Mandriva has released yet another polished Linux distribution. Called Mandriva 2009, this is made available in different formats namely :
- Mandriva Linux One 2009 – This is a live CD which comes with all the proprietary multimedia codecs, Nvidia graphics drivers and Adobe Flash installed. So you get a pleasant out of the box experience in using Mandriva. Mandriva Linux One 2009 is available as both KDE and GNOME CDs.
- Mandriva Linux Free 2009 – This is a purely Free as in Freedom Linux CD sans the proprietary drivers and codecs targeted at Free software enthusiasts who shun anything that is not-Free.
- Mandriva PowerPack 2009 – This is available for a price or as a subscription. It has all the applications that are there in the above two formats and additionally, it also provides access to many closed source applications such as Codeweavers CrossOver products, commercial games targeted at Linux and so on. And lastly …
- Mandriva Flash – The mobile and installable Linux desktop on a USB key.
I decided to download Mandriva One 2009 KDE edition and give it a try. To put it simply, I was really impressed with the polished look, the speed and stability of Mandriva 2009. KDE is of version 4.1.2 and it is very stable. The Plasmoids (also called widgets) are a joy to view and use.
Mandriva has its own unique Control Center. A user can do all the system and network administration tasks from within the Mandriva Control Center. It is well designed and has options for all the scenarios any desktop user is bound to face.
Mandriva One has everything that a home PC user should require, including a graphics suite (GIMP), document viewer (Gwenview), Office suite (OpenOffice.org 3.0), audio player (Amarok), Movie player (Totem) and latest version of Firefox web browser. Of course, I need not say that Mandriva 2009 comes bundled with KDE 4.1.2 or GNOME 2.24 depending upon the live CD you downloaded. So you get all the applications that are part of these fabulous desktop environments.
Mandriva specifies a minimum of 512 MB memory to run Mandriva 2009 but recommends 1 GB if you want to turn on all the special effects. On my 512 MB machine, it ran flawlessly. The hard disk space requirement is a minimum of 2 GB with 6 GB recommendation. 3D acceleration is supported on most capable hardware. If you have any of the NVIDIA or ATI graphics cards, you are in luck as Mandriva One 2009 bundles with it the proprietary drivers for these cards and you can use the 3D acceleration capabilities out of the box without any further tinkering. Of course Mandriva also has out of the box support for Intel, SiS, Matrox, VIA and many other graphics cards too.
This year, Mandriva is celebrating its 10th year of innovation. It has a long history of rolling out robust Linux distributions. The latest release namely Mandriva 2009 is another feather in its cap for a job well done.