This finally may be the one. I am currently writing this blog post from Mandriva, a Linux distribution originally based on Red Hat. The transition hasn’t been without its pains, but Mandriva has been the best of the bunch for me. However, up until tonight it just wasn’t quite there; a few nagging issues, including a rather annoying DNS resolution bug that slowed my browsing a little made it not quite the Windows replacement I was hoping for.
While again trying to set up the ability to record Skype conversations, I created a heap of microphone problems that compounded into me destroying both Gnome and KDE from the system, only to reset them from command line.
Yet here I am, and this is tremendous. A tweak in alsamixer restored microphone functionality, and KDE as a replacement for Gnome has been phenominal. Every complain is gone — for what is supposedly the bloated desktop manager, I am incredibly pleased with it. Browsing is far snappier than it ever was on any other platform, along with all the benefits I had prior found.
KDE is remarkably well designed. It’s much more user-friendly, visually appealing and, so far, stable than Gnome. On top of that, the font aliasing has made Opera much more usable that it’s become my Linux browser of choice as well.
The only question is the ease of installation of that specific set-up, as in terms of Mandriva 2009 installers, it only comes bundled with KDE 4, which I haven’t tried and hasn’t received the warmest of critical receptions (Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernal, called it a “disaster”).
The other little usability issue is that the package manager’s default repository is quite limited in its available software. Fortunately a counter to that is the fact that Mandriva uses RPM install files, which are ubiquitous.
Aside from that, everything’s been incredibly smooth. The installation was by far the most well designed, as was the interface and setup. Gnome to KDE was like night and day, and hopefully that can be the experience for future Linux convertees.
It still needs to stand a lengthier test, but Mandriva+KDE 3.5 appears to have finally hit the magic spot.