Location: GUIs >
Linux / Unix >
Instead of placing drives on the desktop, Mandriva uses a "Device Notifier"
to manage external media and adds them to the Places panel.
Oddly, I could not get Mandriva to recognize any regular CD-ROMs, but
it did eventually recognize a Windows 7 DVD. Is it trying to tell me something?
That doodad always present in the upper right controls the addition
of "widgets" to the desktop. Widgets act as part of the desktop and do
not cover other windows.
Widgets and icons can also be placed in toolbar like "Panels". The
taskbar at the bottom of the screen is actually a "Panel".
Getting these to the desired size and position is more than a bit troublesome,
however. They tend to cover things you don't want them to cover and by
default they reduce the amount of icon space available. The sliders it
uses for length are a little confusing, and to resize the width of a panel
you must grab and drag the resize BUTTON on the panel settings.
There is a lovely variety of open/save dialog boxes. Firefox and OpenOffice
both use their own dialogs, and each works significantly different. This
is a bad thing.
Mandriva can graphically browse SMB file servers and shares.
A really good thing is that from the desktop and standard KDE applications,
it is possible to address Windows file shares using path names such as
"smb://server/share/file". This is similar to Windows NT 3.1 UNC naming,
which would look like "\\server\share\file", and was intended to replace
the messy process of mapping or mounting drives.
It was quite nice being able to take a screen shot, and save the file
directly to the shared folder just by typing in the name.
Except this dosn't work in OpenOffice or Firefox because they don't
use the standard KDE mechanisms!
A screen shot can't quite show it, but Mandriva has a number of sounds
for various system events.
Although it seems some pieces like this login box (when I hit the backspace
key with no text present) insist on beeping the PC speaker instead outputting
through the standard sound device.
Mandriva has a built in help system, but it has a number of problems:
Apparently only one help file can be open at a time.
Most help topics seem to be missing.
Trying to use the search forces you manually create some kind of index
Creating an index displays a message with "details" that are mumbo jumbo
presumably useful only to the system developers.
After creating a search index the "search" button is still grayed out.
And I now need a new keyboard because I just angrily smashed mine to bits.
Mandriva has two control panels. One for options that have more to
do with user oriented features or the desktop, and one for more advanced
system level things.
The desktop control panel looks much like the MacOS X control panel.
The other one looks more like a web page.