Mandriva Linux is a fantastic scientific platform
Stéphane TELETCHEA is working in a french research laboratory. He is also contributing to Mandriva Linux as a tester and packager for some years now. Below is his testimony in Mandriva Linux use for his daily work.
We started using Mandriva Linux (Mandriva at that time) in the laboraty for the great combination of an ease of use and a very strong development platform. At that time I was a starting my PhD and trying to migrate from aging SGI Indigo 2 to more powerful standard PC-based computers. I did test other distributions at that time but Mandriva was the only one offering a lot of scientific applications (one that comes to my mind is XmGrace). Perl/bioperl, python, fortran, gcc and libc stacks were and are still very up-to-date but functional as if they were tested for years. This very good combination of stability and recent releases also helped some colleagues in improving their programs (for instance with the stricter checks coming in c++ in the gcc 4 series). This stability was also very appreciated while writing my PhD thesis where LyX and Pybliographer, on top of the Tetex stack, showed no crash leading to text loss. The pressure was sufficiently high in other domains to appreciate this part (those using Word or even Writer can not understand the beauty of (La)TeX).
One main advantage of this distribution was also the availability of the developers met in Linux expo (now Solutions Linux) in Paris, who helped the newbie I was to learn some basics.