To the point Mandriva Linux 2006
Posted Nov 3, 2005 8:22 UTC (Thu) by hingo
Parent article: Testing Mandriva Linux 2006
To the point how I too feel about Mandriva. It is the best distro, but with some added randomness: You never know whether it will work or not.
I once tested a release candidate of 10.0 or 10.1 (don't remember). I discovered about 20 bugs and since I have full time job to do, I thought I couldn't spend a full day just submitting bugs to the bugzilla. So i did the next best thing and emailed them to the qa email address. I never got a response and I'm pretty sure none of the issues were resolved during the 2 weeks before the final was released. Mandriva's quality process simply is below any standards. Someone decides to use a cvs version of xorg, there you go. Nobody has time to upgrade OpenOffice.org, well, it's not an important app anyway. Somebody decides to make a major change in the urpmi repositories and get's them offline for a week, the same week a new version is out, tough luck. Things are just too random and the wrong people have too much power to make bad decisions.
I too had X problems when upgrading. It seems that Mandriva chose the wrong driver for me, so I only had VGA display. When I switched to another driver, I had a nice big display which would freeze after 3 secs in KDE or 10 secs in Gnome. My third guess for a driver has been stable.
One other personal gripe of mine, Mandriva's own tools. This time there has been much marketing spin aroung a new *interactive firewall*. So you'd expect that when you upgrade to 2006 and log in, that interactive firewall is up and running. Well, you'd expect wrong. In fact, it will take you almost an hour of googling to find out that the interactive firewall is called mandy, and has no documentation. So you install the rpm, and wonder why nothing is happening. So you find out you have to run netapplet, which is the interactive part of mandy.
Once you get it running, you're in for a disappointment. Personally, I thought the name "interactive firewall" meant something like ZoneAlarm does on Windows, i.e. when some application wants to connect to the internet, you get to allow or disallow it interactively. But nope, mandy does nothing of the sort. Apparently the interactive part is just that it will inform you in real-time of an ongoing smurf attack (or something, as I said, documentation was scarce). I.e. it is doing something that shorewall already was doing silently without disturbing me. And even then, it is not very interactive anyway. Looking at the netapplet, I can only guess whether mandy is actually on or not!
I once decided to use Mandrake, because between it and SuSE (the other KDE distro to consider) Mandrake was much more open, enabled easy installation from 3rd party repositories (games and java) and had much more of a community around it. I valued those more over the admittedly superior quality of SuSE. Now that SuSE is about to surpass Mandrake in these areas as well, I suspect 2006 might be my last Mandriva.
In closing, I still think Mandriva is great, otherwise I wouldn't be using it in the first place. It just bugs me that they seem to employ too many amateurs. I'd expect there is a Linux distro I can just install and use, wihtout spending the first few hours tweaking X or something else that didn't work this time.
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