jueves, 20 de septiembre de 2012

The underdog is on the loose! A glimpse of Mandriva 2012 Alpha1

Breaking news!  Mandriva is not dead.  Or maybe it was and came back to life,  not as a zombie (Bernie Lomax) this time, but as a modest, yet persistent dog that simply refuses to give up the race.

Yes, the Alpha 1 of Mandriva 2012 has recently been released.  Its code name: Tenacious Underdog!

I dowloaded the i586 .iso to give it a try on a Virtual Machine and see if it works better than Bernie Lomax, its predecessor, did.  By the way, the TP ran like a charm in my humble opinion.  Can the underdog outperform Bernie?
This is what I saw:

Installation process:
Say hi to the crazy penguin
The process is as simple as it gets.  As usual.  By the way, I do not agree with the idea that the presence of this penguin weakens the perception one can have of the distribution.  After all, computers should not be so serious.  Gimme games, Easter eggs, funny names, and the crazy penguin.  Let's bring back the joy of using a computer, shall we?



I like the penguin family!  It looks like mine...

This is a nice feature. Here, it is possible to install many different packages right from the start.  Some might think that this scares newbies away.  Well, this non-technical Linux user simply drools over the options and checks all that seems interesting.





This is familiar territory

After completing some intuitive questions, the distro takes some time to install...







Oops!  The Spanish installation failed...
Now, this was unexpected: the installation did not finish successfully.  Before blaming anyone, I just reminded myself that this is an alpha, so some features might not be included.  I started the installation again, but in English.
*UPDATE: Per Øyvind Karlsen has fixed this issue already! 


The English install worked perfectly
The process completed the GRUB stage and then I could set up the monitor and select an IME.

This time, everything went as expected.






Desktop:

After the install, you see the same elegant log in screen that Mandriva 2011 brought.  Paradoxically, my account avatar is a cat.
You guessed it; I'm not a dog person...
You get the ROSA SimpleWelcome, launcher, stack folders and timeframe.  As I have said, I now like them a lot better than before.
This is the default desktop
I quickly downloaded a Mandriva wallpaper from the KDE pool and modified it with the GIMP.  The dog that is climbing the fence to abandon the land of oblivion seems right for the composition
 The desktop wearing something more appropriate


Final observations:

This release includes KDE 4.9.0.  It's good to see Mandriva sporting new technologies.  Best of all, this desktop environment seems well implemented, which is far more important than just having it.

In the office section, I miss the rest of the LibreOffice suite (only Writer and Calc are present).  Not a big deal; you can download the rest from the repos.

Ah, but my personal test is the factor that determines if I will continue being a Mandriva user or not.  Can it handle Japanese input?
The answer is YES!
iBus + Anthy work flawlessly.
Mandriva, I'm sticking with you.
To Per Øyvind Karlsen and all Mandriva developers, thank you for your hard work.  I'm truly looking forward to seeing the final 2012 release. Judging from the quality of TP and Alpha 1, I'm sure that Mandriva 2012 will conquer my PC, putting an end to the long reign of Mandriva 2010.2.

lunes, 10 de septiembre de 2012

Mageia 3 alpha 1 is now available

Yes, I know this version is for tests and not for reviews.
Well, that's OK because I just want to see if Mageia 3, at this early state, shows some changes and to test how it works.

Very briefly, the installation process is pretty much the same that you get for Mageia install versions (very similar to Mandriva PowerPack).  Therefore, one must install the distro to be able to see it in action because this image is not a live medium.

Once completed, I expected to see GRUB 2, but it seems Mageia 3 still boots with the GRUB I am accustomed to using.

I used the Mageia control center to add new media and retrieve software form the repositories.  Basically, I wanted to download Anthy and Japanese fonts to test if iBus works.  iBus was included during the installation process.

Mageia Control Center adding repos

I am very happy to say that iBus works perfectly with LibreOffice and Anthy, so I can type in Japanese without any problems:

Unlike my test of Mageia 2 betas, there were no database errors this time.


Although the desktop effects were not activated (this is not a big surprise because I tested the distro on a virtual machine), I noticed that alerts or error messages are now highlighted and they are displayed on the top side of the window.  The reason: Mageia 3 includes KDE 4.9.0!




I think Mageia 3 looks promising. 

domingo, 9 de septiembre de 2012

Our first UEFI challenge

Yesterday, Megatotoro and I helped a colleague who wanted to dual boot her recently bought desktop PC.  She wanted us to install Mageia 2  and we were confident because it is a process that we have done several times already.

However, when we hit the key to get into the BIOS... Surprise!  We were greeted by UEFI instead.

We thought the dual-boot enterprise was doomed.  We are not computer techies, to begin.  In addition, we had read all the problems that UEFI will give to people who want to try Linux, which was pretty discouraging.  Nevertheless, Megatotoro persisted and found the option to disable the secure boot.  Once this was done, the installation of Mageia 2 was easy.

I hope OEMs keep the option to disable secure boot.  

miércoles, 5 de septiembre de 2012

On the PCLOS 2012.08 KDE release

Katherine Noyes wrote her opinion about the new release of PCLinuxOS here.  When I read it, I did not pay a lot of attention mainly because of one reason: I had installed PCLinuxOS 2011.6 in both my desktop and experimental laptop and I was very satisfied with its performance.  Therefore, I thought, is it really necessary to bother downloading the PCLOS 2012.08 .iso, burning it to a DVD, and installing it if my computers are doing OK? After all, as a PCLOS newbie, I did not want to break a system that was working as expected.

However, I gave in and started the upgrade.

Scary tsunami wallpaper on my PCLOS 2012.08 desktop 
Now, I must say that this is by far the most pleasant upgrade I've ever performed since I migrated to Linux: I simply replaced the root partition and left the home partition intact.  I've done that before with Mandriva and Mageia, but since the results I obtained were not always optimal, I prefer to do a clean install with those systems.

PCLinuxOS was different, though.  The process lasted less than 10 minutes.  The beautified log in avatars greeted me when I rebooted the computers and the new PCLOS did not mess up with my user settings; everything stayed there.  This upgrade included LibreOffice, too, so the OS was ready to go.

The best part was that the new kernel picked up certain functions that were not recognized by the previous release.  Kudos to the PCLOS developers!