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Mandriva Linux avoids bankruptcy; we test the new version

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The Mandriva Linux distribution is distributed in several forms. The standard version, called Mandriva One, is an installable Live CD made available by the company at no cost via BitTorrent. The full commercial variant, called the Mandriva Powerpack, is sold to consumers through a subscription model.

We tested the KDE edition of Mandriva Linux One 2010 Spring. We chose to test it with KDE because Mandriva is generally regarded as a KDE-centric distribution. We initially tested it in VirtualBox to get a feel for the general user experience and then installed it on a Dell laptop to evaluate its hardware support. The installation process was mostly painless and on par with what we expect from a modern Live CD installer. It ran flawlessly in the virtualized environment and even installed the VirtualBox guest tools automatically. We had no difficulty getting it to run on the laptop.

The OS ships with KDE 4.4.3 and version of the Linux kernel. Mandriva has its own custom user interface theme that is used across both KDE and GNOME, and its default KDE configuration deviates from that of upstream KDE. It uses a Folder View containment as the default activity and it has a conventional application menu instead of KDE's Kickoff menu. These changes are intended to make KDE 4 feel more like the classic user experience of the KDE 3.5.x series.

The default installation includes a well-rounded KDE application stack, but it doesn't consistently favor KDE in cases where there are popular and more mainstream alternatives.

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