Linux,  Mandriva

Mandriva 2007 Spring released, looking forward to 2008

Now that Mandriva 2007 Spring has been released and the corrupted Mandriva Cooker subversion repository has been fixed, development for Mandriva 2008 has started now.

Some things which I have on my wishlist for Mandriva 2008:

  • New kernel, Linux 2.6.22 or later which I hope will give us these things: CFQ IO scheduler as default (since Linux 2.6.18), better task scheduler, probably CFS, better wireless drivers (bcm43xx is stable in 2.6.20, but it’s not in Mandriva’s 2.6.17, finally good Ralink drivers: complete documentation exists, but drivers are still not production quality)
  • Mandriva still uses OSS drivers for some sound cards which are perfectly supported with Alsa (for example for some Intel ICH2 810 AC97 cards, which was not fixed in 2007.1 as far as I know). This is annoying as OSS does not have sound mixing, and can cause applications complain about occupied /dev/dsp and it also causes missing sound in Flash. Fedora even does not ship OSS anymore for some time already. A maximum of cards should be switched to Alsa now early in Cooker development , so that things get tested.
  • slocate is still being installed by default by rpmsrate instead of the much performance friendlier mlocate (already in 2007.1 Main). We should make the switch now in rpmsrate so it’s the default in 2008.
  • Almost a year ago, I proposed a new program menu structure for Mandriva. According to Gnome and menu maintainer Frédéric Crozat, it would be implemented for 2008. Let’s hope this becomes true, as it will make the menu at the same time friendly for new users, and more practical for power users. Unfortunately, I lost the complete original document (what a shame!). If somebody still has it somewhere, I would be grateful if you could send it to me!
  • Drop esound, and use Pulseaudio instead. Pulseaudio is a more modern and actively maintained sound server. There was some discussion about it some time ago, and I still hope Pulseaudio will not be forced on all users (personally I prefer not to use a sound server, and let all the mixing be done by Alsa. For this reason, I still hope more and more applications will use GStreamer, as GStreamer makes it easy to choose your preferred output method, such as Alsa or Pulseaudio for all applications. But Pulseaudio should certainly replace esound in main.
  • Test new Kaffeine: In Mandriva 2007.0, Kaffeine was replaced by kmplayer as the default video player in KDE, because Kaffeine was unstable paying embedded videos in Konqueror. Now that both Xine and Kaffeine support XCB, this problem should be fixed. We should test if it is indeed stable now, and if Kaffeine plays supports all kinds of embedded videos in web pages like kmplayer. If this is the case, we should consider moving back to Kaffeine, as its interface is a bit better than KMplayer’s.
  • Mandriva’s net_applet and mdkonline system tray utilities still poll too much, which causes unnecessary CPU usage, and which also eats battery life on laptops. These applications should be scrutinized a bit more, so they are completely idle most of the time.
  • Up to date printing support: Unfortunately printing support did not really advance in Mandriva 2007 Spring. The drivers are mostly still the same as in 2007.0, and some newer printer models supported by newer versions of hpijs and other models which appeared on, are not support in 2007 Spring. Mandriva 2008 should really have up to date printing support, like was always the case in previous versions.
  • Cleaning up the repositories: the Main repository now contains a lot of programs which are not used by a lot of people (things like flphoto, uucp, uw-imapd, xpdf,…). On the other hand, some very interesting packages are in Contribs (Transmission, dovecot,…). The contents of both repositories should be looked at, in order to clean up, and put packages in the appropriate repository.
  • We need a simple application installation program: rpmdrake has improved a lot in 2007.0 and now in 2007.1 Spring. Still it is too complex for new users. Suppose a user wanting to search a DTP application. He should easily find Scribus. Well, Scribus does not even appear in the Publishing category in rpmdrake. Instead, these category contains mostly technnical console programs not suitable for beginners. We should have something like Ubuntu’s gnome-app-install which only shows userfriendly graphical applications.
  • More and easier to find documentation: Mandriva already comes with a lot of documentation, but the included handbooks are difficult to find (being hidden in More Applications). They should be in a more obvious place. On the other hand, we should make sure more documentation becomes available in different languages on the wiki, and the wiki should be easy to find (include a link on the desktop?). This way, users will know where to look for help.
  • Related to the menu structure and the reorganization of the repositories, we should constantly be evaluating which applications should be in the default installation and which not. We had such discussion shortly before 2007.1 Spring went out, but this was a bit too little too late. We should make sure we start with this process before the first beta is released, so we have more time to evaluate and stress test programs.

Currently I already started by taking a quick look at the contents of the main repository. Maybe other people are interested in participating in this effort, so that it can happen a bit more organized?


  • Pascal Terjan

    For slocate, I don’t see how it can get installed as it is no in the reporsitory, obsoleted by mlocate.

  • Karl Ove Hufthammer

    As regards to which programs should be in the default install, why not use something similar to Debian’s Popularity Contest to see what non-default applications most people install (and actually use), and what default applications they uninstall.

    With enough publicity (in the Mandriva Newsletter, on Mandriva Club and on various blogs), I’m sure you will get many people to run the script.

  • Pascal Terjan

    There have been drakstat for a few years, the issue is that we don’t know how people installed (so the defaults apps are different), if they selected “KDE” or “GNOME” during the installation they will get some sets of packages and we don’t know if they have the package because of that or because they asked explicitely for this one.
    The usage information is easier to use but it is not available on laptops where the partitions are mounted with noatime.

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