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Review: Mandriva Flash delivers Linux to go

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Mandriva Flash is a 2GB Dane-Elec USB key loaded with Mandriva Linux 2007. It gets points for style: the key is an attractive deep blue surrounded by a sturdy metal fence that leaves room on both ends to attach the key to a lanyard or keychain. The release notes say that the operating system and related files only take up half the space on the USB drive, leaving 1GB for my own files. This little powerhouse packs a lot of punch, once you get it up and running.

Mandriva Flash is based on the 2.6.17 kernel, and includes Glibc 2.4, X.org 7.1, KDE 3.5.4, GCC 4.1, OpenOffice 2.0.3, Mozilla Firefox 1.5.0.6, Flash® Player 7.0.68, and RealPlayer® 10.0.8.805. It retails for USD $69.99.

Mandriva 2007 on a USB drive lacks little in the way of desktop productivity software. In addition to OpenOffice, it comes loaded with goodies like KOrganizer personal organizer software, KAlarm scheduler, KCalc, KDE's fax utility, a Palm Pilot manager, plus KMail, Kontact, and the Kopete instant messenger, which asked me to set up KWallet the first time I ran it, since I told Kopete to save my password. KWallet stores your passwords and other personal information in an encrypted file on the disk.

Since I spend a lot of time on IRC, I noticed Mandriva didn't include an IRC client on the program menu, but I found that KSirc was installed and simply added it to the menu myself.

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