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A few facts about Mandriva:

  • Previously known as MandrakeLinux but the name change was decided once a merger between Mandrakesoft, Lycoris, and Connectiva. Other comedy names for Mandrake have been put forward, based upon other combinations of these titles.
  • It is one of the distros recommended for use by people new to Linux.
  • Founded by Gael Duval (LXF interview ( who was laid off in March 2006.

Current Version: 2006

Editions: Download Edition, Discovery, PowerPack, x86-64, Move, Mandriva Clustering, Corporate Desktop, Corporate Server 3.0

Package management system: RPM

Price: Free for 'Download' Edition, cost for rest of the packages


User opinions:

Hudzilla OK, I admit I hated Mandrake for a long time - all too often I'd install new updates just to find it had utterly hashed my fonts in X or some crazy thing. Worse, it had awful dependency issues in its RPM implementation. However, I recently installed 9.1 (Bamboo) because Ildiko refused to use Debian on the grounds that it wasn't easy (nice to see people who know little more about Linux than how to pronounce it realise that Debian is hard), and I must admit I was quite impressed - you can download updates and patches from the web! Now, I don't know how good it is yet with regards to large updates, but this is a big step forward; I almost feel like I'm using APT. Granted, there are a number of bugs in the damn thing - for example, it insists on using the utterly lame MdkDM (I believe that's what it calls it) rather than KDM no matter how often I tell it otherwise. Other niggles include the default login prompt - it's quite lame. It is, in fact, just the hostname of the computer followed by 'login'. I rather like Debian's system of giving you a little info about the system plus the TTY number you're on. However, I must admit that Mandrake has matured into a damn impressive system - if MDK would switch to APT, I'd use it for sure! ;)

Pigstrotter My first and favourite distribution, was always Redhat, until that is I discovered Mandrake, at first it seemed strange, the menu layouts weren't a cluttered mess as in Redhat, I wasn't keen on the colourscheme, but hey that could be changed, and worst of all it was FRENCH, should I really give this a try I said to myself, ok, its got a few days. The days turned into weeks, into months and then years. I still try out the latest RH releases, and as anyone whose used more than one distro will tell you, there is very little amongst them really, they are after all just GUI interpretations of Linux configuration programs, and share the same apps etc. The main reason I prefer Mandrake is because 'I'm Lazy', it sets just about everything up for me, leaving very little to configure, don't get me wrong, when I was younger, I was more than happy to sit for hours working out configurations for devices etc, but when you have a family/job/life away from computers, this takes time, and Mandrake gives me that time back, to actually be using the OS for more enjoyable pastimes suchas writing this.

Lancer Reputed to be a very good distro for newbies. This does not mean that Mandrake is somehow limited in power compared to any other distros; it means that Mandrake has paid special attention to creating an easy installation procedure and provides a very user friendly GUI for the first time user (or Microsoft Windows migrant). Mandrake achieves this without sinking to the level of trying to be Microsoft Windows. It has a default KDE desktop with great help systems to get a new user started. Mandrake used a 'supermount' process to autodetect new drives, which some users find annoying, while others see as a vauable lifeline until they learn to perform such tasks themselves.

AndyFerguson Mandriva is a great distribution for those who are new to Linux, and especially those who wish to dual-boot with Windows. However, the software selection is not as "bleeding edge" as it was, and at time of writing I don't really see Mandriva doing anything that Ubuntu doesn't do better. That said, the couple of times I've installed it I've been impressed with the amount of software available, and also the fact that pretty much everything "just works". This is a distribution going through a period of transition, but I'd still recommend it to new users, and those who want an easily configurable RPM based distro.