Linux Review 9- Mandriva KDE 2008.0

Mandriva 2008
Mandriva is the result from after Mandrake. It is what PCLinuxOS is based on. The people behind them have experience, and when they made this OS, they were very careful to provide a good OS, with not many rough edges, and a good overall feature stack. 2008, goes by that, and provides a great Linux experience.

Installing the 2008 version of Mandriva is very fast. I'd say, if you left for 15 minutes, and then came back, it would be on the "Finished, please halt your computer, and remove the media" screen. It is very very fast. The whole system after is also greatly speedy. Installing graphics drivers is also now a thing of the past for this distribution, Nvidia drivers come pre-installed. That is great, and saves you from looking through repositories for them. Of course you could use Envy, but I have never used that, so somebody remind me to do that. It will probably be review worthy.

Overall Feel
The overall feel is also pretty good, the blue/silver theme is pleasing, it isn't boring, and it strikes the eye, as "That's cool" I think it would be a good thing for a Windows substitute. You also have a choice of initializing 3-d effects, and you can have Metisse, or Compiz, before you even get to Live CD desktop! That's also impressive.

Other Thoughts
Mandriva is free, at least for the one version. You can also upgrade to powerpack, which has more features, and more software. That could be good, or it might not, I am not sure, I know I don't have $50 to spend on it.

Mandriva is a pretty nice distribution. No rough edges, great software, but the Package Manager is very simple.That is the only thing you can really strike it with, other than Personal preference. Installation isn't going to take your afternoon computer time. That's great too. Very cool distribution, I would have to say a 4/5.

DRM, OLPC, and more random things...

DRM, Digital Rights Management, is a way to prevent end user from sharing multimedia. The MP3 file format is one of the easiest to enforce it on. WMA, Windows Media Audio, is just as easy to put it on, plus, it is a format developed by the "evil empire." There are several reasons Linux users don't like it, and even people in our classes hate it. That signifies something, hmmm...

OGG, the free music file format, is supported by many open source software, and you essentially cannot put DRM on it. It is an Open Format, supported by most Linux Distributions out of the box, and it is well compressed, good quality, and not rough around the edges.

The Napster Store now sells DRM- free MP3's. Napster has a web client, and can be available on Linux, Mac, and Windows. This is another good step towards getting rid of DRM, and I wonder if one band who will not be mentioned here, *cough*Metal*Cough*lica, will be convinced.

Nicholas Negroponte, with the OLPC group, has actually gone the Windows way with the XO, more and more people are being convinced that it is just another laptop project, and not an education project, and that it is to compete with Dell, HP, Etc. This really dissapoints me, I had a day with the XO, and thought it would be very good for third world countries, but Nicholas seems to not want to go that way. There are many people who have broken off from OLPC, and will continue to work on the Sugar UI, that, at least makes me a little bit happy.

On another note, at school we are having problems with Windows computers in one room, and I talked to other tech savvy students about the problem, and because they both like Linux, they would like to bring it further into these classes. More on this issue later.

Food For Thought- 5/17/08

Windows XP SP3 was released a while ago, and today, Saturday, I decided to install it. I went through Windows Update, (It's web based, not Automatic updates) and it detected that SP3 was available, and was not yet on my PC. I went ahead and allowed it to download, but before I actually installed, it conveniently detected that I had not had enough disk space on drive C:\ and wouldn't continue until I fixed that issue. I cleaned up my disk, and then proceeded with the install. So far so good, and it told me I needed to reboot. I went ahead and allowed it to. Selected Windows from the GRUB boot loader (I am using Mandriva, so that review is coming soon) and proceeded with the boot. Bad news, I didn't notice a performance gain at all. I heard that it was around a 10% performance gain, I didn't see it, oh well.

On another topic, I have noticed that Fedora 9 is out. I wish to put it through it's paces, and try out KDE 4, so I am downloading the DVD ISO, and hopefully that will be done soon.

I also went to the Dynamic Landscapes conference at Champlain College. We Ustreamed the keynote and several other sessions, and I met a young blogger, Arthus, it was a great honor meeting him, and I wish to go to some more conferences with him. I am a fan of his blog, and it was quite interesting meeting him. His blog, Newly Ancient is here, Newly Ancient.

Going to that conference was interesting. I enjoyed this, and everything is already online, so there is less for our team to do in the long run.

The first three podcasts from FOSSVT are available at I have embedded the Student Ambassador's podcast at the top of the page. They are finally done, hooray!

Give it Your Own Title- Google Apps

Instead of looking at immediate change, we should be looking at the possibilities for change, and then go from there. So begins a series of articles that all have hope, and lets start with one now.

Google Apps- For your Domain
Google Applications may be one of the most easy and successful things that a school could do. My school runs a Linux server with two versions of Windows Server (NT and 2003) running on top. This is one thing I have to stop and think about. First of all, Virtualization seems to be horribly inefficient. Second, since every one's files are stored on the 2003 Server, if that one has a problem, files aren't accessible. The server being down to begin with is always a headache, nobody will be able to log in. Thankfully, I have talked to the Network admin, and he says that we are getting a new server over the summer, which will run Linux. It will be a custom build, and I get to help. Hooray! We all win! Anyway, since the school has started using Google Apps, I haven't seen a lot of activity with it. It just seems to be another feature that kids have access to, but most choose not to use. Many kids, although, seem to love the ability to put a document up there, and then work on it from home. I like it, I don't have to carry around a thumb drive everywhere I go. It is very beneficial, your documents are backed up in several places, and the Google team keeps wonderful service of the headless machines that keep my docs. I barely experience a huge fault with the service. Now, the wonderful Google team is rolling out offline support for Google docs, and several other services. The offline support lets you edit your existing documents offline, with Google gears, and then you just type into your web browser! It is, truly brilliant. If a page doesn't come up, Gears probably isn't installed, or you haven't turned on docs offline. So far though, there isn't any support for Spreadsheets and Presentations, hopefully we will be seeing those soon!