Mandriva 2009.1 Spring shows a lot of promise
I noticed readers of DistroWatch.com complaining about the small amount of attention that the new Mandriva 2009.1 release has gotten so far. This has a lot to do with the fact that the release date was so close to the always over-hyped Ubuntu 9.04 release. Therefore I decided to write a brief article about it, as I happened to give it a few days of action on my laptop in the RC2 phase and after the final updates for the Gnome edition . My test session was brief and not very thorough, but I have to say this: Mandriva 2009.1 looks like a very promising release and should not be overlooked. It is especially interesting for those that are looking for a KDE 4.x release that would actually be somewhat usable. While Mandriva is somewhat KDE centric, they do have a good Gnome offering and alternative desktops like LXDE and XFCE are also available.
I started off by giving the KDE4 live CD a whirl and I was pleasantly surprised. This is the first KDE4 distro that seems somewhat usable to my eyes. The stupid desktop plasmoid was gone and the desk top arrangement look very familiar for an ex-KDE3 user. Like always with Mandriva, and unlike Ubuntu, the visual appearance is very pleasing with rather bring blue design, beatiful desktop login animations, wallpapers and so on - this is something that Mandriva has always done well. However the Kicker menu was disappointing as always:”K-K-K-K-K….” - when do the KDE developers realize that starting every application name with a “K” looks retarded and is just bad for usability?