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Mandriva 2010 Spring review

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Been awhile since Mandriva 2010 Spring was released. Considering the company’s financial woes, and the rumored takeover negotiations, we thought they might never release it, but they did. Mandriva Linux 2010, aka Mandriva Linux 2010.1, was made available for download on July 8, 2010. There are three versions:

  • Mandriva One 2010 Spring – the free live CD edition that contains the usual cast of free software and a limited set of non-free applications. Available for 32-bit platforms in KDE and GNOME.
  • Mandriva Free 2010 Spring – the no-cost edition that ships free of proprietary (non-free) applications. Available for 32- and 64-bit platforms.
  • Mandriva Powerpack 2010 Spring – this is the fee-based edition (49 €, or about 65 USD). It comes loaded with all the applications – free and non-free – that you will ever need. It ships, for example, with non-free applications that are missing in Mandriva One. Like Mandriva Free, it is also available for 32- and 64-bit platforms.

Since Powerpack 2009, which was the last Powerpack edition reviewed on this site, I have not been able to obtain another Powerpack from Mandriva for review, and I am not about to spend 49 €, or about 65 USD, just to review a Linux distribution. For this review, therefore, we will be looking at the One and Free editions, at features that are good or well implemented, and features that do not work as expected or are badly implemented.

Let’s begin with those features that are badly implemented or just do not work as expected.

Installation: One major complaints I have had about the Mandriva installer is the lack of a back button, especially in the disk partitioning stage of the installation process. It is the same complaint I have about PCLinuxOS, which uses an older version of the Mandriva installer. Fedora and Debian, especially Fedora, have greatly improved their installers over time, but the Mandriva installer, though it has received its won share of improvements, still has the most glaring issue – the lack of a back button, untouched. Could it be that hard to code a back button into an application?

The lack of a back button is more of a headache on One than Free because at the tail end of Free’s installation process, the user is given the opportunity to make changes before the package installation starts. That luxury does not exist on One.

mandinstall3

Mandriva Free installation routine allows you to make changes at the tail end before installation starts

Upgrading and Installation: In the course of writing this review, I took the time to documented my experience upgrading Mandriva One 2010 and Mandriva Free 2010 to Mandriva One 2010 Spring and Mandriva Free 2010 Spring respectively. Aside from upgrading both editions, I also did a fresh installation of both. The installation of One was uneventful. However, the installation of Free turned out to be a major headache. I will use the next 5 images to illustrate the problem I had with a fresh installation of Free.

The installation process itself did not pose any problems. However, on reboot, and after typing in my password at the login screen, the message shown in the image below hit the login screen. Drak3d is a Mandriva tool used to configure a 3D desktop. But why is the system trying to run it? I Do not have an answer to that. In any case, I complied and typed in my password.

mandinstall4

Prompt from the login screen about drak3d

It looks like to run drak3d, a package named glxinfo needs to be installed. Do I want to install it? Do I have a real choice? Cancel drops me back to the login screen. So I chose Ok.

mandinstall5

Drak3d error

Apparently, Ok did not do me any good.

mandinstall6

Cryptic drak3d error

The system wants to install glxinfo from Main media, which is the installation medium. Problem is because the installation medium is a USB flash drive, and this computer lacks an optical drive (it is a small but powerful notebook), I have no Main media that I could insert. How do you “insert” a USB drive when you are yet to log in? So I quit trying to log in, and tried to figure out a solution. But I had to first figure out why the system was trying to run drak3d.

mandinstall7

No access to Main media

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14 Comments

  1. jms says:

    wanted kde from dualarch and 64 bit cpu. If selected only kde got same problem as reviewer re the glxinfo issue. I had the main media CD and it still would give the same error that he got. I just went and repartitioned and installed the lxde only and from there installed the kde base minimal from the package manger and it all works finally. returned to mandriva from distro hopping and this was more of a headache than the initial 2010 free that I used before. that install was flawless. didn’t find much searching on mandriva forums on this.

  2. Lee says:

    Thank you for your review. It was totally honest and objective. It’s unfortunate that the version you tested failed as miserably as it did, especially since it was a reflection on the quality of Mandriva Linux. I purchased the Powerpack version of 2010 Spring, and it installed like a charm without any hiccups at all.

    I totally agree that the absence of a “back” button at almost every step of the installation and a failure to auto-install CUPS and the unique components for my HP printer are significant omissions; although neither were difficult to overcome, just annoying.

    Being a long-time user of Mandriva Linux, I really enjoy this version, and I think it’s the best yet. The only regression I’ve noticed is that it seems to boot slower than the 2010.0 version by about 15 seconds on the same machine. Other than that, the installation was very easy and I’m very pleased with the features and ease of use in day-to-day use.

  3. Arvi Pingus says:

    The main review was not plain vanilla. uing a netbook without disk drive has its quirks. Every local community can help you out.
    Normal pc/laptop install are due to mandriva installer ‘dull’ :)
    Up and running witin the hour, including network, printer, 3D and basic applications like browsing, e-mail and (Open)Office.

  4. RJohnson says:

    Mandriva Linux has IMO gotten worst about certain aspects of it. In this latest version of it, they eliminated the option to copy the packages to the hard disk, now you have to do it manually which really makes no sense since has been there for so many versions. About Totem, I don’t remember it ever being able to play movies without installing dvdcss and the like because of copyright legalities. The problem me as a long time Mandriva user is I have been using for long and dealing with its issues that I’m just used to it and finding something is yet another curse to bear. I tried the PowerPack version 2k9 and I thought it was actually worst than the free version: even thought it came with drivers for certain hardware that you have to other wise find, download and configure, my hardware has issues with it. The question would be, if they were taken over by I think Canonical, how much worst would it get?

  5. Barista Uno says:

    Will surely install this to my soon-to-be-assembled desktop rig. I’ve always found Mandriva (from 2009 edition) to be a very congenial distro with hardware support that very few can beat. Mandriva 2010 Spring looks like another winner.

  6. Barnabyh says:

    Yes,that’s funny :)) Thanks for the review.

  7. Sam says:

    I thought CUPS was a free as in beer application. Why WOULDN’T that be pre-installed. I’m wondering if perhaps you had some errors in the install process. Did you try wiping the install, double-checking the CD integrity, and re-installing? The whole issue with Drak3d sounds to me like an install error.

    • finid says:

      Being free does not mean that is has to be installed out of the box. And I did verify that CUPS was not installed. It was installed afterwards as part of printer configuration from MCC. Btw, this review involved several installs/reinstalls on real hardware and in a virtual environment (Virtualbox OSE)

  8. DistroLink says:

    Thank you for your review!

  9. Mustafaa says:

    “Mandriva Free 2010 Spring – the free edition that ships with (non-free) applications only. Available for 32- and 64-bit platforms.”
    You meant Free applications only so I home you correct this.

  10. Mustafaa says:

    “Mandriva Free 2010 Spring – the free edition that ships with (non-free) applications only. Available for 32- and 64-bit platforms.
    You meant Free applications only so I hope you correct this.

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