For the last few days I’ve been puzzled by a press release announcing that Mandriva had launched a new version of its Linux distribution specifically tailored for netbooks. Puzzled because for the life of me, I couldn’t find a download link. But after doing a little more digging (and waiting for Mandriva to post a more thorough release on its own site), I think I’ve figured out why I can’t download Mandriva Mini and slap it on my Eee PC 1000H. I’m not supposed to.

Mandriva Mini is a customized version of Mandriva Linux that the company is targeting at computer makers looking for an operating system to install on netbooks. It’s not really geared at end users (unless you count the fact that end users will ultimately the folks who umm… use the software in the end). Thus, no download link. But you will soon be able to pick up a netbook with Mandriva Mini pre-installed. The first netbook expected to run the operating system is the Emtec Gdium.

So what sets Mandriva Mini apart from other versions of Mandriva? First, it’s designed to provide fast boot times on supported hardware. Like 10 to 40 second boot times. It also offers power management features to prolong batteyr life, ships with major mulltimedia codecs, and supports various forms of internet connectivity including WiFi and 3G connections.

Like Linpus Linux Lite, Asus’s custom version of Xandros, and Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Mandriva Mini also has a custom interface designed to make it easier to launch programs and perform other tasks on a computer with a small screen. I found the picture of Mandriva Mini posted above at French site Clubic.

I have to say, I’m not really that impressed with the way applications are grouped together. But I’m also not a huge fan of the Xandros easy mode. I prefer an old fashioned start menu, or better yet a keyboard program launcher like Launchy for Windows or Gnome-Do for Linux. But blogger Sascha Pallenberg, who got a chance to play with a pre-production Emtec Gdium netbook running what I can now say appears to be Mandriva Mini, says it was one of the best Linux distrubitons he’s tried on a netbook so far.

I’d like to see Mandriva release Mandriva Mini to end users looking for an alternate OS to load on their netbooks. But the advantage of working with OEMs is that you can ensure the operating system works properly on the hardware before it ships rather than troubleshooting after it’s already been installed on unsupported hardware.

In the meantime, you can always install the full version of Mandriva on your netbook. The latest version of the operating system supports the Eee PC 701 out of the box. And with a little tweaking, you can get it to run on newer hardware like the Eee PC 901 or 1000.

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10 replies on “Mandriva Mini: Another custom Linux distro for netbooks”

  1. The latest version of the operating system supports the Eee PC 701 out of the box. And with a little tweaking, you can get it to run on newer hardware like the Eee PC 901 or 1000.

  2. Are they intentionally saving memory with their spelling economies (i.e. “Conectivity” and perhaps others?)

    1. ha ha… I was going to suggest that they’re so polylingual that they overlooked a cognate from another language, but I noticed their web page is available in French and English, both of which use 2 n’s in “connectivity.”

  3. Does anyone know if the latest version of Ubuntu runs on the Acer ASpire One units? TIA HB

  4. I am really a fan of the Acer One’s Linux flavour called Linpus Lite. I wonder what the regular Linpus is lik thought?
    From all the people I have seen using it (I hand out a friends computer store helping in repairs/shooting the shit), it seems its simplicity and big interface are a hit with non-technical people.
    For advanced users, the underlying XCFE based desktop offers you a good Linux experience allowing you to import software like GIMP and Inkscape.
    The Dell-Ubuntu Linux release is still a mystery since it is offered nowhere in the world but the US where it is on “pre-Order” stage. But anyone who frequents these pages has seen the video of its Ubuntu Remix like the simple look and easily accessible standard mode. Nice.
    Funny that you can order an Dell XPS laptop with Ubuntu Heroine 8.04 and get it within three days. No prob. But the netbook version is missing.
    Anyways, that’s two I recommend.
    And now the Mandriva comes along.
    I installed it already on a friends 901 and like it.
    But I use a mandriva based derivative called PCLinuxOS when friends ask me for a ‘Leenix’ so I know the underlying Drak configuration tools They both understand user friendly and are a true international distro and have always worked well out of the box as wth their distro on a USB concept which they have extended.
    I see good things coming out and make it three different netbook distros that I can recommend to family and friends.
    I bought a 16G USB key for 29$ this week. How much info do I really need to carry with me considering onlne services? can you condense your whole life, pictures, email, bills, work and store it online and a few USB keys?

    I think the gdium dumb terminal is very good. Keep the OS and data on key and plug into different really cheap dumb terminals everywhere.

    Stiil, Acer One is 329$. Worth every penny.

    What are you waiting for Dell?

    Let my Dell 9 Linux go!!

    a Linux outlaw

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