Mandriva Linux today releases Mandriva 2009, the latest version of its desktop operating system. Going head-to-head with other popular Linux versions including Ubuntu, Mandriva has managed to include the latest versions of desktop software ahead of its rivals.
On the desktop Mandriva 2009 includes Gnome 2.24, which was released just two weeks ago, as well as KDE 4.1, the latest version of that desktop environment.
Mandriva will be the first full release to include Gnome 2.24. Among the improvements in Gnome 2.24 are Ekiga 3.0 for VoIP calls, the new instant messaging client Empathy, and a deskbar applet that is seriously enhanced and can now be extended using plugins.
The most noticeable change on the desktop for Gnome users will be the improved file manager which not only includes tabs in the browser mode – an often-requested addition – but also a new compact view mode.
On the KDE side, Mandriva 2009 will include a fully themes KDE 4 desktop which includes the customised Mandriva splash screen, desktop background, screensaver and widget theme.
Also on the desktop, Mandriva has OpenOffice.org 3.0, which is due for final release next week only.
One of the more exciting inclusions in Mandriva 2009 is the incorporation of the LUKS encryption system into the installer. What this means is that Mandriva 2009 will allow users to encrypt their partitions directly from the installer.
Mandriva has also been working on better support for netbooks over the past month and has already released a Mandriva Mini version targeting OEMs. Those changes will find their way into the Mandriva 2009 release.