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There are many Linux distributions that can be found in the internet for free. I have installed a few like Fedora, openSuse, Mandriva, Ubuntu, Sabayon, Linux Mint, CentOS and Slackware.
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I have given a brief introduction for some of these distributions in my webpage titled 'Linux Distributions'. Here, I would like to give you a little of my opinion of Mandriva.
Gnome 2.30 on Mandriva 2010S   

I use Mandriva because it is to me the most home-user friendly linux distributions. Why? Because it has almost everything a home-user needs, movie player, many kinds of sound player, many kinds of graphics manipulator, good internet software packages, office packages and many more.

The version I like most is Mandriva 2009 Spring. One main reason is the capability of its file browser to remember its location on the desktop. Ok, this applies only to the last file browser that you close. Due to the wide screen monitor, which I dislike, many users would like to have their windows at a certain size and certain locations on their desktop. So, this comes handy.

Mandriva has a ftp package called FileZilla. It has gnumeric for those who prefer a 'lighter' spreadsheet. One of the package I like most in Mandriva is Audacious, its mp3 file player.

As for the later versions of Mandriva such as 2010 and 2010 Spring, the software developers have removed the the file browser memory function. :-( They might have improved on other features that cannot be seen but I feel that they had removed a good feature. Oh, yes, I am a Gnome user and most of the things mentioned above apply mainly to Gnome desktop environment.

Another important feature about Mandriva is many hardwares can be connected to it without problems. Application softwares are also available for those hardware without needing to look for additional software packages.

KDE users would like this linux distribution because KDE is the main window desktop.

Gnome users that do not play games, may not like Mandriva because one important part of the desktop would be missing and the desktop will become useless.
Gnome 2.30 with 3 softwares opened on Mandriva 2010S   
Mandriva has some monetary problems in early 2010 but now it has support from some companies. Though it is not a well known linux software for companies, I think it is heading towards having enterprise version for companies to use.
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The advantages and disadvntages of Mandriva Linux distribution.

One advantage is that like other free and open source software, it is available for free, downloadable from the internet.

Secondly, the users have free support everyday from the internet and not from a particular company which may close on certain days. People from all over the world can help the users anytime, anywhere.
Gnome 2.30 upon login into Mandriva 2010S   

Thirdly, it is a good home-user software as well as office use software. Small companies can use it and do not need to pay for standby nor maintenance fee. Just have to make sure that your system is properly created, the hardware is good and your work is properly backed-up everyday.

As for the disadvantage, I would say that there are very few companies doing free and open source software especially in Malaysia. It is very difficult to find companies selling and supporting better known linux distribution like Redhat and openSuse. So, I do not need to say about Mandriva. Linux is more of a DIY kind of software.

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