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Mandriva Corporate Server 4 misses the mark

Some people think that I’m always pro-Linux and anti-Microsoft. Nope. That’s not true. I’m pro what works, and I’m anti what doesn’t work. Most of the time, Linux has been a winner. But, sometimes, it isn’t. And, that brings me to Mandriva Corporate Server 4.

This distribution was to be Mandriva‘s big step up into the business Linux world. This was to be the Linux that would challenge SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) and RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) in the climb to the top of the corporate ladder.

Ah… it’s not.

For starters, as eWEEK Labs found out in its recent Mandriva review, it just doesn’t work that well.

One of Mandriva’s strong points was to be that it supported three of the major Linux-friendly virtualization hypervisors: Xen, OpenVZ, and VMware. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do well by any of them. SLED and RHEL both outdid it with Xen, Debian does OpenVZ better, and VMware… well, the VMware programs aren’t there yet, although they’re supposed to become available RSN (real soon now).

This is the kind of thing that usually annoys me about Microsoft products. When I buy software, I expect it to at least have all the parts in the box in somewhat working condition. Mandriva should have held off shipping this Linux until it was ready for prime-time.

The Labs also found that Mandriva’s three different system management and configuration tool sets were not at all well-integrated. I can live with different management tools when they handle different jobs. I’m not crazy about it, but I can live with it.

For what it’s worth, I agree with the Labs. Since Mandriva is making use of the popular free Webmin administration program set, they should just go ahead and make it their standard administration console.

Yes, Webmin, which is based on Perl, is a bit slow, but there’s little you can’t do with it once you have the right Webmin modules in place and you get the hang of the system.

As for Mandriva, the French Linux distributor still needs to get the hang of a business-ready server before they’ll be ready to compete with Novell/SUSE and Red Hat.

A version of this story first appeared in Linux-Watch.

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