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Choosing the right Mandriva edition


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Mandriva Linux One


The One edition of Mandriva Linux is a single LiveCD that can be installed on hard disk.


A Live CD is an operating system that can boot and run directly from an optical disc without installing any software or touching the hard disks of the system it's booted on. You can use the Live system to give the distribution a test run; you can also install Mandriva Linux from the Live CD to your hard disk.


You can boot Mandriva One in "Live" mode to try it, just load the CD into your optical drive and boot the machine (you may need to change the boot sequence in your MOBO's BIOS to make the CD/DVD drive the first boot device). After you use Mandriva One, if you want to return to your system (which is kept intact as the Live system doesn't change anything in it), simply restart the system from the desktop environment that's running and remove the CD from the drive when prompted to do so: you will see that nothing has been changed!


If you like Mandriva, you can install it on your hard disk and you will benefit from enhanced performance (the system will be considerably faster running after installing it to the hard disk than it was when running from the Live CD) and an impressive amount of Mandriva software after adding the official repositories (this is done automatically when you boot the system for the the first time after installing if there's an active internet connection available).


Moreover, the small size of Mandriva One (~700 MB i.e. 1 CD) makes it ideal for users with low-bandwidth Internet connections: it is the only CD you need. You do not have all of the Mandriva applications, but you will have enough software for routine office tasks, internet browsing, and email.


There's a wide range of Mandriva One ISO's, basically there are two essential elements that distinguish each of them: the desktop environment used and the localization packages available on the each iso (localization packages determine which languages are supported out-of-the-box). Some One ISO's use the KDE desktop environment (KDE4 starting from 2009.1) while the others use GNOME. Due to space constraints not all localization packages can be included on a single One ISO, consequently the localization packages are spread over the various ISO's.


Mandriva Linux Free


The Free edition of Mandriva Linux is so called because it contains only free and Open Source software as defined by the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative (Free has a double meaning in English). For this reason, Mandriva Free may be slightly more difficult for the novice to install especially given the lack of proprietary drivers. These proprietary drivers can be installed by configuring official repositories and by activating the "non-free" sources. Mandriva Free is a fully functional edition and comes with a wide variety of applications in many areas (office, internet, multimedia, etc.). It is ideal if you want to use only free software on your computer.


This edition is also derived from the Cooker project which allows Mandriva developers and contributors to be directly involved with each other. Cooker is the basis of other editions described in this page.


This edition, on CDs or DVDs, is available for download (only) for 32-bit processors (i586) and 64-bit (x86_64) architectures.


It is also available in "Mini CD" for both architectures (dual-arch). This compact media, includes very few applications (certainly not enough for daily use) but has the ability to install a Mandriva base on which one may add software from the official repositories. This be interesting to users who want a minimal installation, or have a high speed network connection which would allow them to escalate to a more complete installation.


Mandriva Linux Powerpack


The Powerpack edition is the commercial edition of Mandriva Linux. It is available with complete documentation and support in a "box" from the Mandriva Store and certain retailers. It is also available for download (without physical support, documentation, or technical support) with an annual subscription.


It is intended for users who want to fully enjoy what Mandriva does best. It may also be useful to people with limited or no Internet access. Everything needed is included in the box. It contains a large number of applications (more than those included in the Free or One editions). As published, the Powerpack contains proprietary software including proprietary drivers and firmware support for improved hardware compatibility, applications and plugins for browsers, codecs, etc.


This edition is available for each version of Mandriva Linux with i586 and x86_64 architectures, as a single DVD.


Mandriva Flash


This distribution is fully installed on an 8 GB USB stick and offers you the ability to boot any computer without a hard disc installation to achieve an operating system as as configurable as a normally installed distribution. One can add and delete packages, user accounts, etc. In addition, data can be used on other operating systems. For example, you can retrieve documents and run Firefox from Windows and use the same bookmarks, passwords, and access all your files from Windows.


It is similar to Mandriva One for ease of use, but the writable USB key allows you to use a roaming profile and take your office everywhere you want with the accompanying documents. Wherever you are with your flash key you can feel right at home!




[text updated 04 November 2009]

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