Mandriva Linux Powerpack 2009 Review

MandrivaMandriva Linux Powerpack is one of three editions of the Linux desktop published by Mandriva, the French Linux software publisher. The others are Mandriva Linux One and Mandriva Linux Free, both of which are free to download and use. Mandriva Linux Powerpack is the commercial edition, and costs 49 EUR, or 62 USD. In this tutorial, we take a somewhat detailed review of Mandriva Linux Powerpack 2009, which was released on October 9, 2008.

Installation: Te Mandriva Linux Powerpack installer is the same one that Mandriva Linux Free uses. It is an advanced installer with support for Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM), and RAID, and the options to configure encrypted partitions. Unlike Fedora 9, however, it doesn’t have the option for encrypting the whole system. The default disk partitioning method is non-LVM, but f you choose to configure LVM, the installer gives you a number of options as shown in the image below. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to configure LVM in Mandriva Linux Free, which is also applicable to Mandriva Linux Powerpack.

One thing you’ll notice about the installer is that – except for a few instances like in the screenshot above – it does not have a “BACK” or “PREVIOUS” button. It’s like going down a one-way street with the installer. Just be sure to double check your choices before clicking “NEXT”. One thing that could negate (although not completely) the need for a “BACK” button is that at the end of the installation, you have the option to make changes.

I think you’ll agree that a “BACK” button is what’s missing in the image above and below.

It is obvious from the screenshot above that the default desktop environment is KDE, with Gnome as the alternate. You could also choose to create a custom installation.

Default Installed Applications: With Powerpack, you get all the non-Free and commercial applications that are missing in Mandriva Free and Mandriva One. Here’s a list of some that are not a part of the default installation of Free or One:

  • Kphone, the Voice Over Internet Phone application
  • Scribus, the open source page layout application
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 8
  • LightZone, the digital photo editing software
  • Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMMS) – software for music production
  • Frontend to the Cedega Gaming Service, a fee-based, online gaming platform

Aside from the applications listed above, you get the usual set of applications that comes with any Linux or BSD desktop distribution. You get, for example, Firefox 3.0, Konqueror (the KDE browser), and Opera 9.52 for browsing the Internet. You also get: 3.0, Elisa Media Center, the GIMP, Kopete, Skype, Amarok, Totem video player, and Dragon Video Player 2.0.

Security: Access to admin privileges on a Mandriva system is via the traditional UNIX/Linux root user account. Mandriva Linux comes with a firewall script (shorewall) that is activated by default during installation. The security setting is set to high, and you should have no fear about exposing a default installation of Mandriva Linux desktop to the Internet. You may read about the Mandriva Linux firewall here.

Mandriva’s network manager applet is probably the best you’ll find on any Linux or BSD desktop. You can configure just about any aspect of the systems network interfaces – wired and wireless – from the applet. One feature we think you’ll especially like is the interactive firewall, something that users of that other operating system will be familiar with. From the network manager applet or from the Mandriva Control Center, you can configure VPN connections uisng the Cisco VPN Concentrator or OpenVPN clients.

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