Jump to content
aRTee

Mandriva 2006 review

Recommended Posts

This thread is for reactions to the first part of my Mandriva Linux 2006 review.

 

I included a rather lengthy background story about installation and repositories, partially because I never found a good article explaining how things work in the Linux world, and partially because it's so tiring to find comments on how installation is too difficult, by people who are really clueless about how things work.

 

The second part will be up as soon as I can manage to finish it.

 

Any comments, corrections, flames or praise, please leave them here.

 

I hope you'll enjoy the read,

aRTee

Edited by aRTee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
do yourself a favour and create a spare partition for future use as root (/) partition of some alternative system

Unfortunately, a lot of otherwise good applications tend to introduce a lot of incompatible changes of their configuration file formats. You run the new version, and suddenly, the old one starts misbehaving.

So, I'd add "/mnt/althome" to your proposal.

One may do even some more radical thing, namely, allocate a separate partition for documents/pictures/music files/etc, and restrict /home to configuration files only.

 

Note: since this is Free/Open Source software, the applications don't have a tendency to duplicate efforts as is common on other platforms.

Hmmm.... I wonder why there are scores of text editors etc, most of them half-baked, if there is indeed no tendency to duplicate efforts... Unfortunately, there certainly is. By the way, "handling png files". If I'm not mistaken, there are about some dozen of different image viewers in Mandriva, all doing approximately the same thing with slight variations here and there.

 

For instance, to display png images, only one such program is needed, libpng. If there's a security issue with it (which has happened), only this lib has to be updated, not all programs that deal with png images

This is applicable to any platform using dynamic/shared libraries wisely.

So what does 10GB mean to the user? Basically, it means that any Free/Open Source software project that is even remotely interesting has been packaged.

And what should one do if some interesting software has just got a new shining version finally repairing some long-standing bug? There may be a package for it, that's only that it would be a Cooker one, and not one for 2005LE/2006. There, you're stuck with an old buggy version. Unless you know to recompile source RPMs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:o The link is killing my IE, even though we have XP now instead of NT...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest wemgadge

This was a very informative article. When I recommend Mandriva to my friends, I always mention your site as a must read before continuing. Thank you for the great work.

 

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest leonbrooks
There may be a package for it, that's only that it would be a Cooker one, and not one for 2005LE/2006. There, you're stuck with an old buggy version. Unless you know to recompile source RPMs.
The 5-step recipe:

1. Pull down a short shell script from here and run it as a user, once only: setup4rpms.sh

For each RPM you wish to build:

2. rpm -ivh /path/to/source.rpm

3. cd rpm/SPECS

4. rpm -bb rpmname.spec

5. rpm -Uvh ../RPMS/i586/rpmname.rpm

Problem solved, everyone can relax now. :thumbs:

Edited by leonbrooks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Pull down a short shell script from here and run it as a user, once only: setup4rpms.sh

Good to know there is a script for this matter :)

 

For each RPM you wish to build:

2. rpm -ivh /path/to/source.rpm

3. cd rpm/SPECS

4. rpm -bb rpmname.spec

5. rpm -Uvh ../RPMS/i586/rpmname.rpm

Problem solved, everyone can relax now. :thumbs:

And why not just

rpm --rebuild /path/to/source/rpm
rpm -Uvh rpm/RPMS/586/rpmname.rpm

?

BTW, what about build- and run- time dependencies?

Edited by chalex20

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

chalex,

thanks for your feedback.

When I mention duplication, I'm not talking about people programming their own thing - which is their own choice - for whatever reason. BTW kedit, kwrite and kate share lots of backend stuff. I'm talking about the libs that can be shared but usually aren't on proprietary systems.

You mention lots of image viewers, I talk about the single libpng that does the png en- and decoding. Variation is good, duplication is not. The many editors are all different, and without vim or emacs the world wouldn't be better off.

If someone wants to make their own editor to scratch an itch, that's fine. If they write all without reusing good existing things, it's a waste of time. And bandwidth, and diskspace.

 

I don't like the /mnt/althome idea so much, the standard way of debugging is to try as a different user and if that works, (re)move the config .file or .dir in the homedir. And I have found it's not so necessary - at least you don't lose your stuff if you don't have it, whereas not having your old / you're out of luck if you want to go back.

The last time I actually had troubles with my account after a sysupgrade was from 9.2 to 10.0 I think.

If people have an extra /home, how would they deal with it? When to use it, when not? Too complicated, by the time people 'get' that, they could also just delete the offending config file/dir. But maybe that's just me.

 

 

And what should one do if some interesting software has just got a new shining version finally repairing some long-standing bug? There may be a package for it, that's only that it would be a Cooker one, and not one for 2005LE/2006. There, you're stuck with an old buggy version. Unless you know to recompile source RPMs.

Yeah, one of the club advantages is that you can request newer versions to be packaged.

Thanks leonbrooks, for your solution. BTW welcome to this board! (Now where have I seen your name before?)

 

theYinYeti,

no intention there. Does say a lot about IE - my css and html is 100% validated and correct. BTW interesting that of all the comments here, on OSNews and /. not one person bitched about IE not showing my webpages correctly - or as they would probably say: that my site is broken on IE. Are they afraid to be modded down for using IE?

Lastly - no I still don't know how to fix my pages for IE; I've even asked MS for help, but that fell on deaf ears...

 

Matt / wemgadge,

thanks for your kind words - and welcome to this board! Guess you just joined to say this, so double thanks!

 

solarian, yeah I noticed (well, I actually submitted it), cool that it got posted! My first /.

Yeah! :D

 

 

 

I read through lots of comments on OSNews and Slashdot - man what a ride. Unexpected comments all around.

Surprisingly, Moulinneuf (not directly known for his diplomatic ways of coaching people to see the error of their ways) actually likes my site and defends parts of my article in a wild verbal sparring match...

Very few people like Matt, but luckily there are some who just mention they appreciate my work. Thanks to all those, I don't have a hard time getting over all the abuse.

Lots of people behaving like I'm on crack - some dude on /. calling me baghdad bob...?

Funniest comment: a guy actually confuses me for a quick-and-dirty reviewer who just installs, has a quick look and moves on to review the next system, without knowing what the system is like in daily use.

I mean, really, have a look at my site dude,... what makes you think I do quick reviews? I think I'm not even partial to Mdk/mdv, just read my Suse review. Has he seen that I have benchmark figures dating back to mdk9.2? Is there anything that hints that I'm not a died-in-the-wool longtime Mandrake/Mandriva user?

Ah, and one guy who tried to counter my 'repository is easy once you see how it works' by saying there's nothing intuitive about it, so "it's not good"....

 

Anyway, I'll be working on part 2, but it may not be done until next week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note that, as far as I am concerned, I don't care that much about the site being badly written in "non-standard W3C standards" (©MS) :lol:

 

Besides, maybe it is just my IE at work... However if it is not only me, I was thinking that a tutorial targetted at beginners (hence probably MS users so far) had better be viewable in MS' browser, namely IE...

 

Yves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I was about to say that it must be just your IE, because this IE here at work (IE6.0 on XP) doesn't fall over showing the article. But then I checked again and sure enough all the windows locked up and had to be killed :) The next attempt worked though.

 

Now, about the article itself, just a few comments. Overall I think it's a great article and I think a lot of what you say is true. However I do think the title is misleading, as most of the article is not a review of Mandriva 2006. From my reckoning only about 2/5 of the article is about what it says it is about, and the majority is about more general issues. As worthwhile as the discussion of application installation is, (and I do think it is), I think it should be a separate article, clearly and prominently linked to from the 2006 review but separate. (just my opinion).

 

Secondly, your arguments about the superior ease of installation with Mandriva are correct, but in my view not persuasive to the average windows user curious about linux. Let's say our windows user hears from a friend about this great program called "Winamp". What does he need to do to get this program? Google for the name, find winamp.com, press the "download" button to get an exe, execute it. This, for the windows user, is a simple process, it hasn't asked any complicated questions about which distribution of the OS, or version number, or processor architecture, or packaging format, or anything. It hasn't even asked which _kind_ of OS it is, because it's so ubiquitous that the question doesn't even arise. Or maybe their friend has Winamp and loans them a CD with the installer - hey presto.

 

You're trying to explain that the linux way is more powerful, easier, and more friendly than this method, and (although I think you're right, once it's set up) your arguments aren't going to be persuasive to someone who has the mindset above. You're asking them to start caring about distributions and packages, you're going to tell them that actually this Winamp program that they've heard about isn't available for their system (== weakness of the system, not weakness of the program), or maybe they want OpenOffice 2.0 and that's available for some linux systems but hasn't been packaged for others (yet). Their friend has a program XYZ for their linux system but they can't just email the file or loan them the CD because it's a different system and it won't work there. The ways they're used to working (eg going to any old internet site and downloading the exe) don't work any more and they're going to have to do some reading to find out the new ways.

 

Of course, their way of downloading exes from any old internet site is not a terribly good idea, and the benefits of tested, trustworthy packages from a reputable, signed source are probably not emphasised enough. For me, the outstanding benefits of the rpmdrake (or synaptic) way are:

* central, locally-cached, searchable directory of available software

* quantity, reliability and trustworthiness of the software

* one-time setup of nearby (fast) mirrors, no need for location selection for each download

* automatic resolution of dependencies

* transparent selection of appropriate repository and/or medium (eg get one part from repository X but get required dependency Y from harddrive)

 

The last two aren't so obvious for a windows user because as discussed the dependencies are generally not so widespread, so I'd concentrate on emphasising the first 3, in particular (as you mentioned) trojans and spyware. It won't be easier straight away, they'll have to set it up and learn how to use it, but in the long run, it is easier and more reliable.

 

Of course it depends who's reading this article, and as I said I'm not quite sure who that is. I've a feeling there will be several who know linux, and perhaps know Mandriva. In this case (as chalex said) your statement "since this is Free/Open Source software, the applications don't have a tendency to duplicate efforts as is common on other platforms" will come across as strange, given very public and obvious effort-duplication projects like Gnome/KDE, urpmi/apt-get, KHTML/Gecko, XF86/xorg and many others. In fact there is a large amount of effort-duplication, and it's a great thing that this is possible. Sure, things like png libraries may be shared, but your statement is far too general and jumps out at the reader who has seen the huge number of editors, viewers, p2p clients and linux distributions available.

 

Anyway, waffling aside (sorry!) you make some great points in the article, aRTee, and I especially like the urpmi walkthrough. You deserve a big :thumbs: for all the hard work. I'm certainly looking forward to part 2!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you are the first mentioning your IE actually crashes - I have checked and it is legible in IE here at work... IE5 actually shows it properly, IE6 messes up so you have to use the scrollbar. No clue how it looks on Mac IE but they better just use Safari, where it will/should look great. BTW slowness in scrolling in FF, somewhat in Opera, not in Konqueror. Konq rulz...

Yeah, and sorry for not sticking to that other (non)standard...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

neddie, thanks for the long feedback - I know most is not a review of Mdv06 but if you see the amount I haven't posted yet, you'll think differently :D

I haven't finished writing, but I may turn it into a 3 page article instead of just 2....

 

I agree with many points (yeah, the 'duplication' remark doesn't come across as I intended) - but I just had to write something that explains this stuff, and I didn't have a better place to put it at the time, and it will make sense once you read the rest (which is not available yet).

 

1) most linux users were windows users in a recent past.

2) most of them were actually power users, those who weren't afraid of messing things up, reinstalling, etc.

3) practically everyone who first uses Linux package managers has a Eureka moment

4) no-where is the package management idea explained

5) everyone who has used win and now uses Linux (or bsd etc) agrees that it's very powerful and easy to use

6) it makes helping others out easy, instead of saying: get OOo2 (how? I really had to spell it out to my bro about how to get FF, he asked me twice if it would be wise to execute the downloaded file), you say: urpmi openoffice.org2

 

So why doesn't anyone ever mention that it's so great?

Now I did, and people can refer to that story. I know I will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest mwda

I liked the article. It is a must read and I thank you very much for writing it. I have not finished all of it yet but will.

 

What you have said about installing software on Mandriva is absolutely right at least the part suggesting that it is essential to know now to do it and it is not covered as it should be. However I had nothing but problems figureing out how to use the process. One of the big differences between "Smart" and the default "urpmi" in Mandriva is that the default program is designed only to be used by Mandriva being that it must read a seperate unique file in order to look at the RPM. This caused me no end of problems untill I found "Smart" that was not listed as a possable program by the default "urpmi".

 

I do take exception with you observations about "dependencies" and the need for constant updating of software to meet "dependency" requirements. This is not a blessing it is a curse. Their is so much good software that will never be used because of this PROBLEM. To throw out the work of a person just because the software will not meet dependencies is no advantage for the work though good and useful may have been done a long time ago. If a person writes software that is good and servers a niche then a system that can not use it is a system that loses. It has always been noted how much free software Linux has but this problem is clearly cutting into that pile big time. The time it takes to write software is great and to lose these past efforts is a tragedy/crime. I think Linux is giving up on backward compatability which means it is going to have to find more money and will spend more time playing catch up.

 

Also I use a dial up modem and downloading what are, as you know, large programs is a big problem. I do think that it is only a mater of time before Mandriva will charge for this service, as they clearly can do even though the software is open source. Some one has to pay for the servers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do take exception with you observations about "dependencies" and the need for constant updating of software to meet "dependency" requirements. This is not a blessing it is a curse. Their is so much good software that will never be used because of this PROBLEM. To throw out the work of a person just because the software will not meet dependencies is no advantage for the work though good and useful may have been done a long time ago. If a person writes software that is good and servers a niche then a system that can not use it is a system that loses. It has always been noted how much free software Linux has but this problem is clearly cutting into that pile big time. The time it takes to write software is great and to lose these past efforts is a tragedy/crime. I think Linux is giving up on backward compatability which means it is going to have to find more money and will spend more time playing catch up.

Yesm the dependency arequirements are a problem as some software might not make it into later versions due to e.g. gcc problems. But this is a problem that you experience with any computer system. It is a sad fact. Things are always progressing and some stuff will get obsolete one day. The positiv side is however that most of the obsolete packages get replaced by new projects that are quite often based ont eh old stuff, but vastly improved. And the stuff that was great from the beginning will continue to be updated for new kernels and compilers. Take a look at e.g. blackbox or twm. They are there since a very, very long time and still available for almost any dstro as there is a high demand for them.

 

Also I use a dial up modem and downloading what are, as you know, large programs is a big problem. I do think that it is only a mater of time before Mandriva will charge for this service, as they clearly can do even though the software is open source. Some one has to pay for the servers.

Most servers are not Mandrivas servers but mirrors from universities etc. ;) So there is nothing to charge for. Mandriva afaik tries to earn money primarily by targetting the corporate stuff now. With the money they get there they finance the free development and updating service for Mandriva. Mandrivas CEO recently said in an interview (dunno where I read it exactly) that the Mandriva package updating support for home-users will always remain free. They have apparently no interest in changing this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And even if they were to start charging for it, they would still have to give out the source code under a GPL-style license, and it's only a matter of time before someone bases a new distro off of that source code. that is the way of things in open source ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...