For the past 3 years I’ve been a devoted CentOS/Fedora fan. I mean, while CentOS gave me a highly robust and stable server platform, Fedora enriched my desktop and allowed me to work seemlessly and easily. While others kept snering at me: “Fedora? Fedora? I use Ubuntu, I’m hard core Debian”, I kept to myself and kept on working with my Fedora desktop.

Before I move on, I’ll have to comment with the following: Over the years I’ve become somewhat agnostic to my choice of desktop. Where I seemed to use Fedora, Ubunto, XP or Vista, it all seemed to do the same job for me – just allow me to run Eclipse properly, provide me with a 90% stable environment and allow my office productivity to increase – and I was fairly content. My uncle, who lives in the US, is a hard core, highly devoted Mac fan. He’s been a Mac fan since the early 1990’s, and always tried migrating me to Mac, however, I kept to my PC and RedHat Desktop. Now, as time progressed, Linux Desktop evolved – actually, it is so evolved today, that I get the same buzz working on KDE or GNOME that I get working on MacOSX – so now, from my point of view, the desktop environment is completely agnostic.

Now, back in 2000 I was a devoted Mandrake Linux fan – I was so devoted that I got the company I was working for to represent them in Israel (the year was 2000 may I remind you). Now, 8 years later, some one picked up the tab of representing Mandriva Linux in Israel (formerly Mandriva) and he asked me to evaluate the new Mandriva Power Pack edition and the Mandriva 8GB Flash Edition.

The installation

The new Mandriva installer is so simple, that even my 9 year old nease will be able to install it. Bearing in mind that I was installing on a fresh computer, the installation was streight forward. I’ve installed the Power Pack 2008 distro on a spiffy new Pentium 4 Core Duo 2 machine, running at 2.0GHz with 4GB RAM and 2 hard drives of 160GB – NICE!

One thing I always remembered about Mandriva installations was that the package selector was very simplistic, and the 2008 version is no different – it’s a good thing to know that Mandriva doesn’t go about changing things that work – like Fedora or Ubuntu. The installation process itself is clean and runs smoothly, even on a highly advanced board with a funky NVidia display adapter. Actually, after the installation completed, I was greeted with an Nvidia logo upon rebooting, indicating me that I need to configure my screen settings for my card – that’s much better than running into a text screen that doesn’t really help the novice.

URPMI – The ever annoying package manager

Ok, apt-get and yum are MUCH (and I do mean MUCH) more advanced than urpmi. However, using the easyurpmi web tool enables you to add web based urpmi repositories, making your entire urpmi experience less painful. As I was using yum and Fedora/CentOS over the past 3-4 years, it took me a while to re-acustom back to the urpmi methodology of thinking – however, one thing to say about urpmi – it’s fast, way faster than yum.

Mandriva Configuration Tool

The Mandriva configuration tool is a delight to use, easy, straight forward, gives you all the options that you may need – all in all, a very pleasent experience. The nice thing about it, is that even if you managed to screw up something in one graphical environment, you can always invokes another one, launch it, verify/fix your faulty installation (although, it’s very hard to mis-install anything on Mandriva), and you’re back on your way.

I’ll be adding more information about my findings in the future…