I’ve Moved On …

linuxMy first encounter with Ubuntu was with Hardy Heron, also known as Ubuntu 8.04. This was sometime in 2008, about the time it was released. It was the 8th iteration of, unarguably, the most popular Linux distribution in the world.

Before this, i had played with a few other distributions, notably Mandriva 2006. I remember then being impressed with what i thought was its sleek and lean interface. Mandriva as a company has probably been through more downs than ups when compared with other major Linux distribution companies, the last been the financial woes which it barely survived. In May 2010, the company had actually announced that it was up for sale due to its deteriorating financial situation. It later announced in June 2010 that it was staying intact with the help of new investments from undisclosed sources.

The latest iteration of Mandriva is Mandriva 2010.1 Spring release, and it is considered a solid and user-friendly desktop release.The company claims “it is quicker, easier and more secure than ever and offers new functionalities which revolutionise the desktop. Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring supports a wide panel of hardware configurations, making it a stable base for users. Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring combines simplicity with conviviality in an intuitive, high performing environment. It is the ideal distribution for all users, from the beginner to the most advanced”.To a very large extent, i think their claims are true.

My affair with Ubuntu came to an end recently, without any ceremony, more out of frustration. Right from Day one, the flaws were all there for me to see but like they say, love is blind. I’m by no means a Linux Guru and do I have to be to use the OS? I’d say NO. Unfortunately, that’s the misconception everyone have against Linux, especially if they are unfortunate to have used one of those For-Geeks-Only distributions. Why do I have to be forever tinkering my laptop to get a functionality that is taken for granted on another OS? Ubuntu is great, it’s success story was probably enhanced by the overwhelming publicity given to it. It’s marketing team are definitely top notch. Support from forums are also very easily available, more than any other distro. Support from the company itself is not free.

I still stand by my earlier summation that for a newbie, the best route to follow is the Ubuntu (or its variants) way. I’ll say conclusively that Linux Mint is still your best option but for me, MANDRIVA 2010.1 is the way to go for the following reasons;

I use an Asus UL30A-X5, one of those laptops touted as having a 12 hour battery life, though in reality, the best you can get under Windows is about 8 hours. Under Mandriva, with very minimal GUI configuration, I could boast of about 7 hours.

- All function keys work immediately after installation, no tinkering.

- Ease of use, minimal system hang-ups like i kept experiencing with Ubuntu, highly configurable GUI interface.

- Some multimedia codecs like MP3 and TS format (used by Strong PVR Receivers) are included in the distro.

- Installation DVD contains at least 8 desktop environments including KDE 4.4.3, Gnome and LXDE

- Very large collection of Apps contained in the 4.3GB DVD, more than you will ever need. Especially important for those with limited or no internet connection.

Mandriva is by no means the best distro out there, but to me, it meets my needs, at least for now

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Wale Falade is Nigerian. A Business Systems Analyst, Technology Enthusiast and a Linux Server Administrator. He engages actively in improving online visibility of Nigerian brands. Follow him on twitter @diaryofageek
  • muyiscoi

    I think mandriva is a great OS. A friend of mine swears by it and even though he dabbles with other distros, he always goes back to mandriva. However, their default DE is KDE (d one that comes with the CD) and for me, that doesnt float my boat. I’ve not had much experience with KDE but my limited one wasnt pleasant. some people have encouraged me to try it out again though cos i guess initial KDE4 didnt really do much to impress. I will give it a spin with kubuntu 10.10 n see where it goes from there. I’ve been using ubuntu consistently since 7.04 n i hanvt seen any reason to change. initially, there were some show stopping bugs like for instance, my touchpad didnt work on my old laptop (hp500) on 7.04 until i did a kernel upgrade and initially, part of the novelty and fun of using ubuntu was the thrill you get when you are able to tinker your system into working either by editing a text file here or copy pasting a command into the terminal from a forum there. It was all fun until around 8.04 or 8.10 or so. Then, it stopped being fun cos everything just worked. I bought a new system in time for 9.10 (hp dv5) n i thought there will be issues so i was getting ready to google to d ends of d earth. however, i was sorely “dissapointed” when i booted and everything worked … (even the media buttons) sans my graphics card (nvidia). a quick update fixed that however, n i’ve not had a hardware issue till date. I hear mandriva has equal or even arguably better hardware support than ubuntu though so i guess that’s y all ur hardware worked out of d box. One thing i know linux generally is lagging behind in … some distros more than the other is power management. I guess its not such a priority for the core devs since they have constant electricity.

  • http://www.diaryofageek.com Wale Falade

    Hello Muyiscoi, glad you found time to stop by. In all honesty, i actually had you in mind when i made this post.

    I was told KDE has moved to new heights with the introduction of 4.4.3, but with your comment, i guess it’s not just me. After struggling with it on Mandriva for a few days, i conceeded defeat. Gnome, on the other hand, is a different story. I understand KDE 4.5 is out, i believe next batch of these distros should feature it.

    I appreciate your experience and skills with Ubuntu and Linux in general and i think it would only be fair if you can do a more objective comparison by trying out Mandriva. Why not indulge me and allow me to send a complimentary DVD to you?

    KDE is not exactly the default desktop for Mandriva because during the installation process, you have the opportunity to install other 7 or so desktops, even leaving out KDE.

    I have been using Gnome consistently for a few days and i am really coping. And i believe Mandriva’s power management is better than Ubuntu.

    So what do you say, you wanna try it out and give a good assessment?

  • muyiscoi

    sure. y not?. send it to me n i'll give it a spin. might only run it under Virtualbox though. i'll send u my contact info with the contact form

  • spacyzuma

    I’m new to this site and I’m interested in Linux.

    I first used Linux from Feb – June 2009 during my nysc in Lagos. I had this new 250GB vista-installed system allocated to me at my PPA, and I had just downloaded Ubuntu 9.04, Fedora 11 and Windows 7 RC. After partitioning the HDD, I installed the Windows7 on the system first, then installed the Ubuntu 9.04 on my external 160GB harddisk. Everything went smoothly. Later however, i discovered that the system would only boot if my Ext HDD was plugged in. Without it, it would display error message about something called GRUB and not seeing the Ubuntu partition or something like that. After researching on the www, i saw this was a real drawback of ubuntu. I was annoyed, to say the least.

    I decided to install Ubuntu on the system instead, and deleted the ubuntu partition on my Ext HDD. This worked, and i was able to enjoy the 3 OS for a few months.

    Towards the end of my nysc, I decided to remove the Ubuntu and Windows7, and the problems began. I cant remember the exact steps I took, but I think I erased the ubuntu partition from within Vista. When I rebooted the system, i got several error messages about GRUB and not seeing the Ubuntu section. All the steps i took were to no avail. Out of annoyance, I decided to install Fedora on the Ubuntu partition after formatting it. I ran into other errors there. By then I was so frustrated [i had to travel to the east early the next day] that I just backed up important data, formatted the entire system, and reinstalled Vista.

    I concluded that Linux [specifically ubuntu and fedora] were not for me. I havent used them again since, except for 1 occasion when a firend’s Vista laptop crashed and I used fedora to extract his data. I’m hoping Ubuntu has solved those problems of last year. I just ordered them from this site, and look forward to expanding my horizons with OS.

    • http://www.diaryofageek.com Wale Falade

      You took the wrong steps which resulted in ur unhappy experience. Why use an external HDD in the first instance? If you must, the installation sequence for portable devices is very different. I saved myself a lot of head ache by using a Partition boot software.

      Did you make any request? I have not seen it yet, pls use the contact form. If you stay on the Island or anywhere close to Ogba, i wouldnt mind getting you the partition boot software and any Linux DVDs of ur choice. You are entitled to 4 DVDs.

  • http://blog.muyiscoi.com muyiscoi

    spacyzuma … I concur with wale that you took the wrong steps and that resulted in your issues. The fact of the matter is that Ubuntu and other flavors of linux are infinitely different from windows and doing things the “windows way” when you are working on linux can result in undesirable results. The best step to take would have been to google steps on how to remove ubuntu while still being able to book windows. Ubuntu installs GRUB (grand unified bootloader) which enables ubuntu and windows to be bootable on the same system along with any other OS you might have installed. Windows bootloader does not accommodate any other OS. Since GRUB is provided by Ubuntu, it is only logical that when ubuntu iis removed, grub will become corrupted and as such, render windows not bootable. The solution will therefore be to reinstall the windows bootloader on the MBR (master boot record) before you remove Ubuntu on that computer. More info on this can be found online. I hope you have a more pleasant experience with ubuntu and linux this time around