A few months back I gave Kororaa Linux a shot because it installed XGL automatically on my system without me needing to do a thing. Heck, the 3D goodness that Kororaa brought even worked flawlessly on the Live CD that they offered. It didn’t take long for ATI and nVidia to go after them for distributing the drivers with the kernel which forced Kororaa to remove XGL from its CD.
It has been several weeks since Mandriva 2007 (formerly known as Mandrake) was released and it has received some pretty amazing reviews because of the built-in XGL/Compiz. I love trying new Linux distributions and this one seems to be very popular on the list at DistroWatch (located in their right sidebar).
The first thing that I did was download the free version of Mandriva and burned it to a CD. Before I installed it I decided to boot it up and see if I like it. Well, I didn’t have much of a choice because you have to boot it up in order to install it anyway (the installation shortcut is located on the desktop).
It didn’t look very promising because the first two computers (both have ATI graphics cards) that I tried it on couldn’t even get the CD to finish booting. It would get an error halfway through loading and then throw in the towel. The hours of troubleshooting didn’t help and I was beginning to believe that it was a bad download/burn. Then I popped the CD into my Dell laptop with the integrated Intel graphics card and it loaded up just fine.
With Intel graphics cards, however, Mandriva uses AIGLX instead of XGL for performance reasons I would imagine. At any rate it looked superb and ran smoother than my XGL installation under Ubuntu, which is on a laptop with an ATI graphics card. This is the closest thing to a Mac, based on graphics, that I have ever experienced! There is even an Exposé clone that is nothing short of remarkable.
I put together this quick video to show you Mandriva 2007 (free version) in action:
Sorry about the poor quality but I had to use a camera since I couldn’t find any good screencast software for Linux.
The Exposé is no doubt my favorite feature and is actually available for all Linux distributions. Its real name, which bears no resemblance to Exposé, is Komposé. Combining this feature with XGL/AIGLX makes it look and feel like a retail operating system that you would expect from
Microsoft or Apple.
I don’t think that I’ll be using this as my primary Linux installation because I am still a big openSUSE fan, but Mandriva definitely sets the bar very high when it comes to the expectations that other Linux distributions need to reach. The reason I chose this for the “Time Saving Tuesday” article is because there are many of you who are looking for a way to play with Linux and XGL…and this is by far the easiest/quickest!