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I used Mandrake Linux for years before switching to Fedora Core and then to Ubuntu Linux last spring--around the same time Mandrake, which is based in France, bought a Brazilian Linux distributor called Conectiva and renamed itself Mandriva.

Mandriva Linux 2006, released last month, feels very much like a natural evolution of earlier Mandrake releases--in both good and bad ways. As I tested the PowerPack edition of Mandriva 2006, I was disappointed to find many of the same rough edges that drove me away from Mandrake still present in this new incarnation.

Mandriva Linux 2006 PowerPack will set you back $85. The software comes on DVD and is bundled with two manuals; alternatively, you can download seven CD image files. I haven't seen the manuals; Mandriva provided software only for this review.

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