Mandriva 2011 Beta 2 - The Return of XKill

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 19, 2011

Mandriva 2011 Beta 2 was made available earlier today and my interest has been piqued since I saw Eugeni Dodonov's screenshot a couple of days ago. It's gone now, but the whole desktop appeared to be this launcher with a gray background. I was almost panicked. Visions of GNOME 3 and Unity danced through my head. So it's been an excruciating three-day wait for the beta to finally hit mirrors.

Mandriva 2011 Beta 2 ships with Linux 2.6.38, Xorg X Server 1.9.4, GCC 4.6.0, and KDE 4.6.2. That launcher dominating Eugeni's screenshot turned out to be a ROSA menu and it is just that - a great big ole launcher. It lists all the applications and tools available just like a menu, but it's a bit inconvenient in my opinion. Although I have no doubt that some, or perhaps many, will like it. It reminds me of "More applications" from a GNOME 2 Kick-off menu. The good news is that a regular menu is available in the "Add Widgets" chooser, so the user still has a choice. Also, it's a long time before final (in distro time) and this may or may not be their ultimate choice for Mandriva 2011. Perhaps they're just trying it out to see if folks like it. If so, count me as "no."

It was in this ROSA launcher that I saw something that was a true blast from the past. Back in the olden days of Linux, most desktops had this XKill bullseye icon that did just that - killed X. I never really understood its true value even back then. I mean, the only reason one might need to "kill" X would be if the GUI locked up. And if the GUI locked up, then you wouldn't be able to click on the XKill icon to kill X. I assume that's why it disappeared from use years ago. Ah, but it has risen from the ashes and found a home right there in the ROSA menu/launcher thing. I hope that stays just for the nostalgia.

The live installer seems broken. Its icon was conspicuously missing from the desktop in Beta 1 and it was even missing from the menu (thingy) as well this time. It was still hiding there in /usr/sbin/ though. However, it appears that it's being obscured because it's broken. It just hangs after selecting the partition while computing install size. This also might explain why the two boot options are 'start the live system' or 'launch installer'.

A stack folder, that I apparently messed up last time, was already present in the panel this time. I described it as a launcher last time and that what it did. It opened the Dolphin file manager in the directory I dragged to the panel. This time it opens a little "mini-rosa." It's actually a menu containing the folders and, I presume, files in the stack folder directory. So, okay, it might be a little fun.

This beta does have a new desktop background as well. It's a simple aqua background with white puffs. I doubt this will be their final choice.

But that's all that jumps out at me this time. Tune in next time for As the Penguin Turns.