I don’t think anyone needs an introduction to Mandriva, it is an awesome GNU/Linux distribution just like Debian, Fedora or Ubuntu. Although unlike with Fedora or Debian, Mandriva was founded and maintained as a commercial project.
It’s extremely user friendly, loves Qt and has a “thing” for KDE desktop (comes pre-optimized for it) more than anything :P. It also has few versions and comes with proprietary codecs etc installed unlike in many other GNU/Linux distributions.
But if you prefer a “clean” GNU/Linux distribution, well they have separate version as well.
But the thing is that, Mandriva has had a bit of a struggle for fundraising in the recent past (it goes well into the past according to the experts actually). Things have gotten really bad and some even say that Mandriva developers might even announce its official abandonment somewhere around January (2012) :/.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that, for those who contribute and love Mandriva have decided to create a Mandriva fork. It’s completely community maintained and comes completely free (since Mandriva has few commercial versions) and it’s called “Mageia”.
They first announced it in 2010, September and in their own words …
“100+ contributors in 10+ teams. 180+ generous donors of 11.700+ EUR with only 4.700 spent …”
But those stats seems to be outdated and I’m pretty sure they’re doing extremely well these days. These days they’re quite busy developing the next version of Mageia (“Mageia 2”) which has already passed the “Alpha 2” according to their Blog.
The current version “Mgeia 1” has a bit outdated packages such as Gnome Classic (oh good!, right? :D) for example but the upcoming version 2 will include the latest Gnome Shell (errrr), Kernel 3 +, KDE 4.8 (although they might stuck with the 4.7+ but they’re targeting the latest version of Qt/KDE) and few other up-to-date software versions.
Anyway if you love Mandriva and has been using it for years then you must be exhausted by all these troubles it’s been going through lately (which might even mark its inevitable end :/). But if you’re tough geek who doesn’t wanna give up on Mandriva, well then you might wanna move over to Mageia.
For more information please visit this official Mageia home page. Good luck.