Choosing the right edition

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Mandriva Linux is available in several editions, free or paid. This page explains the differences between the various versions and gives some recommendations for selecting an edition. This page concerns the supported versions only.


Comparison table

This table is for informational purposes: it is not comprehensive and concerns only the latest stable version available. The CD / DVD column informs on the number pieces required to run Mandriva Linux; more versions might be available according to languages for example.

Edition No. CD / DVD Processor / Window manager Knowledge Required Special Free
Mandriva One 1 Installable LiveCD 32 bits /1 CD for KDE or 1 CD for Gnome None Allows users to test without risk, then install it for improved performance. Contains most of the proprietary drivers. Security updates supported for 18 months. Free of charge but contains non-free drivers
Mandriva Free 1 DVD or 1 CD 1 DVD for 32 bits or 1 DVD for 64 bits / Several WM, or 1 CD for both 32 and 64bit Better than average Linux knowledge[1] References to other editions, created by the community. Security updates supported for 18 months. 100% Open source and free of charge
Mandriva Powerpack 1 DVD (2 available) 1 DVD for 32 bits or 1 DVD for 64 bits / Several WM Basic Linux Knowledge[1] Features all the drivers and additional software and Services. Commercial version, available at Mandriva Store.
Mandriva Flash 1 Bootable USB key 8 GB None Office Linux transportable with a 6GB for data. Commercial version, available at Mandriva Store

    Mandriva Linux One

    The One edition of Mandriva Linux is a single LiveCD that can be installed on hard disk.

    Mandriva Linux One 2009 Edition
    Hard disk installation wizard

    A Live CD is an operating system that can boot and run directly from an optical disc without installing any software or touching the hard disks of the system it's booted on. You can use the Live system to give the distribution a test run; you can also install Mandriva Linux from the Live CD to your hard disk.

    You can boot Mandriva One in "Live" mode to try it, just load the CD into your optical drive and boot the machine (you may need to change the boot sequence in your MOBO's BIOS to make the CD/DVD drive the first boot device). After you use Mandriva One, if you want to return to your system (which is kept intact as the Live system doesn't change anything in it), simply restart the system from the desktop environment that's running and remove the CD from the drive when prompted to do so: you will see that nothing has been changed!

    If you like Mandriva, you can install it on your hard disk and you will benefit from enhanced performance (the system will be considerably faster running after installing it to the hard disk than it was when running from the Live CD) and an impressive amount of Mandriva software after adding the official repositories (this is done automatically when you boot the system for the the first time after installing if there's an active internet connection available).

    Moreover, the small size of Mandriva One (~700 MB i.e. 1 CD) makes it ideal for users with low-bandwidth Internet connections: it is the only CD you need. You do not have all of the Mandriva applications, but you will have enough software for routine office tasks, internet browsing, and email.

    There's a wide range of Mandriva One ISO's, basically there are two essential elements that distinguish each of them: the desktop environment used and the localization packages available on the each iso (localization packages determine which languages are supported out-of-the-box). Some One ISO's use the KDE desktop environment (KDE4 starting from 2009.1) while the others use GNOME. Due to space constraints not all localization packages can be included on a single One ISO, consequently the localization packages are spread over the various ISO's.

    N.B. English is supported on all the ISO's.

    The latest version of Mandriva One can be downloaded from the official download page, you can select to download either the KDE4 or Gnome One Live CD ISO.

    Which ISO supports your language?

    As mentioned above all the ISO's support English.

    The download page uses a java script that will direct you to the europe-americas ISO's (to make it as easy as possible for non-advanced users) , to override that java script:

    • Go to the download page
    • After you select a country from the drop-down list, either middle click one of the mirror URL's that appear or copy then paste the URL to your browser address bar.

    this will take you to a page that lists the full range of the available One ISO's, to find out what languages each ISO supports open the .langs file associated with each ISO, that file lists all the languages supported by that particular ISO, usually the name of the .iso gives a clue about which languages it supports (e.g. africa-asia will have support for Afrikaans).

    So find the ISO you want and simply download it from the mirror of your choice.

    More information on Installing Mandriva Linux One...

    Mandriva Linux Free

    The Free edition of Mandriva Linux is so called because it contains only free and Open Source software as defined by the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative (Free has a double meaning in English). For this reason, Mandriva Free may be slightly more difficult for the novice to install especially given the lack of proprietary drivers. These proprietary drivers can be installed by configuring official repositories and by activating the "non-free" sources. Mandriva Free is a fully functional edition and comes with a wide variety of applications in many areas (office, internet, multimedia, etc.). It is ideal if you want to use only free software on your computer.

    This edition is also derived from the Cooker project which allows Mandriva developers and contributors to be directly involved with each other. Cooker is the basis of other editions described in this page.

    This edition, on CDs or DVDs, is available for download (only) for 32-bit processors (i586) and 64-bit (x86_64) architectures.

    It is also available in "Mini CD" for both architectures (dual-arch). This compact media, includes very few applications (certainly not enough for daily use) but has the ability to install a Mandriva base on which one may add software from the official repositories. This be interesting to users who want a minimal installation, or have a high speed network connection which would allow them to escalate to a more complete the installation.

    To download this version, go to the official download site.

    More information on Installing Mandriva Free...

    Mandriva Linux Powerpack

    Mandriva Linux Powerpack 2009 DVD edition

    The Powerpack edition is the commercial edition of Mandriva Linux. It is available with complete documentation and support in a "box" (see comparison) from the Mandriva Store and certain retailers. It is also available for download (without physical support, documentation, or technical support) with an annual subscription.

    It is intended for users who want to fully enjoy what Mandriva does best. It may also be useful to people with limited or no Internet access. Everything needed is included in the box. It contains a large number of applications (more than those included in the Free or One editions). As published, the Powerpack contains proprietary software including proprietary drivers and firmware support for improved hardware compatibility, applications and plugins for browsers, codecs, etc.

    This edition is available for each version of Mandriva Linux with i586 and x86_64 architectures, as a single DVD.

    Since the 2008 version, there are two ways to get the Powerpack:

    More information on Installing Mandriva Powerpack ...

    Mandriva Flash

    Mandriva Flash 2008 Spring

    This distribution is fully installed on an 8 GB USB stick and offers you the ability to boot any computer without a hard disc installation to achieve an operating system as as configurable as a normally installed distribution. One can add and delete packages, user accounts, etc. In addition, data can be used on other operating systems. For example, you can retrieve documents and run Firefox from Windows and use the same bookmarks, passwords, and access all your files from Windows.

    It is similar to Mandriva One for ease of use, but the writable USB key allows you to use a roaming profile and take your office everywhere you want with the accompanying documents. Wherever you are with your flash key you can feel right at home!

    Mandriva Flash is available from the Mandriva Store.

    For more information, see the page devoted to it : Mandriva Flash.

    Other editions

    Other editions of Mandriva are available for specific requirements:

    • Professional Products (Corporate Desktop Corporate Server, Pulse, Clustering, LinBox) provided with long term professional support
    • Edutice specific distribution for education
    • Cooker : This is not an issue itself, but the development version of Mandriva Linux
    • Some unusual architectures also have their version of Mandriva (not supported)
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