Mandriva Kiosk



Some time back I had seen a quick reference to Mandriva Kiosk as some new Mandriva version of the “Click and Run” repository of Linspire. I finally got a chance to give it a try with the upgrade of KDE to 3.5.2 (Mandriva 2006 had shipped with the 3.4.x series of KDE.) Anyway, I found the process to make it work fairly straightforward. I installed the 4 required packages (new versions could only be found on the kiosk webpage – none of the urpmi sources, even updates new about the newest version of mdkonline, or urpmi/gurpmi…) Once those were done and konqueror restarted, I gave a click at installing kde 3.5.2 and off it went.


One reason I’ve always preferred doing updates from the command line in Mandriva is that you get text mode feedback of the download progress and it doesn’t seem to make the system drag… I think the graphical urpmi just gives the “impression” of dragging the system because sometimes it doesn’t keep the display updated and so you have to leave it in front for a few moments to get a status update of what’s being downloaded.

Just in concept of clicking on something in a browser window and having it install through the mandrake package handler is nice. I do wonder about malicious attempts to do similar. Of course,w ith Mandrive packages they are digitally signed, but might there be ways some one could sneak malware onto a linux system this way? Of course, the user would have to give the admin password, which implies they know that they’re installing software… just musing. I might look at that in more detail sometime.

The only real rough area of the install was that kdeweb-devel could not be installed because of a libkdewebdev0 that needed to be 3.5.2-2.1.20060mdk instead of the available 3.5.1 …. this was a bit peculiar rough edge and to be honest I’ve not used JUST Mandriva official packages and kdewebdev is one that I’ve installed from a third party source. I did plow ahead with the process though.

After the process I logged out… restarted the dm and most everything looks good. So far, this is the smoothest Desktop Environment update I’ve had in a distribution life cycle. I uninstalled kdewebdev and kdewebdev-devel and urpmi’d the new version of kdewebdev and all seems good now there as well. I did not check to see if kdewebdev had already been installed by the upgrade, the error message stuck out in my memory through the entire process and I just wanted to make sure that kdewebdev was available….. (I would SORELY MISS Quanta Plus…)

Anyway. One of the things I have NOT liked about Mandrake and Mandriva in recent years is the 6 month – upgrade everything release cycle. I like the fact that they do a pretty good job with security updates, but unfortunately, once a distribution is released, there has been a tendency to NOT release any feature upgrades. This has left users to a) compile their own, b) recompile from cooker, c) perpetually chase the newest version when it comes out every 6 months, d)join the club and beg people to compile the packages for them or E) switch distros to someone that’s more likely to provide more than just security patched updates.

I’ve got to say, I’ve been looking at Kubuntu lately quite a bit, because I noticed with the KDE 3.5.2 release, there were binaries available on day 1 for Kubuntu. I was impressed.

With Mandriva, you have to subscribe to use the Kiosk, either with a Kiosk membership, or club membership. Now the membership is not that expensive and I’m proud to be able to “put my money where my mouth is” and support a linux distributor financially. However, it would be VERY nice IF they looked at dividing the kiosk into a free section with recent versions of gpl’d software and a pay section with proprietary drivers, plugins, proprietary downloads of other stripes. That would seem to make more sense.

I’m still very interested in looking at Kubuntu. Packages seem to be released in binary form very currently and the June release of Ubuntu/Kubuntu will have extended support as well. AND it’s ALL free. It’s a hard argument in the world of free software to make people pay for feature updates from one vendor when another vendor does feature updates well, quickly and free. That much said, kiosk HAS probably slowed down my eagerness to move to Kubuntu somewhat and shows some promise for what they may be able to do with it in the future.

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