Ubuntu vs Mandriva
I'm a long time linux user and developer. So I believed the hype behind Ubuntu and decided to install Gustsy on a brand new laptop this week, only to be extremely disappointed by the poor configuration tools. After I spent over a day trying to get everything setup and working as I wanted it, I finally gave up. The wireless network was still refusing to work as it kept forgetting settings and just refused to work at all unless I used DHCP.
Instead I tried Mandriva 2008, newly released this very day. From inserting the CD to having everything working correctly, the desktop and programs setup (email etc), took a little over an hour and 30 minutes.
The only real difference between Ubuntu and Mandriva is the installation and configuration tools/wizards. However those tools make all the difference. Unlike Ubuntu, Mandriva picked the right drivers for the graphics from the start and the networking wizard had the wireless running in 30 seconds. The default packages chosen by Mandriva made more sense with less clutter installed than Ubuntu. The look and feel of the desktop is also closer to that of Windows, which is good since the laptop is going to be used by a first time Linux user.
Overall I'm far more impressed by Mandriva than Ubuntu's offering. This is what all Linux distributions should be aiming to replicate if they want to be accepted by both linux newbies and long time users.