2009.0 Tour

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Mandriva Linux 2009 is one of the most ground-breaking releases of Mandriva Linux, the leader in innovative and easy-to-use desktop Linux, ever.

It introduces KDE 4 - specifically, 4.1.2 - as the default desktop. This major new release of KDE promises to revolutionize the desktop experience. Other major new software versions include GNOME 2.24, OpenOffice.org 3.0, and Mozilla Firefox 3. The Linux kernel version is 2.6.27. No less important are the major re-designs of the Mandriva installer and Control Center tools.

As always, Mandriva Linux 2009's hardware compatibility is second to none. As well as conventional systems, it boasts excellent support for a wide range of netbooks, including all currently available Asus Eee PC models, the Acer Aspire One, the MSI Wind, and others. You can download Mandriva Linux 2009 One or download Mandriva Linux 2009 Free, or buy the boxed, download or subscription Powerpack commercial edition from the Mandriva Store.

Contents

New and updated software

KDE 4.1.2 (and 3.5.10)

Mandriva Linux 2009 includes KDE 4.1.2 as its default desktop. Several years in the making, KDE 4 is the most radical release yet of the leading Linux desktop environment. Its new features are too numerous to explain in depth here, but some highlights include:

  • New desktop shell, Plasma, where each desktop entity - icons, folders, applets, the panel, launchers - are a special form of widget called a plasmoid, giving unprecedented flexibility
  • New multimedia framework, Phonon, provides sophisticated multimedia capabilities to all KDE applications
  • Support for advanced visual effects in the KDE window manager
  • Many new applications, including the file manager Dolphin, document viewer Okular, and media player Dragon Player
  • Nepomuk metadata framework allows you to tag and rate files in any KDE application

You can find full information about KDE 4 on the KDE web site. Take a look at the release announcements for KDE 4.0 and KDE 4.1.

We do recognize, though, that some users will prefer to stick with the familiar KDE 3 environment for now. For these users, Mandriva Linux 2009 provides a full implementation of the latest KDE 3 release, KDE 3.5.10, in the /contrib repository. On a fresh Mandriva Linux 2009 system, you can install the complete KDE 3.5.10 environment by simply installing the package task-kde3. If you wish to upgrade to Mandriva Linux 2009 from a previous Mandriva Linux release and preserve your KDE 3 environment, you can do so by doing a network installation or a live upgrade via MandrivaOnline applet, one of the new features of Mandriva Linux 2009. See the release notes for more details on this.

GNOME 2.24

Mandriva is no less prompt in bringing you the latest and greatest releases from the other major free software desktop environment, GNOME. Mandriva Linux features the latest and greatest GNOME release, 2.24. Continuing the GNOME 2 tradition of releasing solid incremental updates on a regular schedule, the major improvements in GNOME 2.24 include:

  • Introduction of the Empathy instant messaging client
  • Support for tabs and a compact list view in the Nautilus file manager
  • A time management panel applet
  • Support for digital TV receivers in the Totem media player
  • Support for configuring multiple monitors (on graphics adapters whose drivers support the newer RandR 1.2 standard) in the GNOME Control Center

You can read more about the new features of GNOME 2.24 in the GNOME 2.24 Release Notes. Please note that, although these list Ekiga 3 as a feature of GNOME 2.24, Mandriva Linux 2009 still features Ekiga 2.0.12 as its default version, as 3 is a major revision that was released too close to Mandriva Linux 2009's finalization date to be safe. Ekiga 3 will be available from the /main/backports repository immediately after the release of Mandriva Linux 2009.

LXDE

Mandriva Linux 2009 adds another to the extensive list of desktop environments integrated into Mandriva Linux - LXDE. LXDE is a lightweight yet modern environment designed to give a modern desktop experience on less powerful hardware. It has been integrated into Mandriva Linux 2009 with a particular eye towards its use on netbook systems, for which it is ideal. LXDE provides a fast and attractive desktop with a traditional launcher menu and panel, a full configuration application, a file manager (PCMan File Manager), task manager, display configuration tool, image viewer, notepad application, and archive management application. Installing LXDE on Mandriva Linux 2009 is as easy as installing the task-lxde package. For more information on LXDE, see the official site, and especially the Mandriva page on the LXDE wiki.

Mozilla Firefox 3

The default web browser in Mandriva Linux, Mozilla Firefox, has been updated to the version 3.0 release series (3.0.3 at release time, but Firefox updates frequently and those updates will be made available as official updates throughout the life of Mandriva Linux 2009). Major new features in version 3.0 include the Smart Location Bar, improved performance and reduced memory consumption, one-click bookmarking, a built in password manager, and improved security features. You can read more about the features of Mozilla Firefox 3.0 at the official site.

OpenOffice.org 3

Mandriva Linux 2009 also brings a major new release of the premier open source office suite, OpenOffice.org. Major features of OpenOffice.org 3 include:

  • ODF 1.2 support
  • Import filters for Microsoft Office 2007
  • A solver feature for Calc
  • Collaborative editing of spreadsheets
  • Multiple page display in Writer
  • Native tables in Impress

You can read more about the new features of OpenOffice.org 3 on the official site. The version of OpenOffice.org shipped with Mandriva Linux 2009 is in fact a very late release candidate, rather than the final version 3.0, which was released too late to be used. The final version will be provided as a post-release update. The Mandriva pre-release build is based on the Go-OO project, which adds some improvements of its own.

Other significant updates

Other significant updated software in Mandriva Linux 2009 includes:

Improved boot performance

We have worked hard with Mandriva Linux 2009 to improve boot performance. Boot speed should be improved by 25% or more on most systems. You will also find the system shuts down, hibernates, suspends, and resumes faster. You can read more about the details of how these improvements were achieved here.

Netbook friendly

Back when Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring was released, a certain small computer was causing a bit of a stir in the PC world - the original Asus Eee PC. We recognized it for the game-changer it was, and built 2008 Spring to be Eee-friendly - the first mainstream distribution to integrate polished support for the little system. Now that original Eee has given birth to a whole family of Eee models and inspired a host of netbooks from other manufacturers, Mandriva Linux 2009 is keeping pace.

2009 includes full hardware support for every currently available Eee model. We have worked together with the Mandriva Eee user community throughout the development of 2009. We have used the original Eee as one of our main test machines in performance and usability testing, to make sure Mandriva Linux 2009 boots quickly, performs speedily and is fully usable on the Eee. All the Mandriva configuration tools have been tested and tweaked where appropriate to fit into the lower resolution screens common on netbooks, and we have also tweaked some third-party applications for this restraint. As mentioned earlier, we've included the lightweight LXDE desktop in the Mandriva Linux 2009 repositories with an eye to netbook users. And going beyond the Eee, Mandriva Linux 2009 includes excellent out-of-the-box compatibility with other popular netbooks, such as the Acer Aspire One, MSI Wind and more. If you've got a netbook, Mandriva Linux 2009 may just be its new best friend!

Enhancements to Mandriva tools and applications

Re-designed installer and Control Center

Mandriva Linux 2009 introduces a new look for the traditional installer, DrakX (that's the installer used on the Free and Powerpack editions), and the Mandriva Control Center. Along with the new look, usability improvements have also been made to both tools. Both are now based on the modern Webkit HTML rendering engine. Looks are always important to a distribution, and we think the sleek new look of the Mandriva tools make it one of the best-looking distributions around.

Removal of unwanted software during One installation

In the past, sharp-eyed users have noticed that after installing Mandriva Linux One, some unnecessary software is present on their system - external driver packages for hardware they do not own (like ATI or NVIDIA drivers on a system without those cards), and localizations for languages they do not use. In Mandriva Linux 2009, a post-installation cleaning system has been added to the One installer which offers automatically to remove these packages. This will save same disk space, reduce the amount of necessary future updates, and can also slightly improve the boot up time.

Automatic repository configuration and mirrors management

Mandriva Linux 2009 makes it easier than ever to access the official Mandriva software repositories. In fact, if you have a working network connection at first boot, they'll be set up for you automatically. 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 adaptative and try the nearest mirrors to achieve best download speed.

Time-based restrictions in the parental control tool

Mandriva's parental control tool, drakguard, has had a time control feature added. Restrictions can now be based on time - access to certain sites can be allowed or denied at certain times. This was a much-demanded feature for the tool, and makes it much more capable.

Improvements to network tools

Mandriva's networking configuration tools have added support for several more cellular data devices and providers (Mandriva has been able to configure cellular data connections, including 3G, for several years), and improved signal level detection for wireless connections. In addition, many new wireless drivers are now supported, and several bugs relating to configuration of more unusual connection types have been fixed.

And introducing... - exciting new applications available with Mandriva Linux 2009

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.

FBReader

FBReader is a resource-light e-book reader. It can handle a wide range of e-book formats, including fb2, OEB, OpenReader, Plucker and more. Its low resource use, simple interface and fast performance makes it the ideal tool to turn your netbook (or regular laptop) into an e-book reader. If you frequently carry your laptop and you like a good read, try it out!

Google Gadgets

Google Gadgets for Linux provides a platform for running desktop gadgets under Linux, catering to the unique needs of Linux users. It's compatible with the gadgets written for Google Desktop for Windows as well as the Universal Gadgets on iGoogle.

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