Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Last week I downloaded Mandriva 2008 just to have a look. I still remember the time, nine years ago, when Mandriva, then called Mandrake, was known as "Red Hat with KDE."
The 2008 version of Mandriva is extremely easy to install - it took just 14 minutes for a working interface, including configuring every bit of hardware that I wanted to configure. There is no complicated beast like YaST around as in openSUSE.
Mandriva is a commercial distribution and makes no bones about that at all - there is a single disc version which is free to download and use and there are packs for sale. The price is reasonable for a nicely designed, working Linux system.
The single disc free version does not provide a choice of interfaces during installation; only KDE and its associated applications get installed.
If your system has a NVIDIA-based card, then the proprietary driver from that company gets installed by default. On occasion, I noticed problems, especially when graphic special effects are being used.