2008.1 Tour

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Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring marks ten years of Mandriva Linux, the leader in innovative and easy-to-use desktop Linux.

In this release, we have integrated the most up-to-date versions of the major components, with the brand new GNOME 2.22 desktop, the latest stable KDE 3.5.9 (and available 4.0.3), Compiz Fusion 0.7.2, OpenOffice.org 2.4.0, the latest Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0.

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes an all-new base system built on version 2.6.24.4 of the Linux kernel, with the best hardware support ever in a Mandriva Linux release. 2008 Spring automatically runs on a wide range of hardware configurations, automatically detected and configured out of the box by the Mandriva tools. You can download Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring One or download Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring Free, or buy the boxed, download or subscription Powerpack commercial edition from the Mandriva Store.

Contents

New and updated software

KDE 3.5.9 and 4.0.3

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes the final release of KDE 3, KDE 3.5.9, as its default desktop environment. This release brings the most successful free software desktop environment series ever to a close with many useful bug fixes, particularly to the kdepim suite, including import fixes for IMAP account handling and mail filtering, background emails filtering, improved korganizer calendar abilities. Mandriva-specific improvements have also been included, such as the ability to switch dynamically between standard flat menu layout and Kickoff, time based wallpapers and Metabar for easy access to files information and tasks. KMyMoney replaces GNUcash as the default personal finance application.

The new KDE 4 series is not yet considered quite complete and bug-free enough to become the default desktop for Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring: it will make its debut as the default environment in Mandriva Linux 2009 later this year. However, this revolutionary and impressive new desktop will still be available to Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring users as an optional extra. A full set of KDE 4.0.3 packages will be available in the /contrib repository for Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring, and the entire desktop can be installed simply by installing the task-kde4 package. KDE 4 then becomes available as a choice of desktop from the login screen. KDE 4.0.3's main features are:

  • KDE 4 overhauls many fundamental KDE components and introduces several entirely new ones, including the Phonon multimedia framework.
  • The Plasma desktop shell offers a new desktop interface, including panel, menu and widgets on the desktop as well as a dashboard function.
  • KWin, the KDE Window manager, now supports advanced graphical effects to ease interaction with your windows.
  • Existing KDE applications have been revised and improved, and new ones introduced, like the Okular document viewer and Dolphin file manager.
  • A huge amount of new artwork has been introduced throughout the desktop.

GNOME 2.22

Of course, Mandriva isn't just a KDE distribution. For those who prefer GNOME, 2008 Spring includes the freshest release, GNOME 2.22.

  • Major revamp to GNOME's underlying infrastructure: the old GnomeVFS virtual filesystem is replaced with the new gvfs system.
  • Major improvements have been made to GNOME's Bluetooth module, improving the interface and adding several new features so you can now interact with Bluetooth devices in many ways from this single point.
  • Metacity, the GNOME window manager, now has optional compositing support, enabling some advanced graphical effects such as dynamic drop-shadows on windows and a live view in the task switcher. This feature will not be enabled by default in 2008 Spring as pre-release testing indicated it caused problems in several situations, but it can easily be enabled by changing a single Metacity gconf setting.
  • Totem, GNOME's media player, now has full support for DVB digital television and is used as default video player plugin in Firefox.
  • Abiword 2.6 is also available with many new features and bugfixes like new experimental collaboration support, experimental OpenDocument and OOXML support

Three new applications are also introduced to Mandriva's default GNOME desktop. The Transmission client handles BitTorrent files with a simple, easy-to-use interface, fitting in well with the GNOME ethos. The Brasero CD/DVD writing application provides more advanced functionality than Nautilus's ultra-convenient but simple built-in CD/DVD writing capabilities. HomeBank replaces GNUCash as the default personal finance application.

Xfce 4.4.2

Mandriva isn't even just a KDE and GNOME distribution! Thanks once more to the work of the Mandriva Xfce development community, the full, latest version of the popular alternative desktop Xfce is available for 2008 Spring, seamlessly integrated into the Mandriva environment: an Xfce version of Mandriva's Ia Ora theme is used by default, and the standard Mandriva links and desktop launchers are included in the Xfce environment. As with KDE 4, Xfce 4.4.2 can be installed simply by enabling the /contrib repository and installing the task-xfce package.

Of course, beyond even KDE, GNOME and Xfce, Mandriva provides a huge range of desktop environments and window managers with Mandriva customizations, including IceWM, Fluxbox, EDE and more. Whatever your system's capabilities or your preferred type of desktop, Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring will have an option for you.

PulseAudio sound infrastructure

2008 Spring is the first Mandriva Linux release to feature the PulseAudio sound infrastructure by default. If all you want is hassle-free working sound on your system, PulseAudio has you covered: it makes the sound experience on Mandriva easier than ever, with more applications than ever before able to play audio together. PulseAudio also provides some advanced features that make it a boon for many users. Those with multiple sound devices - an increasingly common situation these days, with many USB audio devices available - will appreciate PulseAudio's ability to move sound streams from one device to another - even on-the-fly. It's also easy to designate a single device as the default and have all applications respect this - something that was difficult without PulseAudio. PulseAudio can even (with a little extra configuration, necessary for security reasons) let you use a sound device in another machine - you can start playing a song on your desktop, and then move the playback over the network to the sound card in your living room computer, all without the music even pausing. Mandriva's development community has worked extensively to ensure the PulseAudio experience on 2008 Spring is as bug-free as possible.

Linux kernel 2.6.24

2008 Spring includes the latest version of the Linux kernel, 2.6.24, with notable Mandriva patches including ALSA 1.0.16 and several other updated or additional drivers for various types of hardware. This ensures Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring will be compatible with the widest possible range of hardware. Mandriva kernel 2.6.24 kernel provides:

  • AppArmor integration
  • Xen DomU support by default in kernel-server flavor
  • Many additional ALSA fixes from upstream ALSA branch
  • out of the box Asus Eee PC support, notably in the asus-laptop module

OpenOffice.org 2.4

OpenOffice.org 2.4 comes with improved integration to the desktop and packaging. Now the different OpenOffice.org components are separated in several packages. OpenOffice.org 2.4 features many improvements like:

Further information about new OpenOffice.org features (with images) can be found on OOoninja.com website, or on Openoffice.org wiki


Some OpenOffice.org 2.4 new features
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Other significant updates

Other significant updated software in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring includes:

  • Compiz 0.7: important bugfixes, standards compliance improvements, support for multiple displays, native KDE 4 window decorator, session management support.
  • X.org 7.3
  • Updated IcedTea Java implementation, including browser plugin

Asus Eee-friendly

We at Mandriva noticed Asus's excellent Eee PC low-cost, miniature notebook taking the world by storm. Thanks to our work on the Intel Classmate PC, we already had extensive experience of working with this type of system, and it was simple to make Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring 100% Eee-friendly.

The Eee comes with a capable Linux distribution, but should you reach its limitations or prefer to install your favourite distribution instead, Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring is ready. It supports all the Eee 700 / 701's hardware out of the box, with no configuration required, and the Mandriva configuration tools and applications have been tweaked to be friendly to the Eee's lower resolution screen. We have also reduced power consumption to allow longer use on battery by dynamically handling processor frequency and adding a keyboard shortcut (fn+f6) to enable or disable the webcam. Support for newer Eee models like the 900 and 901 is being added in post-release updates, so if you have one of these systems, remember to install all available updates and reboot immediately after installing Mandriva.

It's easy to install Mandriva even without a CD or DVD drive: you can read about several possible methods right here on the Wiki. For lots of great information and advice on installing and using Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring on various Eee PC models, visit EeeUser: particularly, the FAQ and the HOWTOs. EeeUser also has a forum dedicated to Mandriva Linux.

Want to use an external monitor and the internal monitor of the Eee in a multi-screen configuration? Read this page.

Mandriva One on Asus Eee PC
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Easy synchronization with Windows Mobile 5 / 6 and other mobile devices

Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring features much improved support for mobile device synchronization. All major synchronization tools, frameworks and front ends are packaged and integrated so that you can synchronize Windows Mobile 5 and 6, Blackberry and many Nokia devices with KDE or GNOME simply and easily. See this page for detailed information and instructions on how to synchronize your mobile devices with Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring.

Easy synchronization
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Enhancements to Mandriva tools and applications

Improvements to installation

The Mandriva installers - both the traditional installer used by the Free and Powerpack editions, and the One live installer - can now detect other Linux distributions installed on your system and add them to the boot menu, just as they have been able to do with Windows for many years. Now you can install Mandriva Linux on a system along with other popular Linux distributions and it will set up a boot menu so you can boot to any of them.

Improvements to Mandriva software management tools

The Mandriva software management tools have undergone extensive improvements for Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring. Most significantly, an entirely new system of managing information about the packages in the Mandriva repositories improves your ability to access this information. Extended information about packages has been split into several separate extra information files for each repository, and the package management tools now have the ability to download this extra information on demand. This means that it is easy and quick to initially configure a repository, but all the extra information you might need about a package is still available: the package management tools will just download it as needed. For instance, if you are looking through packages in the graphical software management tool and click on the changelog entry for a package, the information file containing that changelog will be automatically downloaded and the changelog will be displayed for you. You can even easily change the configuration so the extended information is never downloaded, if you are on a very slow connection or a cellular connection where transferring moderate sized files is very expensive.

In addition to this major change, there are several other improvements and refinements:

  • The performance of the graphical software manager, rpmdrake, has again been increased.
  • Various refinements have been made to rpmdrake's interface to make more information easily available and common operations more efficient.
  • Many operations which previously simply caused the interface to freeze for a while now show progress dialogs and can be canceled.
  • Both the graphical and console software installers now inform you how much data must be retrieved from the repositories for the operation you are about to perform, as well as how much hard disk space will be used (or freed up) after it is complete.
  • The graphical software manager now defaults to searching only among applications with a graphical user interface, rather than among all available packages (of course, it is still easy to switch to searching through all available packages), reducing the confusion new and inexperienced users find on being presented with lots of packages they likely are not interested in installing.
  • The interface of the repository management application has also been improved.

Improvements and major bug fixes to the Mandriva network configuration wizard

Drakconnect, the Mandriva network configuration wizard, comes with one major bug fix and several improvements in this release. Due to changes in the Linux kernel's driver loading mechanisms, drakconnect's ability to configure wireless cards to use the ndiswrapper driver (which provides support for wireless devices by taking advantage of their Windows drivers) instead of their native Linux drivers, in cases where the native drivers did not perform acceptably, was broken in the most recent Mandriva Linux release. This problem is resolved in Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring, and you can now easily configure wireless cards to use ndiswrapper using nothing but the Mandriva graphical configuration tool: no manual editing of configuration files is needed any longer.

A major new feature is also introduced to the network configuration tools: support for WPA-EAP, the advanced authentication protocol often used in larger, sophisticated Wi-Fi installations. If your company, university or other institution uses EAP on its Wi-Fi network, you can now connect seamlessly and easily using only the Mandriva configuration tools.

Aside from these major changes, many more minor fixes and improvements have been introduced, especially in the area of cellular data connections.

And introducing... - exciting new applications available with Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring

Mandriva has a deserved reputation for following the cutting edge of free / open source software development, introducing exciting and interesting new applications and technologies almost as they are developed. Here's a few examples of recently developed applications you can try out easily, thanks to Mandriva's extensive repositories.

Elisa

Elisa is a sleek, cutting-edge media center based on the Gstreamer media framework. Elisa concentrates on presenting an attractive, sleek and simple to use interface that makes it both easy and visually appealing to watch videos, listen to music, and browse pictures from a dedicated interface. Elisa has a heavy emphasis on internet integration, with support for media sharing services like last.fm, Flickr, Youtube and more all built in. Its architecture makes it easily extensible through the use of plugins. Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring's /contrib repository includes the latest version of Elisa, 0.3.5, and its associated plugins, making it easy to try out, and new versions of Elisa will be made available following 2008 Spring's release through Mandriva's extensive /backports repository system.

Avant Window Navigator (AWN)

Avant Window Navigator is an OS X Dock-inspired task manager and window list applet whose modular architecture and extensive configurability make it more flexible and powerful than its inspiration. Like the Dock, AWN displays an icon for each open application and also lets you add launchers in the same format, letting you use the same simple, intuitive, compact interface for launching applications and switching between them once launched. AWN's appearance is also extensively customizable, letting you choose from flat or pseudo-3D appearances, change colours and effects and even set a background. AWN takes advantage of the compositing features of Compiz (or GNOME's Metacity window manager, with its compositing support enabled) and modern graphics card drivers to produce a range of visually pleasing effects that also make the interface simple and easy to use. AWN's architecture makes it easy to create applets for a wide range of functions, such as an applet that lets you control several different media players, an applet that displays battery power, weather and clock applets and many more, all of which can take advantage of the AWN engine to use advanced graphical effects. Both AWN and its official plugin package, awn-extras-applets, are available from Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring's /contrib repository, and new versions of both will be made available following 2008 Spring's release through the /backports system.

Conduit

Conduit is a general-purpose synchronization application for GNOME. It aims to provide a single interface for synchronizing all sorts of data between applications, internet sites and services, and devices. Its interface makes it extremely simple to set up arbitrary synchronization groups, letting you - for instance - synchronize photos from a photo management application on your computer to Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, and a backup folder (on a local or remote computer) all in a single operation. New services for Conduit are being added all the time, but it can already make a wide range of synchronization operations as simple as a single click. Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring's /contrib repository includes the latest version of Conduit, 0.3.9, and new versions will be made available following 2008 Spring's release through the /backports system.

Miro

Miro turns your PC into an internet TV. Choose your favorite podcast or browse the Miro guide containing a wide range of free video broadcasting sites (ranging from nature movies to music clips and from news to trailers) in many languages, then play them all in one go! As soon as it starts (which can be at the same moment your desktop is started), Miro auto-downloads all your favorite channels and continues downloading them while you're watching one so you can sit and relax enjoying a continuous flow of your favorite videos. Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring's /contrib repository includes Miro 1.1.2, and new versions will be made available following 2008 Spring's release through the /backports system.

Infrastructure improvements

Automated package rebuild

For the first time in a Mandriva release, an automated package rebuild was carried out during Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring's development cycle. All packages in a state where a rebuild could succeed were rebuilt. Some more obscure packages were still in a state where the rebuild failed for various reasons, so these packages will still be old builds in the 2008 Spring repositories, but the overall consistency of the repositories will be at its highest for many releases. For future releases, we will continue to work on the packages that are not in a buildable state, so that within a few releases we have to have close to all the packages in the repositories rebuilt for each release.

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