But the thing is, even at that time where I used RedHat as my primary OS and those were the days where I was a bit new GNU/Linux (still learning) and I was pleased to find out that Mandriva actually came with all the proprietary codecs I ever think of! :D. So I'd just install the OS and all the audio/videos were playable as soon as I log-into the desktop!. Man, I can't describe the relief that I felt after all the frustrations that RedHat made me feel ;-).
This is actually something that you can see from the beginning with their operating system + KDE in general. Interestingly a lot of Europe based GNU/Linux distributions actually have this characteristics of being a bit light minded on "rules" or GNU philosophy. But this is certainly not to say that they don't have a philosophy or belief systems.
I guess what they believe is slightly different from the American or the others ... you know they suffered through a lot through wars and stuff :/, well we all have (trust me our county has seen more than enough) suffered but Europe in general was kind of an epicenter for all this in the past thus they have a tendency not to fall into a system that comes with a lot of rules, etc I guess.
Anyhow, as I was saying... Mandriva has evolved a lot now and they've always been known for being an GNU/Linux operating system that is very easy to set-up and use (comes with an excellent 'control-center' of their own, etc) and if you're just beginning to learn GNU/Linux then I highly suggest Mandriva. They have certain versions which falls mainly into few main categories.
The commercial version (which includes customer support, etc) and the free version that comes with both free and proprietary software and then the other version that only comes with the absolutely free software thus it is the true GNU version of their OS.
|The all new KDE desktop ... Pic via: Softpedia.|
Few hours ago they released the Mandriva 2011 RC1 (release candidate) which took them sometime to come up with and according to their post page this will be the last beta version before the official 2011 release thus it brings a lot of major changes (GUI, application, etc). It's available through their Mirrors if you're interested and brings the following updated packages such as...
*. A whole new Log-in manager, New themes! :D other totally new - Wallpapers, splash screens, icons, boot screens, etc.
*. Firefox 5 comes by default.
*. X.Org server version 1.10.2.
*. Pidgin 2.9.0
*. KDE pim 4.6.0.
*. iptables firewall version 18.104.22.168
*. The famous Mandriva Control center is refreshed (Qt written) and come with new features.
*. VLC 1.1.10 (oh ya... they have the most excellent multimedia support).
*. The latest version of the GRUB boot-loader.
*. Google Chrome version 12 and 13.
*. Opera browser 11.5.0
*. GCC 4.6.1
*. ffmpeg (one of the best multimedia handling libraries) 0.7.1
*. Wine 1.3.23 (a MS Windows OS emulator for GNU/Linux so you could make the poor Tux drunk and run those apps :P).
*. Linux kernel 22.214.171.124 and KDE SC 4.6.4.
*. Thunderbird 3.1.11 (makes sense since the version 5 is still at best stage).
These are just a very few of the all new features of Mandriva 2011 RC1. Remember, as said this OS is fast but when considering the latest versions applications and their needs, etc... you might need to have a PC/Laptop with 1GB of RAM or more to run it quite smoothly.