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The Perfect Desktop – Mandriva One 2008 Spring (Gnome)

This document describes step by step how to set up a Mandriva One 2008 Spring (Mandriva 2008.1) desktop (GNOME). The result is a fast, secure and extendable system that provides all you need for daily work and entertainment.

This howto is a practical guide without any warranty – it doesn’t cover the theoretical backgrounds. There are many ways to set up such a system – this is the way I chose.

1 Install Media

The install media is available at I used the GNOME version (mandriva-linux-one-2008-spring-GNOME-int-cdrom-i586.iso) for this howto.


2 Installation

2.1 Live

Hit “Enter” to start the live CD.


The live CD is being booted.


Choose your language and proceed.


Choose your country and proceed.


Read the license agreement and click on “Accept” if you agree with it – proceed afterwards.


Choose your keyboard layout and proceed.


Choose your preferred time – keep in mind that you should not choose UTC if there are other operating systems installed, that expect the clock to be set to local time – e.g. Windows. Next click on “Advanced” and mark the checkbox to enable automatic time synchronization via NTP. Additionally you have to choose your country.


The live desktop:


2.2 Install Wizard

Click on “Live Install” to start the install wizard which will guide you through the installation process. Click on “Next” to proceed.


Choose “Use free space” to automatically create a default partition layout on the free space of your disk(s). If you’re familar with custom partition layouts you should choose the second option. Click on “Next” to proceed.


You’ll see the following two windows if you decided to create a custom partition layout. The first window warns you that you should make a backup of your data on the disk(s) before you proceed – so if there are important things on your disk(s) you should exit the install wizard, backup the data and start the install wizard again. Otherwise choose “Continue” and proceed.


Here you can adjust the partition layout to your needs – click on “Done” when you’re ready with the layout.


The partitions are being formatted …


… before the basic system is being installed.


In this window you can adjust the bootloader settings and some options related to the system startup. If there are no special reasons you should leave the settings as they are and proceed.


You have the option to edit the entries of the boot menu – if there are no special reasons you should leave the settings as they are and proceed.


The installation is finished – remove the install media and restart the system.


2.3 First Start

Hit enter to boot into your fresh system for the first time.


The system is being booted.


You’ll see this window during the first startup. Enter a password for the root account and insert the data of the first user account. Click on “Next” to proceed.


If you want you can register yourself to become a member of the Mandriva community.


Welcome on your desktop.


3 Basic Configuration

3.1 Nautilus

Nautilus opens a window for every single folder by default – to change this open any folder and edit the settings. It’s also a good idea to enable the delete command that bypasses the trash – because if you delete something from external storages with the standard delete command, the things will not really be deleted but moved to a trash on the device (.trash). This trash will not be affected when you delete the trash on your desktop.



Now it’s user-friendly.


3.2 Font Rendering

The general font settings are available in the GNOME system menu.


Select “Subpixel smoothing” if you’re using a LCD monitor – click on “Details” to see further options.


Set the resolution to 96dpi.


3.3 Mandriva Linux Control Center

The Mandriva Linux Control Center is an accumulation of all essential configuration applets in a breakdown. It is available in the top panel.


Enter the root password.


As you can see all is neatly arranged – browse through the tabs and have a look at the options.


3.4 Startup Programs

The settings for the startup programs are available in the GNOME system menu.


Have a look at the enabled startup programs – disable all that you don’t need. For example the bluetooth stuff – it’s useless if you haven’t got bluetooth devices that you can use with these programs.


3.5 Easy Urpmi

Open within your preferred browser and select “2008.1” as version and “i586” as architecture. Afterwards click on the “Add Official media”-button to add extra official repositories to your system.


Enter the root password.


Click on “Yes” to start the installation.


The repositories are being installed.


Do the same again with the PLF medias. The PLF repository contains a lot of packages for Mandriva which can not be included by default for various reasons. It is comparable with the packman repository for SUSE.


3.6 Deinstall Software

Before you are going to update the system for the first time you should check if there is software installed that you don’t need, or rather that you want to replace with another software. The goal should be a clean system with only the programs installed that you really need.

Which programs you should deinstall or replace with others is up to you – you’ll find a summary of already installed software in step 5 and a little assortment of additional software (including possible replacements for already installed software) in step 6.

You can simply deinstall software with the package manager – have a look at step 4. Afterwards it’s time for the first update (if there are updates available) – go to the next step.


3.7 System Update

The system will check for updates automatically and notify you if updates are available – left-click on the icon.


Enter the root password.


Click on “Yes” to start the Mandriva update tool.


Here you’ll see a list of all available updates – click on “Update” to start the update process.


Next you’ll see all selected updates and their dependencies – click on “Yes” to proceed.


Now the updates are being downloaded and installed.


4 Package Manager

The package manager (rpmdrake) is available in the GNOME applications menu.


Enter the root password.


The usage of the package manager is very easy and intuitive.


4.1 Deinstall Packages

Select “Installed” from the drop-down menu in order that only installed packages are shown. Now browse the package-groups or enter a search term into the corresponding field to find the package(s) that you want to deinstall.


If you found a package that you want to deinstall unmark its checkbox – the package is now queued for deinstallation. The status-icon will also change as you can see on the screenshot below. When your package selection is complete click on “Apply” to start the deinstallation process.



Next you’ll see a summary of the selected packages – click on “Yes” to proceed with the deinstallation.


The packages are being deinstalled.


4.2 Install Packages

Select “Not Installed” from the drop-down menu so that only not installed packages are shown. Now browse the package groups or enter a search term into the corresponding field to find the package(s) that you want to install.


If you found a package that you want to install mark its checkbox – the package is now queued for installation. If a package has a dependency which is provided by more than one package, you have to select it manually.


All other dependencies are shown in an extra window. Click on “OK” to proceed.


The status icon will also change as you can see on the screenshot below. When your package selection is complete click on “Apply” to start the installation process.


Next you’ll see a summary of the selected packages – click on “Yes” to proceed with the installation.


The packages are being downloaded and installed.


5 Installed Software

5.1 Multimedia

Rhythmbox (audio player)
Totem (video player)
Kino (video editor)
Gnomeradio (radio)


5.2 Graphics

Gimp (edit images/photos)
F-Spot (photo manager)


5.3 Office

OpenOffice (office suite)


5.4 Internet

Firefox (web browser)
Epiphany (web browser)
Evolution (email client)
Ekiga (internet telephony)
Pidgin (instant messenger)


5.5 System

Compiz-Fusion (desktop effects)
Ntfs-3g (NTFS read/write support)

6 Additional Software

Please note that some packages like Adobe’s flash plugin or spamassassin (needed by the evolution plugin) are installed by default.


6.1.1 Adobe Acrobat Reader


With the Adobe Reader you can open PDF-documents.


If you want to use the Adobe Reader, open within your preferred browser and click on “Download now”.


Install it with the software installer as shown on the screenshot below.


Click on “Install” to start the installation.


Enter the root password.


The Adobe Reader is being installed.


After the installation is finished the Adobe Reader is available in the GNOME applications menu.


Read the license agreement and click on “Accept” if you agree with it.


Click on “Edit” in the top menu and select “Preferences”.


Choose 96dpi as resolution and save the settings.


6.1.2 Microsoft’s True Type Core Fonts

Some fonts, including Arial, Times New Roman and Verdana for example. You can install these fonts via:

su –


6.1.3 W32codecs & Others

Codecs needed to play MS and some other video formats.

If you want to use these codecs, install the following packages:

  • win32-codecs
  • real-codecs
  • xanim-codecs
  • libdvdcss2


6.1.4 NTFS Configuration Tool


With nfts-config you can enable or disable write capability for all your internal and/or external NTFS devices.


If you want to use the NTFS configuration tool, install the following package:

  • ntfs-config


6.1.5 Sun’s JAVA JRE

Sun’s JAVA package adds full Java support to your system.

If you want to use Java applications or run java applets within Firefox, install the following packages:


  • java-1.7.0-icedtea
  • java-1.7.0-icedtea-plugin

Alternatively (if you encounter problems with the java packages above):

  • java-1.6.0-sun
  • java-1.6.0-sun-alsa
  • java-1.6.0-sun-plugin


6.2 Replacements

6.2.1 Digikam (possible replacement for f-spot)


Digikam is a photo management software.


If you want to use digikam, deinstall the following package…

  • f-spot

…and install these packages:

  • digikam
  • kipi-plugins

Note: If digicam won’t be able to start after the installation (dcop error) it is very likely that the “.kde” folder in your home directory belongs to root – you can correct this via:

su –
chown -R %your_username%:%your_username% /home/%your_username%/.kde/


6.2.2 MPlayer (possible replacement for totem)


MPlayer is a video player with many features – supporting nearly every known video format, e.g. MPEG/VOB, AVI, Ogg/OGM, VIVO, ASF/WMA/WMV, QT/MOV/MP4, RealMedia, Matroska, NUT, NuppelVideo, FLI, YUV4MPEG, FILM, RoQ and PVA (the codecs from step 6.1.3 are needed to support some of the listed formats).


If you want to use the mplayer, deinstall the following packages…

  • totem
  • totem-mozilla

…and install these packages:

  • mplayer
  • mplayer-fonts
  • mplayer-gui
  • mplayer-skins
  • mplayerplugin


6.2.3 Audacious (possible replacement for rhythmbox)


Audacious is a lean audio-player.


If you want to use audacious, deinstall the following package…

  • rhythmbox

…and install this package:

  • audacious


6.2.4 K3B (possible replacement for brasero)


K3B is a burning suite with a lot of features.


If you want to use K3B, deinstall the following package…

  • brasero

…and install this package:

  • k3b

6.3 Optional

6.3.1 Unrar

With this package you’ll be able to unpack rar-files. If you want to use unrar, install the following package:

  • unrar


6.3.2 Network Traffic Applet

With this applet you can monitor the speed of your network devices.


If you want to use the network traffic applet, install the following package:

  • gnome-applet-netspeed

Afterwards add the applet to the gnome-panel. Right click on the panel, choose “Add to panel” and select the applet.



6.3.3 Azureus


Azureus is an easy to use bittorrent-client with a great many features.


If you want to use azureus, install the following package:

  • azureus


6.3.4 Skype


Skype is a software for internet telephony, instant messaging etc.


If you want to use Skype, open within your preferred browser. Install the Mandriva package with the software installer.


The package is being downloaded.


Click on “Install” to start the installation process.


Enter the root password.


Click on “OK” to proceed with the installation.


The package and its dependencies are being installed.


The package is not signed – click on “Yes” to proceed with the installation.


6.3.5 Audacity


Audacity is a software to edit audio files.


If you want to use Audacity, install the following package:

  • audacity


6.3.6 Streamtuner


Streamtuner is a stream directory browser. With Streamtuner you can listen to SHOUTcast-streams etc.


If you want to use Streamtuner, install the following packages:

  • streamtuner
  • streamtuner-plugins


6.3.7 Filezilla


Filezilla is a ftp-client with many features – supporting FTP, FTPS, FTPES and SFTP.


If you want to use filezilla, install the following package:

  • filezilla


6.3.8 Gparted


With gparted you are able to resize, move and format partitions – many file systems are supported.


If you want to use gparted, install the following package:

  • gparted


6.3.9 Gtkpod


With gtkpod you can manage your iPod. Many iPods are supported, including iPod mini, iPod Photo, iPod Shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod Video.


If you want to use gtkpod, install the following package:

  • gtkpod

6.3.10 K9copy


K9copy is a DVD backup tool, which is able to shrink the content of a DVD9 to fit on a DVD5.


If you want to use k9copy, install the following package:

  • k9copy


6.3.11 Xchat


With XChat you can join multiple IRC channels (Internet Relay Chat). File transfer is supported. You can customize XChat with various scripts and plugins.


If you want to use xchat, install the following packages:

  • xchat
  • xchat-systray-integration


6.3.12 Wine


Taken from the Wine Homepage: “Wine is an Open Source implementation of the Windows API on top of X, OpenGL, and Unix”.

With wine you can run a lot of windows software on linux. A list of software that is known to work on wine can be found at


If you want to use wine, install the following package:

  • wine


6.3.13 Cedega


Cedega is the next stage of WineX with focus on Windows games. Many games are supported – a list of supported games (with screenshots) can be found at and

Cedega is not free. Have a look at the Homepage for details and pricing.





6.3.14 VMware Server


With VMware Server you can install guest operating systems such as Windows, Linux, NetWare or Solaris.


If you want to use the VMware-Server, find out your kernel version…

uname -r

… and install the following packages:

  • The kernel development package for your kernel, e.g.: kernel-desktop586-devel-
  • xinetd
  • gcc
  • gcc-c++

Afterwards open in your browser. Install the newest version with the software-installer and register to get a serial number.


Install it with the software installer.


The package is being downloaded.


Click on “Install” to start the installation process.


The package is being installed.


Next complete step 2 from this howto:

As a last resort we have to replace a library:

su –
ln -sf /lib/ /usr/lib/vmware/lib/


  • Mandriva: