Ms. Susan Linton described her impressions on the second beta release of Mandriva 2011 here. There are some additional comments here. Can you guess what the common denominator is? :-P
In my case, I don't like the Rosa launcher, either. I'm also a bit sad because the netdrake seems to be gone, along with the desktop cube effect.
However, I'd like to focus this entry on the new features:
There are new cool account icons:
You can choose yours and then, when you log in, it becomes larger. That looks neat
Later, you get a standard KDE splash screen. By the way, I did not see the screen to choose KDE, GNOME or OTHER during the installation...
And this is why. Welcome to the new... desktop (?!). The trash bin is now located on the lower panel and there is a HOME icon there which gives you preview of your files. The lock/shut down buttons are gone from the lower panel. Besides noticing that the window with the ads is gone (yes, the one that opens the first time you boot Mandriva), I also saw that the icon of the launcher looked funny (not Mandriva's style):
You click on it and you get this screen, which made me wonder what Mandriva developers were doing:
So, I clicked on applications and got this:
With that, the truth slapped me: they are trying to emulate a smartphone UI (Ubuntu's Unity madness!). Well, it's a bet for the future of Linux, but I want a desktop, not that UI...
I tried to get the Kwin desktop cube back and got an error message instead :-(
I must admit that the tree structure in Dolphin is a lot clearer now:
But don't panic! There's hope for us, all users who don't want to a re-creation of a smartphone interface as the main UI of a PC. It's possible to get the standard KDE launcher without a lot of trouble. You can even get a Mandriva icon and the pager. Ah, and there's the Oxygen theme, too...If I only got the cube back! (Maybe one can enable Compiz effects later if Kwin is out of the question)
I can get used to the new lower panel (especially because it's completely flexible, so you can adapt it to suit your needs or preferences). I decided to make it look more like the Mandriva that attracted me to Linux:
I cannot but think that, although I am in no way a power user, I cannot do my work without multiple desktops and the convenient cube animation any longer. I believe Linux innovated computing with that concept and Microsoft will probably try to copy it for Windows 8. So, why hiding them to mimic a cellphone?
Netdrake is still operational, but the system network is fired up by the KDE network tool.
Oh, there's one last observation. I couldn't run my Japanese IME test because Mandriva Control Center wouldn't let me add new programs. That had to do with the repos and the move to RPM5, I presume?