Mandriva Linux 2006

Pros: Many user forums and help resources

Cons: Repetitive fanfares and security pop-ups

Price: $110

Features: B-
Value: C

Security: B

Ease of Use: C-


We had a hard time setting up Mandriva. During installation, our partitions became corrupt while using the Mandriva DrakX installer and DiskDrake partitioning utility. We had to give up on loading Mandriva in a dual-boot configuration with Windows XP.

After we finally wrestled Mandriva into place, we found the overall interface fairly crude compared with Fedora Core. While we had no trouble with Internet access, the Mandriva OS had trouble connecting and sharing files with our Windows network. It could see the network but could not get into the shared folders.

Our test printer seemed to install fine, but then problems began. After the printer failed to print our OpenOffice test documents, we had to reinstall the OS. It turns out Mandriva didn't recognize the printer as a Common Unix Printing System. After reinstallation, the same thing happened'or so it seemed. When we gave up in frustration and prepared to shut down for the night, the printer started spitting out documents at high speed. We attempted to clear both the printer's cache and the OpenOffice print queue, but documents kept coming. In a last-ditch effort, we deleted the printer driver and started over again. Finally, things worked.
We also tried a Panasonic Toughbook's wireless connectivity through Mandriva, but the OS informed us that it lacked a proprietary Intel Pro/Wireless driver. Several Linux users told us they have the same problem (Fedora Core 5 provides a WiFi driver).

Fortunately, Mandriva has a sense of humor. When configuring security settings, the OS asked us whether we wanted it set for 'high, higher or paranoid.' And when it logged an occasional port scan, it showed the IP address of the scanner'for purposes of retaliation, perhaps?

Overall, though, Mandriva seems to be more trouble than it's worth.

Mandriva, San Diego, (951) 808-5583, www.new.mandriva.com/en

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