Mandriva 2011, the latest desktop edition of the popular Linux distribution, was released yesterday. If you have just installed it, you would have noticed, if you mouseover the update manager icon, this message: “No medium found. You must add some media through ‘Software Media Manager’.” That is just telling you that the package (or update) manager is not pointing to any remote software sources or repositories. As a result, no updates can be applied to the system.
If you are new to Mandriva, this brief tutorial will show the simple steps you can take to add (remote) software sources to the system, plus a few other customizations tips, such as replacing the default menu, if you do not like it, and adding a virtual desktop switcher to the panel. (New users might also be interested in Guest account and user management on Mandriva 2011)
The first step is to add software sources or repositories (repos). To do that, click on the menu’s icon on the panel, then click on the first entry on the Welcome column, which should be the icon for Mandriva Control Center. It should be listed as “Configure Your Computer.”
The main view of the Mandriva Control Center (MCC) is shown below. To add software sources, click on “Configure media sources for install and update,” labeled “1” in the image below.
The sources or repository window will open. By default, it is empty. Click Add.
Click Full set of sources.
At some point, this error window will open. Do not let it bother you. It is not important for regular desktop users. click Ok to close it.
The repository window should now show a full list of repos. Those enabled will be all you need to install stable applications. Click Ok to close the window.
Now that you can install updates, let us look at a few other changes you can make to the system. If you click on the menu, and then on the TimeFrame tab, you will notice that the TimeFrame column is not functional by default. That is because the Nepomuk indexing service is disabled. It was enabled in pre-release editions, but because it can be resource intensive, on low-resource computers, it was disabled out of the box. If you did not know, TimeFrame, when functioning, uses about 37MB of RAM. And that is not counting Nepomuk’s memory usage. By the way, TimeFrame is a fancy and very useful frontend for Nepomuk. To enable it, click on “enable” on the TimeFrame column.
Nepomuk/Strigi Server Configuration window should open. Click the checkbox box next to Enable Nepomuk Semantic Desktop. That is all you need to get TimeFrame functioning.
I like the default menu a lot, but I have heard negative rumblings from some quarters about it. If you share a different opinion about it than I do, you can always replace it with a more familiar menu. And when it comes to menus, you have three other options – the Kickoff menu, Classic menu, and Lancelot menu. The applets for the first two, are available out of the box, but for the Lancelot menu, you have to use the software manager to install the plasma-applet-lancelot package.
To install it, click the item labeled “2” in the first image of this article, that is, on the MCC. Search for “lancelot” in the package manager. The lone result should be the plasma-applet-lancelot-4.6.5 package. Install it.
Before you install a new menu widget, you would, of course, want to remove the existing menu. So, right-click on the menu’s icon and select “Remove this SimpleWelcome.’
Once that is completed, right-click anywhere on the panel and select Panel Options > add Widgets.”
In the search field of the Widget (Panel) Tool Box, type “launcher.” The available menu options will be shown. The first one will be the Kickoff menu and the second the Classic menu. Double-click on your choice to add it to the panel.
With the Panel Tool Box still open, drag the newly added widget to the desired location. Since this is the menu widget, you might want to place it in the original position of the menu you just removed. Close the Panel Tool Box.
The last customization you might wish to make is to add a virtual desktop switcher or pager applet to the panel. To do that, repeat the procedure you used to add the menu widgets, and search for “pager.” Double-click the icon that appears and close the widget adding panel. By default, the pager will show four virtual desktops, which for most people, should be enough.