MandrivaOne - a livecd
The release of Mandriva Linux One 2006 Beta 2 was announced yesterday. As we didn't have too much luck with the first one and early reports state the boot problems still exist, Tuxmachines almost took a pass on this release. That would have been a mistake. This beta 2 shows the kind of release we've come to expect from Mandriva, even in the beta stage, and we are proud to report we had wonderful results this time.
The improvements showed immediately here. Despite other reports of the livecd still not wanting to boot with more than one cdrom drive attached, we did not experience that here. It could be several factors for this anomoly, but I have a dvd burner as hdc and a cdrw as hdd. I burnt my copy in hdd and booted in same. This drive is an LG, btw (for the reader who was concerned), and it's still with us. We had no problems. I was actually surprized and already had plans to unplug one or the other. It wasn't necessary.
I did still see a lot of boot errors, but most was due to it trying to load a lot of modules either not present on the livecd or needed here. One that raised an eyebrow or two here stated it could not find / in /etc/fstab. I adjusted my dress-shields, bit my lip and continued to watch. It booted fine, and relatively fast, but dropped me into a 800x600 desktop. Yikes. This isn't so uncommon really and certainly not the end of the world, as nv commonly detects my crt-1 first - and incorrectly. So a simple vi /etc/xorg.conf and I was in a nice 1280x1024 Mandriva desktop.
Before that first kde login one is asked their lang, keyboard, and clock/timezone settings. This is a nice touch and offered reassurance that we were dealing with a professional grade livecd. Although, for some reason, it didn't adjust my clock to proper time. I double-checked that my hardware clock was correct and it was. Again, a small and easy adjustment.
This time we found almost 100% of the applications usuable. Only a couple of the advanced mixers gave us any real problem in opening. The kscd did not want to play my music cds despite my trying to adjust the configuration. Kdetv did not work properly for me either, but it never does even with the proper kernel module parameters. Kradio and qtradio was included and worked wonderfully. As stated before, few distros in livecd format or limited in space include a radio application and that was certainly appreciated here. Some of the applications took a while to open up, but not a bad showing for a livecd. OOo took 40 seconds to open and Firefox to 11 seconds. My usb scanner was autodetected and worked out of the box in Kooka, but xsane didn't see it. Kaffine complained about windows codecs and dvd decryption, but mpgs and avis played fine. My biggest complaint was the exclusion of a compiler, but I suppose one could install it through urpmi or the graphical software manager after the hard drive install.
The harddrive installer worked wonderfully. At first use it appears simple and lacking in options. One is asked their target partition(s) and boot loader information and off it goes. It took less than 15 minutes from start to finish to install Mandriva One onto my harddrive. It does overwrite your current bootloader configuration with no way to skip that step. Although one is given ample opportunity to add all the other entries (systems) to their configuration per that usual Mandriva installer step, that's too much trouble for me. I'd rather do it manually later.
Upon boot of the hard drive install, one finds most if not all of the booting errors encountered with the livecd are gone and one is comforted by a long lists of green OK's. Before reaching the login, one is given the chance to setup their net connection, root password, and user account. Then one can login. My configuration customizations were copied over as were any userfiles I had in the guest account on the livecd. I thought that is a nice touch. Only a few livecd installs bother with that step as well.
In conclusion, good show Mandriva. Beta 1 should have been kept under-wraps and only tested internally. One rarely gets a second chance to make a first impression, but sometimes second impressions are so impressive that one almost forgets the first. This is the case with Mandriva One 2006 Livecd.