Openmandriva – a brief review

I had only recently reviewed Mageia5, when I noticed an announcement for OpenMandriva 2014.2.  So I was mistaken that Mageia was what was left of Mandrake/Mandriva.  OpenMandriva is another fork that continues.

I have tested only from the live media.  I did not do a full install to a hard drive.  So this is a more limited review than I gave for Mageia5.

Downloading

Downloading was not a pleasant experience.  I downloaded from sourceforge, using the rekonq browser.  Unfortunately, sourceforge makes it difficult to download other than with a browser.  There was no torrent mentioned in the announcement, and it was difficult to find a direct link where I could use a tool such as “wget”.  The iso was around 1.8G in size.  My download was around 95% complete, when I saw a notification that the connection had been lost.  If I had been using “wget” then I could have asked it to resume, continuing where it left off.  But, with the browser download, I had to start over.  It did download successfully the second time.

I then checked the MD5 and SHA1 checksums provided, to ensure that I had a good download.  I did not find a PGP signature that I could use to verify either the download or the checksum file.  So, instead, I waited 24 hours before using, then checked whether there was any change to the MD5 and SHA1 checksums available at the download site.

Booting

I wrote the iso to a USB, with

# dd_rescue OpenMandrivaLx-2014.2.x86_64.iso /dev/sdd

and then booted the USB to test the distribution.  This was similar to booting the Mageia live media, with similar prompts for keyboard character set, timezone, etc.

I used the same computer, the one with a nvidia graphics card, as I used for my Mageia review.  KDE came up nicely with no graphics woes.  However, it wasn’t clear whether desktop effects were enabled.  I’ll note that with Mageia, desktop effects were evident and the Nvidia driver was in use.  It turned out that, for OpenMandriva, the nouveau driver was being used.  I always have problems with KDE and the nouveau driver on this computer until I disable desktop effects.

I checked.  Desktop effects actually were enabled.  But they were set to use Xrender instead of OpenGL.  I don’t think I ever tried that, since desktop effects are not all that important to me.  So it looks as if nouveau can handle desktop effects with Xrender, and only has problems in OpenGL mode.  The desktop effects are there if I look closely, but they are not as obvious as when using OpenGL (say, with the nvidia driver).

How it runs

Generally, OpenMandriva ran pretty well.  Again, this was rather similar to Mageia.  It used the same non-standard settings, such as having to double-click on icons to open them.  The installed software was similar, with a few differences that probably aren’t important to most users.  The wallpaper was different (but can be changed).

Overall, OpenMandriva looks to be a well running stable system with KDE 4.14.

I also booted on a UEFI box, and it worked just as well there.  I cannot be sure of the boot setup, since I did not install.  But it looks as if grub2 is used for legacy booting, and grub2-efi for UEFI booting.  This is similar to what most distros are using.

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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