My Last tryst with Mandriva was the Powerpack version of 2008. It was good but not great. PClinuxOS 2008 MiniME seemed to me a better choice in terms of stability, wireless configuration and usability.
I had tried Mandriva 2009. It was full of promises (though there were some showstoppers). When a few days back Mandriva released the latest version of its operating system, Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring, I could not stop myself from downloading it.
What's So Great About It?
1. It has that extra polish (trademark of Mandriva Spring Release).
2. It has Kernel 2.6.29 (with many new drivers and support for ext4).
3. It has option to remove unnecessary drivers after installation.
4. It dwarfs many Linux distros in terms of boot-speed and overall system responsiveness.
5. It has packaged many latest (yet stable) applications such as OO.o 3.0.1, Firefox 3.0.8, Gimp 2.6 and More.
6. It has professional looking theme and style.
7. It is a very stable release!
What's Not So Good?
Only one - package management. The default package management frontend gurpmi seems somewhat not so polished. I also tried other alternatives such as smart and easy urpmi. None are for me. I am dreaming of a day when Mandriva will have a better package management frontend that is as good or better than apt-get (synaptic).
Mandriva Benchmarks on My Notebook (Celeron M 1.73GHz, 1GB RAM)
Boot time (from Grub to full Gnome Desktop): 35 sec
Shutdown time: 9 sec
Memory footprint on freshly booted desktop: 110 MB (gnome desktop with only 19 services running)
Hardware Detection and Configuration
It readily detected and configured my X3100 graphics, Broadcom 4311 wlan card, webcam and external bluetooth dongle. Like always, Mandriva 2009.1 is great when it comes to hardware detection and configuration.
Once the leader of desktop linux, Mandriva is all set to acquire its old glory. 2009 Spring release is great in many ways. The more you use it, the more you will like it.