The first few days on Mandriva 2009.0
With the first few days (and couple of hundred updates) under the belt I can say a little bit more about my first impressions with the Alpha 2 release of Mandriva 2009. I started last Sunday and have been using it pretty much as the default since. You can actually forget that this release is still under heavy development and that the next bunch of upgrades might break something. Mandriva 2009 is running rock solid on my laptop, where working with Mandriva 2008 Spring was like walking with a FabergÃ© egg through a crowd going for an iPhone sale. You knew it would break, it was simply a matter of when. But nothing of the kind with Mandriva 2009.
I tried my hand at KDE 4.1. It has plenty of shine and the plasmoids are supposed to make my life easier, more productive or whatever. I don’t think KDE 3.x will be an option for Mandriva 2009 and I wonder whether that is a wise choice at the moment. Ubuntu was criticized for exempting Kubuntu 8.04 the LTS status, because KDE 4 is such a young and immature technology. All distributions have to ask the question whether to go default on KDE 4 and whether to include the option to install KDE 3 this year and perhaps the next.
But when I see the sluggish response of the desktop, crashing widgets or widgets that don’t scale well, missing functionality (like in Dolphin) or the incomplete icon sets, I doubt the wisdom behind going KDE 4 only. Oh, I am aware that most of these issues are minor and that KDE 4 will mature into something much better and grander than KDE 3. But, not at the expense of not having the option to select KDE 3 for now.
Thus I went back to the GNOME desktop, which is just as you might expect from the GNOME desktop. Moving from Ubuntu to Mandriva does result in a couple of “how do I do…’s” and browsing through the folders to find the proper function, but that is to be expected. After that is was just like working under Ubuntu. I mean, the applications I needed are there, I can do basically everything I did under Ubuntu.
There is one big difference. Mandriva 2009 Alpha 2 isn’t only more stable as compared to Mandriva 2008 Spring, but also compared to Ubuntu 8.04 (which was way more stable than Mandriva 2008 Spring). Which only reinforces the nagging thought that Ubuntu should have opted for a 8.06 release instead of a 8.04 release, just like Dapper Drake. For Ubuntu that is now solved with the 8.04.1 point release.
Anyway, it has been a pleasant experience so far.