Day 1: Well, continuing my search for fulltime Root User Distros has led humble me to – OpenMandriva Lx 4.1; however, I was late finding it today (10/26) so am prepping the post for tomorrow after downloading ‘n testing starting early tomorrow morning (10/27). I get 50GB’s of Bonus Data each month that starts each day from 2:00 AM EST until 8:00 AM EST, so I try to do most of my Linux Distro downloading during those times…plus the updating of the Distro if it has potential. Codename is “Mercury” ‘n I’m guessing that someone named “jimmyc” won the pic competition with this 1939 Mercury Coupe rendition:

Another reason for changing how I normally write up my posts is the interesting history (tho confusing at times) of OpenMandriva Lx, thru Mandriva Linux which was originally called “Linux-Mandrake,” I think. Here’s how the name change goes according to Wikipedia – Name changes:

From its inception until the release of version 8.0, Mandrake named its flagship distribution Linux-Mandrake. From version 8.1 to 9.2 the distribution name was reversed and called Mandrake Linux.

In February 2004, MandrakeSoft lost a court case against Hearst Corporation, owners of King Features Syndicate. Hearst contended that MandrakeSoft infringed upon King Features’ trademarked character Mandrake the Magician. As a precaution, MandrakeSoft renamed its products by removing the space between the brand name and the product name and changing the first letter of the product name to lower case, thus creating one word. Starting from version 10.0, Mandrake Linux became known as mandrakelinux, and its logo changed accordingly. Similarly, MandrakeMove (a Live CD version) became Mandrakemove.

In April 2005, Mandrakesoft announced the corporate acquisition of Conectiva, a Brazilian-based company that produced a Linux distribution for Portuguese-speaking (Brazil) and Spanish-speaking Latin America. As a result of this acquisition and the legal dispute with Hearst Corporation, Mandrakesoft announced that the company was changing its name to Mandriva, and that their Linux distribution Mandrake Linux would henceforward be known as Mandriva Linux.

Here’s a really old article: Linux-Mandrake: why and how? No date or author, but it’s old, for sure.

Let’s come back to the beginning of the adventure and remember the good old days… In 1997 I had been playing with Linux for several years ago and absolutely enjoyed it. What was better than Linux for learning both Unix and the Internet? Nothing of course. I played with Slackware for 2 years and then discovered Red Hat 4.1. I was absolutely impressed by its semi-graphical installation procedure and also by the RPM package format: it was a major step in keeping a GNU/Linux operating system clean. However I was really annoyed with the default graphical interface which was fvwm95 if I remember well. As a big NextStep fan I used to install AfterStep in place of it. At this time I also discovered a new graphical interface called KDE in it’s alpha stage of development. I kept on playing with Red Hat and KDE and in the same time I became more and more interested in learning how to rebuild a customized Linux distribution, with new packages and improvements. After a year of learning, and seeing that Red Hat definitely wouldn’t want to put KDE in their distribution I decided to release a new Linux distribution on the top of Red Hat Linux with KDE as default and several improvements that would make it easier to use. After all, it was GPLed so everyone could improve it and redistribute it!

OK…Red Hat has strong links to two of my Top 3 fulltime Root User Linux Distros – Fedora Cinnamon Spin ‘n CentOS Stream, so maybe OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury” offers an opt out from the annoying Linux “Authenticate” popups and Pesky Passwords. Also of interest, the above article mentions the year 1997, Red Hat *AND*a new graphical interface called KDE” – I never realized KDE had been around that long. If I checked any of that stuff out back then, then it was absolutely terrible, but I don’t really recall any names before Puppy ‘n Ubuntu, tho Linux-Mandrake logo sure looks familiar. I don’t recall ever trying Red Hat back then, but did try 2-3 others around 1996.

Looks like it offers KDE Plasma only, which I don’t like (too busy for me) but the Distro sounds interesting enough to at least download ‘n test. Enough prep work for Day 1…


Day 2: Up at 3:00 AM ‘n downloaded the 2.55GB OpenMandrivaLx.4.1-2020.05-plasma.x86_64 iso. The Rufus created ‘Live’ USB media didn’t work, so figured it needed the dd formatting used by balenaEtcher ‘n that worked. The OpenMandriva wiki suggested using the ROSA Image Writer, but warned against the same time, but it did mention dd format.

Before going into a brief installation process, let me mention that I almost gave up on the OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury” tests after finding KDE Plasma DE just too ‘busy’ for me, as usual. Trying to install the Cinnamon DE w/ dnfdragora didn’t work…dnfdragora is a GUI software manager (supposedly!?) that suks, IMHO. They do have the Discover software app, but it to seemed limited. However, just before shutting down the tests I came across this article – OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury” Released, This Is What’s New:

Probably the coolest thing about OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is the fact that it ships pre-loaded with a new, in-house built utility called Desktop Presets (om-feeling-like), which lets users customize the appearance of the KDE Plasma desktop environment to look and feel similar to other popular operating systems.

Well, that quickly offered the solution to KDE being too busy, and I switched to the Windows 10 preset:

It also changes lots of Linux names to Windows names, e.g. “panel” becomes “taskbar.” The start menu also becomes like a WIN 10 Start Menu:

Using more pics than usual in a post, but this OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury” is a ‘Top of the Line’ Linux Distro…with some problems ‘n fixes. Like it doesn’t seem to list my GeForce GTX 1660 GPU anywhere:

The Graphic driver doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere…seems I may have read where OpenMandriva may be adverse to 3rd party software, but am not sure, so will leave it as is. Free and open-source software advocates can be a hateful lot…one of the biggest problems in the Linux community.

It did offer a root login option at the Welcome Screen, but speaker problems ‘n such in the root section. Most Distros that offer the root login seem to limit that root section, especially since most offer no sound. I’ll add this post to the “minor issues” section on the Distros w/ *NO* ‘Pesky Passwords’ page. Nice Distro, but I’m wary of Distros that may be run by closed-minded individuals, e.g. free and open-source software advocates who insist on no 3rd party software ‘n such. OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury” may not be such…I dunno, but the difficulty with finding info on Nvidia drivers immediately makes me wonder.

Still, a very interesting Distro, and very fast Install. Whatever Graphics driver it is using works fine for ‘Desktop Duty‘ but gaming wouldn’t be much fun if it didn’t make it easier to add Nvidia drivers. Some of the distros I’ve tested recently would install the Nvidia drivers during the installation process…other right after. I’m a Desktop user ‘n don’t want free and open-source software political issues interfering with me.

Love the Desktop Presets idea!!! Windows 7 users looking to try Linux may like this Distro, so will also add this post to my WIN 7 series: For Windows 7 users page.