Mandrake Derived Distros
Todays special is about Mandrake derived distributions, namely,
OpenMandriva Lx 2014 alpha vs Mageia 4 final vs ROSA 2012 R2 final vs PCLinuxOS 2013.12 final.
In (my limited) testing, I've used the X86_64 versions favoring the KDE desktop, and I've used the NVidia binary drivers provided with each distro.
Here's my experience with each one:
1) OpenMandriva Lx 2014 alpha
This one installed just fine, but would not startup on first boot. Well, it's an alpha version, so this could be understood.
2) Mageia 4 final release
Developers ran across many many bugs during development. In my opinion, they released their final version about two weeks to a month before they should have. Check out their errata website. While I credit Mageia for the publishing this exhaustive list, it's very long.
For me, I couldn't get kdenlive, kate, and kwrite to launch from the menus. Kate and kwrite would launch from a terminal. Kdenlive just wouldn't start at all. This is attributed to an NVidia driver bug on the errata page.
I know the Mageia devs will fix everything, but it seems too bugridden for a final release.
3) PCLinuxOS 2013.12 final
PCLinuxOS has brought in a lot of code from other sources, so it's the furthest from being a Mandrake derived distro listed here. It runs very smooth--and my only criticisms were an older kernel, and the ruby release was only 1.8.7. (In my retirement, I still do some small development, and Ruby is one of my preferred interpreters). I still think PCLinuxOS is the best distro for new linux users.
4) ROSA 2012 R2 final
This was a surprise for me, but ROSA runs very well for me. I still have some testing to do, but it seems a very complete distro, and will remain on my "testing" machine for a while. I'm surprised this distro hasn't been more popular on DistroWatch.
Well, that's it for now, it's ROSA for me, with PCLinuxOS a close second. This could change over the next few months.