2009.1 Tour

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

It brings you KDE 4.2 as the default KDE desktop. This major new release of KDE further enhances the KDE desktop experience. Other major new software versions include GNOME 2.26, OpenOffice.org 3.0 and Mozilla Firefox 3. Mandriva 2009 Spring is using the 2.6.29 Linux Kernel, with the usual assortment of patches by the excellent Mandriva Kernel Team to make sure it's tailored to the distro.

As always, Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring'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 the Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring One Live CD or the Free DVD from here . You can also buy the boxed PowerPack edition or purchase the PowerPack subscription from the Mandriva Store.

Contents

New and updated software

New theme and artwork

Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring is shipped with 4 different new themes (or flavours): Free, One, Powerpack and Flash. Each theme will be installed based on the Mandriva edition you are installing, but if you want you can easily use the other themes by installing the corresponding mandriva-theme-<flavour_name> packages.

Under GNOME the wallpaper will change depending on the hour of the day: if you look carefully you will notice that some subtle changes will occur as the daytime goes by.

Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring screensaver will display a slideshow of different landscapes in the world: our planet is beautiful, please do as much as possible to protect it.

KDE 4.2

Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring includes KDE 4.2.2 as its default KDE 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 framework, Plasma, where each desktop entity - icons, folders, applets, the panel, launchers - are a special form of widget called a plasmoid, giving unprecedented flexibility
  • A return of the ability to place files and folders anywhere on the desktop, thanks to the new "Folderview Containment", which is enabled by default in Mandriva.
  • A New multimedia framework, Phonon, which provides sophisticated multimedia capabilities to all KDE applications
  • Support for advanced visual effects in the KDE window manager (KWin). 3D Desktop effects can be enabled from the KDE control center.
  • The Konqueror web browser with improved support for scalable vector graphics and it has also received many performance enhancements.
  • Kmail, the default KDE email client, has been greatly improved, especially concerning performance, IMAP support and email list views.
  • Digikam, the photo management application, is available in its latest stable version ( 0.10.0 ), the first version to be designed specifically for KDE4. This version brings also many new features such as:
    • Preview of Video and Audio files using the KDE4 Phonon interface
    • Database file can be stored in a customized place to support remote album library path, support of multiple roots album paths and so on.
    • More information is available on Digikam homepage.
  • Many updated applications, including the file manager Dolphin, document viewer Okular, and media player Dragon Player, which now has Codeina support, meaning that when the player is missing codecs you will be presented with a dialogue to automatically download and install the missing codec.
  • The Nepomuk metadata framework allows you to tag and rate files in any KDE application
  • PowerDevil supports mobile life by bringing modern and unobtrusive power management to laptops and mobile devices
  • YAWP, the new theme-able weather applet for KDE, which shows a 5 day and night forecast for your location and also the latest satellite images. It can be seen in the first screenshot below, alternatively it can also be embedded in the panel.
  • The latest Qt 4.5 is provided with the KDE desktop enabling a much improved performance.

You can find full information about KDE 4 on the KDE web site. Take a look at the release announcements for KDE 4.2 and the KDE 4.2 visual guide.

GNOME 2.26

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, 2.26. Continuing the GNOME 2 tradition of releasing solid incremental updates on a regular schedule, the major improvements in GNOME 2.26 include:

  • Nautilus, the GNOME file manager, now uses the browser mode by default to ease navigation. More information about this can be found in the Mandriva 2009 Spring Release Notes.
  • The CD/DVD creator has been replaced by a full burning application, Brasero.
  • Evolution, the e-mail and GroupWare suite, now imports Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders, and supports the Exchange MAPI protocol. (Install the evolution-mapi package to add this feature).
  • Epiphany, the GNOME web browser, gains an exciting new feature of an improved location bar, similar to the Awesome Bar of Firefox 3.0.
  • Totem, the GNOME media player, can play content over UPnP/DLNA protocols and has been improved with a subtitle downloader plugin.
  • New visual effects, such as the panels sliding in and out at login and logout, and cross-fading desktop backgrounds.
  • The volume applet has been reworked to incorporate PulseAudio, switching between different sound cards and managing volume levels per application has never been easier.

You can read more about the new features of GNOME 2.26 in the GNOME 2.26 Release Notes.

LXDE

Since Mandriva Linux 2009, LXDE is the desktop of choice for low-end systems, especially netbooks. LXDE replaced IceWM as the default light weight DE in Mandriva.

LXDE is a lightweight yet modern desktop environment designed to give a modern desktop experience on less powerful hardware 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 file manager (PCMan File Manager), task manager, display configuration tool, image viewer, notepad application, and archive management application. Installing LXDE on Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring 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.

XFCE 4.6

The latest XFCE desktop version, a lightweight but powerful desktop environment, is also available. XFCE 4.6 features a new configuration backend, a new settings manager, a brand new sound mixer, a laptop powermanager, and several huge improvements to the session manager and the rest of Xfce's core components. More information can be found in the XFCE 4.6 visual tour. Installing XFCE on Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring is as easy as installing the task-xfce package. A community-based Live CD using the XFCE environment will also be released shortly after the official Mandriva 2009 Spring release. Please check the dedicated XfceLive project page.

Mozilla Firefox 3

The default web browser in Mandriva Linux, Mozilla Firefox, has been updated to the latest 3.0 release series (3.0.8 at release time, but Firefox updates frequently and those updates will be made available as official updates throughout the life of Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring). 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 Spring also brings a major new release of the premier open source office suite, OpenOffice.org. Major features of OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 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 Mandriva pre-release build is based on the Go-OO project, which adds some improvements of its own. Some of the most popular OpenOffice.org extensions are packaged by default in Mandriva: Presenter, wiki publisher and PDF Import.

Sugar Desktop

The innovative desktop designed for the OLPC project, Sugar, is also available in Mandriva. Just install the task-sugar meta package and the Sugar environment will be available in the session type list on the log in screen.


Other significant updates

Other significant new software versions in Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring include:

  • Qt Creator, the new cross-platform Qt IDE tailored to the needs of Qt developers.
  • Included with the new Qt4.5 is QGtkStyle, which will allow your KDE4 and Qt4 applications to seamlessly blend into a GTK based environment, like Gnome or XFCE. It is also available as a style in the KDE control center, so KDE4 users can use the many GTK styles available in Mandriva. To do this install the gtk-qt-engine, an extra tab to modify the looks of GTK applications will now become available in the KDE control center but do not select "Use my GTK Style" but rather "use another style" then go to the Style tab of the control center and select GTK+ as widget style.
  • The music player Songbird is also available. This music player, which is based on the Mozilla technology aims to become the Firefox of media players. It supports many features like media importing from your music player device, smart playlists, an integrated web browser, album artwork support, the ability to display upcoming shows in your area based on the artists in your library. Like Firefox, new features can be added by using addons (aka feathers).
  • VirtualBox, The x86 virtualization software, has been updated to the 2.2.0 version which provides many new features such as:
    • Better 64-bit support
    • Guest 3D acceleration
    • Easier networking on Linux
    • Full VMDK/VHD ( VMWare Images ) support including snapshots
    • Support for the new Open Virtualization Format.
  • Phoronix Test Suite, the most comprehensive testing and benchmarking platform available for the Linux operating system, is also available in Mandriva 2009 Spring. Benchmarking your Linux system couldn't be easier. Phoronix allows you to benchmark all your system components from the graphic stack to the filesystem. The latest version included in Mandriva 2009 Spring provides an easy to use GUI to perform the different tests and benchmarks.
  • Wine 1.1.19 is shipped in Mandriva 2009 Spring. This release brings many bugfixes and improvements over the previous version shipped in Mandriva 2009, like better 64bits support and pulseaudio support for sound output. Newer wine versions will be shipped regularly in the /main/backports media.
  • While the cluster packages (cman, rgmanager etc.) were available in /contrib for 2009.0, lvm2 could not be supplied with cluster support. In 2009 Spring, the cluster packages are now available in /main, along with clvmd and the GFS user-space utilities, meaning it is now possible to run GFS on Mandriva with only packages from /main. system-config-cluster is available in /contrib.

Improved boot performance

We have worked hard in 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 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, only in size, system. Now that the original Eee has given birth to a whole family of Eee models and inspired a host of netbooks from other manufacturers, Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring is keeping pace.

2009 Spring 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 Spring repositories with great care for netbook users.

The new hybrid iso's and Mandriva Seed, the tool which can be used to easily copy the hybrid iso's to USB, make installation on these little machines a breeze. And going beyond the Eee, Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring 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 Spring may just be its new best friend!

Enhancements to Mandriva tools and applications

new MSEC Mandriva Security Center

The Mandriva Security Center, aka MSEC, has been greatly improved with a new UI, a plugin based system allowing users to easily extend MSEC, and AppArmor support (MSEC has been almost rewritten from scratch in Mandriva 2009 Spring). MSEC is intended to control and manage the different aspects of the security of the system (permissions, network, system, default settings and critical networking applications). It was initially introduced in Mandrake 8, being one of the first system security utilities of its kind. This release supports also user desktop notifications when a system check has been performed. Many other enhancements are to come in the near future, so stay tuned.

Improved Mandriva networking tools

The Mandriva networking tools have undergone some interesting improvements like better 3G support, reduced memory footprint, the ability to edit global network settings ( IPv6 support, TCP window scaling ), ATM bridging support for PPPOE over USB xDSL modem, NFS support in Mandriva Personal Firewall (drakfirewall).

Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring is also one of the first distributions to provide support directly in its network configuration tools for the new Linux Central Regulatory Domain Agent. Linux CRDA provides regulatory compliance to wireless drivers.

New Installer features

The Mandriva installer also gains some new features:

  • A new module has been added in syslinux: HDT (Hardware Detection Tool). This module is available from the installation menu. Select it from the bootloader, GRUB, menu and you will be able to display hardware related low-level information for components of an x86 compatible system.
  • With Mandriva 2009 Spring, users have the ability to look at a partition's content right from either the DrakX installer or the diskdrake partitioner. This will help users double-check whether they have important files left on the partition before deciding to format it.
  • Ext4 support is available in the default Mandriva Kernel with its different flavours. And Mandriva 2009 Spring can be directly installed on ext4 partitions.
  • The Mandriva installer partitioning application now handles partitions starting after 1 terabyte.
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