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KEY FEATURES Mandriva Linux (earlier Mandrakelinux) became extremely popular among novice users of Linux, mainly those switching from MS Windows. The system is known for its ease of use and user-friendliness. Mandriva is a very up-to-date distro, it consists of the latest software which can occasionally cause stability problems. For desktop use it is acceptable for most users and it's a simple tradeoff for being very up-to-date.
Supported architectures i586, ppc (unofficial port), x86_64
Minimum hardware requirements CPU: Any Intel or AMD processor, 1Ghz or better - dual-core supported. RAM: 256 MB minimum, 512 MB recommended CD-ROM drive required. Video Card: NVIDIA, ATI, Intel© i8xx and i9xx, SIS, Matrox, VIA. 3D desktop features requires NVIDIA GeForce or later, ATI Radeon 7000 or later, or Intel i810 or later. Sound Card: Any Sound Blaster-compatible card and AC97™ - please note that Creative Labs X-Fi cards are not currently supported. Minimum hard disk space: 3GB for a smooth installation - 4GB if you plan to use KDE 4. Serial ATA: Most controllers supported in non-RAID mode and some in RAID mode.
Installer - overall (9) Very good, well-designed installer, considered as the easiest installer of all linux-distributions.
Package selection (9) Present. It's one of the advanced options during the installation.
Predefined package groups (9) Wisely selected groups of packages: 1) Workstation (desktop, games, multimedi, internet, administration tools, programming, LSB), 2) Server (web, ftp, mail, database, firewall, router, 3) Desktop environments (KDE, Gnome, other)
Expert mode install (9) Expert mode switch on/off any time during the installation process.
Graphical installer (9) Intuitive yet advanced grahpical installer. It offers really lots of basic configuration options. All of them are nicely described and the reasonable defaults are provided.
Installer speed (7) Default installation includes many packages so the installation may take some time. Part of the installation is the basic configuration of the system, so this may be a little bit longer than in other distros. Still, a "Next->Next->Finish" installation is possible as well. A default installation of Mandriva 2007 on an 1,6 GHz computer lasts about 15-20 minutes.
Graphical system management (9) Lots of useful graphical tools intergated into drakconf AKA "Mandriva Control Center (MCC)". Almost all aspects of the OS may be configured graphically.
Console-based system management (6) Lately many graphical tools have become available also in the semi-graphical (ncurses) mode. It's very useful while using console or remote ssh connection.
Number of packages (8) Very large repository of packages. Only Debian beats Mandriva in this respect. There is an option to add alternative repository locations.
Package management, automatic dependency resolving (9) In most cases software installation is as easy as entering urpmi package_name. Packages are well described and easy to identify. The only drawback are dependency errors occuring from time to time while mixing different package sources. In this case, Smart package manager can be a wise option. It can handle even the most complicated and uncommon repository merges.
Graphical package management tools (8) Very convinient tab in Mandriva Control Center. The only drawback is that downloading (updating) data about available packages which can take up to couple of minutes when using the full file. Significantly faster with the file, which contains less package information. Also Smart, the alternative package manager has a nice GUI, very similar to the well-known Synaptic.
System boot-up speed (6) Fast bootup speed (comparable to Debian or Archlinux) due to use of pinit since Mdv 2007. Older versions are significantly slower at bootup.
System responsiveness (6) Version 2008.1 has slightly higher speed than an average distro.
Popularity (7) Most popular Linux single distribution during the period of last couple of years. Lately Ubuntu seems to get more attention, but Mandriva is still doing very well and is probably one of the top 5 distros, based on the number of users.
Security focus (7) Just after installation there is an option to turn the firewall on and download the latest patches. It's equally simple afterwards. Still, the security is not the primary goal of Mandriva (which tend to be rather usability and user-friendliness) therefore it is not as secure by default as Debian, Fedora or BSD systems.
Stability and maturity (5) Mandriva usually keeps very up to date. And mostly it's quite stable.
Does the installer support multiple languages? (8) Installer is very international, but still still supports fewer languages than Debian. Lots of package descriptions are available in a localized version as well - and this is an exception in the distro world. Usually the descriptions are English-only.
Is the system localized after installation? (9) Default system is fully localized in all areas.
Is manual system localization easy? (9) If something is not localized it means you have to translate it (localize it) yourself. In other words, Mandriva is really well localized.
Support for restricted formats (8) Mandriva supports some patented codecs out-of-the-box. This applies for MP3 support. Other codecs and apps ca be easily installed by using the PLF repository (it can be done following the step-by-step guide at Easy Urpmi).
Sagem DSL modem support (7) Clickable installation of the Sagem modem. Theoretically, it could not be easier than that. In practice, autoconfiguration fails for unknown reason every now and then.
Alcatel DSL modem support (7) Most of the installation process is automatic. The only manual thing to do is downloading the driver.
ISDN support (8) ISDN support is provided by default. Most of the typical configurations are supported (via KPPP app).
Wireless support (7) Clickable installation of most of the wireless cards.

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