Mandriva Tech Preview Review
It’s been a bumpy road for Mandriva over the past few years and today we will take a look at the Tech Preview of the next release of Mandriva Linux codenamed Bernie Lomax. The name itself has brought up some indication of whether this is the final release of Mandriva or just some sort of reference from the movie Weekend at Bernie’s.
Mandriva Tech Preview (MTP) is available in both 32 and 64 bit editions and comes in at a whopping 4GB. With that said, you can expect that you can install a lot of things right off the DVD.
On first bootup the options are pretty clear, you can boot to hard disk, install Mandriva, recover Mandriva, test your memory to see if there’s something wrong with your system and also run the hardware detection tool. Installation of Mandriva we were greeted with the usual drakX installer which seems a little dated with its console-like startup and from there everything seemed to go without a hitch.
With Mandriva being at 4GB doesn’t really mean you are limited to your selection of application. As usual you can configure how you want your desktop to be by selecting the package groups you want to install such as using it as an Office Workstation, having console tools to setting it up as a server and which graphical environment(s) you want to install or you can forgo that and just choose individual package selector. In this review I focused on KDE.
Once that part was done, we were greeted with more configuration options that one might not need to change in a home type of environment such as Internet setup, network setup and display settings.
The menu area is filled with links to popular programs like Firefox for Internet, Clementine for music and somewhat cluttered system menu for our notifications. The KDE menu is a thing of beauty. It is not the typical KDE menu that we are used to when clicking on the kicker icon but one that comes out in a window that has most recently used apps, app categories and timeline. Timeline is a feature where it can show you when you say took a picture and will mark it down in a linear calendar for your viewing.
Mandriva TP is a step in the right direction. There is probably still some polishing up to do before this gets a final release. The new menu system is very nice and the improvements over previous editions are noticeable.
I was not too fond of the system updater that is used as it still relies on having the original medium in your system which is annoying and an old way of doing things. The software installer/remover in Mandriva Linux Control Center can be polished as well to make it easier to find things.
The installer should be more streamlined as the amount of screens I went through from beginning to end was almost 20! This is way too much to go through and the developers should take a hint at what other distributions are doing for installations.