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  • I'm very glad to see both Mandriva/Mandrake and Slackware recover from their lean times. I hope Mandriva's business model is still viable now that they aren't the only easy install graphical desktop distro. The Linux Distro Chooser (LDC) [] is a Beta tool, so it's not surprising it has some rough edges. It's a good idea though. So it's good to help make it better. My comments:

    • I could wish the Yes/No icons were active, instead of having to hit the smaller Yes/No words;
    • dragging the mouse from the last Question on a page to the [NEXT] button is annoying, but at least TAB works.)
    • Only Ix86 and Mac/PPC architectures are handled (which gets >80% of the market I suppose, but some of us have interesting older 64bit hardware to shop for distros on)
    • They also seem to have Lycoris Desktop/LX and Fedora coded for Macintosh-only??

    You ask rhetorically,

    they also claim that our distribution isn't free. So why can you download ISOs?

    This may be the inherent equivocation of English in action again. The question is about Freedom, not Free-as-in-beer. The LDC explanation is perfectly applicable to Mandrake/Mandiva --

    What's the advantage of paying?
    The commercial distributions very often come ready with commercial software, like Flash ™, Java ™, NVidia ™ display drivers, and so on. Free distributions require that you install these yourself.

    Mandriva is not pure Free OSS software like Debian, it includes non-free bundles in the main distro, very convenient if this is acceptable to you.

    Mandriva also doesn't rate as high on Free-as-in-beer (or even Freedom) [] as almost of the other Linuxes because of the pay-for-better-support model chosen. How is it less Free? As I understand it from reading DistroWatch and elsewhere, the ISO's are free, but the Membership Club is required for the automagic patching / package mgt to just work out of the box. (The experienced Uber Geek can of course get free patches by taping the source tree or ?) The latest code is embargoed from the free zone, much as RH does, but not for nearly as long. See DistroWatch Freedom stats [] and the Pros/Cons on the Top 10 Distros []. Anyone not in "Free" but in "Free with some restrictions" category will take a down-check. LDC's comment Only a demo version is free may not be precisely accurate, but without paying, you get no Membership Support, so in a sense, yes, you don't get the full benefit of Mandrake without paying. But the question on LDC is about Freedom.

    Personally, I think the model of charging the paid-support customers ("club members") smoke test the new releaseses before the free-loaders download it is quite amusing. More power to 'em all if this works for them.

    asserts that Mandriva Linux doesn't support "one-click software installation". I wonder what they mean by that.

    re Install, I'm not sure why they LDC didn't consider Mandriva's easy-install to be one-click. Maybe they really are counting clicks, and it's two? If you think Mandriva's install is better than they give it credit for, drop 'em a note -- it says BETA, so they're looking for feedback.

    - Bill

    # I had a sig when sigs were cool
    use Sig;
    • The free-as-in-beer Mandriva distribution you can download contains only OSS. Things like Acrobat Reader, Flash et alii must be bought. So, yes, to packs are not OSS-only. But software updates for OSS are (like all OSS packaged for Mandriva) also available free of charge. They're mostly security updates and bug fixes.
      • Ahh. LDC [] is describing the main or commercial version of Mandriva/Mandrake, full "Membership" version, since it lists the commercially licensed extras installed automagically as an advantage (Why would you want non-free? to get these goodies easily, it basically says.)

        So the downloadable ISO edition (called the free Demo in LDC or DistroWatch []) is free in both senses, but also free (3rd sense) of the ease of use of the thou-shalt-no-redistribute items.

        Perhaps their rules-base needs two entries, one for

        # I had a sig when sigs were cool
        use Sig;