It took me literally hours to figure out which Linux distributions I would want to download and test. The choices are so varied and there are so many features each distribution offers that it was difficult just choosing. In this little article I will try to go over some of the basic features of one of my favorites, Mandriva.
Unlike the competition in this sector, Mandriva offers an incredible array of features and cool little tidbits. The sheer amount of applications the platform comes with out of the box is incredible and anyone out there looking to start their career in Linux will have a field day with Mandriva. With a plethora of awesome features and awesome looks, this could be one of the best Linux distributions out on the market.
You might think that with so many features out of the box, Mandriva will be heavy on the resource front. If you thought that, then you are correct. After Fedora I think Mandriva is one of the “heaviest” Linux distributions out there in terms of sheer system requirements. Although my machine is fairly new and powerful enough, I had the feeling that there were times when it did have to break a sweat.
However, once everything is nice and loaded up, you will be amazed by the fluidity and speed of the platform as a whole. It really shifts this thing and I was profoundly impressed by how well and quick everything went despite the initial feeling that my computer might just crash during boot. Note that in this regard, there are better alternatives for those with older machines.
The overall interface is very easy and intuitive and you get access to loads of customization features with a single click. Within just a few seconds after the system booted up I managed to sync up my music files stored on Dropbox, start listening to those, check my email, write up some text, log into my Instant Messaging applications and start work.
Although I just changed from Windows 7 I had no issues in adjusting to Mandriva within the first few minutes. Sure that my experience with Linux might have a small effect on this, but apart from a few weeks running a couple of builds, I am as green as they get.
This is where Mandriva really shines as the offer for applications is incredible. There is literally no stone left unturned and although I took several screenshots of the applications this comes with, there are tons more for you to access. The good part is that we are not just dealing with bloatware like on some Windows machine, but with actually useful applications.
These range from a wide variety of web related applications and all the way to graphic editing, text editing and multimedia players. There is literally no stone left unturned with Mandriva and if you look for great features as soon as you install your operating system, this is the one to go for.
As browsers you can choose between Firefox and Konqueror, you have Kopete for IM, KTorrent as a torrent client (doh!) and Mozilla Thunderbird as an email client.
The office pack is provided by Libre Office and you will find everything you need there as well. In terms of tools you have a plethora at your disposal yet again. Mandriva did not skimp on these either and you can quickly start configuring your computer, your desktop, manage your printers, monitor the system, access the Konsole in one quick click. Everything is again at your fingertips as soon as the system boots up.
Not to mention that behind all of this, I found one of my old favorites in terms of audio players, Clementine. This has out of the box MP3 support, a great and simple interface and at the same time it can provide the user with any sort of information they might look for in their music library.
Ease of use
Despite the wide array of applications at your disposal, Mandriva never seems overwhelming. You never get the feeling that you might break something or that you are overcome by the sheer amount of features it throws at you. There are some bad sides in this regard as well for those who do not know a few of the applications this ships with, but overall, Mandriva has something for everyone and it features it in a nice and pleasant manner.
If you think that it might be too overwhelming to change within just a few minutes, then try out a live build.
Note that those tend to be a lot slower than their full counterparts and some features might be missing. If you get over that little inconvenient, you should be in a fine shape and you should be able to run all your usual stuff easily.
Mandriva just became one of my new favorites in terms of Linux distributions. It features a plethora of awesome applications as soon as you finish installing the operating system and it feels excellently put together. Applications load quickly and easily, you can access a wide array of file formats and content within just a few minutes after installing it and you have massive amounts of control over everything.
Not to mention that all of this in an interface very similar to what you might see on a Windows or Mac OS machine. The benefit of it all however lies in the fact that Mandriva (like any Linux distro for that matter) will offer you a huge amount of customization options. Setting up multiple desktops, arranging applications to fit your needs and work style, everything is done with absolute control.
The only real reason I would see for which you would not run Mandriva (or again, any other Linux distro) is their support for games. But if you do not game that often or maybe only an hour or two a day, you can even try using with a Windows emulator. Getting a dual-boot setup would be another way of achieving this as well. So what are you waiting for? Go on and get it!
If you need more help choosing check out my article covering the “Best Linux Distrbution” and choose for yourself the one to fit your needs!