2009.0 Notes

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Contents

Introduction

This page contains important information the Mandriva Linux 2009 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 Spring users
  • Changes to supported hardware and drivers
  • Changes regarding software packages
  • Other technical information for experienced users

Please also refer to Mandriva Linux 2009 Errata - the Errata for the 2009 release. The Errata page contains information on known bugs and problems in the release and instructions on fixing, avoiding or working around them.

For a more detailed and graphical introduction to the most obvious user-visible changes in this release, please see the Release Tour.

General information about new features and major changes

Mandriva Linux 2009 includes (or will include) the following versions of the major distribution components: kernel 2.6.27, X.org 7.3, KDE 4.1.2 (and 3.5.10 in /contrib), GNOME 2.24, Mozilla Firefox 3, OpenOffice.org 3.

Upgrading from previous releases

General notes

Please note that if you use the Free or Powerpack editions to do an upgrade install from a previous Mandriva Linux release, KDE 3 - if installed - will be replaced by KDE 4, and your personal KDE settings and customizations will be lost. If you do not want this to happen, we recommend you either use the installer's ability to add internet repositories prior to doing the upgrade, or do a network installation, or use the newly-introduced ability of Mandriva Online (the Mandriva update notification applet) to perform upgrades from one release to the next (see the 2008 Spring section below for full details). Using any of these methods, the upgrade process will have KDE 3 packages available, and your upgraded Mandriva Linux 2009 system will have KDE 3 and your personal settings preserved.

Upgrading between releases of Mandriva always has the potential to cause some problems. Upgrading is supported and we do test upgrades, but due to the huge range of packages and hardware configurations possible, it is always the case that in your particular situation, the upgrade may cause a problem we did not anticipate. Therefore we recommend that you always back up your system prior to upgrading.

Upgrading from 2008 Spring

With the caveats mentioned above, you can do a regular upgrade installation from the Free or Powerpack edition, and it should work well. There is also a brand-new upgrade method available: graphical in-line upgrade. What that means is that the Mandriva update notification applet, Mandriva Online, will notify you that a new Mandriva Linux release (2009) is available, and ask you if you wish to upgrade to it. If you agree, the upgrade will be carried out from within your running system, just like a regular system update. You should then be able to reboot into a working 2009 system.

Please note this upgrade method (or text-based method) will not change your default desktop. If you were using KDE 3, KDE4 will not be installed automatically. You will need to install it after the upgrading, by installing task-kde4 meta package.

It is also still possible to do a text-based in-line upgrade using urpmi. To do this, first ensure your system is entirely up-to-date with the latest 2008 Spring updates, using either MandrivaUpdate, Mandriva Online (Mandriva update notifier applet) or urpmi --auto-update. Then remove your existing repositories, either using the graphical repository configuration tool or the urpmi.removemedia command. urpmi.removemedia -a will remove all repositories. Then you should add repositories for 2009. To do this, use the Easy URPMI site. Set the Version field to 2009.0, and click Add official medias. Then open the file it offers you with the default handler (urpmi).

Then run the following commands, as root:

urpmi --auto --auto-select --replacefiles 2>&1 | tee upgrade.log

You may see an error "unknown option --replacefiles" when you first run this, but don't worry, that's normal: 2008 Spring's urpmi does not use this option, but 2009's urpmi does, and it will be passed along to 2009's urpmi when the urpmi process is restarted after the package has been updated. This will save the output of the process to the file upgrade.log, in case you need to check it later, or you have any problems. Once the process completes, you should reboot immediately, and you should find the system has been fully updated to 2009.

Upgrading from 2007 Spring or 2008

With the caveats mentioned above, you can do a regular upgrade installation from the Free or Powerpack edition, and it should work well. It is also possible to do a text-based in-line upgrade using urpmi. To do this, first ensure your system is entirely up-to-date with the latest updates for your current version of the distribution (using either MandrivaUpdate, Mandriva Online (Mandriva update notification applet) or urpmi --auto-update. Then remove your existing repositories, either using the graphical repository configuration tool or the urpmi.removemedia command. urpmi.removemedia -a will remove all repositories. Then you should add repositories for 2009. To do this, you will need to know the address of a 2009 mirror. Look at the list of available mirrors (or here for x86-64). The URL for each mirror is at the end of each line. To add the repositories, run a command like this:

urpmi.addmedia --distrib ''URL''

Where URL is the URL you chose. For instance, to use the mirror with the URL ftp://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/Mandrakelinux/official/2009.0/i586, run this command:

urpmi.addmedia --distrib ftp://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/Mandrakelinux/official/2009.0/i586

Then run the following commands, as root:

urpmi --auto --auto-select --replacefiles 2>&1 | tee upgrade.log

You may see an error "unknown option --replacefiles" when you first run this, but don't worry, that's normal: older versions of urpmi do not use this option, but 2009's urpmi does, and it will be passed along to 2009's urpmi when the urpmi process is restarted after the package has been updated. This will save the output of the process to the file upgrade.log, in case you need to check it later, or you have any problems. Once the process completes, you should reboot immediately, and you should find the system has been fully updated to 2009.

Upgrading from earlier versions

Upgrading from versions earlier than 2007 Spring is not supported or recommended. If you run an upgrade installation it will do its best, but if it breaks, you get to keep both pieces. If you are determined to upgrade from a version prior to 2007 Spring, we highly recommend that you back up the system first.

Editions

Mandriva Linux 2009 is available in several different editions:

  • the One edition is an installable live CD integrating the latest proprietary drivers, available free of charge. Eight different versions of the One edition are available: four each for GNOME and KDE, each with a different set of supported languages.
  • the Powerpack edition includes support, services, a wider range of packages, and third-party proprietary applications, including trial versions of Cedega and LightZone, and a subset of the Fluendo multimedia codec pack, providing support for MP3, WMA and WMV files.
  • 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-laptop removed

The kernel-laptop flavor of the official kernel no longer exists in Mandriva Linux 2009. It had few remaining customizations as compared to the kernel-desktop flavor. Some of these were now irrelevant and have been removed; the others were now safe to add to the kernel-desktop flavor (and will benefit desktop users in terms of increased power efficiency). So the kernel-desktop flavor is now as efficient for laptops as kernel-laptop previously was, and will be used on all desktop and laptop systems.

Changes to supported hardware and drivers

High memory support (up to 4GB) in kernel-desktop586 (Mandriva Linux One)

In previous releases, the kernel-desktop586 kernel flavor - which is mainly intended for supporting legacy systems with true i586 (Intel Pentium or compatible) processors, as the most common kernel-desktop flavor supports only i686 (Pentium II or compatible) and newer processors - supported only up to 1GB of RAM. This was decided on the basis that a system with an i586 processor was very unlikely ever to have more than 1GB of RAM. However, since the introduction of the One edition of Mandriva Linux, it has used this kernel in order to ensure that One can be used on the widest possible range of hardware, with the consequence that One would by default never support more than 1GB of RAM. With systems with more than 1GB of RAM becoming commonplace, with this release we have adjusted kernel-desktop586 to support up to 4GB of RAM, as the kernel-desktop flavor does. Our testing indicates that any performance compromise resulting from this on true i586 systems will be very small, so this should not unduly inconvenience the small proportion of users actually running Mandriva Linux on i586 processors.

Support status for common hardware

This section provides information on the status of support for particularly common hardware in Mandriva Linux 2009.

NVIDIA graphics cards

All currently available NVIDIA graphics cards, up to and including the GeForce GTX 2xx series are supported. 3D acceleration support is available via the nvidia proprietary driver which is available in the One and Powerpack editions, and in the public non-free repository. The version of the proprietary driver included is 177.70. 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 currently available ATI graphics cards, up to and including the Radeon HD 4870, 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 Spring, and is provided via a choice of the proprietary fglrx driver (which is available in the One and Powerpack editions, and in the public non-free repository) or the free radeon driver. Support for post-Radeon X1xxx series cards (r500 and higher cores) is provided via a choice of the proprietary fglrx driver (which is available in the One and Powerpack editions, and in the public non-free repository) or the free radeonhd driver. The version of the proprietary driver included is Catalyst 8.8, also known as fglrx 8.522.

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.

Intel graphics cards

All currently available Intel graphics adapters, including the recently-released G41 chipsets, are fully supported out of the box, with 3D acceleration and 3D desktop functionality. The version of the intel X.org driver included is 2.4.2, with patches for G41 support added.

Other graphics cards

VIA / S3 UniChrome / Chrome9 graphics adapters are fully supported by the OpenChrome driver. This includes 3D acceleration for some chipsets, and 2D and video playback acceleration for most. However, 3D desktop functionality is not available with this driver. All Chrome adapters will be detected and automatically configured out of the box.

SiS 670 / 671-based adapters are supported by the sis-imedia driver. This driver provides 2D and video playback acceleration for these chipsets. 3D acceleration and 3D desktop functionality are not available. These adapters will be detected and automatically configured out of the box.

AMD Geode GX/LX adapters are supported by the geode X.org driver, version 2.10.1. These adapters will be detected and automatically configured out of the box.

HDA-based sound devices

Many recently built systems include integrated sound based on the HDA codec, supported in Linux by the snd-hda-intel driver, a part of the ALSA project. Mandriva Linux 2009 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 2009 release compatible with the widest possible range of these integrated sound chipsets.

Wireless networking hardware

Mandriva Linux 2009 includes the latest version of a wide range of wireless drivers, to provide native support for as many devices as possible. Specific improvements include the inclusion of the rt2860 driver for Realtek 2860 chipsets, which are used in many recent netbooks and laptops. Also, the entirely free software ath5k and ath9k drivers replace the previously used, partly proprietary madwifi driver, for Atheros chipsets.

Required firmware for Broadcom wireless adapters

Mandriva Linux 2009 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 2009 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), and then extract that archive to a directory in your home directory. Then simply select the file wl_apsta_mimo.o from that archive when the Mandriva network configuration tool prompts you for the driver, and you will be able to enable and use your wireless card.

gspca-supported webcams working out of the box

With Mandriva Linux 2009, the dozens of webcams supported by the gspca driver will work out of the box, with no configuration or package installation necessary. In earlier Mandriva Linux releases support for these webcams was available only upon manual installation of a driver package.

Improvements to mobile device support

In addition to the support for Windows Mobile 5 and later, Blackberry, and Nokia device synchronization offered by 2008 Spring, 2009 offers support for Windows Mobile 2003 and earlier devices. Windows Mobile support has also been improved with the latest release of SynCE, the use of synce-hal rather than odccm, and support in the Mandriva firewall configuration tool for opening the ports necessary for Windows Mobile device synchronization to work. 2009 also fixes or works around bugs in order to offer working direct synchronization between Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices - the only distribution to do so. Finally, Blackberry support has been improved with easy support for tethering.

Changes regarding installation

New installer

With Mandriva Linux 2009, the traditional installer (DrakX) has been completely overhauled, with a substantial rewrite and a completely new interface. These changes make the installer more attractive, powerful and easy to use.

Post-install streamlining in One installer

The One installer (different from the traditional DrakX installer) now has improved post-install streamlining abilities. After it has completed installation, it will automatically remove drivers for hardware that is not present on your system. This will reduce the future boot time and disk space usage of the installed system.

Changes regarding Mandriva tools

Re-design of Mandriva Control Center and installer

The Mandriva Control Center (drakconf) and installer (DrakX) have both been given a complete re-design in Mandriva Linux 2009 to make them more attractive and user-friendly. Also, they both now use WebKit as their HTML rendering engine, rather than GtkHTML, for displaying help (installer) or for entire UI (Mandriva Control Center).

New printer configuration tool system-config-printer

In order to improve development efficiency, and in accordance with our commitment to cross-distribution co-operation wherever it is possible, in Mandriva Linux 2009, the old Mandriva printerdrake printer configuration tool is replaced by system-config-printer. Originally developed by Fedora and also since adopted by Ubuntu, system-config-printer is a capable replacement for printerdrake in most respects. It was still lacking in some features that printerdrake provided, so we have worked to implement these features and contribute this work upstream. We are confident that you will be able to use system-config-printer as a full replacement for printerdrake. It is accessible via the Mandriva Control Center, as printerdrake used to be.

New default authentication scheme

Mandriva Linux 2009 introduces a new authentication scheme called tcb - the alternative to shadow. The tcb suite is designed to better protect user passwords when fully switched to the tcb scheme (each user has access only to their own shadow password via /etc/tcb/(username)/shadow instead of a global /etc/shadow file). It also works with the old shadow scheme, which is the default usage in Mandriva Linux. A tool called set_tcb is included to automate switching back and forth between shadow and tcb passwords.

The pam_tcb module is fully backwards-compatible with pam_unix and as a result most, if not all, PAM configuration files that use pam_unix will continue to work, provided the system still uses /etc/shadow (pam_unix compatibility will not work if the system is using tcb passwords).

Another advantage to using pam_tcb is the ability to use stronger blowfish, sha256c, or sha512c passwords instead of md5 passwords. By default, new installations will use blowfish for passwords.

Upgrading to Mandriva Linux 2009.0 from previous versions of Mandriva Linux will not automatically migrate PAM configuration files and will rely on pam_unix compatibility, which will also continue to use md5 passwords. To take full advantage of the new password hashes, PAM configurations (notably the /etc/pam.d/system-auth file) will need to be updated to call pam_tcb directly. This can also be managed with the set_tcb tool. Existing MD5-based passwords will continue to work, and new or changed passwords will use the chosen hash.

There should be no changes when using LDAP or NIS for authentication.

Mirrors management

The Mandriva package management tools have now been improved to make the use of official repositories work completely automatically. On the first system boot following installation, the official Mandriva repositories will be automatically configured. Now, no single mirror is specified, but a new system is used by which a geographically local and up-to-date mirror will be selected automatically for each operation, using the aria2 downloader. Aria2 is configured to be adaptive and try the nearest mirrors to achieve best download speed. You can still manually configure repositories using one specific mirror if this is more appropriate for your system, using the repository configuration tool.

If you would prefer to manually select a specific mirror instead of relying on the automatic mirror system, you can do so in the Media Manager tool. Remove the existing repositories if they have been set up, then open the Options menu and click Add Media. This will give you the 2008 Spring-style process where you select a mirror site, and repositories are then automatically added from that mirror site.

Orphan package detection in urpmi and rpmdrake

The Mandriva package manager, urpmi, has been given the capability to detect and remove 'orphan' packages - packages which were installed as dependencies of other packages that have since been removed. Whenever you complete an urpmi operation, you will be notified of currently installed 'orphan' packages. You can remove them with the command:

urpme --auto-orphans

Note that this system is not capable of detecting pre-existing orphans, if you update from an earlier version of Mandriva Linux to Mandriva Linux 2009. Only packages that are both installed and subsequently become orphans following the installation of Mandriva Linux 2009 will be picked up by this system.

Repository update type changes in repository configuration tool restricted

In Mandriva Linux 2009, by default, you can no longer change whether a repository is considered an update repository or not. There is very little need for anyone to change this status, and we found that in previous releases, some users would mistakenly set repositories that should not be update repositories as update repositories - for instance, backports repositories - and end up installing packages they did not need, with negative consequences. This is why we have changed the application so this status cannot be changed.

If for some reason you really must change this status - for instance, you really want to update all packages from backports repositories, and you accept that this can cause applications to break - you must run the application from a console, in expert mode:

drakrpm-edit-media --expert

However, we reiterate that it is usually a bad idea to change this status for any repository.

Boot splash system changed

The Mandriva boot splash system - the system which displays a graphical progress display when booting the system - has been changed from bootsplash to Splashy. This decision was taken because the bootsplash project is no longer maintained upstream, yet requires a major kernel patch in order to operate. This would have resulted in Mandriva being responsible for maintaining and testing the kernel patch, which was considered a bad position to be in. The Splashy project is both actively maintained and does not require a kernel patch: it is entirely implemented in user space.

Splashy includes some improvements over bootsplash, but also some regressions. We hope to address these in future editions. Most significantly, the hybrid graphical mode available in bootsplash is not available in Splashy. In previous Mandriva Linux releases, if you pressed the Esc key during boot, you would see the verbose boot messages in a graphical layout with the Mandriva splash background still visible. The first virtual console would also look like this. With Splashy this mode is not currently possible, so if you press the Esc key during boot, you will see an entirely text-based screen, and the first virtual console is also now entirely text-based.

Font size and physical DPI

Previous releases of Mandriva Linux have attempted to set the correct DPI (dots per inch) value for your system's monitor. This DPI value is subsequently used by the desktop when rendering fonts. This system is intended to ensure that a '10 point' sized character is rendered with the exact same physical size on any monitor.

While a laudable goal, this system has never worked without problems. Aside from bizarre results when the DPI detection system fails, no desktop environment's interface is yet fully resolution independent, which means that on a high DPI screen (usually a small monitor with a high native resolution, such as many modern laptop displays), characters could be much larger than the interface elements they are supposed to match (which are designed to be a certain number of pixels in size and will consequently vary in physical size on different monitors). Similar problems often occur on websites, which are often designed with specific sizes in pixels in mind and do not consider the issues associated with the goal of resolution independence. Briefly, the computing world as most people experience it is not designed to accommodate the ideal of resolution independence.

With Mandriva Linux 2009 we have therefore decided to succumb to the convention of most other operating systems and distributions and set the same DPI value for all monitors, regardless of what the correct value should be. The value that will be set is 96 dpi, which is the value used in most operating systems. This will result in characters of the same point size appearing physically larger or smaller depending on the actual physical size and resolution of your monitor, as many users are accustomed to in Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X, and as many applications and web sites are designed to expect. Users whose eyes are not equal to the task of reading a tiny '10 point' font on a high-resolution laptop screen can still adjust the DPI value in the KDE or GNOME Control Center, or simply increase the default font sizes.

More information can be found here.

Changes regarding software packages

Gecko-based applications now use XULRunner

In previous releases, applications which use the Gecko web content rendering engine (part of the Mozilla project) were essentially compiled against Mozilla Firefox itself to satisfy this dependency. This was unsatisfactory in several ways, particularly in that it required every Gecko-based application to be re-compiled each time the Firefox package was updated. With Mandriva Linux 2009, the XULRunner platform has reached sufficient maturity. XULRunner is a project which separates the XUL runtime environment - the components required by all Gecko-based applications - out as a standalone package. Applications can then all build against XULRunner, much as they would build against a standard system shared library. Applications then only have to be rebuilt if XULRunner itself is updated, and then only if it is updated in a way which may break their compatibility with it. This results in a much more standard and manageable build environment for Gecko-based applications, and should result in fewer updates being needed to these packages during the 2009 cycle.

OpenJDK Replaces IcedTea

The java-1.6.0-openjdk* packages replace the java-1.7.0-icedtea* packages from previous versions. Those packages are tracking the new OpenJDK 6 stable branch whereas the previous icedtea packages were tracking an unstable branch of OpenJDK.

Standardization

PackageKit

Mandriva Linux 2009 includes tested and functional support for the PackageKit project, which aims to provide a standardized cross-distribution package management interface. Any application which uses the PackageKit interface for package management will work transparently with Mandriva Linux 2009 simply by installing the packagekit package. You can also install the various generic PackageKit front ends on Mandriva Linux 2009. Packages are available for gnome-packagekit, kpackagekit, and the browser plugin, packagekit-browser-plugin.

Other Changes

LEGACY_PTY_COUNT is now 0

Legacy pty (/dev/ttyxx) are still enabled in our kernel but we now create none by default, to save several seconds of boot time. If you need some for an obsolete application, you can add the boot parameter pty.legacy_count=32 (or another number depending on your needs).

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