Although not planned to be officially announced until Monday (barring any major show stoppers), Mandriva 2006 Beta 1 isos made their way onto mirrors today. I had been quite anxious to test Mandriva's newest efforts and watching mirrors fairly closely last few weeks. So when those long overdue isos appeared, I found a partition for it immediately.
If this testing cycle is going to be anything like ones past, this could add up to a lot cdrs if one tests each release, especially since they usually consist of 3 isos. So, I commonly use the harddrive install method. Forgetting until I started this article that Mandriva installer is supposed to be able to utilize mulitiple iso files directly, I extracted the isos into a common directory, dd'd the hd_grub.img onto floppy, and rebooted the machine. Next beta I'll test that functionality.
The installer was the usual we've all known and loved for many releases and it finished installing just about everything in about a 1/2 hour. Upon boot I was glad to see the new splash and background images. The boot splash consisted of a tasteful Mandriva blue background with the words "Mandriva Linux" embossed at the lower right and a progress bar is positioned towards the left. It matches the wallpaper I was able to choose, but there didn't appear to be a default wallpaper set at this early stage.
As predicted from a cooker install about a month ago, Mandriva is indeed going forward with their plans to use gcc 4. Kde is up to version 3.4.1 while gnome is at 2.10.2. I didn't see much if any evidence of the connectiva merger present in the release, nor any drastically new features. Since it's not uncommon for Mandriva to wait until a late beta to intro these cutting edge features, it's still too early to judge that aspect. I would almost speculate their main focus up to this point has been getting gcc4 to function properly and other apps to play nice. As they appear to have reach that goal, perhaps they will now introduce some new draws. They have more competition than ever and I wouldn't rule out the prospect of some last inning surprises.
In summation, so far so good. I experienced no major negative issues and the system seemed quite stable. The only trouble I had was a system freeze when I plugged in my usb memory stick.
Some package highlights at this point include: