2008.1 Notes

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Contents

Introduction

This page contains important information the Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring (2008.1) release.

The following topics are covered:

  • General information about new features and major changes
  • Changes to the Mandriva installer and upgrade instructions for Mandriva Linux 2008 users
  • Changes to supported hardware and drivers
  • Changes regarding software packages
  • Other technical information for experienced users

Please also refer to Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring Errata - the Errata for the 2008 Spring release. The Errata page contains information on known bugs and problems in the release and instructions on fixing, avoiding or working around them.

General information about new features and major changes

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes the following versions of the major distribution components: kernel 2.6.24, X.org 7.3, KDE 3.5.9 and 4.0, GNOME 2.22, Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.12, OpenOffice.org 2.4.

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring is available in several different editions:

  • the One edition is an installable live CD integrating the latest proprietary drivers, available free of charge
  • the Powerpack edition includes support, services, a wider range of packages, and exclusive third-party proprietary applications like Cedega, Fluendo codec pack (for reading ASF, RTP and MMS streams and playing files encoded in Windows Media audio or video formats), Scilab and 03 Spaces
  • the Free edition is a pure free / open source software edition, without any of the non-free packages bundled with other editions, available as a free download

For more information on the various editions, see Choosing the Mandriva Linux edition that's right for you.

Additional information is also available online:

Deprecation

kernel-multimedia removed

The kernel-multimedia alternative kernel is no longer available with Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring. It was previously an alternative kernel along the same lines as kernel-tmb, incorporating experimental or bleeding-edge changes that were not appropriate for the official kernel. Despite its name, it has not been specifically targeted towards multimedia use for some time. Its maintainer is now unable to commit the necessary amount of time to maintaining it, so it has been removed.

kernel-tmb will continue in its role as the main alternative kernel for Mandriva, the venue for experimental changes that are too dangerous to include directly in the official kernel. It contains most of the features kernel-multimedia had, including support for the reiser4 filesystem. The major exception is realtime support, which kernel-tmb does not have. A realtime kernel is available - kernel-rt - but please note that it is a completely unchanged build of the upstream kernel-rt branch, with no Mandriva patches or customization, so it does lack considerable functionality compared to the official Mandriva kernel.

LinDVD not included in Powerpack

Due to an unresolved patent licensing issue, the LinDVD DVD playback application is not available in 2008 Spring Powerpack. It was previously included in the 2007 and 2008 Powerpack editions.

Changes to supported hardware and drivers

NTFS partitions writeable by default

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring uses the NTFS-3G system for mounting NTFS partitions by default. This allows full write access to these partitions, rather than the read-only support through the ntfs driver that was provided by default in past releases.

Support status for common hardware

This section provides information on the status of support for particularly common hardware in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring.

NVIDIA graphics cards

All NVIDIA graphics cards up to the GeForce 8xxx series, and the GeForce 9800 GTX, are supported. Other NVIDIA GeForce 9xxx series cards, and the GTX 2xx series, are not supported by the NVIDIA proprietary driver version included with Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring, and thus there is no support for 3D acceleration on these cards out of the box. It is possible to add support for these cards by using a newer version of the driver available in the /non-free/backports repository, and a newer version of the ldetect-lst database available in the /main/backports repository. For more information on this procedure, see this page. All other NVIDIA cards have 3D acceleration support via the nvidia proprietary driver which is available in the One and Powerpack editions, and in the public non-free repository. Free software support is provided by the nv driver, which offers full support for basic 2D operations for all NVIDIA cards.

ATI graphics cards

All ATI graphics cards up to the Radeon HD 3870 X2 are supported out of the box. Support for pre-Radeon X1xxx series cards (r400 and lower cores) has not changed since the release of Mandriva Linux 2008. 3D acceleration support for Radeon X1xxx, X2xxx and HD 3xxx series cards (and equivalent Mobility and motherboard-integrated chips; r500 and r600 cores) is provided via the fglrx proprietary driver which is available in the One and Powerpack editions, and in the public non-free repository. Free software support for these cards is now provided by the radeonhd driver, which offers full support for basic 2D operations for these cards. The Radeon HD 3870 X2 card is not supported by the version of the proprietary fglrx driver provided with Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring, so no 3D acceleration is available on this card. This card will use the radeonhd driver for basic 2D support on all editions of Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring. The Radeon HD 3200 onboard chipset is not supported by any of the native open source drivers in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring. It will use the vesa generic driver for basic (unaccelerated) 2D support if the proprietary fglrx driver is unavailable, or if you choose not to use it.

The Radeon HD 4xxx series is not supported out of the box. It is possible to add support for these cards by using a newer version of the proprietary driver available in the /non-free/backports repository, and a newer version of the ldetect-lst database available in the /main/backports repository. For more information on this procedure, see this page. Updated versions of the free driver, radeonhd, are also periodically uploaded to the /main/backports repository; these improve support for these and future cards, so if you would prefer to use this free driver, it is recommended that you use the latest version available in this repository.

Please note that Mandriva's graphics card detection system considers all cards which use the same set of drivers and driver options as a single group, and your card will be detected as a member of one of these large groups: the graphics configuration tool will not display the exact name of your card, but a wider and more generic group name. This does not indicate that sub-optimal support is being provided for your card, but simply that your card uses the same driver and options as all the other cards in that group. An effort has been made to make these group names as accurate as possible, but due to ATI's usage of different numbering schemes for its three different product lines - desktop, mobile, and integrated chips - it is not always possible to make the category name exactly fit all the hardware that belongs in it. If you have a mobile or integrated ATI chipset it is possible that it may appear to be detected in the 'wrong' group (for instance, the integrated Radeon 1100 and Radeon 1200 chipsets are detected in the Radeon 9500 to Radeon X1050 group). The group detected is usually in fact correct for your hardware, and if your hardware appears to be working correctly, you should not attempt to change the group.

HDA-based sound devices

Many recently built systems include integrated sound based on the HDA codec, supported in Linux by the snd-intel-hda driver, a part of the ALSA project. Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes the latest available version of ALSA along with several dozen patches to provide or improve support for specific implementations of the HDA codec. We hope this will make the 2008 Spring release compatible with the widest possible range of these integrated sound chipsets.

Wireless networking hardware

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes the latest version of a wide range of wireless drivers, to provide native support for as many devices as possible. In addition, a bug from the last few releases which prevented the Mandriva graphical network configuration tool from properly configuring the ndiswrapper driver has been corrected. If your wireless device does not work with the native drivers available in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring and you must use ndiswrapper for it to work, you can now configure this entirely through the Mandriva graphical network configuration tools.

Required firmware for Broadcom wireless adapters

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes a native driver for Broadcom wireless adapters. This driver requires firmware from the Windows driver to be useful. We cannot ship the firmware itself or an appropriate copy of the Windows driver along with Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring for legal reasons.

When you try to configure such an adapter, Mandriva will prompt you for a Windows driver, and offer to try and find it from your Windows partition. This will often work. If you cannot find an appropriate driver on your Windows partition, or you do not have one, you should download [the Windows driver linked from this page section. You only need to run the command that starts with wget (or download the file it links to in any other way). Then simply select that file when the Mandriva network configuration tool prompts you for the driver, and you will be able to enable and use your wireless card.

Display management with NVIDIA X Server Settings

In order to resolve issues regarding Compiz and RandR, Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring disables the Dynamic Twinview functionality of the NVIDIA proprietary driver by default. If you want to modify the display layout or display modes with the NVIDIA X Server Settings tool, you have to enable the Enable duplicate display on the external monitor option in DrakX11 (Mandriva Control Center => Hardware => Set up the graphical server => Options).

Nouveau open source driver for NVIDIA cards

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes the experimental nouveau open source driver for NVIDIA cards. This driver provides advances in functionality and hardware support over the nv open source driver, but is not yet considered stable and does not provide 3D acceleration. If you wish to experiment with this driver, please follow these instructions.

  • Configure the official Mandriva software repositories: see here for instructions.
  • Install the kernel-devel package appropriate to the kernel you are running. The Mandriva kernel is available in various 'flavors': desktop, desktop586, laptop and server. You can find out which one you are running with the uname -r command. You should install the package kernel-flavor-devel-latest, where flavor is the kernel flavor you are using.
  • Install the x11-driver-video-nouveau and dkms-drm-experimental packages.
  • Edit the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf and change the Driver line in the Device section to read:
   Driver "nouveau"
  • Optionally, add this line to the same section to enable experimental RandR 1.2 support:
   Option "Randr12" "true"
  • Run these commands as root:
update-alternatives --set gl_conf /etc/ld.so.conf.d/GL/standard.conf
ldconfig
  • Restart your system, or just X (log out of your desktop and then, at the login screen, hit ctrl-alt-backspace).

Multimedia keyboard support

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring should support basic multimedia keyboard functions without any configuration. If you have a multimedia keyboard but the extended keys do not appear to do anything, please follow this procedure to discover where the problem lies and file a bug report so it can be fixed.

Use the Mandriva keyboard configuration tool (available in the Mandriva Control Center, or directly as drakkeyboard and set the layout to "105-key (Intl) PC" (in the Generic category), and see if the keys work now. If they do, you do not need to do anything further.

If not, open a console, and run the command xev. A window will open up. Whenever you move the mouse, click a mouse button, or press a key while this window has focus, lots of information will be printed on the console. Press some 'normal' keys first, to get a feel for the output. You will see that, along with lots of other information, a keycode and keysym will be printed for each key you press. The keysym includes both a code (e.g. 0x77) and the actual key - so if you press the 'h' key, the keysym will be shown as:

(keysym 0x68, h)

Now try pressing the multimedia keys on your keyboard, and see what keysym they return. If the keysym is incorrect - the second part does not seem like a proper description of what the key should do - this is the problem. File a bug at Bugzilla, setting the RPM package as xkeyboard-config. Include the model name of your keyboard (or laptop, if you are using a laptop), and for each incorrect key, include the keycode, the keysym, and what the key ought to do.

Easy synchronization support

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring introduces easy support for synchronizing many mobile devices with the KDE and GNOME desktops, particularly Windows Mobile 5, 6 and 6.1 PDAs and smartphones, Blackberry smartphones, and many Nokia phones. Changes to implement this support include the introduction of several new packages, including the KitchenSync synchronization application, bug fixes, and the addition of metapackages (task packages) for each class of device. For full documentation on this new feature, see this page.

PC speaker enabled by default

The PC speaker (internal speaker, "beeper" or "System Bell") is enabled by default in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring and used by some applications to notify the user of various events. This can be configured (on/off, pitch, duration) in Konsole under Settings->Bell, in Kcontrol->Sound->System Bell; in bash with set bell-style none or with xset -b. Alternatively, you can disable it completely by creating a file /etc/modprobe.d/disable-pcspkr.conf with the following line:

blacklist pcspkr

Changes regarding installation

UUID-based partition mounting

The Mandriva installers now default to configuring mount points based on the UUID of a partition, rather than its device node (hda1, sdc3 etc). As a device's or partition's UUID should never change, this will avoid problems seen in the past when device nodes could change if another disk was added to or removed from the system or if a change in the kernel led to the naming scheme for device nodes provided by a particular piece of hardware being changed. If you prefer the older system, you can disable the use of UUID mounts by the installer by using the

use_uuid=0

kernel parameter at the installer's boot menu. For unattended installs, add this line:

uuid_by_default => 0,
to auto_install.cfg.pl.

ext3 partitions now use 256-byte inodes by default

In line with upstream development, Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring uses 256-byte inodes by default when creating ext3 partitions (to be specific, the default has changed in the version of e2fsprogs used by Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring). Previous Mandriva Linux releases used 128-byte inodes. This change was made by the ext developers in order to ease future migration to ext4, when it is in common use. There are, however, some problems associated with this change.

Bootloader implications

The versions of grub included with many distributions cannot handle 256-byte inodes. This means that if you try to use a bootloader provided by another distribution to boot a Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring installation, it may fail with a message Error 2: unknown file or directory type. This includes attempting to use a bootloader from Mandriva Linux 2008 or earlier to boot Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring. There are two possible workarounds for this issue: either use the Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring bootloader instead of the one provided by the other distribution, or install Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring's bootloader to the root partition of the installation (rather than to the MBR), and configure the incompatible bootloader to chainboot this bootloader rather than attempt to boot Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring directly.

Implications for third party utilities that handle ext3 partitions

There are many third party utilities that interface with ext2/3 filesystems. Some of these have not yet been updated to cope with 256-byte inodes. Several users have therefore reported problems attempting to access Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring ext3 partitions with third party utilities. In this case, you must either request that the developers of the application update it, or find an alternative application.

One of the most common cases where such utilities are used is to access an ext2/3 filesystem in Windows. For this use case, the ext2fsd utility can be used. It is able to handle 256-byte inodes.

If none of the above workarounds for these various issues is possible for you, your only remaining option is to remove the Mandriva-created partitions and recreate them manually with 128-byte inodes, using the -i parameter to mkfs.ext3, for example:

mkfs.ext3 -i 128 /dev/sda1

Of course, this will delete all data stored on the partition, so you must back up the data first. If you wish to install Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring onto ext3 partitions with a 128-byte inode size, create the partitions manually first (using an earlier Mandriva Linux release, another operating system, or a live CD), and then use the 'custom partitioning' option of the Mandriva Linux installer to assign these existing partitions, making sure not to format them when you are given the opportunity.

Changes regarding software packages

KDE integration of time-based background image

A new feature has been developed for KDE where the background changes gradually depending on the time of day. To activate this feature, you need an XML file describing which background image has to be displayed at which time of the day. The format is the same than for the corresponding GNOME feature. This feature is enabled by default in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring and it uses the new 2008 Spring theme.

PulseAudio sound server used by default

The release comes with the PulseAudio sound server installed and enabled by default in all new installations and upgrades performed via the official installer. PulseAudio's benefits include much improved handling of multiple sound cards, the ability to control the audio outputs of different applications separately, and advanced network capabilities. We have worked hard to ensure that the widest possible range of applications works correctly with PulseAudio. However, it is possible that some users may wish to disable it. Some of the known drawbacks of using PulseAudio are:

  • PulseAudio uses a higher quality but more CPU-intensive resampling algorithm than ALSA. If your sound hardware is incapable of playing certain sampling rates natively, PulseAudio will resample the audio before sending it to the card. Resampling is also necessary when you are playing two audio streams with different sampling rates at once (for instance, playing a CD - 44.1KHz - and a DVD - usually 48KHz). When resampling is needed, PulseAudio will use around two to three times as much CPU power as ALSA would in the same situation. On most reasonably modern systems this will not be noticeable, but on older systems in can represent a significant percentage of available CPU power.
  • PulseAudio is not really compatible with the JACK server used for professional audio applications. If you need to use JACK, you should disable PulseAudio first.
  • There may still be some applications that do not work correctly with PulseAudio, despite out efforts to minimize the likelihood of this.

You can easily disable PulseAudio or configure 5.1/surround settings via Mandriva's sound hardware configuration tool, draksound.

Testing KDE 4

To test the current state of KDE 4 in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring, first set up the official Mandriva package repositories following these instructions. Then install the task-kde4 or task-kde4-minimal package. The next time you go to the graphical login screen, KDE 4 will be available as one of the choices of desktop to enter.

AppArmor

AppArmor is no longer a kernel module: instead, it is built in to the kernel. To enable it, you can pass the apparmor=1 parameter to the kernel command line. Kernel parameters can be added with the drakboot utility, Mandriva's boot configuration tool, available from the Mandriva Control Center; by editing the bootloader configuration file - /boot/grub/menu.lst for GRUB or /etc/lilo.conf for LILO - manually; or by entering the kernel parameter after selecting the desired kernel on the boot menu screen.

Codeina multimedia codec installation system

The Codeina framework has been introduced to provide and install codecs for playing multimedia files in formats for which a codec is not already available on the system. This will make it much easier to play back a range of formats in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring.

Changes regarding Mandriva tools

Enhancements to Mandriva software management tools

Improvements have been made to the interface of the RPMdrake graphical software management tool. The search interface has been reorganized to provide more capabilities while being easier to understand and use. Packages can once more be sorted by size, and the flat list view has been re-introduced. The tool is now more friendly to low-resolution devices (such as the Eee): the package pane can be resized, and the large grey banner at the top of the tool is not displayed at lower resolutions.

New package information system for RPMdrake and urpmi

A completely new package meta-information system has been introduced. This is the system by which urpmi and RPMdrake can provide, and perform queries based on, extended information about packages: their descriptions, file lists, changelogs and more.

In previous Mandriva Linux releases, two hdlist files were provided for each repository. One - the synthesis hdlist file - provided only the minimum information needed about each package for urpmi and RPMdrake to be able to list and install packages correctly. It did not contain package descriptions, file lists or changelogs. The other - the full hdlist file - provided all this information in a single file, which was very large for the larger official repositories.

When initially adding a repository, it was possible to use either the synthesis or full hdlist file. Using the synthesis file would provide only minimal information on packages, but it was fast. Using the full hdlist file would provide all information about packages, but it was slow. Additionally, adding repositories via the Mandriva graphical tools automatically used the synthesis hdlist file, resulting in only minimal information being available on the packages in these repositories. The system also made it quite difficult to switch between the two options.

The new system in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring remedies all these defects. The full hdlist files have been removed from the official repositories, and only the synthesis hdlist files remain. The synthesis hdlist file will always be used when initially adding a repository, making the operation fast. The extended information for each repository has been split up into several separate files in the XML format. urpmi and RPMdrake are able to automatically retrieve these files on demand: when you attempt to display, or query, the changelog for a package, the extended information file containing changelogs for the repository in which that package resides will be automatically downloaded, if it is not already available. These extended information files are stored, once downloaded, on the local system, and will only be re-downloaded if they change.

It is possible to change the downloading behavior for these information files in Mandriva's graphical repository configuration tool. You can change it so that the extended information files are never downloaded, or are only downloaded when you choose to update the package lists. This will be useful if you have a very slow connection or a connection where you are charged per unit of data transferred (for example, a mobile phone data connection).

Mandriva Online

Mandriva Online, the applet which notifies you of available updates, will now show no icon if the system is up-to-date. This saves space in the tray. An icon will be displayed if updates are available or the applet is checking for updates, or requires user input of any kind. The applet also now waits several minutes after you log in to begin the first check for updates so that the system is not stressed with additional processes when the session starts. It also uses the new libnotify infrastructure to draw its notifications, making them more attractive and in line with notifications from other applications. Last but not least, it uses much less memory than in previous releases

New LAMP metapackage

A metapackage (task package) - task-lamp - has been added to this release to allow easy installation of a complete set of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP / Perl / Python) packages, making it simpler than ever to set up a typical web server on a Mandriva Linux system. This package and all its dependencies are present on the Free edition of this pre-release.

Windows Vista support in migration wizard

The transfugdrake tool and its migration-assistant backend now support migration of Windows Vista documents and settings.

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