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arctic

Comparing Mandriva ONE to Ubuntu 7.04 Live-CD

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This time, I decided to do something different than doing a full review of one distribution. I decided that I will compare Ubuntus new 7.04 Feisty Fawn Live-CD (grabbed today from the mirrors) to Mandriva 2007.1 ONE-Gnome. The test-rig was a not so spectacular notebook with an VIA C3 1,0 GHz processor, CLE266 graphics chip (64MB), 256 MB RAM, serial and parallel ports, a 60 GB harddisk, dvd-drive and a realtek ethernet-card plus some minor stuff that is not really important for this review.

 

Startup:

ONE starts up pretty fast, asks during the boot-process for some user-preferences like language, keyboard-layout, timezone etc. which is very nice. The look of the boot-process is good but not spectacular. Boot up time: Roughly two minutes.

 

Feisty comes with several options at the grub-screen, like checking for defect media (which I missed in ONE). I start the system in Live-mode and it looks very promising, polished. But the boot-process is very, very slow. It took the system a whopping five minutes to boot from CD. I was not asked about system-language, keyboard-layout or anything else. A slight disappointment and a huge annoyance if you are not very familiar with the English language.

 

Conclusion: Less boot options at grub but a lot more options for the later configuration plus a significantly faster boot time give Mandriva a clear advantage in this area.

 

Desktop-look:

Both, Mandriva and Ubuntu are very polished, but also very different. ONE starts Gnome without any big fanfare, Ubuntu greets the user with some djungle-sounds. A bit ridiculous those sounds, but that is only my opinion. ONE throws a bright orange desktop at my eyes. The text of the icons on the desktop is hard to read, the text on the Metacity bar is also a bit difficult to read, (especially if you are older and need better contrast, I guess) the Free version with its nice blue is much more pleasing to the eyes. But leaving that striking colour in ONE apart, the theme is very polished and consistent.

 

Ubuntu is not as dark and depressive like e.g. 6.06. The colours are very soft and easy on the eyes - until the bright orange icons strike you again. I hoped they would have adjusted the icon-colouring but no, same colour madness again. That is a pity. A softer colour would have been nicer and fit better to the overall theme.

 

Conclusion: Both look quite professional. Ubuntus default colour selection is still brown but it is easier on the eyes than ONEs bright orange. Slight advantage for Ubuntu.

 

Applications:

Very similar selection of default applications. Nice thing in Mandriva: 3D-effects are there for those who want/love them and installing Google Earth or Picasa is only one click away. Then there is e.g. WengoPhone - but not skype, which was previously advertised by Mandriva. Slightly puzzling...

 

Applications launch almost half as fast in Feisty on the test-rig. I have not researched yet why this is so, but for someone who uses the Live-CD in order to gain an impression about the system, the lack of speed is a major drawback for promoting Feisty imho. They should really improve this. Stability-wise, I found both systems to be very, very stable (Although they will probably never match my RHEL/Startcom system)

 

Handling of media (e.g. some USB-devices) was painless in both distros for me.

 

Conclusion: More applications and faster app-launching result in a better first impression of ONE compared to Feisty.

 

Administration:

This is where Mandriva is still unrivaled. The MCC, while being far from perfect has dozens of options. Feisty does include gnome-administration tools and has made a lot of progress in this area but is not even close to Mandriva here. I had expected them to close the gap faster, but I was disappointed. Managing services is e.g. in Mandriva and Fedora quite simple with the apps they provide (RHEL/Fedora is imho the king in this area) which explain the services in detail (in RHEL/Fedoras case allows managing them for different runlevels easily).

 

In Ubuntu, I have the gnome "services" application which is a huge improvement to the previous joke of a "service-administration" tool, but still not up to the MCC-tool, as it does not really explain the services nor if the services are really running. It only shows if they are activated at boot. Here, work needs to be done.

 

What is good in Feisty is that it has a "restricted driver checker", which will tell you if some hardware of yours needs restricted drivers from somewhere. I guess/hope that it works okay. My lappy did not report anything restricted so I cannot say if the tool works 100% okay or not. But the idea is very good and should be adopted by other distros, too.

 

Unparalleled is Mandrivas partitioning tool. Predictable, stable, does its job, since ages. Ubuntu uses gparted, which is also very good but not spectacular. One annoyance though: When I opened gparted, all the partitions that weren't mounted previously were suddenly automatically mounted. The result: a desktop that got cluttered with harddisk-icons and a nautilus window for each partition. gparted was somehwere hidden behind the nine windows that suddenly popped up. This should NOT happen. Why does it automount the partitions automatically? I was lucky that I launched it on the lappy which has only nine partitions. Now think of a user who has some 15 or more partitions. What fun! :o

 

Installing applications is easy on both distributions. I cannot say that one distro is superior to the other in this area. They are different, which is fine. Feistys apt-get tool is faster than urpmi, but I have never experienced any real problems with either of the two package managers. So after all, which one you prefer is a matter of personal preferences.

 

Conclusion: Administative tools are the area where Mandriva really shines, although Ubuntu is slowly closing the gap. Mandriva wins this section - hands down.

 

Overall impression:

The much praised Feisty Fawn is a bit of a disappointment imho. Maybe my expectations were too high. I guess that this has to do with the constant praise for Feisty I read all over the places ("Wait for Feisty - you will be amazed! "The best linux-desktop ever!" etc.). Nonetheless, Feisty is a very good and polished release. Although I wouldn't use or recommend it as a Live-CD, I guess that it is again very good as a desktop system and it can surely be recommended to users.

 

Mandrivas Spring release is imho a very positive surprise. I had not expected Mandrivas ONE to be that much better than Feisty as a Live-CD. A desktop-comparision will probably close the gap between both systems a bit. But from my point of view, Mandriva came back with an incredible release. Now we have to see if the new Fedora and OpenSuse, once they are released, can rival Mandriva 2007.1 srping (although I am a huge Fedora fan, I highly doubt that Fedora will beat Mandrivas release). It will be a tough job to do, that is for sure.

 

I would like to see some computers with preinstalled Ubuntu and Mandriva versions available in the shops. They are both ready for prime-time in my opinion. :)

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Personally I am amazed with your review.

You know better than me that neither Mandriva One, nor Feisty CD are designed to operate as live CD's, but mainly as an easy way (for newbies) to install an OS to HD.

You seem to ignore that fact. Why?

That said, Mandriva 2007.1 is pretty good indeed, and Ubuntu Feisty- dunno, my only experience was with prebetas back in January. But as far as I am concerned, for my taste both are WAY inferior to Sidux 2007.1 "Khaos" (a customized Debian Sid liveCD, something like a sequence to the defunct Kanotix), even if the latter is a pre-alpha!

If you want to compare liveCD's, then pick some real ones- because neither fof the two is designed with that in mind (nor Sidux is aimed at usage as a liveCD, either).

Edited by scarecrow

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I think arctic's post is spot on. You can use the Live CD's to see how the system works, and then install it if you need to.

 

He was testing the functionality from the CD, rather than making two installs of Ubuntu versus Mandriva. These CD's are still valid as Live CD's, because you can still use apps on them, etc, etc, etc.

 

It's not as if they are Live CD's with no functionality other than to let you install the full OS and nothing else. They are clearly usable as Live CD's with apps too!

 

You could use knoppix I suppose, but then it's a DVD and so far more apps included so is likely to be able to do more than the CD versions.

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You know better than me that neither Mandriva One, nor Feisty CD are designed to operate as live CD's, but mainly as an easy way (for newbies) to install an OS to HD.

You seem to ignore that fact. Why?

Well, the reason is simple: First of all, I have to install both systems yet on the same hardware in order to do a full review. The second point is that the first visual impression often decides, if a user will install a system onto his harddisk or not. If ONE and Feisty do not impress in Live-CD mode, then the chances that people will install them are minimal imho. The third reason is that I know of more and more people who want an easy to use Live-CD that they can carry around that is not as "complex" as e.g. knoppix or slax. Sidux, knoppix and all these "techie-live-CDs" are great for real work that you want to do with a Live-CD (mostly recovery tasks, penetration tests and such) but they are not that popular with those home-users who want to surf the web or who want to impress their friends with their "new shiny linux". Sidux or Kanotix are not as polished as a desktop system as e.g. Ubuntu or Mandriva. And for many people, especially those who are new to linux, it is rather the first look than the technological advancements that impress them.

 

JMHO

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If you want a distro that you can carry around and use at will then a USB-based ("thumb"/"pen" drives) live distribution is definitely better than live cd's. It's faster and doesn't require allocating as much RAM (since you can write to the USB drive). That's less of a comment on your review and more just a point of thought ;)

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I know. But ... seriously ... how many people know how to install e.g. puppy on a usb-stick? My parents and my brothers have no clue about it and don't even know that it can be done. :D

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I'm sure they didn't know about Linux LiveCD's (if at all) until recently either ;) it all has to start somewhere!

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Good review. I think I'll try this new release. Its been a while since i used Mandriva, lets see how it is doing...

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The Live and install roles of One are equally important. Remember, it replaced Move, which was purely a live CD, no install functionality included.

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:blink:

 

a....a....adamw? long time no see :P

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2007 one is great. No problems during installation and it is really fast, comparing to Ubuntu and even Kubuntu. It loads a live system faster indeed, as arctic said.

Pity it doesn't have my country when it asks about your location :sad:

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I have been using Kubuntu Feisty since herd 3 and Mandriva "2007.1" since RC1.

From my experiences with both systems I am also slightly disappointed with Feisty. I mean, the thing has been praised again and again in the Ubuntu forum. Feisty is definitely not bad at all, but on my system Mandriva 2007.1 performs better in every single way.

 

2007.1 installed with no problems at all on my system. Everything worked out of the box. In Ubuntu releases I always have network and screen resolution issues (wtih prop. drivers installed) after the install. Feisty like Edgy will not save and remember DNS nameservers from the GUI and the max screen resolution is 1024x768 unless I edit xorg.conf. I would have thought these issues would have been fixed in Feisty when thinking of the numerous amount of posts regarding these issues on the Ubuntu forum. Well on my system it has not changed. Also Mandriva 2007.1 is more stable on my system. I still have issues with having to open some programs (especially Adept) in Kubuntu several times for them to actually load.

 

2007.1 is a real pleasant experience and like 2007.0 it simply works out of the box for me. If you prefer the possibility of an GUI approach of solving things then 2007.1 is also superior to Feisty. Especially for Linux newbies this must be a big plus.

 

IMHO 2007.1 is ahead of Feisty. I must admit that I have not really spent much time with trying the Gnome "versions" though as I really prefer KDE . I guess Feisty should mainly be judged from the Gnome version (the main release, right?) but when using KDE, Mandriva is definitely ahead.

 

I have not tried Fedora (perhaps I should) but from my impressions with Opensuse it has a looooong way to go, to even come close to Mandriva Spring.

Edited by opvask

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Just gave Kubuntu Feisty a test drive (on a virtual machine). The installation was very painless, but Buntu's KDE is still spartan, and that stupid thing Adept is getting to my nerves- it should either grow up, or be shot in the head. I hurried to install Synaptic after just a few minutes, which works as well as always (that is much better than the Mandriva installer).

Now- having to choose between Kubuntu and Mandriva, I would pick Debian Etch! :P

(yeah, it was a shock for me to see such a great Debian installer and such a polished+troublefree desktop). The second choice would be a bit harder, but I think I prefer Mandriva over Kubuntu. Maybe Buntu is something special for Gnome users only, but Kubuntu certainly failed to impress me, although I could not find any serious faults (Adept excluded, of course).

Edited by scarecrow

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Well as you can tell by my sig I use Debian Etch and I have 2007.1 on another partition. But Kubuntu I could never try cause it wouldn't let me get past the partitioning. I'd use the drop down menu and select / and it would give me the error message that I needed a root partition. I went round and round a couple of times and quit. That was my one and only experience with Kubuntu.

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