Mandriva, it’s all about packaging
From time to time distributions such as Mandriva, openSUSE, Gentoo get some attention through some features they introduce, Speedboot, control centers, first to include KMS etc. What I believe these guys miss is that the availability of software is the biggest problem some user might face.
1.Debian/Ubuntu and RedHat (and Fedora more or less) get most of the attention from closed source packagers.
2.Point 1 applies to open source packagers that don’t have resources to produce packages for all the Linux fauna. Not all software is like the kernel or Firefox to be omnipresent.
3.Even if the software is not available for the likes of Debian or Fedora, because of their high penetration, the chances to find an article on how to make things work are high.
Mandriva is not going to cut it unless you are in a well established setting. I would suggest Mandriva to try to move all its technology to Debian-like packaging and make the system 99.9% percent compatible with Debian.