3. kenny says:

    good review, i’ll check the livecd out :)

    thank you

  4. Doug says:

    Downloading the DVD now… good review thx

  5. Troy Banther says:

    Great review. I agree with it.

    I would like to read about what services you run on Mandriva server.

  6. Larry says:

    On-board nvidia 6100 also works great for Xgl. The resolution for 20″ wide LCD just perfect 1600×1050 IIRC. I love it! Thanks for the review. I actually have a video clip in Vietnamese (you could turn down the volume and see the Xgl effects, pass forward a bit since my intro kinda long). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaQBG_stv3g

    I really hope they will work out the litto issues. This release will be great!

  7. Mebarg says:

    I have the same Ati card (9550) and a similar pc (Athlon 1800+ 512 mb of ram)
    on ubuntu, Xgl eats 130 – 150 mb of ram
    do you noticed how much xgl comsume on mandriva?

    tanks

  8. Rob says:

    I have no idea why people persist in pushing the concept of a “3D Enabled” Desktop and how all of that eye candy is going to increase our productivity.

    Until we have desktops like the computer interfaces from “Earth: Final Conflict” and “The Minority Report”, 3D Desktops are going to be little more than toys and eyecandy.

    Like MS’s new “Flip 3D” toy with Windows Vista. Sure, you can scroll through available applications and bring one to the front quickly. Why does that have to be 3D? Why can’t that be done on the standard 2D Desktop surface with by putting one’s mouse into a small box on the taskbar? (Which really isn’t much different than having to go to the taskbar, double or single click some icon and then wait for a 3D Whiz-Bang toy to pop-up.)

    Anyway, I just see no point in whipping up all these 3D toys when we are still interacting on a 2D plane for the vast majority of desktop applications.

  9. Dragonopolis says:

    I welcome the move to a 3D oriented desktop as long as it is done right. A lot of people shun XGL or AIGLX but there is more to these technologies than 3D effects. Yes most apps are in 2D however there hasn’t been any 3D desktops around for apps to take advantage of the extra dimension. It would be like building a house without any tools. Yes it is possible to build a house with no tools but not as efficient as building a house with tools. Once the Linux community gets AIGLX and Beryl (Compiz) polished then everybody else can start to get inventive.

  10. mitch says:

    Rob, you’re forgetting that aside from all the eye candy, XGL does offer some use, it takes away the strain of displaying your desktop the standard way, and puts it on your (mostly) unused Graphics Card.

    Great review by the way, I’ve never been much of a Mandriva fan, but this release looks interesting maybe I’ll try it out.

  11. Mandriva User says:

    I installed on a Panansonic Toughbook CF-29 and sure works great! You can read my post on the Mandriva Forum under Laptops.
    http://forum.mandrivaclub.com/viewtopic.php?t=52932&highlight=touchscreen

    The 3D box sure works great on 64MB Intel Video Card. Even I pluged a Dell Ultra Sharp 1800FP and viewed the Laptop and the Monitor at the same time, no config need it and in 3D playing a Family Guy DVD on Xine on one of the 3D Cube faces. Chromium was a bit jerky but worked. I pushed this system to the max on graphics and did well.

    Only gripes is the Touch Screen. I do not know how to make it work. Other than that, Mandriva sure has a winer here!

  12. cyprix says:

    Update 4:
    see above – Compiz shortcut Shift+F10 for slow motion.

  13. Bruno says:

    Just finish a long test of Mandriva 2007 RC2 …

    Some little problems with some package are not corrected from Mandriva 2006… by example “Konverter” who give a error when you close it…

    But the main problem was with my graphic card… a PCI express nvidia 7300 LE… the Mandriva/PLF install corretly DKMS and the nvidia driver but without 3D acceleration or openGL…

    The only solution is download the beta driver from Nvidia ( 9625 ), the source of your kernel… don’t remove the DKMS and previous driver installed with Mandriva other you loose the 3D desktop… at the install of the 9625, the installer complain about the patched Xorg and ask for use a original Xorg… don’t care, simply continue the install…

    At the boot, DKMS show the old version… but in your system menu, you have a “nvidia setting” option… who show that you have the 9625 running, with GLX 1.4 and openGL 2… and you can check the core temperature of your GPU ;)

    Positive change from 2006… My intel chipset ( 915PE with ICH6 ) is fully reconize ( up the 965P, not yet a good support )… netwerk on-board, raid ICH6 ( Serial ATA ) and raid Via ( IDE ) are now reconize… the wonder is that the ACPI is finally good working… sleeping mode to swap partition… power on, load the memory with the content of the swap partition…

    For me, the major change from 2006 to 2007 is not the graphical 3D show desktop but more the possibility to use very modern material… finaly, i have remove my windows partition and system :)

    Now, i am not only a fan of Linux Mandriva, 2007 is the only Linux version who work perfectly on my material…

  14. Bruno says:

    Oopsss… I have wish post a comment about the review of Mandriva 2007 RC2 but it is posted at a other page… sorry…

  15. juan says:

    i was wondering if madriva 2007 came with xgl included or if you ahd to install it afterwords?
    thanks a lot..

  16. cyprix says:

    re: juan
    xgl, aiglx & compiz are all included and are automatically setup. this includes the binary (non-free) drivers for ati & nvidia to allow it to work.

  17. Stephen says:

    I was so disappointed that the live CD did not run XGL out of the box on my Nvidia GeforceFX5200 256MB graphics card. It worked so well in Kororaa….

    Took too long to boot but will wait for the final release to download and test before I dismiss this. I did start using Linux with Mandrake 8 after all.

  18. Jay Money says:

    Mandrivia 2007 One is as close as I have seen a Linux Windows replacement O/S come to getting me to switch. Easy network Administration and integration is the only thing left before I totally bless Mandrivia for commercial use.

    Running Windows Applications and loading windows drivers would grease the slope also.

    JM