There is no surprise that a Linux distribution under such poor management gets lots of forks. Mageia was a fork which I adore. Mageia 1 is a distribution which I have been running on my laptop from almost Day 1 of its release.
Mandriva 2011 Hydrogen was the latest release of the Mandriva team, and the world saw it in August 2011. This release was radically different from all previous versions of Mandriva Linux for a number of reasons. The biggest changes on the user interface side were brought by the team at ROSA Labs. ROSA Labs is actually a company closely related to Mandriva, they share the same management.
I decided to check for myself and downloaded the image. You can download it either from ROSA’s own server, or from Yandex mirror. We’ll see the Yandex name later in this review, but for now I’d like to mention that the downloading speed from Yandex was not bad at all. Other than direct downloading, there is a torrent option too.
The ISO image size of ROSA 2012 Marathon is 1.4 Gb. It is actually smaller than than size of Mandriva 2011 which was 1.6 Gb.
I used Unetbootin to “burn” the image onto my 8 Gb USB stick.official page
So, the preparations are over. USB stick is in the port of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let’s go!
Booting up and designIf you’ve ever seen the Mandriva or Mageia boot process, then you already know the boot sequence for the ROSA 2012 Marathon. Same questions, same terribly long waiting time, same desktop. The only difference from Mandriva 2011 was in the splash screen, which wore ROSA branding, of course. Otherwise, you won’t be able to see many differences in the interface, if any at all.
The freshly booted system took just below 400 Mb of memory, which was exactly the same result as for Mandriva 2011.
The menu in ROSA 2012 Marathon is the same as in Mandriva 2011. No wonder, because this is ROSA Labs’ own development. I saw no obvious changes in the menu since Mandriva 2011. Even the Timeline tab was still disabled in the Live run – it requires Nepomuk to run properly.
The bottom panel showed an item called ROSA Sync in the notification area. The icon suggests that this is a cloud storage provided by the company behind the distribution. I tried to create an account for ROSA Sync, and was redirected to the Mandrivasync.com site. Then, I was automatically taken to another site 2Safe.com, which in its turn bears ROSA branding. Quite complicated, isn’t it? This service is still in the testing phase, as declared on the start page. It gives you an ability to have 2Gb of storage, which looks funny in the age of Dropbox, Google Drive and Yandex Disk.
Since I have mentioned Yandex here again, I'll continue about this company. In case you are not aware of it, Yandex (YNDX) is a Russian competitor of Google. It is a rather successful competitor, because Yandex and Google have almost equal market share in Russia.
ROSA 2012 Marathon includes Yandex as the default and the only available search engine in the Firefox browser. It could be OK, if not for the fact that Yandex is not that good in international search.
Compare search result from different search engines for the same query and decide yourself:
In addition to that, a Yandex search in ROSA's Firefox takes you to the Russian search engine page with all the labels and descriptions in Russian. Not sure if this is good for international users.
NetworkingThe wireless card of my laptop, Intel 3945 ABG, was not configured by ROSA 2012. Again, this is exactly the same result as in Mandriva 2011. Command dmesg showed me that firmware files were missing. As a workaround, I decided to copy these files from my Mageia installation, but you would probably need to download them from the Internet if you face the same issue. After copying the files, ROSA Desktop Linux automatically configured my network card. My home wireless network was shown in the list. A few more keyboard taps and mouse clicks, and I was connected.
Slow, slow, slow… stop!The performance of ROSA 2012 Marathon system was very slow during my Live run. Even running from the USB stick, it took significant time to process mouse clicks. For example, the feedback for the right click on the image file placed on the desktop (desktop screenshot, which I took) came after about 40 seconds of waiting. That’s just for the context menu to appear!
By the way, the file appeared in the top-right corner of the Desktop when I saved it. Not in the usual top-left corner. Have Russians started to use Right-to-left writing? Funny enough.
I have tried to open several tabs in the Firefox browser in order to put the desktop screenshot into the Blogger post. This caused the system to hang. Only the power button helped here. As a result, you cannot see my own screenshot of the system. If you want to see some, then probably the official page is the best place to do this.
Let me return to the question I asked at the very beginning: Is ROSA 2012 Marathon fresh like dew or as tiring as a marathon? I would select the latter option. It is too slow to be refreshing.
In the meantime…The ROSA Labs team decided to give the LTS label to its first ever release of a new distribution. If you are not aware, LTS stands for Long-Term Support. This means 5 (five!) years of support for the distribution which came from nowhere. Nowhere, you may ask? Yes, if you think about ROSA. But no, if you think about all the Mandriva heritage (or legacy?).
Mandriva 2011 Hydrogen and ROSA 2012 Marathon are almost twins with indistinct differences.
Is ROSA a new name for Mandriva Linux? This well may be. As long as the Mandriva company has less and less chance to survive, then company management may make a decision to move the development wholly to new pastures. Why not?
In this case, I can only wish good luck to the team, which faces lots of new challenges in the conversion of Marathon into Dew.
Also to read: Review by Prashanth
My review of ROSA 2012 Marathon LXDE