OpenMandriva Lx 2014 is the latest edition of OpenMandriva, a desktop Linux distribution derived from Mandriva Linux. It is one of the distributions that rose out of the ashes of Mandriva Linux; the other being Mageia, and, to some extent, ROSA Desktop.
OpenMandriva Lx 2014 is the distribution’s second, stable release. The previous one was OpenMandriva Lx 2013 (see OpenMandriva Lx 2013.0 review).
The Graphical Installer: If there’s one aspect of this distribution that needs to be totally revamped, it’s the installer. It needs to go. This is the same installer that has been in use in the same form for more than a decade. Within that span, Anaconda, the Fedora system installer, has gone through at least two cod revamps, and was recently completely re-coded.
This screenshot shows the installer’s disk partitioning methods step. Sometimes selecting any of the options when there are existing partitions on the target hard drive puts the system into a reboot loop.
You’ll be informed that “You need to reboot for the partition table modifications to take effect.” And when you do reboot, the whole sequence repeats. In one test installation in a virtual environment, I had to create a new virtual machine before I could install it.
OpenMandriva Lx 2014 is the first edition (of OpenMadriva) to feature support for booting on computers with UEFI firmware. According to the Release Notes, this feature has not been tested extensively and might not work on every UEFI system. I made an attempt (actually, I made several attempts) to set up a dual-boot system between it (OpenMandriva Lx 2014) and Windows 8 on my UEFI-capable system. Sometimes it will boot into the Live Desktop. At other times, it will not. Those times when it did not boot, it got stuck right after the keyboard layout is specified, showing only a blank screen.
When it did boot into the Live Desktop, every attempt to set up a dual-boot system failed. You may read the details at A frustrating attempt to dual-boot OpenMandriva Lx 2014 and Windows 8 on a PC with UEFI firmware.
At some point, if the installer is not replaced with a completely new one, somebody will have to figure out how to implement full disk encryption on it, because it is still not possible to encrypt a partition mounted at / (root). Without support for encrypting the main partition, any distribution that uses the installer (ROSA Desktop and Mageia included) cannot claim to support full disk encryption.
Aside from the foregoing, a few nice touches have been added to the installer. You’ll be informed, for example, what the minimum system requirements for the installation are.
And be given the option to enable a few system services. By default, only Samba is enabled.
The Desktop: The K Desktop Environment (KDE) is the only desktop environment officially supported by OpenMandriva project, and OpenMandriva Lx 2014 shipped with KDE 4.12.4, the latest and greatest software packages for that desktop environment, including Firefox 29, and kernel 3.13.11 nrjQL, which, according to the Release Notes, is “a powerful variant of the 3.13.11 kernel that has been configured with desktop system performance and responsiveness in mind.” That sounds good to me. And it felt that way when I ran it on real hardware.
Shown here is the login screen.
And here is the default desktop.
Homerun is the default application launcher (menu) for OpenMandriva Lx 2014. It is one of the best fullscreen application launchers for KDE, much better than SimpleWelcome, the fullscreen app launcher used on ROSA desktop. I use it on my Fedora 20 KDE machine. The only problem I have with it, is that the search algorithm is not very bright.
A new feature that made this release is FirewallD, a firewall application from the Fedora project that supports dynamic firewall rules and network zones. Aside from a command-line utility and a fully-featured graphical configuration utility, it also comes with an applet. This screenshot shows the entries in the applet’s menu on the OpenMandriva Lx 2014 desktop. FirewallD replaced drakfirewall.
Click on any image in this gallery to view other aspects of the OpenMandriva Lx 2014 desktop.
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