Ubuntu Linux may get the majority of attention from Linux watchers but there are many good alternatives available. One of those is Mandriva Linux, a version of Linux formerly known as Mandrake and long considered one of the most user-friendly of Linux versions. And now, just a week after the release of Ubuntu 9.10, Mandriva has released Mandriva Linux 2010, its newest and most feature-packed release to date.
Aside from the obvious latest versions of KDE and Gnome desktop environments, Mandriva 2010 also focuses heavily on netbook users and other alternative desktop users. Boot time is also a priority for Mandriva, as it is for most other operating system makers, and the developers say that Mandriva 2010 shuts down, hibernates, suspends, and resumes faster. The boot up procedure on Mandriva 2010 is managed by Plymouth, which also makes for a more attractive, graphical boot up process.
On the netbook front Mandriva 2010 includes full hardware support for every currently available Eee model and all the systems standard configuration tools have been tweaked to fit into the lower resolution screens common on netbooks. The Mandriva team has also done work on many third party applications to ensure that they fit into the smaller screen sizes.
Mandriva 2010 also includes the Moblin desktop. While Gnome and KDE are largely designed for fuller-sized monitors, Moblin is designed specifically for smaller netbooks.
Because netbooks typically don’t ship with built-in optical drives, Mandriva includes Mandriva Seed, a configuration tool for creating bootable USB-stick installers from the Mandriva system.
Not content with including KDE, Gnome and Moblin, Mandriva 2010 also includes the Sugar desktop. Sugar is the desktop created specifically for the One Laptop Per Child project and is designed with education in mind. Sugar takes a unique approach to interaction with the desktop to make it easier for children to learn their way around a computer.
All told, there are a number of interfaces for users to choose from if they opt to go the Mandriva 2010 route.
One of the more interesting features of Mandriva 2010, albeit early days, is the focus on what is being called the “task-orientated desktop”. Mandriva 2010 includes several Nepomuk services which help users to manage tasks across all applications. Using the task widget and the Tasktop application users can group items – such as emails, notes, web pages and so on – together around specific tasks.
These tasks can be managed through a specific tasktop or through the file manager into which Nepomuk has been integrated. This is the first time that the “smart desktop” has been included in a Linux distribution and holds interesting promise for future releases.
Mandriva Linux 2010 – discussion