Currently I am trying out Mandriva 2008.0, OpenSUSE 103 and Ubuntu Gutsy in the hope of writing a detailed comparative review soon. Don’t expect it soon, as I’m currently still collecting basic information, and I have not started writing yet. And from my experience I gathered with the “What’s new in Mandriva 2008.0” article, I know that the writing alone will take a long time…
Anyway, here already some early observations:
- The Mandriva installer is by far the best. OpenSUSE’s installer crashes in Virtualbox, and Ubuntu’s live installer requires a system with 320 MB of RAM and the alternative installer is text only.
- Mandriva has the best support for running as a Virtualbox guest: it will configure the Virtualbox X drivers by default. OpenSUSE is worst here, because it refuses to run at a 1024×768 resolution inside Virtualbox: it just says the VESA driver does not support this resolution…
- Performance wise Mandriva feels the fastsest, OpenSUSE the slowest. This is very preliminary though as I have not yet tested OpenSUSE and Ubuntu on real hardware yet, but only in Virtualbox.
- I had hoped Mandriva 2008.0 to be a nearly perfect release and that it would be very difficult to find any real bugs during normal use. Unfortunately, some rather visibile bugs are still present, while several of them were reported before final release.
- OpenSUSE’s GNOME application menu (originally called Slab) is terrible. Most applications are hidden in a seperate browser window, which actually contains a huge list of applications in a few main categories shown in the left. You can add a normal application menu, but its structure is very bad.
- At first sight, the graphical presentation in OpenSUSE is the most impressive, with Mandriva being a close second. Personally I don’t like at all Ubuntu’s brown look.
- Ubuntu seems to have a very limited GNOME installation, with a much more limited amount of applications installed by default, compared to Mandriva and OpenSUSE. All in all, probably a bit too limited.
As there are very early observations, some of them are maybe totally wrong, so take this all with a grain of salt for now.