ROSA Desktop is a Linux distribution derived from Mandriva Desktop and developed by ROSA, a technology outfit based in Moscow, The Russian Federation. ROSA Desktop 2012 beta is the first pre-release edition of what will become ROSA Desktop 2012. It is supposed to be a Long Term Support (LTS) edition, with a 5-year support period.
Given that the status of Mandriva is still a big question mark, it is good to see activity coming from the folks at ROSA. This article is a short review of this beta release. A detailed review will be published when the final edition becomes available.
For those who have not used Mandriva Desktop 2011 or read Mandriva Desktop 2011 review. ROSA Desktop and Mandriva Desktop are virtually identical. Which means you will encounter all the goodness and badness of Mandriva Desktop on ROSA Desktop, plus a few new features you will only find on this beta release of ROSA Desktop.
The few badnesses that I observed in the beta release are:
Support for disk encryption in the installer is still not as good as that of Fedora, but slightly better than that of Ubuntu Desktop. Only a partition mounted at /home and those not shown in the next three screen shots may be encrypted.
A partition mounted at /usr cannot be encrypted.
Ditto for one mounted at /var.
Another weakness, is the SimpleWelcome, ROSA Desktop’s fullscreen menu. This is what it looks like at 1024×768 screen resolution.
And here it is at 800×600 screen resolution. Unlike Takeoff Launcher, another fullscreen menu type for the K Desktop Environment, it does not scale across screen resolutions.
One of the better features of Mandriva Desktop is its out of the box security profile, part of which is that the firewall is enabled by default, besides the MSec tool. In ROSA Desktop 2012 beta, that has been turned backwards: the firewall is disabled out of the box, even though the system has SMTP port 25 listening on the network.
Those are the major shortcomings of this release. Now, to the features I like, which I think you will like too.
I am always looking for applications that make using a desktop operating system more user-friendly. One you will find on ROSA Desktop, is Stackfolder. It is one of two cool reasons I gave for using KDE. What it does is simply allow you to browse the contents of your home folder directly from the panel without opening the file manager. ROSA Desktop, Mandriva Desktop 2011, and Chakra, are the only distributions that use KDE that I know you could install Stackfolder on. It is installed and enabled by default on ROSA Desktop and Mandriva Desktop 2011.