Mandriva Linux 2006 for home users part 5

What could be improved

During the installation some small inconsistencies can be noticed (certain information is asked for but never used). For long time users it is clear that certain changes in the distribution have not been taken into account yet in the installer. And although this makes us forgivable, these inconsistencies would better be removed, as this might lead to confusion for new users.

One has to go look ones self for certain installation sources and install them by hand. We do understand the Mandriva policy to push the choice whether to install software that might be illegal in certain countries towards the user. But that choice could be made available to the user without the need for much configuration, just activation.

At the moment of writing of the original version of this article (in dutch), by default the desktop search tool Kat was installed. This tool does not seem to be working and worse, it even can block the full OS. The Mandriva 2006 ISO have NOT been updated, but the Mandriva ONE version (which is at the time of writing only available to club members) is created only in march, and does not have that problem. So unless you use Mandriva ONE, make sure to uninstall Kat asap, or even better, if you know how to do this, make sure it will not be installed at all.

When a digital photo camera is attached, the application Digikam is not automatically started anymore, which was the case in the earlier version.

For standard club members 2006 comes in a 4 CD version. They do not include the dutch spell checkers, and this is not even mentioned during the installation, even when the dutch language was selected. It is required to install the packages myspell-nl_NL and myspell-hyph-nl (after the setup of the installation sources from the Internet). No problem when you are aware, but Mandriva would do better to give a warning of this during installation.

There where users used to have read and write access by default to Windows FAT partitions in the previous versions, this is not the case anymore with the default security level of Mandriva 2006. Only read rights remain. This will be a problem for a lot of dual boot users. TIP: You can change this rather easy in the MCC in the partition management module. You go into expert mode (watch it!) and select umask=0. When the partition is mounted again (for instance at next boot), all users will have write access to the partition.

Conclusion

Although some improvements are certainly possible, Mandriva 2006 is an excellent OS. There where the use of Linux used to lead to quite some extra effort which used to be conquered mostly for principal reasons (security, Open Source, more control, etc.), Mandriva 2006 just brings Linux into a higher level of functionality. The newest versions of Amarok and Digikam for instance are so good that they beat the common closed alternatives without any doubt.

If you are able to install Mandriva 2006 yourself or if you know someone who can do it for you, it certainly is worth the try, even if you don't care the least about principal reasons.

When one has tried Mandriva 2006, it is easy to understand what a large and neutral player such as HP (vendor of as well Windows as Linux based systems) estimates that desktop Linux will increase from 3% in 2005 to 10% in 2008 (see the french article http://www.vnunet.fr/actualite/tpepme_-_business/strategies_et_marches/20051010009).

More information

Dutch:

For those who consider the switch to Linux, during the autumn there was a series of articles on this subject in the free Livre Magazine (see http://www.livre.nl/, registration is required).

General information about Linux and some links to more information can be found in the dutch wikipedia ( http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux

The dutch forum of the official Mandriva club is as good as empty, but http://mandrivaclub.nl/ is a very active dutch forum that also has Mandriva as its top subject and it contains posts of very high quality.

English:

A very good site on Linux in general is http://www.mandrake.tips.4.free.fr/. The author mentions in detail the installation of Mandriva 2006 in http://www.mandrake.tips.4.free.fr/installmdv2006.html and the configuration in http://www.mandrake.tips.4.free.fr/configuration2006.html.

TUX magazine (see http://www.tuxmagazine.com/) is a free digital Linux magazine directed to the average user and beginners. Every edition is full of very informative articles.

The English Mandriva club forum http://forum.mandrivaclub.com/ is in active use. Since Mandriva is out of the French equivalent of chapter 11, the company works to get a better contact with the users. This can be noticed through the presence on the forum of people on the Mandriva payroll, which has become a big asset to this forum.

If you would like to try Games on Linux, or would like to find out whether gaming on Linux would be good enough for your needs, you can find more information on the Linux Game Tome: http://www.happypenguin.org/.

If you are in doubt about the linux distribution that would be best suited for your needs, you can find more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions or http://distrowatch.com/.





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License

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The author to be credited is Wim Coulier (website: coulier.org).