At the end of 90`s Mandrake Linux was the most popular distribution out there. Most thing that are today said about Ubuntu where first said about Mandrake. It was the number one distro from 1998 util 2004. User friendly, easy to use, easy to install, lot of preinstalled software, most popular by new users and Mandrake made at that point most users to change on Linux. All that is today said about Ubuntu. Yeah, Mandrake had also free shipping for DVDs back then. But soon the empire started to fall apart. In 2004 Mandrake had died. In 2005 Conectiva, the company who bought Mandrakesoft announced and released Mandriva and in 2006 they fired Gael Duval. Duval was the author of Mandrake. The new distribution, Mandriva, was nothing like good old Mandrake and it made lot of users to change their system. Fast forward to 2014 and let us have a look on the legacy of Mandrake Linux. Last stable release of Mandriva was in 2011 and it was not really stable. But in last 10 years Mandriva inspired many users and developers and new distributions popped out. One of them is Rosa Linux. Rosa Linux is a Russian Linux distribution.
Rosa comes with KDE desktop, GNOME, LXDE and an custom app luncher. This luncher is borrowed from 2011 edition of Mandriva. Before downloading we can choose between LTS and the newest versions (called fresh). I downloaded the latest Rosa.
Live CD and installation
When first booting in the Rosa live environment, the system will ask it’s potential user to choose his language and keyboard settings and the next step is to accept the license.
After accepting the license we can use Rosa`s KDE, or should I say Mandrivas KDE taste. As Mandriva derivate distribution, Rosa feel and looks much like Mandriva. The live system is fast and it comes with a lot of proprietary drivers ( such as Broadcom wireless drivers ). As default desktop Rosa uses KDE 4.10 with Mandrivas application luncher.
The installer utility is the same utility used by Mandriva. Light, fast and easy to use.
It doesn’t offer any advanced options, it rather puts them for post install configuration, just like user creation.
Installation was finished in less then 10 minutes. With finished installation we can stay and play with the live system or we can reboot and start playing with Rosa.
Grub2 screen from Rosa Linux is nice and stylized.
With first boot, Rosa ask us to set a root password, create an user and it gives us the opportunity to install and configure additional services like CUPS, sshd or VPN. With that done we can finally arrive to the desktop.
Desktop and usage
As said earlier, Rosa uses KDE 4.10 with Mandriva modifications. It is fast, has good hardware compatibility, it is stable but it feels just like Mandriva with different icons.
The app luncher has by default icons of all installed applications that have GUI and their icons are not added into any groups. Let us put that aside. How is Rosa in everyday tasks? Rosa is great for everyday usage. It comes with all tools that home users need. Libre Office, Amarok, VLC, Firefox, Adobe Flash support. And if there is something you need and Rosa hasn’t, there is an simple and easy to use software manager.
Rosa Linux is a young distribution but it made it`s way and moved far from Mandriva, its parent distribution. Stable, user friendly, easy to install, easy to maintain and with good hardware support. Yes, Rosa has still much to learn and to overcome, but Rosa is a great distribution.
I have no doubt that Rosa will find its user base in new users.