In this post, I talked about my experience with a new HP laptop computer that I bought. I also tried the latest releases of some other Linux distros, such as Pinguy (did not enable Wi-fi), Ubuntu (crashed at logout), and Chakra (also failed at enabling Wi-fi), I finally decided to keep these three:
It is my main OS, so I will use it to work quickly and efficiently. I configured an additional panel that auto-hides to fire up the applications that I use the most.
Interestingly, PCLOS does in this laptop something that Mandriva 2010.2 could not do very well in my desktop: run the Humble Bundle games! I can play Cogs, Crayon Physics, and Machinarium.
Desktop effects are running perfectly. Here are the KWin cube and the desktop grid.
PCLOS came with Pidgin as the IM client. I downloaded Kopete, but it refused to connect to MSN because it lacked a protocol. Pidgin connects without any problem.
The desktop theme is called "Ghost". I like the glow it adds to the dialog boxes and the semi-faded look it gives to the bottom panel.
One very good thing about PCLOS is that I did not have to break my head to get VLC to run. I just downloaded it from the repositories and it played all sorts of videos.
It will be my production distro. Since Mageia works exactly as Mandriva 2010.2 PowerPack does, it is convenient to have it in case I stumble upon a problem that I cannot solve. I spent more time configuring desktop icons here. I also added a top auto-hiding panel. Kopete was running but something happened and it now simply refuses to connect to MSN. Consequently, I downloaded Pidgin.
Again, the desktop effects are running perfectly. One challenge was to get VLC with the codecs, but I found a thread in the Mageia forums where someone suggests to activate the "tainted" repositories to get VLC to play more video formats. That took care of the problem.
One funny thing that happened is that Mageia 1 Live CD did not let me work with the Japanese IME iBus(it works flawlessly in Mageia 1 DVD, but that release did not activate the Wi-fi of this computer). Hence, I compromised and now I use SCIM, just like in Mandriva 2010.2.
Mandriva Desktop 2011
I did customize a lot more here. I moved the ROSA panel to the top and selected the auto-hide property. Then I added the Cairo Dock at the bottom.
I was not planning to install this distribution because I was not very happy with the ROSA SimpleWelcome and Launcher. I know that I can change it to a default panel, but still... However, after running the Mandriva Desktop 2011 Live DVD and seeing that it enabled the Wi-fi and the sound (which Mandriva 2010.2 had failed to do), I installed it.
Maybe the feature that made me reconsider my position about the ROSA SimpleWelcome is the time line. I find it rather interesting and convenient. Nepomuk must be enabled for it to work and that implies an additional wait of 15 seconds at boot, but I can live with it.
The Kwin effects are running without any problem.
I know that this customization is way too flashy because of its overdose of eye-candy, but it is good to show people what you can do with Linux without a lot of technical training.
More importantly for me, Mandriva Desktop 2011 also lets me type in Japanese (via iBus).
The last thing I did was to synchronize Firefox, so that all the OS's in the laptop share the configuration of the browser in my desktop.
By the way, I have displayed all the OS's in public already. None of them has let me down :-)