First alpha of Mandriva Linux 2012 now available
Nearly two months later than originally planned, the first alpha for Mandriva Linux 2012, code-named "Tenacious Underdog", has been released for testing. The new development release upgrades the KDE desktop to version 4.9.0 from August and brings improvements to the distribution's installer, which is now said to be smaller and faster; the installer's text mode is also noted to be working again. Other changes include the complete removal of the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and the switch to Linaro's GCC 4.7 branch, as well as various package updates and bug fixes.
According to Mandriva Linux Project Leader Per Øyvind Karlsen, the alpha was delayed due to "a complex amount of reasons" within the project, including problems with the current build system, described as having become "terminally ill". Due to these build system problems, Karlsen, who is a Chief Architect for Russian firm ROSA, which develops a Mandriva-based desktop distribution called ROSA Marathon, says that the developers will switch to using ROSA's ABF build system, to "give us a more powerful and actively maintained build system for us to use". The move will also help the developers move closer "towards more direct collaboration with ROSA again", added Karlsen.
Based on the updated release schedule, two beta versions of Mandriva Linux 2012 will follow in October, after which two release candidates are planned; the schedule notes that the second alpha and third beta will likely be skipped to save time. The final release is expected to arrive on 16 November.
Further information about this development release can be found in the mailing list announcement; a list of proposed features is provided on the 2012.0 specs proposal page. Mandriva Linux 2012 is available to download from one of the project's mirrors. The current stable release is Mandriva 2011 from August of last year. The developers at the Mageia project released a first alpha of version 3.0 of their Mandriva Linux fork earlier this month.
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