[ Friday, 22 June 2007, paulina ]
This April Mandriva presented its new distribution called Spring. Despite the fact that it is “only” 2007.1 it has changed a lot since 2007.0. Changes can be seen everywhere — starting from installation through chosen applications till the 3D desktops.
Author: Paulina Budzoń
Major changes since 2007.0
What exactly has changed in Spring?
- There is a wallpaper during installation. At once you can feel atmosphere of Spring.
- A new flower theme has been added in the default install. It is surprisingly nice.
- All detected bugs from a previous version have been removed.
- New versions of standard packages were added: GNOME 2.18, KDE 3.5.6, OpenOffice.org 2.1, gcc 4.1, X.org 7.2 (with AIGLX).
- Using 3D desktops became easier — the wizard in Mandriva’s Control Center that configures them has been changed. Now it is enough to select a right option and click “next”.
- The rpmDrake’s appearance and the way it works have changed, and many bugs have been removed.
- The old application mdkupdate has been replaced with the new mandrivaonline which improves the installation of system’s updates. A new feature of updating is that it isn’t interrupted even if there occurs a problem with a specific package.
- Support for NTFS used in Windows Vista has been added.
Mandriva Spring besides a well-known Skype communicator, has a competitive communicator WengoPhone which also serves an access to VoIP but its prices are much lower.
You can find Google apps created especially for Linux: Google Earth — an Earth’s satelite photos browser and Google Picasa — to manage and correct your photos. They work very well and without any conflicts (except that Google Earth doesn’t work with 3D desktops and to run it you have to disable them).
Using the 3D technology has never been so easy in Mandriva. The only thing you have to do is to consider which effects you want to use.
Unfortunately there is a possibility that they won’t work if you don’t use closed-source drivers included in commercial versions of Mandriva Linux Spring.
But if you manage to run it, the handling is very easy.
Beryl and Compiz have their own graphical managers. The manager of Beryl can be run by issuing beryl-manager and the one of Compiz is called gset-compiz. The configuration of Beryl is much easier because of its high usability.
Information about how to use a Metisse you can find on Mandriva’s website.
Spring for users
What is the new Mandriva like for a common user? Starting from the beginning — the installation process is of course very clean and easy. The system boots smoothly, even a bit faster then its previous versions. After logging into your favorite GUI you will be welcomed by a new splash screen and the mentioned wallpaper with a flower theme. Some people can be disappointed by a new start button in KDE, because it undeniably associates with Windows start button. Fortunately there is an easy way to get back the old icon. Just change the option KmenuIcon from mdv-kmenu to kmenu in kickerrc file.
You can treat Spring as a normal upgrade of Mandriva Linux 2007. In fact it is an upgrade. In normal use it doesn’t differ from the previous version. Of course, besides the 3D desktops and the new versions of some applications. Unfortunately right after the installation there are some small bugs. Many users complain that not everything works as it should and the free version runs slower than the commercial one. The problems aren’t serious and can be solved by updating the system — first updated packages have beeb released at almost the same time as the system itself. They solve most of encountered bugs so using Spring shouldn’t be a problem.
Spring should also please users of notebooks. There were added the KPowersave and the GNOME Power Manager which manage the consumption of power and let easily suspend or hibernate the system. Their settings can be modified in many different ways – enabling special options of screensaver, saving the batteries or custom messages is very easy.
Mandriva — as always — can run on almost every PC. Now to install Spring you have to have a DVDROM. CD versions will be released — for users’ request — in June. To use the 3D desktops you need a proper graphic card. A full installation requires at least 3GB of free disk space. Of course you can deselect many default packages and save a lot of disk space.
Why should I use Spring?
This is a good question. The Spring — as you can say — is a typical system of Mandriva. It is easy to use as it was its basic foundation. Using Spring shouldn’t be a problem for those that haven’t been familiar with Linux before, but it also shouldn’t disappoint those who are experienced and wants to have a stable, well done and solid system. I have to say I highly recommend this version of Mandriva to both old Mandriva users and those who haven’t yet used the Linux system from France.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
This article has been first published in Dragonia Magazine, a Polish online magazine about Free and Open-Source Software. You can download the latest Dragonia issue from our mirror. The article has been slightly modified compared with the original version by the PolishLinux team.