It's no secret; Mandriva S.A. faced difficult times and improving the company's poor interaction with the community is the latest goal they have established. In the meantime, developers, users, and forum admins have gone (Farewell, Germ, and thanks for all of your work!).
As a Mandriva user, I am concerned because I would not like this beautiful distro to disappear. However, I haven't heard of a new Mandriva release soon. Mageia and ROSA, the two divergent lines of the continuity of Mandriva Linux, are buzzing with activity. For the ones who are not informed, while Mageia 1 kept the line of Mandriva 2010.2, ROSA is intending to keep the line of Mandriva Desktop 2011.
When Mageia 2 Beta 3 made its appearance in the Linux landscape, I tested it and was satisfied by its new look and use of KDE. In addition, the Japanese IME was working flawlessly, so I was very pleased there even if multimedia needed some tweaking to run properly.
ROSA, on the other hand, has unveiled its new release candidate of Marathon EE (EE is the version including non-free stuff, like the extinct Mandriva ONE). I downloaded, gave it a run in Live mode, and this is what I found:
ROSA presents some animated bars as the Live environment is becoming ready to launch. After a while of waiting (the wait was shorter than with Mandriva Desktop 2011, I must say), you are greeted by this desktop:
It is very responsive for a Live CD and the Spanish localization is very good. The most obvious change is the indicator of the KDE desktop. When you clic on the ROSA button, you see the well-too familiar ROSA launcher and SIMPLE WELCOME found also in Mandriva 2011:
You have a ROSA sync icon, but I noticed the lack of software for a distro this size. I mean, you get a full LibreOffice suite, but in graphics or multimedia, the options are scarce. However, the ROSA player is promising:
The ROSA player works well with mpg and avi video but, when playing mp4's or flv's, there was no sound although it displayed the video. This was curious because YouTube worked fine out of the box.
ROSA Marathon EE also recognizes and mounts all the partitions on the hard drive in Live mode.
On a different note, the Mandriva influence is visible. For example, to configure the system, you type MCC (Mandriva Control Center), not RCC, and the ROSA control center opens:
You can also see the "M" in the icon ;-)
Overall, I think that this is a heavy system, but it is beautiful and usable for newbies. ROSa is beggining to capture some attention in the world of Linux, too, as seen by its quick moving up in the DistroWatch chart. I wonder if there is a ROSA community, though.
Now I will wait for the Mageia 2 RC to run a comparison.